Headlight Switch Repair


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Headlight Switch Repair

Over the past year or so my headlight switch had trouble keeping the headlights on unless I fiddled with the switch. I'd flip the switch to the headlight position and they'd come on and then go off. Play with the switch a little and it would find its "happy place" and stay on. Taking electrical switches apart isn't high on my "to do" list given the unknown number of small interlocking parts ready to pop out when you separate the case. So my options were to: hope it never completely failed...yea right, buy a new/used switch or try and repair it. I checked Dan Masters' Electrical Handbook and he had a picture showing how to separate the case and said how easy it was to disassemble and clean but nothing more..................so the next stop was the 6-Pack Forum. As usual I got fast and informative advice but no one had ever taken any pictures of the actual steps. Seeing as I had a few Forum members PM me offering used switches, I figured I might as well attempt the repair knowing I had some used switches to fall back on.

If it wasn't for the fact that I took over 60 pictures to get 20 good ones, the whole process would have taken about 20 minutes. Even with the picture taking, it took less then an hour.

The FIRST thing you do is disconnect the battery. I've got one of these quick disconnects that you can buy at Wal-Mart or any Auto Parts store for about $10.
I was able to just pull my switch out from the front though I've been told some guys have to remove their speedometer to get at the switch from the back. When I installed my AAW wire harness I also left enough wire to easily get at the rear of the switch
I also tagged every wire under my dash when I did the new harness which saved me time for this repair. The numbers on the wires correspond to the spades on the back of the switch.

Here you can see how the spades are numbers 1, 2 & 3

The case is made up of 2 pieces held together by these locking tabs. These tabs don't really flex so be very careful prying them apart.

Separating the two halves.

The rocker part of the switch is the larger bottom piece and the arrow points to the rocker tab that goes into the sliding white plastic piece.

Here's the 3 contacts in the case that are pretty dirty!

Here's the inner switch components made up of the white plastic piece shown up above, a spring and the sliding copper contact piece. This is all held together with old grease and gunk! It just pulls easily apart.
It's pretty easy to see why the lights didn't want to stay on........not too much here to maintain a good electrical contact.
Another 6-Pack Forum tip................ Bar Keepers Friend can be found in the household cleaning aisle at your supermarket. It's basically an abrasive cleaner that can be used on lots of stuff according to the label.

Mix it with water until you get a thick paste.

Then use a Q-Tip to clean parts up............I also used my fingers where ever they would fit.

Clean the spring too..........

The contacts look a whole lot better now.

Good old......very old........Dielectric grease

Applied to the contacts.......

This is the switch in the Off Position. It's actually covering the contact that goes to the wire for Flash To Pass (FTP).
In the first rocker position, it covers the FTP contact and the parking light contact.
When you move it to the Headlight position it covers all three contacts. It's really a very simple yet well desinged switch.
Reassembly is the opposite of disassembly! Sliding contact and spring in place with the dielectric grease holding it all together.
Plastic piece goes over the spring and should easily move up and down between those copper tabs.
Line up the pieces and snap it back together...............and now my light switch works perfectly.