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markf1
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:31 pm    Post subject: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

I noticed the brake lights were not working on our 1986 Westfalia Syncro. We just had major work done including replace clutch slave cylinder and “flush clutch hydraulic system” (not really sure what the mech meant by that)

Anyway, following GF back from shop I noticed no brake lights. Not sure when or how long they have been out. Read up on it on the forum here and learned some good stuff. Fuse OK, both lights out so probably not bulbs. Headlights, parking lights, back up lights, turn signals All working.

I followed a tactic I read about here. Remove instrument cluster to gain access to brake light switch(s). Pulled wire connector plug off front most switch, jumper across terminals inside connector plug. Brake lights came on.

So appears front most switch is bad. My question, is there any reason to replace both switches or is OK to replace only the front most, easiest to remove and replace, switch?

Another thing is the hazard lights don’t work. I have not yet researched this, but wondering, do those switches go bad? Maybe I should replace the hazard switch while I have the other stuff taken apart?

Thanks in advance for any advice
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:
I noticed the brake lights were not working on our 1986 Westfalia Syncro. We just had major work done including replace clutch slave cylinder and “flush clutch hydraulic system” (not really sure what the mech meant by that)

Remove instrument cluster to gain access to brake light switch(s). Pulled wire connector plug off front most switch, jumper across terminals inside connector plug. Brake lights came on.

My question, is there any reason to replace both switches or is OK to replace only the front most,.....

Thanks in advance for any advice


Was instrument cover removed to do clutch slave replacement or, did hazards fail after u removed cluster?

I recently had my hazards stop working. I'd had the instrument cluster off. Turns out the issue was a loose wire at hazard light switch plug.

Since the brake lights stopped working and a fault was found at a brake switch, id suggest both have failed. Of feasible use a meter to confirm of both switches are bad then if they are, replace both brake switches. With only one functioning switch, it usually requires more pedal effort to light up the brake lights.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:
...So appears front most switch is bad. My question, is there any reason to replace both switches or is OK to replace only the front most...


It is my recollection that you still have brake lights when one pressure switch had failed (but you possibly get a warning with the dash 'brake' light). It is when the 2nd switch fails that you have no brake lights at all.

In any case - it isn't really a big deal to replace both. That one that looks hard to get at can be reached with a deep socket on a long 3/8" extension - may have to push some wires out of the way to sneak in there.

I only undo connectors to left side of instrument cluster (e.g. headlight switch) thing just swing the thing out of the way and hold it with a bungee.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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markf1
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:
Was instrument cover removed to do clutch slave replacement or, did hazards fail after u removed cluster?

I recently had my hazards stop working. I'd had the instrument cluster off. Turns out the issue was a loose wire at hazard light switch plug. With only one functioning switch, it usually requires more pedal effort to light up the brake lights.


Thanks you both for your helpful replies. I will replace both switches. I do not have a 22mm deep well,socket and only a somewhat short 3/8” extension. May have to buy those, which will likely cost more or as,much as the two switches. It almost looks like it might be feasible to do with a small crescent, which I do have.

Instrument cluster was not removed by shop that put in new clutch slave cylinder. Hazard lights were not working before latest work was done. Confirmed because we found out they did not work when we broke down last fall and had to get towed and the incurred the transaxle rebuild, new clutch work.

I have been searching online for a new hazard light switch but not finding any. Can anyone point me to a source for replacement hazard light switch?

Thanks!
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:16 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:
...I do not have a 22mm deep well,socket...


Me neither - I did it with something that was in the tool box, possibly a deep 7/8" socket?
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:



Thanks you both for your helpful replies. I will replace both switches. I do not have a 22mm deep well,socket and only a somewhat short 3/8” extension. May have to buy those, which will likely cost more or as,much as the two switches. It almost looks like it might be feasible to do with a small crescent, which I do have.



On my 1988 Westy 2wd, the 2 connector made in Spain switches I was sold had different spacing than the connectors so I removed wires from connectors and put shrink wrap on each terminal.

image of made in Spain part box:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=726039&highlight=brake+light+switch

Crescent wrench should work. I'm not sure if I tried a deep socket but I think I did and there wasn't room for it. I used a crescent wrench and a 22 mm combo wrench and as a last resort, removed a bolt at a dash bracket, loosened the other and pushed bracket aside. The forward bracket bolt is tricky to get at though.

A 22 mm combo wrench is handy to own regardless.

Do not over torque the switches. They have a tapered thread so will feel tight after a couple turns. Count turns to remove old ones to use as reference for install of new.

Neil.
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50º ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

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markf1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Good advice and info Neil. Thanks!
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markf1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

We need the two prong switch. I’m finding it at GoWesty for $19 and van cafe for $20.

https://www.gowesty.com/product/electrical/18152/brake-light-switch-2-prong-?v=

https://www.vancafe.com/Vanagon-Brake-Light-Switch-s/3864.htm


I also find it at bus depot for $5.00. No info given about them. Any reason to buy the expensive ones?
https://www.busdepot.com/113945515h

The Vann cafe and bus depot photos look the same. The GoWesty one looks a bit different. Chrome plate versus brass and other differences.
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Last edited by markf1 on Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

You want the switches that don't require modifying the wiring plug or the switch to get them to fit. Not sure who has what.
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markf1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Hi Mark Ward. Not sure how to tell if they would need modification. Definitely don’t want a switch that requires modifications.

