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Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#1
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Tom Laferriere
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Hi All,

In the 30 years I have been playing with cars, I have never added directionals to any car so I decided to crowd source and get the most recent 2022 information.

I have a new factory harness already installed, so I must break into this harness which does not bring me joy. I want to hard wire this and be done with it for the life of the car, not really interested in wireless options.

The rears will use the original tail lights and the front will have to be the fog lamps, as I use sealed beams and don't essentially have parking lights.

Has anyone recently done this? Was there a kit you liked and used?

Oh, I have less than a month to do it, as I am participating in the Great Race.

Thank you all for taking your time to contribute.

Posted on: 5/6 18:06
Tom Laferriere - Smithfield, RI

1934 Packard 1104 Touring
1939 Packard 120 Coupe (in family since 1970)

PH: 401.651.2295
Web: www.tomlaferriere.com
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#2
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PackardDon
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There were factory accessory fender lights that looked like small versions of the headlights and at one time they were reproduced but no more. Finding originals or reproductions is your best bet for authenticity but expect it to cost! Maybe one of the dealers such as Max Merritt has them so give them a try. It is also common to use the 1940 fender lights on the earlier cars but to me they do not look good.

Posted on: 5/6 18:50
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#3
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bkazmer
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In addition to those options, there are period aftermarket ones - the shape is similar to 40 Packard/37-8 Buick.

Posted on: 5/6 19:22
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#4
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Packard Newbie
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Hi Tom,
When I went through this with my '39, I did a lot of looking for the original lights and could not find used or NOS. I did come upon a pair of repros for about $700 through Max Merritt, but that didn't seem reasonable to spend that kind of money on a Six, so I ended up putting a set of '40 lights on the car and am very happy with them. I'm also told that Packard routinely did this for '39 owners in 1940 as that was the introduction year for regular signal markers. There are, of course, dissenting views on their appearance and suitability, but many find them perfectly acceptable. Chris.

Posted on: 5/6 19:26
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#5
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HH56
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Wanting to use the fog lights might cause a problem with some of the kits because of the high power requirements of the bulbs. I would research the amount of current the bulbs will need and also the max current permissible in the switch to make sure any of the systems chosen can handle them. One of the aftermarket systems that description indicates could work and has some other nice features is the Electro-Tech system. http://turnswitch.com/Turnsignal.htm

Not the cheapest available but the ability to use either their column switch or custom fit your own hidden switch is nice if you don't want to deviate from the stock look. Aside from the possible ability to use the fog lights for front signals, other good features are 4 way emergency flashing and ability to select auto sensing of turns or a fixed time before cancel. The cancel options might be helpful if you are like me and one who is used to modern cars and would forget to manually cancel the signals.

If you go with another setup make sure it is the 6 or 7 wire system that has circuitry to interrupt and direct the brake light signal. On the 3 or 4 wire simpler systems those need a separate rear bulb. To just splice wires in to add turn signals to the dual filament rear bulbs without taking brakes into consideration there will be issues. Because turn and brakes will now use the same bulb filament, instead of having one side flash and the other side be solid when brakes are applied, because the brake light signal goes to both bulbs at once the solid on brake signal would override the turn signal and bulb would never flash when brakes are on and both will flash when brakes are off.

Posted on: 5/6 19:46
Howard
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#6
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tsherry
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I didn't break into the factory harness; I powered my switch from the starter if I recall.

My front turn signals are bolted to a bracket that I fabbed up from an "L" bracket from Lowe's; harness is concealed in a mesh-type loom and then fabric-type electrical tape. Front turn signals were from ebay, a replacement motorcycle turn signal pair. Added the 6V lamps, bought a 6V flasher unit. Took about 3 hours to install, and two beers. Hardest part was re-doing the rear harness as the original was crumbling where exposed. Works great. No, it's not factory, nor does it look it. But it's adequate for now. And with new wiring and new connections, they are plenty bright.

They're similar to these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/393417889619? ... 889753:g:880AAOSw-rVg25iY

Posted on: 5/6 23:19
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#7
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Tim Cole
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You can always make up an overlay harness that taps power at the brake light switch. That would leave the original harness untouched. As far as what lights to use, well, with today's situation on the roadways I would be worried. We used to run turn signals through the Trippe lights which made for a real beacon. The rear is more of a problem and if it was my car I would add something that can be easily be unplugged. I remember at one time Pennsylvania required those big ugly trailer lights. Given people on the roads today it might be that or being hit.

Posted on: 5/7 11:35
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#8
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JWL
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Tom, et. al. - Here are two photos of the front turn signals I installed on my 37 Six. I painted the bulb housings body color to match. The front lights were ordered from an online motorcycle accessory store. I recently installed front parking and turn signals on my 32 Ford Coupe and bought a pair of small accessory lights from Harley-Davidson. I used the double filament bulbs in the tail lights. I made aluminum reflectors and painted the inside of the housings white for a brighter light. I don't recall details about the wiring, but it must have been simple, because I could do it.

Attach file:



jpeg  IMG_1040.jpeg (360.41 KB)
565_6276af4961e6d.jpeg 1224X1632 px

jpeg  IMG_1041.jpeg (423.25 KB)
565_6276af5e7a087.jpeg 1632X1224 px

Posted on: 5/7 12:45
We move toward
And make happen
What occupies our mind... (W. Scherer)
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#9
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bullsh--ter
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Except for the color those lights look axacly like mine that I installed on my 37. I put led in mine and left them clear for maximum light output. The wiring was not difficult except the fabric covered wire does not like to be manipulated. My brake lights were wired seperately from the factory. Not being self cancelling is a problem so I put in a small buzzer that is annoying so I dont forget to turn them off. I think in todays traffic hand signalling is still legal but unsafe in my opinion.

Posted on: 5/7 13:20
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Re: Adding directionals to my 1939 120
#10
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su8overdrive
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Found a nice, believe it or not, turn signal unit mounting at the bottom of the steering wheel hub, which turned a rubber wheel, from J.C. Whitney for my '40 120 in '74, worked well. Gunmetal gray. Perhaps someone else peddles those now.

Remember to paint the inside of your tail light housing gloss white, or at least line with aluminum foil, shiny side out, as a Cord friend at first did.

A bolt-in, not a trace of butchering required, 6-volt, 55-amp, positive ground alternator is with radial tires the only real deviation from authenticity i like in a Packard, assuming yours already has overdrive and/or a taller rear axle from a non-OD donor.

Brighter head and tail lights at dusk, night, faster battery recovery, starting. We got our alternators from Jim's Battery Mfg., Youngstown, OH (800) 426-7580. Tell Jim and Dolores a couple '47 Packards in Walnut Creek, CA and British Columbia sent you. And you can't beat an Optima Red Top battery. 800 cold cranking amps and only 18 lbs.
Weight is the enemy.

'39 120 better quality than '40, tho' the latter a trace lighter, much reduced prices, Packard increasingly rattled by GM. '40 Buick the first car with turn signals standard.

Consumers Report, who always got it right then and now, gave the 120 or its Clipper variant their Best Buy rating in its price class every year 1938-47, deservedly so. Nice car.

Posted on: 5/7 14:39
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