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Grubb240Z

Brake light (switch?) question

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Got a fix-it ticket for the right side brake light not working. I mentioned this in another forum post that was mostly about the exhaust (one of the other items on the fix-it ticket. No front license plate was the 3rd and final issue)

Trying to figure out why the right side brake lights don't work and I don't know anything about electrical systems. Here is what I know:

1) They worked until recently.
2) The right side turn signal works (which tells me the bulbs are not the problem - the same bulbs are used)
3) The hazard lights work (same two bulbs on the right side as the turn signals and the brakes.
4) I replaced the bulbs with new ones, anyway. No change.
5) Left side brake lights are working.

I wonder if the brake light switch under the dashboard is the issue? I can see that the switch has two wires coming out of it. Is one for the left side and one for the right? If so, that seems to be a likely culprit and maybe I should just replace the switch from Motorsport Auto (link to the page here) for $23 and see if that takes care of the issue. Anything beyond that will probably be beyond my ability to troubleshoot/diagnose.

Any thoughts or experience that might help?

 

Lucille small.jpg

Edited by Grubb240Z
Added additional detail to my "here's what I know" list.

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It's not the switch. The two wires are not split like that. Both wires work both sides. If either side works, it's not the switch.

I'd look for rust or corrosion inside the bulb socket.

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It's the turn signal switch. 

https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/hazard-switch-brake-light-turn-signal-circuit-analysis/

https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/turn-signal-repair/

You can contact @Zs-ondabrain about cleaning/repairing it. His turnaround time is a LOT faster than mine, and he's on the same side of the country as you are.

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Captain, you're wrong. The turn Signal switch on the 240Z has one brake wire input from the brake pedal switch. The turn Signal switch splits the signal into left and right brake light wires. The T/S switch disconnects the right brake light output and switches it over to a right turn signal Flash.

SteveJ, thanks for the shout out.

Grubb240Z. I hold a 1 year warranty on the switch rebuilding service. SteveJ is right. I think the T/S switch is failing. If you want to send the turn signal switch back to me, I will repair it and get it back to you ASAP.

Unfortunately, I do not have a built or spare turn signal switch to send you in the meantime.

Email me and we can go over the details.

Dave 

Edited by Zs-ondabrain

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3 hours ago, Zs-ondabrain said:

Captain, you're wrong. The turn Signal switch on the 240Z has one brake wire input from the brake pedal switch. The turn Signal switch splits the signal into left and right brake light wires. The T/S switch disconnects the right brake light output and switches it over to a right turn signal Flash.

SteveJ, thanks for the shout out.

Grubb240Z. I hold a 1 year warranty on the switch rebuilding service. SteveJ is right. I think the T/S switch is failing. If you want to send the turn signal switch back to me, I will repair it and get it back to you ASAP.

Unfortunately, I do not have a built or spare turn signal switch to send you in the meantime.

Email me and we can go over the details.

Dave 

Thanks, guys!

Dave, I talked to my favorite local mechanic, Rod Schmidt this afternoon about this. He also said I should take a look at the Hazard light switch, which is often the culprit. I tested the hazards after making my original post and I added the fact that they work as point #3 of that post. I'll make an attempt to play with that switch (switch it up and down rapidly and also try some contact cleaner) and see if that works.

Knowing now that the hazards work, does it make you suspect the hazard switch over the turn signal switch?

Rod told me today that you also rebuild hazard switches. Is that true?

If I'm not mistaken, I think I turned Rod onto your service after you rebuilt both of my column switch assemblies. I think he used you recently, right? If I'm correct, then I'm glad - very happy to refer good people to your service, which is fantastic.

I'll mess with the hazard switch and see if I can jar something loose :-)

On the other issues, I'm planning to order a pair of 1972 blue/yellow CA plates from Dave's CA Plates tomorrow for $250. And for the "modified exhaust"? I'm thinking of taking the car "as is" after the lights and license plate have been fixed and see if a more reasonable officer will sign off on my exhaust, which really isn't that loud (at idle).

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3 hours ago, Grubb240Z said:

Thanks, guys!

Dave, I talked to my favorite local mechanic, Rod Schmidt this afternoon about this. He also said I should take a look at the Hazard light switch, which is often the culprit. I tested the hazards after making my original post and I added the fact that they work as point #3 of that post. I'll make an attempt to play with that switch (switch it up and down rapidly and also try some contact cleaner) and see if that works.

Knowing now that the hazards work, does it make you suspect the hazard switch over the turn signal switch?

Rod told me today that you also rebuild hazard switches. Is that true?

If I'm not mistaken, I think I turned Rod onto your service after you rebuilt both of my column switch assemblies. I think he used you recently, right? If I'm correct, then I'm glad - very happy to refer good people to your service, which is fantastic.

