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Technical Tired of changing brake switches

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,950


    I have a Ford styled pressure brake switch on the Produce Truck. I have had 3 fail in the last 2 years. Am I just that lucky or are they all junk?

    This last one is made in Mexico. Not sure about the first two. I asked for a US made and the guy at NAPA laughed....
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  2. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 988

    Pete Eastwood
    from california

    They're junk, put in a mechanical switch .
  3. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 20,328

    Staff Member

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  4. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,650


    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.
    2OLD2FAST and Hnstray like this.

    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 340


    Get one made for a Harley Davidson. Good switch and takes less PSI to activate
  6. Get one from Harley; some of the aftermarket ones for them are suspect too.

    VW Beetles used those too, but those may not have the right pipe thread.
  7. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 698


    I used one for a VW. Again, less pressure required to activate and been good for 2 years so far.
    Frankie47 likes this.
  8. liljoe
    Joined: Feb 26, 2013
    Posts: 36

    from detroit

    I use motorcycle switches also, bullet proof and adjustable
  9. bobd1976
    Joined: Sep 24, 2010
    Posts: 50

    from Illinois

    Use a GM mechanical. Been using these for decades . Never had to replace one. Always wondered why anyone would use a pressure switch. switch.jpg
  10. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,078


    Use the arm type GM mechanical switch under the floorboard-work great-no issues
  11. Those can fail too... Had to replace mine a few years ago....
    Blues4U likes this.
  12. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,832


    How are they going bad?, do they start to leak or just stop working. I guess if they just stick on, then you can use a relay, if they stop working or leak then I would go to a GM brake light switch....just get a good old one. I used some Cole Hersee switches from the 90’s made in the USA.
  13. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,484


    You have the wires crossed. Cause them to heat up. Replace the switch and switch the wires.
  14. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 4,188

    from Ok

    That is what I use, never replaced one.
  15. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,167

    from Central IL

    I use them on my hydraulic clutch for a safety switch on the start circuit. I go through about 1 or 2 a year I have tried the ones from Ron Francis or Painless wiring and the ones from Oreilly’s in the Borg Warner brand name. I think they eventually fail from the amperage load on them. I should probably switch to a relay but I can change it out in about 2 minutes and so far I’ve just been doing that. I keep a spare on hand and a jumper set up to by-pass it if it were to fail at a bad time or place.
  16. Black_Sheep
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,254


    Since the MC is mounted under the truck, I made a bracket to mount this waterproof switch to the frame. IMG_0378.JPG
  17. Chevy switch under the toe board is pretty dependable option.
    brake light switch.jpg
    egads and alchemy like this.
  18. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,950


    How so? It's a switch? Either on or off.....
    Do tell.

    I built the truck to use a pressure switch, I don't want to redesign. I just want to install a part that lasts more than 3 months. Mine is a pain to change, I should have made it easier to access, but I never thought it would fail regularly.
  19. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,075

    from illinois

    Huh ??
    ottoman, 46international and Kiwi 4d like this.
  20. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,075

    from illinois

    That's a nice switch !! What's the application ?
  21. mark latham
    Joined: Oct 24, 2018
    Posts: 104

    mark latham

    I wired mine through a relay, the switch activates the relay, the relay closes the ground to the lights. Works good and removes all the amperage from the switch. The switches are failing because the contacts are burning out, the relay eliminates that. The mechanical switches also work, it all depends on what you want to do. If you run a mechanical switch you just need to figure out a way to mount it and depending on your application maybe running the wires inside to the switch (if its inside). A relay adds an extra part but they rarely fail and bosch type relays are cheap and common.
    ottoman, Frankie47, Russco and 2 others like this.
  22. Install a relay to carry the current and use the pressure switch to ground to close the relay. No more arc in the contacts and the switch will (should) last forever. Been doing it this way for a long time now with good results.
    ffr1222k, Frankie47 and Truck64 like this.
  23. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 285

    from CA

    Every line pressure switch I've used has eventually (or sometimes immediately!) made me wish I just used a mechanical switch on the linkage instead.
  24. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,439


    Hydraulic vs. mechanical brake light switches have become the new bias vs. radials thread. Or is it the points vs. pertronics thread?

    Just say no to pressure.
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,358


    Pretty close Alcemy, I don't think I ever had a pressure switch last over 2 years on the 48 after I put on in 1989. That may be partially due to the fact that it is down on the frame rail and somewhat exposed to anything that splashes up under the truck. In all the years I had the stock mechanical one I replaced one and it was about 28 years old then. At least it still had the GM marks on it.
    I remember that in the years I worked in shops I replaced more Ford pressure switches on the Fords they belonged on than all other brake light switches combined. That was when you could get good US made switches too. That's not big numbers maybe 15 Ford to 5 all others combined but it was noticeable.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  26. deucendude
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 593

    from norcal

    I have not had a mechanical switch fail.
  27. Marcosmadness
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 364

    from California

    I had the same issue with pressure switches. Every 6 months I was changing switches and bleeding brakes. Then I switched to LED bulbs in the tail lights (less amperage draw) and I haven't had to change another pressure switch. Coincidence? Maybe, but electrically it makes sense that a lighter load on the switch would make it last longer. Regardless, the quality of the current supply of pressure switches sucks
    Roothawg, JeffB2 and Kiwi 4d like this.
  28. 1oldtimer
    Joined: Aug 21, 2003
    Posts: 7,832


    I’ve also seen the contacts short/overheat and burn out the diaphragm....then they leak. So maybe try a good quality relay first.
  29. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,953

    Kiwi 4d

    We also had issues with dead pressure switches, most likely poor offshore quality, in our 57.
    By number 3 we had enough and fitted a relay into the circuit and the problem went away.
    I like @Marcosmadness idea of LED lights , its worth a try.
    Roothawg and lothiandon1940 like this.
  30. When I first got my Model A on the road I had a cheap Speedway pressure switch in it and it lasted about two months, replaced it with a $35 switch from Speedway and it has been fine for 4 or 5 years now. Guess I should go check my brake light when I get home tonight.
    Roothawg and lothiandon1940 like this.

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