Here is a wrench I’m thinking might be just the tool to use.
uxcell Reversible Ratcheting Wrench, 19mm x 22mm Offset Double Box End, Cr-V https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R4NXQLR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_ElJjEb8MT45F0

$12 free shipping with amazon prime, returnable if need be.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:
We need the two prong switch. I’m finding it at GoWesty for $19 and van cafe for $20.

https://www.gowesty.com/product/electrical/18152/brake-light-switch-2-prong-?v=

https://www.vancafe.com/Vanagon-Brake-Light-Switch-s/3864.htm


I also find it at bus depot for $5.00. No info given about them. Any reason to buy the expensive ones?
https://www.busdepot.com/113945515h

The Vann cafe and bus depot photos look the same. The GoWesty one looks a bit different. Chrome plate versus brass and other differences.

Perhaps you noticed the remark on that Van Cafe page where they say they don't bother to stock the cheap unreliable switches.
Or maybe you're looking forward to replacing those switches several times! Shocked Laughing
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markf1
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

I did not notice that, but now that you point it out.....

The photo of the $20 switch on van cafe is the exact same photo as the one of the $5 switch on bus depot. Not sure that means they are selling the same switch. I may call bus depot and see if they can tell me the manufacturer of the switch they sell.

My guess the ATE brand van cafe switch is a better switch.

2 switches at $20 each won’t sink our ship but if we can get the same switch for $5 each we would be happy to save a bit.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

GoWesty and van cafe both sell the ATE switch. Bus depot sells a Jopex switch. Can’t say if one is better than the other. $20 versus $5. Higher cost is not always better quality.

Bus depot says he research and only stock quality parts.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

The switches that require modifying from memory have a molded in plastic tab between the spade connectors on the switch.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

markf1 wrote:
GoWesty and van cafe both sell the ATE switch. Bus depot sells a Jopex switch. Can’t say if one is better than the other. $20 versus $5. Higher cost is not always better quality.

Bus depot says he research and only stock quality parts.

I don't mean to disparage Bus Depot but the reason Van Cafe has been my vendor of choice for many, many years is that they use the parts they sell to the customer to service our Vanagons.

You're going to find out very quickly that way which parts are best, as warranty repair work is a quick ticket to bankruptcy.
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markf1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
The switches that require modifying from memory have a molded in plastic tab between the spade connectors on the switch.


I saw a photo of that one in my google search results. It's a Bosch.(None of the 3 places I've sourced sell that one.)
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Update. I got the less expensive switch, I found no negative comments about it and the bus depot guy stood by it9s quality.

I replaced the front most switch and the brake lights started working again. I was able to get a wrench on the other harder to access switch, but I could not turn it even exerting a crazy amount of force. Next would be getting a pipe over the wrench but clearance is tight and need just the right size pipe,

In the photo above from Ahwahnee you can see the two switches. There is a little bit of space between the body of the switch and the body of the master brake cylinder. The front switch on our van looked like that. The other, problematic switch, did not have that space. Like previous person tightened it all the way up to the point that little space was gone and the switch is bottomed out right up tight against the master cylinder. Over tightened I think. So I left that old switch in place, even though I had intended to replace it. Decided to cut my losses and be happy with getting the brake lights working and not break something trying to back out that stuck switch.

Thanks to all who gave advice and help!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Good catch. Assuming that the OP overtightened that switch, very wise of you to leave it be for now. I bet the switch metal is not exactly hard so an overtightened switch might be prone to shearing off [edit] when trying to remove it ??

re: checking space between switch and MC body. Good tip to remember. Thanks for posting what you found.

Neil.


markf1 wrote:



.... The other, problematic switch, did not have that space. Like previous person tightened it all the way up to the point that little space was gone and the switch is bottomed out right up tight against the master cylinder. Over tightened I think. So I left that old switch in place, even though I had intended to replace it. Decided to cut my losses and be happy with getting the brake lights working and not break something trying to back out that stuck switch.

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50º ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

The switches are 24mm, not 22mm.
One of them can be accessed with a ratchet wrench,socket and extension from below after removing the fuse panel and let it dangle.

The 3 prong ones are mostly found on vans with the older "ceramic" fuse panels up to 85 but I heard of exceptions.

Later ones are 2 prongs.

The threads are conical, that`s why it`s hard to remove.

Check this thread where I autopsied an ATE switch

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=281022
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markf1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Replace brake light switch Reply with quote

Thank you ALIKA. Note- We have the two prong switches and a 22mm wrench fits on them just right. I don't have a 22mm deep well socket or a long enough extension. I did have a 22mm box end offset ratcheting wrench that I got on the switch from above. Still lacked clearance, I was able to put a small crescent on it and had enough room to make a bit of a turn but could not budge it even applying extreme force.
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