I'll mess with the hazard switch and see if I can jar something loose :-)

On the other issues, I'm planning to order a pair of 1972 blue/yellow CA plates from Dave's CA Plates tomorrow for $250. And for the "modified exhaust"? I'm thinking of taking the car "as is" after the lights and license plate have been fixed and see if a more reasonable officer will sign off on my exhaust, which really isn't that loud (at idle).

When you turn on the hazard lights, the switch opens up the circuit that goes to the brake switch, and it opens up the circuit that goes to the turn signal flasher relay. If the hazard switch was affecting the brake lights, it would affect BOTH brake lights. https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/early-hazard-switch/

 

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10 hours ago, Zs-ondabrain said:

Captain, you're wrong. The turn Signal switch on the 240Z has one brake wire input from the brake pedal switch. The turn Signal switch splits the signal into left and right brake light wires. The T/S switch disconnects the right brake light output and switches it over to a right turn signal Flash.

Haha! Actually, I stand by my answer. The OP was asking about the brake light switch, not the T/S switch. I was responding to the question about the brake light switch when the OP raised the possibility that the issue resided there:

"I wonder if the brake light switch under the dashboard is the issue? I can see that the switch has two wires coming out of it. Is one for the left side and one for the right?"

Adding that clarification to my answer...  It's not the (brake light) switch. The two wires are not split like that. Both wires work both sides. If either side works, it's not the (brake light) switch.

I'm just trying to save him the 23 bucks on the brake light switch he linked to at MSA. >>   (link to the page here)  << That's not what he needs.

And in any event, I'm glad you guys are on it. He'll be fixed up in short order!  :)

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3 hours ago, SteveJ said:

When you turn on the hazard lights, the switch opens up the circuit that goes to the brake switch, and it opens up the circuit that goes to the turn signal flasher relay. If the hazard switch was affecting the brake lights, it would affect BOTH brake lights. https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/early-hazard-switch/

 

Well, I'm not going to argue based on my short phone conversation yesterday. Rod seemed to think that the right and left sides were handled separately in the hazard switch and that a failure there could cause my problem. He recommended some contact cleaner and simply flicking the switch up and down to potentially improve contact as a quickie remedy. I did try that this morning and it didn't help.

So I guess the consensus is that the turn signal switch is the likely culprit, eh? I know Dave's an expert on the subject and he's been awesome to work with in the past so I'll go that route now and report back as to how it goes.

Dave, I'll reach out via email.

 

PS: @Captain Obvious, thanks for helping me to avoid running over to Motorsport Auto and buying a switch I didn't need. You guys are great.

Edited by Grubb240Z
Added a PS to thank a member

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My pleasure. Glad to help.

Steve and Dave know the system inside and out, but at least I can do that much.   :)

  • Like 1

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Gents,

I just realized that I didn't close this issue out and I should have. After talking to him, I sent the turn signal switch assembly up to Zs-ondabrain. He had the switch back in the mail the same day (total turnaround including shipping both ways was less than a week!) and my problem is solved!

I had my kid install the switch and everything works perfectly. I NEVER would have come up with this solution on my own, so I really appreciate all of your great troubleshooting advice, and especially Dave for his skill and great customer service.

And on a side note, I want to express how grateful I am that buying this car (and being involved in this forum) is giving me a way to both learn and to teach my son how to work on things himself. I'm a handy guy but have very limited auto mechanical experience. We live in a neighborhood where few of my son's classmates could find the spare tire - and NONE of them could change it, let alone do the other jobs he has learned to do. So great to see a kid turning wrenches - not just punching keyboard or video game controller buttons!

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16 minutes ago, Grubb240Z said:

We live in a neighborhood where few of my son's classmates could find the spare tire - and NONE of them could change it, let alone do the other jobs he has learned to do. So great to see a kid turning wrenches - not just punching keyboard or video game controller buttons!

or drive a straight drive!!! Well done teaching you son some skills!!!!

  • Like 2

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Excellent. Glad you got it fixed!     :beer:

My son wanted a car and the one he wanted was derelict with significant engine troubles. I told him I would help him buy it and fix it, but he was going to do most of the work himself. I wasn't going to fix it for him, but I would help him with it. Of course, there were bumps along the way and things he realistically just did not have the experience to do himself, but in the end it worked out great.

He's got a lot of sweat equity in that car and a healthy understanding of the work that he did. He doesn't baby it, but he knows that if he breaks it, he'll be the one turning the wrenches to fix it.

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Hey Guys, read through this post and rather create a new post, I thought I'd add to it ... I have a similar, issue but it's the Left Hand Brake lights (upper and lower lights) not functioning.  I do have a couple anomalies that I've found during my trouble shooting of the issue:

  1. The Turn Signal switch (LH or RH lights) do not function unless the engine is actually started. 
    • Is this normal?
  2. On the Combo Switch, when I turn the switch to position 1, headlights function, position 2, no difference
    • What is the difference between position's 1 & 2?
Hazard Lights - Functional
Reverse Lights - Functional
Head Lights and Markers - Functional
License Plate Lights - Functional
 
Thanks!
Nick
'72 240z

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1. The issue with the lack of a brake light on the left side is still a turn signal switch issue.

