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I am hoping someone can help me I have a 1965 mustang c code . It really looks great and runs very nicely. Last week I had the retro radio taken out and out an installed an original conversion am 65 mustang radio in. I has a local car stereo place put it in, had them do my Buick about 3 years ago and had no problem. It’s been working great and car continues to run great, however last night I had a major problem, on the way home I put on my headlights, when I hit the brake they dimmed and flashed and the dashboard lights went out. This continued to happen all the way home and then I started to smell like something was burning, electrical. I pulled the car in the garage and heard like a clicking sound under the das almost like someone was picking the last string on a guitar. This noise continued and then stopped, it was late so I thought I would just go to bed and look at tin the morning. Early AM I went out to the garage and car started right up, no clicking no smell. Then I turned the headlights on and the same thing happened again hit break lights dim and flicker dashboard lights go off, now smoke starts to come out from under dash the steering wheel, not a thick smoke but like when a cigarette is lit and just sitting there, but it smelled like electrical burning wires. It continued to happen and smoke continued to come out not heavy but trailing smoke and continued to smell like something was burning. I had no idea what to do because I know nothing about cars and especially electrical, I was frantic and panicking because the noise, smoke and smell would not stop. I had no idea what to do it was 6 am in the morning, and fear is beginning to set in and I am thinking is my whole car going to catch on fire, explode………..so I started to calm down and think what can I do……….so some common sense kicked in and I said well if it is electrical it has to be powered by the battery, I quickly removed one of the battery cables and the clicking stopped, the smoke stopped, but it still smells, as it will probably take some time for the smell to dissipate.
So now I guess I have to ask I have been driving the car for about 4 or 5 days since the radio was put in and have had no problems, but never needed to turn on the headlights, I ask you is this something that was caused by the car installation stereo place, not sure where to go from here and have did a lot of googling om mustang electrical systems.
So i thought i would ask my mustang buddies. thanks.
Please let me know your thoughts.
 

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Well, the lights should have absolutely nothing to do with the radio, but hey.

The first thing to do is determine what wiring is damaged. Best to do that before anything is done to the car at all, find out right where it is now.
 

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The clicking and dimming of the dash lights is the 15a circuit breaker built into the headlight switch tripping from thermal overload. Since it happens when the brake lights are applied then something in that circuit is causing an overload as the brake lights get their power via that circuit breaker in the headlight switch, as do the dash lights, tail lights and horn. I'd suspect a short in the brake light circuit... more than likely in the column or turn signal switch OR somebody who did the radio installation wired the radio to the same circuit as the brake lights and it's now causing an overload.

I'd start by tracing the wires back from the radio to see where they go. If it is wired to another source then I'd start looking at the wiring from the brake light switch back to the headlight switch and the other way, from the brake light switch up and back down the column.
 

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I wonder, if the radio is tied into the headlight switch in some way to illuminate the radio with the lights on, if the radio circuit is grounding out. I would try a different power source for your radio and go from there.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk
 

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Good suggestions here. I agree with Woodchuck. It’s the headlight switch cycling. you are going to have to remove the instrument panel and see what’s going on under there. As a minihim un you need to replace the headlight switch. I suspect that the radio was tapped into the headlight circuit somewhere like said above. It should have been tapped into the instrument light circuit so the radio dims at night. More than likely you have a wire grounding out. It could be a wire from the radio but I doubt it. My guess is you have a wire with broken insulation or other damage. When the radio was installed they pulled and moved the wires around causing the bad wire to ground out causing the short. The most likely areas to look at are the headlight switch, and turn signal switch harness.
The smoke is worrisome, hopefully it is limited to the headlight switch, but more than likely at least a couple wires are toasted. Worse case you have to pull out the whole under dash harness and send it to Midlife for a refurbishment or dish out the bucks for a new harness.

None of this is hard, but a shop will charge you an arm and leg. If you can prove it was caused by a bad radio install, they would be liable to fix te damage.

Your best bet is to find someone local familiar with classic Fords who can help you open up the dash and investigate what is going on.
 

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You don’t have a location in your profile. Let us know where you live. Maybe there is a nearby VMFer who can help.
 

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If you don't have one, get a copy of your Factory Service manual or at least a good wiring diagram for your car year. Your overheating wire may not have a color code left but you should be able to find out what it is attached to by following it through the harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you don't have one, get a copy of your Factory Service manual or at least a good wiring diagram for your car year. Your overheating wire may not have a color code left but you should be able to find out what it is attached to by following it through the harness.
thanks.
 

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Do you feel comfortable enough to work on this yourself with guidance, or is this something you need to take to someone else?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, the lights should have absolutely nothing to do with the radio, but hey.

The first thing to do is determine what wiring is damaged. Best to do that before anything is done to the car at all, find out right where it is now.
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The clicking and dimming of the dash lights is the 15a circuit breaker built into the headlight switch tripping from thermal overload. Since it happens when the brake lights are applied then something in that circuit is causing an overload as the brake lights get their power via that circuit breaker in the headlight switch, as do the dash lights, tail lights and horn. I'd suspect a short in the brake light circuit... more than likely in the column or turn signal switch OR somebody who did the radio installation wired the radio to the same circuit as the brake lights and it's now causing an overload.

I'd start by tracing the wires back from the radio to see where they go. If it is wired to another source then I'd start looking at the wiring from the brake light switch back to the headlight switch and the other way, from the brake light switch up and back down the column.
That sounds like a solid plan, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I wonder, if the radio is tied into the headlight switch in some way to illuminate the radio with the lights on, if the radio circuit is grounding out. I would try a different power source for your radio and go from there.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk
Thats seems to be the general consensus lewt you all know how i make out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I know you probably don't want to make the 2-3/4 hour drive to West Rutland, VT but the offer's open.....
well i would not mind the drive but i would have to tow it there, because i am afraid to drive it, i will let you know what develops. I think the headlight switch maybe toast, hoping it is just that.
 
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