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49 B1B tail light not working

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Hello - newbie here who just inherited my grandfather's 49 B1-B. The truck was bought new by my great grandfather and passed down to now me. It is completely stock and I recently got it started and getting it road ready for car shows this year. I was initially getting intermittent brake lights, but now I am not getting anything anymore. Wondering if its either the pig tail connection (2 wires) has gone bad, as I have replaced the bulb and not having luck. All other lights (headlights) are working just fine. Wondering if anyone else has any advice to how move forward. I know there are two connection points on the master cylinder as well but they seem ok, but again I am not sure what I am looking for.


I've also order another tail light from DCM for the right hand side and will be hooking those up when they come in. Any suggestions on how to hook those up into the existing wiring harness? As most here, I dislike electrical work haha.


Thank you in advance and I am glad this forum exists!!!

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Check your ground and continuity on the wiring.  As for the pass side light you'll have to splice it in.

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It's quite possible that the electrical contacts inside your brake light switch have corrosion that inhibit the flow of electricity. It's down at the front of your brake master cylinder, just behind the steering column. Take a screwdriver and short out the two connections on the switch and see if the brake light comes on. You'll likely need a helper as your head will be down in the engine compartment, unless you can make a permanent connection and then go back to look at the lights. 


As for adding another tail light... you'll need to splice into the 2 wires going to the current tail light and run new wires across to the other side to connect up to the new light. This will only get you tail/brake lights. If you want them to be turn signals too that will involve adding a turn signal switch and an additional wire run to the back for the second light. 

Edited by Merle Coggins
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One question I have, what is the condition of the wiring?

These trucks came with cloth covered wires ..... at this age I'm not saying it is impossible ....but probable it all needs to be replaced.

Unless your Grandfather already did in the past.


Very probable it is a ground or corroded connection issue. Thats not a huge deal, some WD40, small wire brushes clean up the area.

But, if you have original cloth wire, when you disturb & move the wire the cloth covering will fall off & need replaced.


It is a brake light this week, Just run all new tail light wires to the back & add in the right tail light ..... seems to me that 49 would have came with 2 tail lights?


Just a big IF, .... If the wiring is original. I suspect next week it may be a ground issue on one of the head lights. Eventually you will probably go through & clean all your grounds & connections.

Again when you disturb the wire to clean the connections, the cloth covering will disintegrate. ..... It just never ends. Like a dog chasing it's tail.


So step one, what is the condition of the wiring?

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Posted (edited)

Thank you everyone, your advise was very welcome and I was able to get the brake lights good as well as mounting the second tail light and sliced in! The wires leading to the brake light switch were corroded/loose and weren't great, so had to address that. For now, I will still use the old school method for the turn signals... hands!!!  


The condition of the wiring is original as is most things about the truck. It has been parked in my grandparents outbuilding for as long as I have been alive perhaps longer. I did have to remove the cloth cover on the driver side light to fix it and add the second brake light to it. Only thing I see that isn't original would be the welded bars to the fender, back bumper as the truck was used in farming and the radio. I've also got all of the hubcabs, jack and the hand starters that came with it.


Now onto tires, which I will need to figure out what size radials work with these stock rims.


I've attached some pictures of the truck. First time its ever been photographed online :)






Edited by Salomi22
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On 5/27/2023 at 7:14 PM, Dodgeed said:

Great looking truck. Love that suicide knob. I've got to get one of those too. 


When I was growing up back in the 60s we called them necker knobs.... :)


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These trucks complete one side of the circuit through the frame/body.  Like the previous response said, you need to confirm your ground.  As time goes by corrosion or rust build up between and connections and you end up losing the circuit.  Basically the corrosion/rust becomes an insulator.  For mine, I connected a wire directly to the light housing and ran the other end directly to the frame.  Problem solved.   You might need to do these in several locations on your truck.  You can never have too many ground straps between the body components and frame.

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