Wigwag question

Curious on how these type of wigwags worked like on this picture from the internet? I assume that they were wigwags........

Did they come on when the highbeam were engaged, or was there a seperate switch and the highbeam switch dissabled or did the driver just hit the floor switch back and forth when he wanted the wigwag effect?

In the mid sixties a company in Missouri offered a product called "Sho-Me Wig-Wag Emergency Headlight Flasher Kit" which utilized a #536 flasher (?) which you wired into your headlight circuit. It was fairly simple to install. I was working at Ambulance Company Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA, and, unbeknownst to the owner, we put one of these kits on one of the GMC Suburban ambulances one night. Well the next day that unit ran a call for an MVA which made the evening news. The news crew was already on the scene and showed the ambulance coming down the street with the setting sun in the background and all you could see were those wig-wag headlights because the sun had washed out the emergency lights on the roof. As I recall, on night runs we would pull the headlight switch out to the "parking light" position so we would have tail lights if we wanted the full effect of the wig-wags. Otherwise we could put the headlights full on and only the high beam elements would wig-wag. By the way, after the owner saw the news clip, he had us install these kits on the other three ambulances in the fleet.

Abe Bush

Super Site Supporter
Our local volunteer ambulance service's 1980 Ford Econoline Type II Wheeled Coach, which was our back-up unit when I joined in 1989, had factory installed wig-wags that only worked if the headlights were off. They'd work if you had the parking lights on, but once you switched on the headlights you got no wig-wags. When functioning as wig-wags, the brights alternately flashed but I'm guessing the thinking was that if they continued to function as wig-wags when the headlights were switched on, the alternating bright lights flashing would blind oncoming drivers. Our first-out unit, a 1986 Ford Econoline cutaway chassied modular Horton didn't even have wig-wags. Instead it just had two simultaneously flashing reds with siren outputs on the grill. I hated that stupid ambulance in every way.

Bob Dyke

PCS Member
Not sure what Crestline and Demers were using but for years now their wig wag headlights would automatically cancel as soon as you hit high beam. Then later, Demers was wiring the driving lights that if you hit high beam, you lost the driving lights. High beam was the override for both wig wag and driving.

In the '90's we had bought an American built unit, a Cayel Craft. They had installed a high beam flasher-the high beams together just went off and on. If I remember the company literature right, they had a module that would flash your back up lights and high brake light (on a police car).

Brian Martin

Super Site Supporter
Super Site Supporter
Sugar. I was hoping the parking light on only would be the trick for my ‘90 Federal, but no. Hasn’t been on the top of my to do list, but if anyone has ideas on the operation I’d appreciate it. When I have either low or high beams on and turn the wig wag switch to on, only the parking lights stay on. Thanks.


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It's a matter of 4 or 6 diodes, a flasher and a relay that can survive the arcing.

Relay is much cheaper than the plug & play wigwag flasher and lasts longer.

Cut wires going to lamps and connect to your unit. Bring 12 volts from switch of your desire or Unitrol.

In wig wag mode lamps are fed independent. When you kick high beam 12 volts comes thru dimmer switch and travels thru diodes to power both lamps together.

If you want to go full out nuts use a variable rate adjustable electronic flasher.
Red, we don't need no steenking red lights.
4593 TungSol aircraft landing lamps. Slight alteration to the buckets.
Them babies will melt paint off cars in front of me.

John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2017-2021
Super Site Supporter
Flashing white lights are way more effective the red ones. You can see the miles away
Red, we don't need no steenking red lights.
4593 TungSol aircraft landing lamps. Slight alteration to the buckets.
Them babies will melt paint off cars in front of me.
You need any? i keep taking them out. Get on the open road and it like driving in a culvert all you can see is a bright spot half a mile in front of you
Only car I got left with 5" buckets is my 68 Fury 3 and it's on jackstands with 4593s in the high buckets.

Probably sell on ebay but you'd need to instruct the current generation how to install em.
Reflective signs are pure he11 with those lamps.