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Chasing my first electrical issue
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ultralite Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:18 pm    Post subject: Chasing my first electrical issue Reply with quote

My instrument light isn't working. I've been intimidated by electrical stuff in the past and had other things to tend to so I just put this off.

I sat down with my Bentley in the bus along with my iPad so I could read the threads on here. Took my circuit tester and started working my way through the wires attached to my headlight switch.

Everything thing on my fuse panel "lights" as it should. And according to the diagrams, it looks like all my wiring is stock and in place.

On the switch module, everything lights except the instrument light connector. I cleaned the connection with electric parts cleaner. Still nothing.

Could the switch module "go bad" such that one connection stopped working?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pull the switch and check the rheostat. I bet it fell apart.

be careful, I have had one die, and it makes all sorts of sparks/smoke when they do
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I turn the knob I still sense resistance. Is there another way to tell if that functionality broke?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you rotate the switch all the way, it should have a slight click and the lights come on full bright.
This should happen even if the dimmer (resistance) element is fubar (as it frequently is). If it doesn't do this,
somethings broken in there. Disconnect the battery and remove the switch, and have a good close look.
You may be able to repair it!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, there is no "click" rotating in either direction. I didn't want to pull off all those wires but I guess that's the next step.

I am glad I finally went after this, I needed to get beyond the wiring vertigo I used to get looking at those diagrams...
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my '69 camper the rheostat disintegrated in the light switch. The result was the engine would only start and run when the parking lights were on. Turn them off or the headlights on and the engine would die. A new switch solved that problem. Another problem was the emergency flasher switch. The switch was good but the case was wonky and caused a short. Zip ties around the case solved that problem. The '69 is wired like christmas tree lights. Trace the power source from the battery positive to the coil and you'll find several points of possible failure. Probably time to clean and exercise the terminals and use some dielectric grease.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wires don't have to come off, unscrew the knob and the bezel and the whole unit will drop below the dash, disconnect the battery first of course.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The wires don't have to come off, unscrew the knob and the bezel and the whole unit will drop below the dash, disconnect the battery first of course.
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1967250s
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember that the instrument light bulbs also burn out. Do you have voltage at the sockets? Trace the wire back to the headlight switch tomake sure it hasn't come off..
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no voltage at the socket. The old bulb was burnt out but the new bulb will not light nor does my circuit tester light up when contact is made.

I did remove the knob, the escutcheon, and the module does drop down from the dash but not very far. It's not an easy place to maneuver and work either. So I don't feel like I can really see what is going on when I rotate the knob.

I don't have any situations where the engine only starts with lights on, etc.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you rotate the knob clockwise all the way as posted?
See if you have power at the Light Module (Switch) on terminal #58b.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


edit in red


Last edited by Tcash on Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The civilised way to deal with it then is remove the speedo cluster, then you can easily access and see all the wiring from the comfort of your divers seat, likely time to give all the other terminals back in there some loving anyways.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with busdaddy again. Best way is to take your time. Get your hand up under the dash, disconnect the speedo cable and start checking things out. Beware though, take pictures before you start disconnecting, maybe even a video with voice notes of how everything is connected.

I did this entire project with mine because my dash lights weren't working. Time and patience is what it takes. Oh yeah, did I mention PATIENCE?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you get access to the light switch, measure the voltage at terminal 58b (instrument lights) with the switch pulled out one click. If you net nothing, and there is voltage at terminal 58 (tail lights), then the dimmer rheostat is shot. You can temporarily connect the 58b wire to terminal 58 by making up a short wire with the proper mating terminals on either end. The instrument lights will be at full brightness, but that's normal operation in most buses.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piggyback Terminal, a couple of these with a piece of wire.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the one (thanks, Tcash).

Some late Bay buses have a 0.110" terminal for 58b. If so, you'll need to add a short wire and a male 0.110" blade terminal to the above connector. Insulate the 0.110" stuff with a short length of shrink tubing.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little more progress tonight, I have to chip away each night as time allows. The switch module is out and as stated earlier when twisted all the way in either direction there is no "click". I don't know if you can see from the photo below but there is a tiny wire that looks, well, not right to me. Though, I don't know what it should look like.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Also, I took the instrument panel out to give everything back there a good cleaning.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And thanks everyone for the responses, I've read them all and still processing. Trying to make sure I follow what you're saying...
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


'69 camper light switch
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:12 pm    Post subject: Headlight Switch/ Dimmer- Rheostat Reply with quote

Link
Code:
[url=https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7466997#7466997]Headlight Switch Dimmer Rheostat[/url]


When the Rheostat Spring comes apart. The little bits of spring floating around in the switch can cause all kinds of strange headlight, park light and dash light problems.

Found these pix.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



This one came apart.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Last edited by Tcash on Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! yeah, that little spring is really mangled on mine and actually broken.

Does this mean I need to just buy a new one? (switch module that is)
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