North American Turbocoupe Organization



Minor electrical annoyances
Rob H Offline
Member
#1
Hi everyone, glad to be back! Winter looks like it is finally done.
I've got high hopes this year will be a year of no major problems.
I desperately needed new tires on the back. When I first picked up my car it came with some fat rear tires(245/50/r16) I didn't like the look, and they were getting to be pretty old. I've got four new Goodyear Eagle sports on now, and I like the feel of the car a lot better.
Over the winter also had all the front lights reconditioned and clear coated. I can see great now!
I've got a fairly good sized crack/hole in the Y section past the CAT but have located a replacement piece I think and should be fixed soon. Should sound WAY better, it's been getting pretty loud!
In the absence of anything else needing immediate attention(knock on wood) I would like to take a swipe at a couple small annoyances. The whining sound from the wipers, and a newcomer, no back lighting on the instrument panel Sad
First of all, I'll start with that back lighting. Fuses all look fine, everything else on the car seems to be working fine. As far as I know, all of the lights seem to be working as well on the dash, I am just not backlit. Is this as "simple" as taking everything apart to get the instrument cluster out and replacing a blown out bulb? I don't know if this is related in anyway, but when I got the car out of storage I had some bizarre stuff happening. First of all I was missing a headlight. Turns out I just lost that Smile Second, while I was installing the passenger front blinker light into it's lens, the bulb went out. I had been  just about to drive home after reinstalling my reconditioned headlight lenses, and forgot to put that bulb in. It seemed that I also now had no brake, reverse, DASH, blinker, running lights at all. I was down to one headlight, and one fog lamp. Needless to say I didn't get the car home that night. I showed up ready to check some fuses, and install one missing headlight.
After installing the headlight, decided to check things once again. Other than putting that headlight back in, I didn't touch a thing. All the lights were now working though. Never had a problem before, and hasn't happened since.  Everything seems to be fine, just no dash lights now.
Anything simple I might check?

As for the whining wipers...
There is usually a constant whine that goes away when the windshield wipers are turned on. Sometimes I will start the car and find that the whine is not there, but if I use the wipers, the whine returns.
You can also make the whine go away by slightly lifting up on the wiper lever, doesn't even have to be enough to turn them on. I don't know if it's related, but sometimes when it s raining, and I turn the wipers off, they keep going, thought they do usually within a minute stop.
I don't know if the sound of the whine really matters, and it's hard to describe...
I put made a real quick video of the sound  Listen here

When I try to listen for where the sound is coming from, it sounds like it is from within the dash to the left of the steering column. I thought at first it was coming from the speaker but listening closely, I really don't think so anymore. Also the sound is there whether the stereo is on or not.
Any advice to get me started would be really appreciated.
Thanks
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#2
(04-07-2019, 12:17 AM)IiRob H Wrote: When I try to listen for where the sound is coming from, it sounds like it is from within the dash to the left of the steering column. I thought at first it was coming from the speaker but listening closely, I really don't think so anymore. Also the sound is there whether the stereo is on or not.

It sounds like the governor is bad. It’s a small box just under the left side of the dash, mounted on a “shake brace” by the brake release handle; the words “DO NOT DROP” appear on mine.

It controls the Interval Wipers feature. Often on my TC the whine would show up after turning off the wipers. Sadly this is probably a salvage yard item, and depending on where you live, good luck with that. (I just did a search on NAPA, RockAuto and AutoParts Warehouse, no luck.) The Car-Part app (or car-part.com) does list some windshield wiper motors available across the US, so more than likely they would also have the governor. (The Car-Part app is a great way to check for parts nationally in salvage yards and through secondhand suppliers.)

There’s also a good chance someone here might have one and could hook you up.

“Everything seems to be fine, just no dash lights now.
Anything simple I might check?”

The ribbon cable that supplies power to the instrument panel cluster could be the source of this problem. It can be fragile —I have removed mine many many times over the years, and hold my breath each time. Right now I have a burned out lamp near the Temperature gauge that I need to replace, very hard to see it at night. I’m sourcing LEDs to replace the lamps on the IP, so this should no longer be an issue. I believe I’ll do as Jeff K. has and also replace the various warning lamps as well.

Anyway, remove the IP cluster and take a look. The ribbon cable is copper, so there could be tarnish or corrosion on its contacts.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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firebirdparts Offline
Member
#3
I would have thought the whine was the wipers trying to park and not knowing how to stop. If you can hear it outside, I think the wiper motor is running (in reverse) and it doesn't know that it should stop. Lay a hand on it and see.

If it's inside, then it's not the motor.

