1957 courtesy / map light

I'm new to the T-Bird hobby and we love our '57 T-Bird ....which for some reason has no working interior courtesy lights. Can anyone tell me if there are supposed to be interior lights other than the map light in the dash? Also, how to remove the map light out of the dash for servicing? I am reluctant to start prying the lens or bezel for fear of breaking something. Thanks.
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
I'm new to the T-Bird hobby and we love our '57 T-Bird ....which for some reason has no working interior courtesy lights. Can anyone tell me if there are supposed to be interior lights other than the map light in the dash? Also, how to remove the map light out of the dash for servicing? I am reluctant to start prying the lens or bezel for fear of breaking something. Thanks.
I took my 1955 apart many years ago. I only remember that one light in the center of the dash. If I remember correctly the switch is a three position switch. Off/on when doors open/on, I am finally in the process of working on my little bird. My plan was to add a light under the dash at each side to light the floor area when I open the doors.
 
The fuse on the headlight switch only powers the courtesy lamp in the dash and the door jamb switches. If this is blown, check the wiring to the map light and door switches for bare wires especially where the wires exit the kick panels and enter the door jamb.

I removed the interior light switch a couple years ago and overhauled it, because the switch was difficult to move. The switch is a two position switch, either on with the doors open or on all the time. After you remove the ash tray assembly, you will see that the switch is held in place behind the dash by a metal plate that is affixed to the switch by two phillips screws.

Attached are some pictures of the interior light switch.

000_5964.JPG 000_5965.JPG 000_5968.JPG 000_5969.JPG

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
My problem is that the map light assembly itself apparently is not grounded. If I ground the bezel, the light works. I just didn't know how to remove the light or how to get at it from the back to see if the ground wire is even plugged into anything. I will remove the ash try assembly and see where I go from there. Thank you for this info.

What's the best way to remove the plastic lens from the light housing? I don't want to pry on it without knowing what holds it in and I can't find anything in the shop manual.
 
I thought about doing the same thing regarding the addition of R&L courtesy lights under the dashboard. The '65-'66 Mustangs I've owned over the years used a simple light bulb in a fixture on each side. As I remember, these hidden under-dash courtesy lights mounted with a single vertical screw. It would be easy to mount one on each side and tap into the map light for power. It may require increasing the size of the fuse, but I'm not sure about that.
 
jimrob01,

When I posted my reply, I forgot to mention that you have to remove the radio to gain access to the two phillips screws. If you ground the bezel and the light works, I would check the ground wire under the one mounting screw. Since I was at the shop today, I took this picture of the courtesy light mounting from the dash that I have removed from a 1955 Thunderbird that we are restoring. In the picture you can see the ground wire attached to the mounting screw.

Interior Light.JPG

Also, the plastic lens cannot be removed from the housing without disassembling the courtesy light.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
jimrob01,

When I posted my reply, I forgot to mention that you have to remove the radio to gain access to the two phillips screws. If you ground the bezel and the light works, I would check the ground wire under the one mounting screw. Since I was at the shop today, I took this picture of the courtesy light mounting from the dash that I have removed from a 1955 Thunderbird that we are restoring. In the picture you can see the ground wire attached to the mounting screw.

View attachment 2833

Also, the plastic lens cannot be removed from the housing without disassembling the courtesy light.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
Thank you for some great information. My light switch fuse kept blowing and when I reached up under the dash I could feel a bare male bullet connector. Apparently many years ago when I removed the radio to replace the speaker I apparently pulled the connector out where it ties into the bulb wire and was shorting out. When I pulled the ash tray and radio I discovered Also that wire is only holding on with a couple of strands so I need to pull the switch to re-solder it.
 
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