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Hot Rods I Need Better Toggle Switches!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by leon bee, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 650

    leon bee

    Jesus! I been a NAPA man for 50 years, but now their asian switches seem to really be shit. Just had another one self destruct. Doesn't say Balkamp or Echlin on the package, (brand new), just says Napa Auto Wiring. Are all the parts stores selling the same sorta junk?
    sevenhills1952 likes this.
  2. Can you post a pic? I’d be interested to see what you got.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  3. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,159

    from Tampa, FL

    Try some aviation supply places, look for something MILSPEC.
  4. Yes.
    Woogeroo, XXL__, RMR&C and 1 other person like this.

    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 704

    from 94577

    Yup, need to go to use an aviation spec'd toggle if you want reliability, especially in a daily driver.
    bowlingball likes this.
  6. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,127

    from illinois

    Cole-Hersee are made in mexico , closer than China ,gardener/bender J think is China , isn't many players left !!
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  7. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,931


    You're buying switches made to a price point, not made to a quality standard. Country of origin doesn't matter, the vendor does.
  8. Also look at industrial rated switches that are UL listed. Don't worry about the voltage rating, just look at the current rating. McMaster-Carr carries 'em...

    Sad to say, but NAPA's quality has dropped to match price points with their competition.
  9. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,937

    Member Emeritus
    from Iowa

    Check switches made for race cars. Longacre have been good for me in the past.
  10. Brand Apart
    Joined: Jan 22, 2011
    Posts: 795

    Brand Apart
    from Roswell GA

    Ron Francis, or Painless??? I haven't looked in a while but they seemed to be quality a few years back
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,901


    Save all the old parts you take off cars...
    samurai mike, Paul, Woogeroo and 14 others like this.
  12. 52HardTop
    Joined: Jun 21, 2007
    Posts: 998


    Do the switches you're using have to be attractive? Or do they just need to be reliable and indestructible?
  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 51,901


    The last time I needed toggle switches, a couple years ago, I ordered them from DigiKey. They have a whole bunch of them, electronics grade, and you will have trouble finding exactly what you want, but it's probably available.
    gimpyshotrods, bobss396, fauj and 2 others like this.
  14. Yep, the 'aftermarket replacement' stuff is rarely as good as OEM. NOS if you can find it, or good used.
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  15. I buy brand new in the box old parts from 70s down on eBay.
    49ratfink, bchctybob and RICH B like this.
  16. Marcosmadness
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 372

    from California

    Another avenue is to connect your switch through a relay. The relay will do the switching and carry the load. The switch only controls the relay which is very low load. You will find that even cheap switches will last a long time if you use a relay.
    big john d, Hamtown Al, rod1 and 7 others like this.
  17. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,402

    Dick Stevens

    I buy mine from Allied Electronics
    bchctybob and squirrel like this.
  18. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,095

    from Wa.

    While not very many around any more, "surplus" electronics stores are a good source of quality "mil spec" electronic parts. Even if you have to buy a 20 lb piece of gear just to get the switches out of it, it is worth it.
  19. Go to a salvage yard that junks out old school buses. There is normally a console to the driver's left that has a panel of toggle switches that control a variety of things, installed by the builder of the bus body (Blue Bird, Wayne, Carpenter, et. al.) I have a bunch of those toggle switches I salvaged from an old school bus. They are very rugged switches that almost never go bad.
    Boneyard51, Hamtown Al, lippy and 8 others like this.
  20. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,866


    Yep, find the old stuff wherever you can. I worked in the telephone industry most of my working years, and any time we decommissioned equipment I would keep a lot of the stuff I thought I could use. At the top of each equipment bay was a fuse/alarm and supervisory panel that normally had quite a few switches and alarm lamps. I've got a milk crate half full of the stuff, most made in the USA in the 50's and 60's. I've used bits and pieces in a lot of different cars, and don;t recall ever having one of the switches fail.
  21. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,932


    Blues4U and ronzmtrwrx like this.
  22. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 8,257

    from Michigan

    I never have been real good at keeping up with a constantly changing world.

    So, even a simple toggle switch isn't reliable anymore, huh?
    That's too bad.

    Well... I like toggle switches.
    Lots of 'em.
    And I'm pretty sure you all just saved me a WHOLE lotta headache.
    Thanks once again, HAMB.
    Max Gearhead likes this.
  23. uncle buck
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 1,711

    uncle buck

    Sounds like it came out of a clear plastic clamshell package? If so, they are not the best quality. They should have the Echlin ones in the back room in boxes. Some of the NAPA stores stock the Cole-Hersee switches in the back room also.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    leon bee likes this.
  24. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 650

    leon bee

    Uncle Buck: I never even thought of just googling Echlin switches. Some of em say USA and my store should be able to get them in. I was just grabbing what they have on the pegs.

    Thanks everybody, seems as though we just gotta look around some. I have nothing against our asian friends, but goddam I am tired of buying junk.
  25. MantulaMan
    Joined: Jun 19, 2018
    Posts: 40


    I bought some switches made by APEM and couldnt be happier. I was in the same position as you but specifically wanted swtiches with knurled retaining rings and not thin nuts that the cheap ones have.

    I bought direct from APEM as I didnt trust anywhere else not to sell me fakes.

    Sent from my SM-A105G using Tapatalk
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  26. bowlingball
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 133

    from Australia

    Aviation/Milspec .... They're cheap you just gotta know who to buy off ,they won't fail in your lifetime ask for a release note and theyll know you mean business

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  27. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,093


    I remove them from old machinery I run into on my job.. Or e-Bay, there's a lot of old brass switches on there..
  28. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 2,560


    Semi-tractor parts supply or truck salvage. Unless you get switches out of a Freightliner, you should be alright. I figure if an electrical component is designed for a vehicle that will easily used for several million miles, it's going to last for the relatively few miles most of these cars we build are going to be driven

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Boneyard51 and lippy like this.
  29. The last few years I have been buying mine @ ACE/Westlake hardware. They got cheap ones and good ones.
  30. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,931


    Gotta take the bait and ask: why not Freightliner?
    RDR likes this.

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