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  View original topic: Brake light gremlin: lights stay on / e brake light goes off
fishgo Thu May 09, 2019 11:42 am

I just had an interesting experience with my brake lights / parking brake dash light. During a short drive, I noticed my parking brake warning light was lit. But, the parking handle was released. Moving the lever up/down (while I was driving) didn't turn the warning lamp off. When I would brake (foot pedal), the warning lamp would turn off. Later, after I parked and walked around the back of the van, the rear brake lights were lit (ON) - both the tail lights and the additional 3rd LED lamp I installed in the window.

Returning home and just beginning to check things, functions started working normally. I took the boot off the parking brake to look at the switch (looked / worked normal). Checked the brake fluid level (good). By this time the braking system lights, warning light, etc. were all functioning normally.

Brakes are good and recently adjusted.
Brake feel is solid.
Brake fluid was changed less than 30 days and 300 miles ago, system bleed out properly.
Parking brake works normally.

Something electrical just went weird. What should I check?

thummmper Thu May 09, 2019 1:32 pm

90 % of all gremlins are bad groundy

fishgo Thu May 09, 2019 3:45 pm

thummmper wrote: 90 % of all gremlins are bad groundy

Lots of rain here lately. Maybe some water intrusion somewhere perhaps?

fxr Thu May 09, 2019 6:12 pm

I predict:

You have a van with two SPDT brake light switches (pre-'85), and one of them is faulty.

The brake warning light comes on to let you know this, deliberate design apparently, though there's nothing in any manual I've seen to suggest this.

Here's how I found this out:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=660358

fishgo Thu May 09, 2019 7:03 pm

fxr wrote: I predict:

You have a van with two SPDT brake light switches (pre-'85), and one of them is faulty.

The brake warning light comes on to let you know this, deliberate design apparently, though there's nothing in any manual I've seen to suggest this.

Here's how I found this out:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=660358

Van is an '83 AC, so a 3 prong might be a good suggestion. And since there was lots of brake fluid flush/fill activity this may make some sense that either the switch(es) or wiring may have been disturbed causing the problem. I'll stick my head under the dash to verify.

It looks like this isn't an expensive part to replace so I might consider ordering both for precaution's sake, and keep an eye on the rear brake lights / e brake dash light in the meantime.

fxr Fri May 10, 2019 10:48 am

Yes, good idea to buy two. Replace both, but keep the good old switch as a spare for 'next time' - which now won't happen because you've got the spare. ;)



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