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1946 JD B headlight problems

3440 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bikerdave
Hi all,

My '46 B is having some issues with the headlights. This is the original 6 volt system.

When I bought it, one of them worked and the other didn't. I took the non-operational one apart to see what the problem was, and found three things wrong. First, the wire that was formerly soldered to the back end of the bulb had come detached. Secondly, the filament in the bulb itself was burnt out. Finally, the inside was rusty, including the contacts.

So I ordered a new bulb. In the meantime, I glass beaded the inside to clean up the rust. I replaced all the wiring, which still had the original woven cloth insulation, with 14 gauge automotive wire. After soldering everything up (yes, I used rosin core electrical solder), I opted to hook the light up to see if it worked before I re-painted it.

Nope, it didn't work. All the wiring is hooked up correctly and the contacts are clean. I don't know why it won't work. The bulb is brand new.

So I checked to make sure the other light was still working. It was, so I took it apart to verify I had done the other one the same way. Yep, exactly the same. Then I put the working light back, and suddenly it no longer worked. I took it off again and disassembled it to make sure I hadn't knocked a soldered joint apart the first time. Nope, everything was still intact. So now I have two headlights that don't work.

What could be the problem here? There are two wires inside each light, one soldered to the socket into which the bulb plugs, the other soldered on to the back end of the bulb. Given the two wires, I assumed they grounded internally. However, I'm wondering if they actually ground where they bolt on to the tractor. If that's the case, the connection is a little bit rusty (just a little surface rust).

Your thoughts? I'm trying to avoid spending $70 apiece on new headlights when a bulb and a few wires would do the trick.
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mac266 said:
It must have been weak grounds. I cleaned up the contacts and now both headlights work again. Thanks guys!
Glad ya got her. That is why I always run a ground wire to light. Little wire but less headaches.

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