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Baja Forums -:- VW Volkswagen Bug, Baja, Bus, Sandrail and Thing -:- VW Volkswagen & Baja Bug General Discussion -:- brake lights
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brake lights
Bug, Baja, Thing and Buggies. Most every thing that will not fit any any other area. See list of other Forums for better topic placement...Volkswagen General Discussion
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Post Post subject: brake lights
Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 09:21 PM
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Question hey i am in need of help determining what the problem is with my brake lights. they rarely work and randomly turn on and off if i press the brakes. i have been told it is the grounds, but where are those??? i have rewired the lights already and added a new switch on the cylinder but still no luck...

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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 09:29 PM
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There can be quite a few causes. Ground can definitely be one. The switches (even when new) are crapola much of the time, and can still be the culprit. Do BOTH lights come and go at the same time, or is it sometimes one, sometimes the other? The bulb connections in the lights can be corroded and intermittently making contact. I'd check the voltage output from the switch as you press the pedal multiple times, and make sure it's completing the circuit consistently with each application of the brake pedal. If that's good, move back to the lights themselves, and find the hot wire on each, and see if you're consistently getting voltage back there.

There's probably more info that some of the guru's on here can give you, but that should get you started...


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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 09:29 PM
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Oh- and welcome to the site! Make sure you start a thread in the newbies forum, and WE ALL LIKE BAJA PICS, so make sure you post some of your ride!


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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 09:37 PM
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That s a tricky question. In order to have a completed circuit (ie working lights), power must go in and out. The lights themselves must be receiving power, and then getting a good ground. The quality of the ground depends on where the light is mounted. If they are mounted on fiberglass fenders, you would be virtually ground-less. You would need to run an extra ground wire from the light to a meta part of the body to get a good ground. If the problem is intermittent, it could be tricky to troubleshoot. If you can get it to fail, you can take a wire with alligator clips on both ends and run one side to the light, and the other to a good ground (metal on the car). If the light works after that, you will need to run a similar wire. If not, then you probably have some other problem.

Similarly, when the lights are failing, you can run a test light from the positive connection at the light to a good ground and see if it lights up. If it lights up, then you have power. If it doesn't, your problem is further upstream.

A common cause for intermittent lights is poor connections at the actual bulb, but this will usually only occur with one light at a time... Not both at the same time. You can simply remove the bulb from the socket and sand the bulb and socket down with fine sand paper to remove the corrosion for a better connection.

Depending upon the year of the VW (and who has modified it), the brake lights may actually be routed through the turn signal switch. I know my brake lights went on the fritz last week because of my 50 year old switch. It was just a matter of taking it apart and cleaning the connections.

Similarly, there are many connections in the brake light circuit that can get corroded. Find that wire and trace it back, following a wiring diagram for your particular year. VW wiring is fairly simple, but often time we see that somebody has modified the heck out of it, so who knows what you'll eventually find. Stick with it, though.

Welcome to the forum, BTW. Stick around and enjoy!!!


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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 02:20 AM
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hey thanks soo much for all of the help. it turns out that the lights were routed through the turn signal switch on the steering column. this was found out after hours of checking wires and fuses, we jiggled it and it made them turn on and off. my plan is to either take the old one off and fix it or buy a new one. if anyone knows where i can get a new one, it would be much appreciated!

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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 03:26 AM
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What year is it?


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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 05:27 AM
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it is a 1960 with stock 6 volt wiring

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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 07:08 AM
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[img]http://info.rockauto.com/getimage/getimage.php?imagekey=1184817&imageurl=http%3A//info.rockauto.com/Airtex/1S8053.jpg[/img]

Looks like this?

Take it apart. Maybe something's loose inside, or maybe just dirty. Clean the crap out of it and lube it with dielectric grease.

Otherwise, if you must, there are many places out there that have them. I would guess Chirco does, and they sponsor our website here.


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Post Post subject: Re: brake lights
Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 06:50 AM
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hey i replaced the turn signal switch, bought a new flasher relay and did some rewiring to cover everything and now its all good. thanks for the help

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