Why will the brake lights on my 1964 Thunderbird not work?


Asked by May 20, 2015 at 07:46 AM about the 1964 Ford Thunderbird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Brake lights do not come on at all but the tail lights will still come on when you turn on the lights.

5 Answers

bad break light switch,is mounted on steering collum at bottom.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Farmkid, Check the stoplight swich and the two wires that attach to it. The wire connections are likely to be corroded, this is common for 50's and early 60's cars that use the type of swich that screws directly into the Master Cyl. Late 60's and on....Ford located the swich on the other side of the firewall which protects the wireing connections a little better. Picture attached showing where to find the swich and wires. Good luck. Riff

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Want to guess one of the changes made during production that still bewilders 1964 Thunderbird owners today? A relay was added to the brake light circuit during production, and a kit was released to retrofit cars without the relay. Many an owner scratches their head in wonderment after replacing the brake light switch only to find the lights still don't work! After verifying the bulbs are good, they fear the turn signal switch has gone bad, and sometimes even replace it only to discover that...you guessed it...no brake lights. The secret is the relay, located in the engine compartment, cleverly located behind the windshield washer fluid bag! So, if you have a 1964 T-bird without brake lights, check behind the washer bag to see if you might have a bad/missing/unplugged relay. And here's some trivia for you: Ford had originally planned on debuting the sequential rear turn signals for the 1964 model year, but had to delay it for a year because the new sequential turn signal flashing sequence had to be voted into motor vehicle laws in all states before the cars could legally be driven in them. And, typical of government, there were a few states that still hadn't made it legal when the time came to start building the 1964 models! So, the feature was delayed for one year, and got introduced on the 1965 cars instead.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have a 1964 thunderbird and my reverse/backup lights are not working. when testing the replacement bulbs, I do not have power flowing to the two contacts in the bulb recepticle. This tells me that either I have the 1) the incorrect bulb, 2) that the wires to the reverse light fittings are disconnect, 3) that there could be a break in wire, 4) the ground could have been lost or 5) the fuse could be burnt out. My question - What are the easist solutions for problems 3, 4 & 5?


Backup/reverse lights are typically a single filament bulb and normally are an #1156 part number and should have only a single contact in the bulb socket and on the center of the bulb bottom since it's only an off/on type setup. The ground should be the actual metal socket itself, not like turn signal/brakelight bulbs that are dual filament and are on as a tail light and brighter as a brakelight/turn signal and will have two contact points on the bulb and the socket... if you are sure that you have the correct bulb (single contact #1156 ) then it's more than likely a bad ground so clean the contact points in the light socket with a fingernail file or 100 grit sandpaper or emery cloth or if completely rusted then you will have to replace them with a new aftermarket socket (readily available in the electrical dept. of any major autoparts store). Use a 12 volt test light to check power going to the socket but make sure the ignition switch is in the on position (not actually running) and the shifter is in the ( R)reverse position. have someone in the car wiggling the shifter in the reverse position as the backup light switch might be bad and need adjustment or even replacement also. this is typically located under the dash on the steering column with 2 wires going to it. One is hot and the other is a ground. (blk or brown wire is usually ground). Only other way to check all the wiring is to physically follow all the wiring from the bulb to the dash but most breaks are normally where the wire is able to be moved or disrupted so check in those places first like near the tail lights orin the trunk area where the ground wires attach to the body or where something could be layed on top of the wire or moved by accident. lso check under the dash where the wire might get bumped or moved by foot movement. With all the wiring that is in a typical car old or new cars alike, Electrical problems are sometimes very hard to find and repair and can take hours of labor or even days to find the problem. With an older or antique car usually it's a brittle wire that has broke in half or came loose from vibration over the years as wiring gets old and brittle and can easily break from the slightest vibration or movement. . good luck and let us know your results. Kenny / MrBlueOval

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used Thunderbird in your area?

CarGurus has 1,193 nationwide Thunderbird listings starting at $6,777.


Search Ford Thunderbird Questions

Ford Thunderbird Experts

#1 oldtimer37
Reputation 1,430
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 1,380
#3 tennisshoes
Reputation 1,080
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Ford Mustang"
731 Great Deals out of 41,065 listings starting at $900
Used Chevrolet Corvette"
435 Great Deals out of 20,234 listings starting at $3,688
Used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class"
108 Great Deals out of 3,662 listings starting at $1,500
Used Chevrolet Impala"
932 Great Deals out of 35,698 listings starting at $1,500
Used Ford Galaxie"
122 listings

Used Cars For Sale

2005 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
4 Great Deals out of 92 listings starting at $7,500
2004 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 161 listings starting at $7,998
2003 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 149 listings starting at $7,995
2002 Ford Thunderbird For Sale
14 Great Deals out of 347 listings starting at $6,777