Replacing the Infamous Flasher Relay

Derphound01

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Tennessee
Vehicle Details
Chameleon 1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6
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My turn signals recently stopped working and all signs pointed to a bad relay. As many of you know, the "Electronic Indicator Flasher" relay on these cars is not exactly where the FSM says it is.

Flasher Relay Diagram.jpg

Flasher Relay FSM.jpg

Searching the old forum found me no photos of anything that looked like a flasher relay near the fuse panel, so I pulled the kick panel to get a better view.

Here are two photos showing the location of the relay along with what it looks like. Do note that I have a 1995 LX. Other years or models may vary.

Flasher Relay Location.jpg

OE Flasher Relay.jpg

I decided to replace it with the EP34 relay from O'Reilly. This relay works with both conventional and LED bulbs and won't cause a hyperflash.

Tools required:
  • Ratchet with 3-6" extension.
  • 7mm socket
  • 8mm socket
  • EP34 flasher relay (linked here is the one I used)
  • 3M double-sided body molding tape
Steps to follow:

1.)
Remove the three 8mm screws from the bottom of the kick panel. Gently pull the top side of the panel out of the dashboard while using caution to not break the clips.

2.) Remove the 7mm screw holding the factory relay to the body and unplug the connector. Discard the factory relay and screw.

3.) Apply a strip of 3M double-sided body molding tape to the flat side of the new relay.

4.) Plug the new relay into the connector and test the hazard lights.

5.) Affix the taped side of the new relay to the metal dashboard frame where the OE relay was located.

Important note: It is best that you mount the new relay in the same location as the factory one. In my experience here, the relay's turn signal click resonates sound through contact with the dashboard frame. When the relay was not affixed to the frame, the click was almost inaudible.

6.)
Replace the kick panel. Use caution to not over-tighten the kick panel screws.

Hope this helps. Feel free to reply with any questions.

(originally posted at TCCoA on March 16, 2023)
 
I bought a frequency-adjustable electronic unit on AliExpress a while back, which works with both LED and incandescent. The OEM bracket has a hole in it, which the adjuster knob on my new unit goes through, allowing on-the-fly adjustment on a whim. I used a nylon zip tie to secure the case to the OEM bracket.
This flasher has an odd quirk. When I first engage the turn signal, it blinks fast a couple times, then settles into the rate I set and works at that rate from then on. There's nothing in the documentation about this, so my wild guess the unit is load-sensing and setting itself accordingly when incandescents are being used (I haven't done the LED conversion yet).
 
Is the OEM unit no longer available? In the bird I just bought I have ONE dash indicator that stays on when I hit the left turn signal. Does not flash and the left side does not work at all. Before you tell me to replace the multi-function switch...I replaced the one that was in it with a known good unit and nothing changed from what I described above.

I'm assuming that I start by replacing all bulbs and the flasher relay?
 
OE relays may be available, but there's no point. The EP34 relay is readily available at your local store, works with any bulb, and is far cheaper than an OE relay would be.

Basically there's no point to splurge for OE, especially since the OE relay is an inferior part in 2024.
 
I'd say if you are using regular bulbs the hyperflash is a feature I want to keep since its whole purpose is letting you know one of them went out, could save you from getting pulled over. Plus they're tried and true, they last 20-30 years, I'm not that confident in aftermarket Chinesium lasting as long(not that it's particularly inconvenient to replace)
 
I'd say if you are using regular bulbs the hyperflash is a feature I want to keep since its whole purpose is letting you know one of them went out, could save you from getting pulled over. Plus they're tried and true, they last 20-30 years, I'm not that confident in aftermarket Chinesium lasting as long(not that it's particularly inconvenient to replace)
Good point. Even still, you can get an aftermarket non-electronic flasher with hyperflash at your local store for far cheaper than you can from Ford.
 
That's what I did, the oem type use a bimetallic strip, that heats from the load, and flashes dependent on the current thru the bulbs. If it's very little current, a different contact heats it for the hyperflash. It's pretty ingenious. 1920's tech.
 
does this relay work for a 1990? I want to change to led bulbs but don't want hyper flash I tried putting in my year car and it says not compatible
 
(edited to correct my error, see below)
 
Last edited:
The 89-93 flasher is a totally different thing. It's by the trans tunnel under the dash. To switch to a newer style flasher you have to either splice a new plug in or do like I did and unsolder the original and solder the new plug to the correct contacts.
 
does this relay work for a 1990? I want to change to led bulbs but don't want hyper flash I tried putting in my year car and it says not compatible
I did my '89 a few years ago. I used the NAPA flasher, but any EP27 type will work. I also used a pigtail for the EP27, with spade connectors attached to the wire ends to plug into the car's harness. Here's the pin out for the car's connector.
Flasher Relay Connector.jpg
 

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