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MG TD TF 1500 - Front turning signal/running light

Restoring 1954 mgtf. Left front running light stopped working but left front turning signal still worked. Replaced the bulb and the light unit to no avail. Got it to work by switching the wires to the connections in the light unit (which baffles me). Now the other front turning signal will not work. Does the wire for the turning signal go specifically to one side of the light unit? What am I missing?
Ed Eastman

The stock bulbs in my TD (1953) are 'position specific' ... in fact there is a little 'TOP' marked on the bulb. I think the little pins on the bulb are the same distance rather then staggered like new ones???? Would that make any difference (1st bulb blew...2nd put in upside down...???) Shouldn't really should it?

If I understand correctly, you can switch the wires (running light and directional) and the directional works.

I had a similar problem and what I found was that the bulb contacts didn't line up. Either the bulb can go in 2 ways and one of them fails to make contact, or you have the wrong bulb and the contacts don't line up when it is keyed in properly.

I suppose there is another possibility, and that is that the contacts aren't functional or the socket is shorted, but that doesn't sound like the problem.
Larry Ayres

The 'TOP' mark on the bulbs is there specifically so the higher wattage filament is placed such that it is only used for the turn indicator. If it is used for the running light, it will produce enough heat that the plastic medallion in the housing will melt. That is IF the socket is wired properly (50 - 50 chance of getting it right).

Ed - It sound like you are plagued with old wiring and grounds. This is probably beyond the scope of what we can troubleshoot on this BBS, because it really sounds like you have multiple problems to deal with, not the least being the way ground is supplied to the head lights and running/turn signal lights - via the sheet metal of the fenders. I have alway advocated running a dedicated ground wire up to the lamp sockets. I am going to guess that you have some bad (corroded) connections to your lights (unless you have replaced the wiring harness) and insufficient grounds. I would suggest that you take the wiring diagram from your shop manual to Kinko's, Staples or Office Depot and make a 2X size copy and have them laminate it for you. You can then trace the circuit you are working on with a grease pencil to make tracing it easier. Then go to the article, Electrical Connection Preparation under the Other Tech Articles on my web site at: This article details how to prep the connections to get the most reliable operation. Cheers (an good luck) - Dave
David DuBois

The driver's side running light was burning brighter than the other. I had it in upside down. I put it right and now everything works. Thanks for your advice.
Ed Eastman
Ed Eastman

This thread was discussed between 27/06/2008 and 02/07/2008

MG TD TF 1500 index

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