So your NOS '60 - '62 column-mounted turn signal cancel switch doesn't work?....try removing 18lbs of grease!


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Apr 15, 2024
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So - One of the issues my 1961 Newport had was that the turn signal system wasn't working well - specifically that in the left turn mode, the lever would stay activated, but would not cancel after the turn, and for the right turn mode, the turn signal lever wouldn't stay activated at all. One of the clear issues was that one of the contacts on the turn signal cancel mechanism mounted to the steering column had broken off ( I don't know for certain, but I think this unit applies to 1960 through 1962). I was able to find a shiny NOS part to replace it, but to my didn't work. In fact, not only didn't it work but technically it made things worse, because now neither direction stayed locked in for a turn. I was all set to contact the seller, but I looked at the mechanism and decided it really couldn't be all that complicated, and there's only two little metal tabs holding the cover abandoning any likelihood of getting a replacement from the seller, I just bumbled my way into exploratory surgery....

The mechanism is exceedingly simple - basically you have two copper spring strips that, by action of a small lever, make electrical contact with one wire or another, which in turn cancels the turn signal - presumably by turning off the electromagnet in the dash? Anyway - these two little copper strips slide over copper contacts, and you may have guessed it - there was so much grease inside that the contacts were fouled - and to be clear- they were not caked in the stuff, but there was enough of a coating to interrupt the signal. I got out a few small q-tips and cleaned them off, and also generally removed about half the grease in there - it was way, way too much and all over the place. I tested using a continuity tester, and then reinstalled. The turn signals now both lock in place and cancel as they are supposed to - so success!

Learnings that may help:

1) If you get an NOS unit and it doesn't work - check for grease!

2) If you have an older unit and it fails - may as well open it up and check your contacts - I found it takes almost nothing to interrupt the signal - I have to assume dirt and grime would act in a similar way to the grease issue.

3) I was expecting an issue with the dash lever for the direction that wouldn't stay locked in - but actually both the non-canceling and the not locking in were caused by the same single issue with the column-mounted unit - so perhaps check that first before tearing into your dash.

The great news is that now folks will know what way I plan to turn! Now I just need a steering box that will perform said turn, and we're good!