On the dash lights, there are several bulbs in there, so I would agree it's another issue.
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Rob H Offline
Member
#4
Alright thanks guys, a couple of leads to follow!
I'm not sure what a shake brace is..is that like the brace that the fuse panel is on? I know if I put my hand under that area and wiggle things a little, it sounds like that will sometimes cause a wiggle to the whine as well.
When you say you suspect the governor is that in regard to the whine, the wipers not turning off in the rain, or both? Is the governor capable of producing this noise?
You don't hear the sound outside the car.
You know, when I watched the video I took, I realized  it would make you think that whine sound would be unbearable. While it is irritating enough that I often drive with the wipers on, it's not nearly as loud as in the video because usually the car is running(and has a hole in the exhaust), and also because in the video I am putting the microphone intentionally close to the sound.
When I wrote the post I knew there was something else possibly telling that I was forgetting, and it happened on the way home tonight. Almost always, as I said, when I turn the wipers off, I get the whine, but very rarely, they will NOT whine. In that instance, the wipers have ALWAYS come to a stop in this position:
[Image: 20190407_200603_zpsax96were.jpg]
Not sure if that indicates anything, just another clue to add.
I will try to educate myself on the governor is and how to eliminate or confirm it as the culprit.

As for the dash lights, I guess there really is nothing to do but get in there. If I do I will try to make sure it is the last time I do by replacing every bulb while in there.
I had hoped that odd scenario where I had lost everything but my headlights and fog lights only to have them all come back(except the dash)would have implied something to someone.
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Rob H Offline
Member
#5
Update
I went out and looked at the car again, and was surprised to find that I DON'T have running lights. I thought I had checked but I guess not. Must be because I looked in the daytime.
When I checked the fuse I checked pretty sure it was fuse 13. Some of the wording for what the fuses do is a bit confusing, there isn't one I don't think that specifically says running lights. There's a couple that sound like they might do the instrument cluster which I find confusing.
Now that I know it's the dash as well as the running lights I'll go take another look.
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Rob H Offline
Member
#6
I checked all the fuses, all look good. 13 4 and 15 seemed to be the three maybe to be looking for. It appears I also don't have license plate lamps...
This minor electrical annoyance has been upgraded. I had considered even temporarily just putting an LED lighting to shine on the gauges, not going to work when no one can see me at night from the rear
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#7
(04-07-2019, 11:58 PM)Ufirebirdparts Wrote: I would have thought the whine was the wipers trying to park and not knowing how to stop.  If you can hear it outside, I think the wiper motor is running (in reverse) and it doesn't know that it should stop.  Lay a hand on it and see.

If it's inside, then it's not the motor.

On the dash lights, there are several bulbs in there, so I would agree it's another issue.

I never said it was the motor. It’s the governor. I had the same issue, replaced the governor, fixed it.

My information is from Ford’s shop manual, Part 1 of 2 Volume B.

(04-08-2019, 02:00 AM)Rob H Wrote: Alright thanks guys, a couple of leads to follow!
I'm not sure what a shake brace is..is that like the brace that the fuse panel is on? I know if I put my hand under that area and wiggle things a little, it sounds like that will sometimes cause a wiggle to the whine as well.
When you say you suspect the governor is that in regard to the whine, the wipers not turning off in the rain, or both? Is the governor capable of producing this noise?
The manual calls it a shake brace. It’s just a piece of metal, part of the support structure behind the dashboard. I’m not sure if it’s the one the fuse box is on. It is a black box about the size of a pack of cigarettes, IIRC (if I recall correctly).

Yes, the governor controls the whine, the failure to park properly, failure of the interval feature, and the failure to turn off OR on, depending on what all is bad inside it. It is also responsible for that irritating and dangerous activity when the wipers will quit in the middle of the windshield, with no way to turn back on or lower them, blocking your vision. It’s a solid state device with no moving parts, so like most such devices one or more circuits can fail.

If I were you I would be searching/inquiring if anyone here and/or across the country has a wiper governor, using that resource I described earlier (Car-Part.com). Every day that goes by is another opportunity for someone to throw out parts like that because no one seems interested in them, or it gets sold to someone else.

One thing to keep in mind about these cars: the later models were made for only TWO YEARS. Getting parts is one of the major challenges to keeping them on the road. I have had an eBay search for 87-88 Turbo Coupe parts set up since 2004. You can’t just walk into an AutoZone or NAPA store any more and ask for most parts, especially the more exotic ones.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Rob H Offline
Member
#8
Thanks for the advice, sounds like an easy fix, just have to find the part. I've got some boxes of parts, if I'm lucky I might already have a spare but I doubt it.
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Rob H Offline
Member
#9
Alright lights are all working now!
  I'm into the dash now looking for the governor(or whatever is whining). I used a length of 1/2 inch clear tubing in one ear and pointed the other end at potential whining things. Definitely found it, it's above the fuse panel and a mound of wires, but under the instrument cluster which I didn't actually remove yet, need supper and warmth.
Looks like I'll get this figured out soon enough!
Thanks for the help guys, I'll report back when it's fixed, or if I run into any more problems.

Quick question...say it is the governor, and I remove it, would I be correct in assuming that if I drove the car missing that part, the only thing that I wouldn't have would be wipers?
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