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When I was doing the indicator system wiring, I first wired up the relay and dashlights, and then the external lights.. I was using a modern Hella relay at the time. When I tested it for the first time, before the external lights were connected up at all, the relay clicked, and the dash lights flashed about 1000 times a second. As I connected up the bulbs and tested them, it got slower and slower until it reached normal pace with all six external lights wired up. I haven't tried operating it with the bulbs removed and the bulb holders wired-up. I THINK this happened both with the ignition on and off.
Another thing I think you'll find on the late systems, but I've never tried it, is that the dash lights won't flash with the key ON if you remove all the external bulbs, since those provide the ground path for the internal bulbs
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