The New England M.G. ‘T’ Register has a long history of providing its members with advice and technical expertise on the restoration and maintenance of our special cars. We present some of our favorite technical articles and tips here for members and visitors alike.
TD & TF TURN SIGNAL REPAIR
In the process of TD restoration, I pulled out the turn signal switch. Now, I've dealt with a number of British imports over the years with clockwork turn signal switches which wound themselves up when one flipped the lever and flipped themselves off after about eight seconds. When I flipped the lever on this one, it popped right back into neutral.
I was very surprised to see no evidence of anything like clockwork inside the black Bakelite cylinder; just a cam which pushed a piston against a spring into a cylinder, and it clearly had not been tampered with. Then I looked more closely at the junk around the edge of the piston, which is leather just like the leather cup on a pump.
Light dawned, so I followed the old fashioned technique for rejuvenating dried out leather pump washers: massage well with grease. As you may have guessed, the turn signal stays on for a period of time (about eight seconds) by the very slow release of air past the leather cup, which is pushed into the cylinder by a cam when the switch lever is pushed to one side or the other.
If your turn signal is not giving you a decent amount of time to make a turn, take it apart. Remove it from the car, noting which wire goes to which terminal. The lever comes off with a single screw. The switch comes off its bracket with one large chromed knurled nut. Then the outer cover of the switch can be removed by taking out three small screws which use the brass terminals as nuts. Take out two, then clamp the switch gently in a vise with the third screw uppermost. Loosen and remove the third screw, then unscrew the vise slowly, and the spring will push off the cap. You will quickly see how the cam and piston system works. Flare out the leather washer with your fingers and rub in some grease. I used molly grease, but anything soft will do, even petroleum jelly. Be generous, and leave a good film of grease on the leather. Clean the cylinder and the electrical contacts with spray cleaner or lacquer thinner, then reassemble in reverse order. Presto, good as new! The leather washer virtually never becomes unsalvageable, and new switches cost over fifty bucks when you can get them.
by Dave Kuhn
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Disclaimer: All Tech Tips presented here are copyright of The New England M.G. ‘T’ Register. Be advised that every effort was made to verify the validity of each tip. But as in any free advice, it’s up to the user to judge the usefulness of each tip presented here.