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Technical Brake light switch failure

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by OhioRiv, May 21, 2021.

  1. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    Hey. This the brake light switch in my '32. Simple, two wire switch. Not much to go bad, but I need to replace it about once per year. Tail lights have two bulbs, one bright, and turn signals and hazards still function. Is there something that could be causing this to fail so often? Thank you for any advice. 20210521_140312.jpeg

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  2. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,239

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Those hydraulic things have been fizzing out for decades. Change to a lever switch style.
     
    warbird1, Bandit Billy, egads and 4 others like this.
  3. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,671

    Slopok
    Member

    I have heard that you can purchase better quality ones from Harley Davidson dealers.
     
  4. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,492

    Model A Gomez
    Member

    I've ran that switch on several cars including the coupe I just finished and they are a problem. The old switches would last for years but the newer ones are basically junk, my 60 T-Bird used the same style switch and they usually lasted a couple of years.
     
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  5. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,173

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Or replace with a Harley D item. Mine has been working satisfactorily for years now. The beauty of this is save for the need to swap out the electrical terminals ( hardly a great chore) its a like for like swap / fix.

    Chris


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  6. Okay, just went through this with my friend's '38 Willys PU. Other friends never have an issue. The only difference is that his switch is mounted down ( contacts on the bottom). Others talked to have theirs mounted up. Is it possible that fluid leaks into contacts somehow? Don't know, just spitballin' here.
     
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  7. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    Funny you should say that, my Harley used the same type. Thank you.

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    Bandit Billy likes this.
  8. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    Mine is straight up, but thank you.

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  9. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,219

    jaracer
    Member

    When I first got my 57 many years ago, I went through a couple of brake light switches. They would last about a year. I stopped at a Mustang parts store and they were touting improved brake light switches. That was bout 20 years ago and it is still working. I'm pretty sure it was Mustang of Chicago. https://www.mustangofchicago.com/
     
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  10. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    Lever switch broke and this was it's replacement. Maybe need to rethink that.

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  11. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,671

    Slopok
    Member

    Not funny, they are better quality.
     
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  12. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    The theme I'm seeing is that these switches are shit. Thank you all. I appreciate your time and experience. (A mechanic I'm not).

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  13. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,671

    Slopok
    Member

    Just try the Harley one first.
     
  14. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,335

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Public service announcement:
    Two things you can depend on being junk are hydraulic brake light switches.........................
    And ANYTHING The Hoffman Group sells.
     
  15. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,239

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  16. OhioRiv
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 283

    OhioRiv
    Member

    Thank you all. I appreciate it.
     
  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,789

    squirrel
    Member

    If the contacts are up, then water could get into the switch area and contaminate the contacts. If they're down, it would less likely to collect in the switch.

    The brake fluid is under quite a lot of pressure, when you push the brake pedal. I doubt the tiny tug of gravity would make it leak...
     
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  18. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,647

    325w
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Any special Harley parts number?
     
  19. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,393

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Maybe not your need but i use a RF brake switch... on all my cars and never a failure.
    788-sw-42.jpg
     
    cpd682 likes this.
  20. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,510

    manyolcars

    what does RF stand for?
     
  21. Murphy32
    Joined: Oct 17, 2007
    Posts: 741

    Murphy32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    Radio frequency (wireless) ?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
  22. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,393

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Ron Francis.
     
    egads and Murphy32 like this.
  23. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,077

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    It's not just a theme, it's a complete production series of crapola and getting worse. As a general rule with things like electrical parts, switches, any ignition parts, regulators &c you always want genuine NOS or old school NORS. Common starter solenoid relays and switches and all those parts will maybe look OK, they look the same but, basically if it costs $3 and they have it on the shelf right now, you probably don't want it. A parts manual (so you can search the part #) will get you looking in the right places online.
     
  24. Doublepumper
    Joined: Jun 26, 2016
    Posts: 1,079

    Doublepumper
    Member

    "Any special Harley parts number?"

    72023-51 is a Harley switch number. There may be a superseded number but this will work.
     
  25. I’ll bet you $5.00 that Harley switch is made in China now! They are pissing me off.

    The best thing to do with That style switch to throw it away. The second best thing to do is mounted in a place where are you can change it without losing any brake fluid. Consider it a consumable item when you change your fuel filter change your brake light switch
     
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  26. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 7,496

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    I have 72023-1 for the Harley switch? It's a low pressure switch that's supposed to be good with DOT5?
     
  27. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,367

    Jmountainjr
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Member 100% Matt sells a brake switch that has the brake fluid separated from the switch so switch can be replaced if needed without opening up the fluid circuit. You can contact him for more info. He is in CT and sells them through Millworks in MA.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
    Jeff Norwell likes this.
  28. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,647

    ramblin dan

    Got rid of my in line stock switch about twenty years ago when it would only come on when I was at a dead stop and was almost rear ended. Made a bracket and put a mid eighties Chevette electric switch and been working perfect ever since.
     
  29. The Harley guys seem to recommend Accel #181101
     
  30. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,949

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I used the HD switch in my 34, been working fine for 3 years. But I used a lever style switch on the PU I am building because of these posts.
     
    Hotrodmyk and TrailerTrashToo like this.

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