2. The turn signals require the key to be in the ON position.

3. The headlights should not come on in the first position of the headlight switch. Only the parking lights should come on in the first position. The headlights should come on in the second position. There might be some "creative" wiring by a previous owner.

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Thanks for the reply SteveJ ...

So it looks like I have 3 issues to work through.

1. I'll pull the T/S off and see if some electrical contact cleaner will help

2. Not sure what's going on here.  With the key in the ON position and engine off, I get no signal flashing.  With the key in the On position and engine running, signal flashes - Sounds like another "creative" wiring issue

3. I'll need to address why there is no difference between the first and second position of the headlight switch.  I did install the head light upgrade harness (via www.datsun-240z-upgrades.net) I don't believe that upgrade would cause this issue but I'll reach out to Dave and ask.

Thanks!

Nick

Edited by nbenning

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#1. The problem with the brake lights is most likely in the turn signal switch. The T/S switch makes and breaks the contact between the brake switch and brake lights when the turn signal is in use.

#2. Time to swap your T/S flasher to an EF32 electronic Flasher.  More consistent flashing from 9 to 15 volts.

#3. Sound's like the headlight combo switch needs service or the P.O. did some bad wiring. 

You can remove the column cover and use a jumper between the white/red and solid red wire on the headlight switch or from the green/white and green/blue to see if the headlights or Parking lights operate individually or together.

Also inspect for non-stock wiring done by the previous owner. 

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Zs-ondabrain ... Thanks for the reply.

#1 So I disassembled the console and pulled the T/S switch assy as well as the Headlight assy this evening.  After removing the console assy, I was treated to some unidentified unconnected loose wires.  #1 & #2 coming from the ignition switch assy; #3 & #4 coming from the wire harness that goes to the T/S and Headlight assy connectors.  Any suggestions on those items?  I cleaned up the T/S assy switches and housing using QD CRC Electrical Contact spray.  Another issue I had before starting the LH brake light troubleshooting was that my indicator lever would never return to the off position after making a Left or Right turn.  After inspecting and cleaning the small spring tabs, I can see why.  The springs were seized and after a bit of cleaning they now move freely.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxXZrUZbgkk

After using the Electrical Contact spray, on the T/S switch assy, I'm sure the mechanically moving parts will need to be re-lubricated.  Any suggestions on a type of non-conductive lubrication spray?

#2 I purchased a new electronic flasher from O'Reilly's and replaced the flasher that was in the vehicle a couple months ago. Not sure it was an EF32 ... I'll check tomorrow.

#3 I cleaned the headlight combo switch using the Electrical Contact spray noted above.  Did not see anything abnormal with the switch assy.  I am going to bench test both switch assy's with a continuity tester to see if anything behaves out of ordinary.

Thanks in advance for any feedback! 

ink.png

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ignore 1, 2, 3 and 4. those are for the key in buzzer. they rarely work and most people unplug them anyways.

You can lube the spring loaded tabs with basic household oil... WD40, 20 weight oil, anything thin enough to work into the joints and not evaporate.

bench test, and possibly open the headlight switch CAREFULLY and check the spring loaded bullets, contact cleanliness and if you lube them, do it VERY Sparingly. like a small dab on the top of each plastic bullet.

 

 

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Thanks again ... I'm glad I don't have a buzzer with the amount of time being under the dash over the last year 🙂

I appreciate the lube suggestions.  I've went through a quick continuity test per this posting on-line:

 https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/turn-signal-repair/

and found a couple anomalies with the LH & RH conditions.  Neutral, seemed to check out fine.  I'll double check my work this evening, though it's looking like I may have to disassemble the switch housing.

Thanks!

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Ok, I spent the evening disassembling and cleaning the T/S switch.  I've been following the continuity testing outlined on this website page: 

https://fiddlingwithzcars.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/turn-signal-repair/

Either it's getting late and I'm losing focus or there are some errors in the continuity call outs.  I'm showing that the connections should read something like the attached figure ...

Please prove me incorrect!   Thanks!

ink (1).png

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So the the saga continues ... 

Removed the Head Light switch and assembled the switch housing.  On my previous post I mentioned that why was experiencing no difference between the Parking Light position and Head Light position.  When I popped off the circuit board, I found out why.  As pictured, I'm missing one of the two "spring loaded nubs."  So there is a good chance the previous owner wired the headlights in a manner to bypass the parking light condition, thus my switch option is either Off or Headlights On.  Any suggestions on how to replace the missing "spring loaded nub?"

IMG_0381.jpg

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Replacing the spring loaded bullet will not fix your problem. You'll notice the little finger that holds the bullet in, is broken. You will need a whole nother swingarm.

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Ahh ... thanks for the assessment Zs-ondabrain; Do you know where I can purchase another swingarm or the necessary components? Would I need to purchase an arm to strip the pieces for my swingarm assy?

Thanks!

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