54 brake lights?

bull_islanderbull_islander Expert Adviser
in HUDSON Posts: 499
What's the culprit?  The brake lights only light up when I've got the pedal fully pressed.  It has power brakes, so the only time they'll light up is when I'm at a full stop (only time I get that much pressure on the pedal).  How/where do I adjust?
Steve Clarke
Southeast Virginia
1954 Hornet convertible

Comments

  • Geoff C., N.Z.Geoff C., N.Z. Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,286
    If you have a hydraulic switch, it has gone bad.  If a mechanical switch, it needs the linkage adjusting.
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • onerare39onerare39 Expert Adviser, Moderator
    Posts: 913
    Bull,

    The pressure switch is attached at the banjo fitting.  It is not uncommon for these to go out.  You can replace the switch without needing to bleed the brakes.  You can perform a simple test of your brake lights by pulling the wires off of the switch terminals and putting a jumper wire between the two wires, a paper clip will work.

    Hope this helps.

    John


    image
    Hudson Motor 006.jpg
    1984 x 1488 - 2M
  • bull_islanderbull_islander Expert Adviser
    Posts: 499
    Thanks.  

    John, that's one nice looking engine compartment!
    Steve Clarke
    Southeast Virginia
    1954 Hornet convertible

  • onerare39onerare39 Expert Adviser, Moderator
    Posts: 913
    Thanks. That photo was in 2009 when I got it back on the road after the engine rebuild and paint.  I drive it regularly and try to keep everything clean and tidy.

    John
  • Ken U-TxKen U-Tx Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,227
    That brass Y fitting is the same as used on the under-floor master cylinder of non-power brake Stepdowns. My question is: is the stoplight switch of a 3/8"-24 thread with an inverted flare, so as to fit on the outlet of the brass Y fitting without the need for an adapter from 3/8"-24 inverted flare to 1/8 NPT tapered pipe thread?
  • RichardDRichardD Member
    Posts: 470
    Also be aware that a 'low pressure' switch is available. NPT. 
    https://www.ronfrancis.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SW-32
  • jjbubaboyjjbubaboy Senior Contributor
    Posts: 729
    Hey,
    Here is another great alternative if you have repeated brake switch failures.
    Friend of mine put one in and has had no problems.
    Inline Brake Light Switch

    http://www.ecihotrodbrakes.com/inline_brake_light_switch.html

    Jeff
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Senior Contributor
    Posts: 1,514
    Just a quick note.  If you are using DOT5 brake fluid you will need to make sure you are using a pressure switch that is resistant to this type of fluid.  They are available from Ron Francis (as noted above) and Harley Davidson dealers.  There may also be other sources out there.  I know as I use DOT5 and this was a problem when I first switched over.
  • FrankvintagefullflowcomFrankvintagefullflowcom Senior Contributor
    Posts: 929

    At first I thought this to be not likely true, thinking that there must be some other factor in the equation that was causing the failures, but in my limited knowledge of rubber compounds, I've surmised that the only reason a brake light switch would suffer from the use of DOT 5 is if the diaphragm was made of silicone rubber. Silicone fluid is basically inert and shouldn't cause a problem with rubber components, but it will soften (or worse) silicone rubber parts and is considered incompatible in hydraulic systems.

    I always change to mechanicals anyway but it's something to think about.....if you were needing something.

    Frank

  • FrankvintagefullflowcomFrankvintagefullflowcom Senior Contributor
    Posts: 929

    JJ,

    You got a gift of one day between storms! Get that T-Plane out and stretch its legs!

    F

  • jjbubaboyjjbubaboy Senior Contributor
    Posts: 729
    Hey F,
    That would have been great!! The 'honey do' list seemed to be more urgent... ;)
  • bull_islanderbull_islander Expert Adviser
    Posts: 499
    Alright, replacing the switch worked for several weeks.  
    Then I had one brake light stop working.  Not the bulb, as the signal lights worked and it illuminated with the headlights.  So I replaced the switch again.  They worked again for another several weeks.  And then the same brake light stopped working again.  Replaced the switch again to still only have one brake light this last time.  
    These are Borg Warner switches that are coming from the local O'Reilly's.  Why would only one light be failing?  I haven't changed fluid since acquiring the car last fall, so that could be likely if it's something in relation to the fluid and the makeup of the BW switch as Dan suggested above.

    Steve Clarke
    Southeast Virginia
    1954 Hornet convertible

  • RichardDRichardD Member
    Posts: 470
    Crazy things happen with old car electrics!!
    I.E.: yesterday I had to install an #1156 bulb under the hood so the flasher on my hazard lite system would work ! This to increase the resistive load, BUT after they had worked for a year ??? Craziness
    Have you jumpered from the battery to the load side of the switch to see what happens?  Suggest going to the generic lever switch on the brake pedal arm. Would eliminate the pressure switch problems. Has for me and others.
  • Park_WPark_W Senior Contributor
    Posts: 2,547
    Am I missing something?  If either stoplight works, then the stoplight switch is OK and the problem's elsewhere.
  • RichardDRichardD Member
    edited August 23 Posts: 470
    You are correct, Park. I should have read the last comment! 
    The post was for months about an intermittent switch with both lites not working. Now it seems to be down stream. Lucas wiring or bulbs? lol~~
  • Ken U-TxKen U-Tx Senior Contributor
    Posts: 3,227
    The stop light switch power out wire goes through the turn signal switch on steering column. The failure of the bulb to light or flash on one side is due to a problem in the 6 wire turn signal switch, usually the contacts on the switch being worn, or pitted, or broken switch mechanism.
  • bull_islanderbull_islander Expert Adviser
    Posts: 499
    Thanks Ken.  I'll look there.  It seemed odd that the switch fixed the problem twice though temporarily (the first time was strictly a pressure issue; not sure why a new switch fixed it when it was only one non-working brake light the second time, but I went with it).
    It does seem to have to be wiring related to the brakes.  As mentioned all other functions of the tail light work (turn signal and illumination with head lights).
    Steve Clarke
    Southeast Virginia
    1954 Hornet convertible

  • duncanduncan Expert Adviser
    Posts: 743
    What body style of 54 Hudson do you have  Ray
  • Oldfarmer1947gmailcomOldfarmer1947gmailcom Expert Adviser
    Posts: 1,318
    Diagnosis from afar is at best craps!  In another area there is a common denominator that is seldom blamed, but many times the culprit.  The wire connection  block under the dash. If the plug ends or the connections in the block have expanded... faulty connections will occur.  
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