Frodge

I just bought a 1970 Beetle and have a question. My front turn signals do not work. when I turn the headlights on, the front headlights illuminate as expected, and the turn signals light and stay solid as well, is this normal? But when I signal, only my rear signals work, the front signals on the fender stay solid, what could the problem be?

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Friedle

Start with the simple... check the flasher (small round or square in the fuse box), please check a shop manual for the correct component.  Then check to see if any of the four (front/rear) turn signal bulbs is burned out.  Check for any lose (ungrounded) wires behind the dashboard (from the trunk area).  Look for lose connections or frayed wires under each fender.  Check for moisture anywhere within the electrical system.  I hope this helps, Patrick.

'72 Super. Paint-7/20/09, 400+k miles, New engine case "41" Brazil, rebuilt German heads, new Bosch electrics, new Solex German carb. new German silencer. Built by Steve Tims Performance/Enterprises, Riverside CA. '73 OEM airfilter, (Fram elemement), chrome stock wheels, daily driver, 25.46-27.50mpg, driven 20+years.
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Frodge

So if one of the bulbs is burned out, it is possible that neither of the front signals will work?

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Frodge

I have the wiring diagrams in my Bentley. From what I can see, and I am no professional reading these things, is that the front and rear signals on each appropriate side have a separate fuse. Here is where I am confused. When I turn the signal on, my dash will begin to flash and stop after a certain amount of time, but the rears will continue to signal until I turn the wheel. So basically, my front signals do not blink at all, but light up as running lights when my headlights are on. So I am getting juice to the bulbs. My rear signals work, and the interior signal on the dash flashes, but will eventually stop. The stopping of the dash light flashing does not affect the rear signals  fromgoing out though. What do you think my problem could be?

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Frodge

If the flasher was bad, wouldn't the rear signals not be working as well? It does not make a lot of sense. The rear signals work, while the fronts do not, although the lights, light up with the headlights. The dash signal goes on and stops after a few seconds as well, but the rear signals continue to work after the dash signal stops. IT makes no sense, and I have checkde the wiring diagram.

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Frodge

I just spoke to the previous owner. He said the signals have always worked. So basically, my question is what would cause the rear signals to work and the fronts to not work. Please help.

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MY72BUG
Hi Frodge.  Welcome to the world of VW.  When I bought MY72BUG , the wiring system was a disaster.  Essentially nothing worked.  Luckily, with cars of our vintage ( pre-' 73's ) the wiring is very accessible and I believe that your problem is in the wiring.  Your fender mounted lights have two bulbs in them.  One is a small side clearance light which comes on with the first position of the headlight switch. The bigger bulb at the front is an 1157 bulb with two filaments.  ( Make sure it has two filaments! )  One is on continuously with the first position of the headlight switch.  It remains on when the headlights come on with the second position of the headlight switch.  The second filament only comes on when the turn signal is activated.  Remove your lens and get a close look at the two filaments.  Are both on?  Is there one filament on each side which never comes on?  I'm betting that that is the case.  That means that you check for breaks in the filament.  Try another 1157 and see if the side is cured.  No?  Use a 12 volt tester to see if there is power in the socket, then power in the line dedicated to the turn signal portion of the socket. No power?  Keep tracing it back toward the fuse block and the flasher.  Somewhere after the flasher, power splits and goes to front and back and thence to left and right.  Use another piece of wire to provide a clean ground.  Lack of grounding will do you in more times than I could care to count.  Good bulbs. Good sockets.  Good wire and clean grounds.  Trace it back.  It will turn out to be something dirt simple.  Let us know how it goes.   Dan ( MY72BUG ) in Goderich, Ont.
I'd rather have a partial bottle in front of me than a partial frontal lobotomy.
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Frodge

Thanks, that is very helpful. IF I need to re-wire, what type of wire should I be using. I will save that part for the weekend. This is very helpful.

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MY72BUG
The easiest way to do it is to use one of those multi-Gage wire strippers.  Close it around the existing wire using progressively smaller diameters until closing the stripper leaves a dent in the insulation but does not cut the copper wire therein.  That will tell you the Gage of the wire.  Any good automotive supply store will have spools of different colours of that Gage of wire.  Get some plain black for your ground and something with a stripe or different colour for your lives.  Sort through the old wire inch  by inch looking for bad connections, bad grounds or bare wires which might go to ground.  Other people's old splices are a sure fire place for faults especially if the hackers just twisted the wire together without the benefit of a proper solder joint.  The distance you have to cover is not that great.  Work back and find where the power loss is located and don't forget that sockets and bulbs can look good but be bad.  Buy one of those cheap 12 volt testers which is a very sharp probe with a light bulb in the base and one ground wire with an alligator clip attached.  Again, any decent automotive supply store will have one for a couple of bucks.  Attach the alligator clip to a good clean ground on the body and gently probe the suspect wire while the signal is activated.  Do the sockets, the wire leading to the sockets and keep moving back.  Somewhere along the way, the light in the handle of your tester will suddenly be doing the turn signal thing !  Voila !  At that point the wiring harness is correct.  Move " downstream " from there until you arrive at the bulb.  Expect it to be something simple; it usually is.  Always suspect a bad ground if nothing else seems to make sense.  Make sure that those bulbs are 1157's.  There are newer versions of this bulb which will not work in your socket.  If someone has jammed something else in there, remove that bulb and try the real thing.  While the signal is activated, grab the suspect wire and jiggle it.  This can be a very effective way to find faults.  Look for black electrical tape on joints.  This is a dead give-away that someone has been at " work " on the harness.  You can see that you are as much detective as mechanic/ electrician.  Don't be afraid to undo the wrapping on harness bundles.  This can be where you will find your dud wire.  Have at it and let us know how it comes out.   Dan (MY72BUG) in Goderich
I'd rather have a partial bottle in front of me than a partial frontal lobotomy.
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Frodge

The bulb was loose. Thanks for the help!

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MY72BUG
To quote the immortal Homer Simpson:  " D'oh !!!!"   Somehow knew it would be something simple.  Congrats.  Enjoy your ride.  Dan ( MY72BUG) in Goderich, Ont.
I'd rather have a partial bottle in front of me than a partial frontal lobotomy.
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