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-   -   Basic Maintenance--Headlight Switch (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/basic-maintenance-headlight-switch-1104551/)

Opihi59 09-19-2010 06:15 PM

Basic Maintenance--Headlight Switch
 
If your headlights suddenly go out on you at night, you have to toggle your dash switch a few times to get them to turn on it might just be your Headlight Switch. Remember to consider the headlight grounds, faulty wiring or loose connection but if you need to ultimately change out your headlight switch, here's how to do it. Only tool required is a Phillip's head screwdriver. Disconnect your neg cable at your battery first.

Everyone can recognize their Instrument cluster bezel, so no photo here. There are 2 screws below, and 4 across the top. Remove these, carefully pull off your plastic bezel and this is what you get.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5025.jpg

Three screws here on the cover over the switch, take them out and remove the switch plate cover:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5027.jpg

You'll have this to look at then, maybe yours won't be quite so fuzzy.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5028.jpg

Two screws hold in the Switch itself-top and bottom-remove these and you can pull out your switch with wiring harness.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5029.jpg

Depress the "keeper" on the plug, and it pulls straight out from the Switch.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5030.jpg

The new switch looks like this.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5026.jpg

Plug it in....don't press hard against the "ears" where the screws will go, they can snap off.

Old switch numbers, etc.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5033.jpg

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...h/DSCN5034.jpg

I would have preferred to replace with Delco-Remy, but I have to go with what I can find on this island. I'd rather go with what I bought than have my headlights going out on me in the night. Replacement switch shown made in Taiwan, $23.30 at Checker's/O'Reilly Auto parts. Part number S2014 if you didn't see it in the photo on the box.

You may want to consider other things while you have your bezel off, the idiot lights are accessible now and you can swap out bulbs if you need, it's just a few more screws to remove that particular unit. You can vaccuum out the dead bugs and spiders, mouse condos, etc while you're in there.

Hook up your battery, test the light switch functions, reassemble the pieces you took off, smile and go drink beer. :thumbsup:

AnonymousD 09-19-2010 08:54 PM

Mine went out the other day. But they didnt just randomly go out. I had my brights on, and a car was coming up, so I turned the brights off, and they went dark. Flashing them back on turned them back on. Its happened twice since I got the Jeep.

Mean Max 09-19-2010 09:15 PM

Excellent instructions & great pics! :thumbsup:

EVERYTHING under my dash is fuzzy just like yours is too!

Max :cheers2:

Karma 09-20-2010 05:40 AM

HI,
I've had this problem too. The culpret is the switch itself which has a thermally sensitive circuit breaker built into the swich. What happens is over time the switch contacts get corroded (oxydized) and their resistance goes up. When the contact resistence goes up, heat is generated by the switch contacts when there is a heavy electrical load such as when the light are on. When this happens the breaker starts to warm up and eventually gets hot enough to break the circuit. It thinks there is a short in the wiring but in this case there is not. After a few minutes, things cool down and the breaker relaxes and makes contact again for a period of time. Then the sequence starts again.

There are two solutions. I have an electronics background and have the necessary experience. I took the switch apart and cleaned the contacts with Deoxit contact cleaner. Don't use any other kind of contact cleaner. Most don't work. This fix has been good for over 10 years.

The other solution is to replace the switch which, as noted above, is easy. For most folks, this is the best solution.

Sparky

rustywrangler 09-20-2010 06:11 AM

Care to take the old one and clean it up to see if cleaning it works???? I know some would want to try and clean it up first, personally I would replace it lol.

Added this to the FAQ.

plym49 09-29-2010 06:54 PM

I might be mistaken but that switch connector looks a lot like the one GM used on late 80s-early 90s pickup trucks.

That means that in a pinch you should be able to use one of those GM switches, even though the physical switch mounting and the rocker will be different. But if this is what you need to get home, go with it, with the switch hanging until you can get the factory part.

The point is that an Autozone or Pep Boys or whatever might have the GM part in stock if they are out of the Jeep part, since so many more GM trucks were produced. On a Sunday in Nowheresville, that might make all the difference.

Louie4 09-29-2010 07:45 PM

Man I should have taken pics of my dimmer switch when I took it out and cleaned it. It was very fuzzy and it was getting to the point that if I even placed a finger on the dimmer to turn the interior lights on it would cut all the dash lights out. Well I finally took it apart and cleaned it good. Then I used emery cloth on the contacts and I also bent the contact fingers back for a better connection.

Luckily the dimmer was easy to take apart and clean. There are only 2 clips holding it together.

Good write-up.

steve20 09-29-2010 09:20 PM

I had the switch go bad on me while on vacation. After flipping on the high beams the lights would go out unless you switched back to low beams. I took the switch apart when i got home and used baking soda, water, and a toothbrush to clean it. It works fine now its been in for about 2 months now with no problems.

In the end i would recomend tryin to clean the switch before trying to hunt down the part and its cheaper.

Opihi59 09-29-2010 10:25 PM

The necessary part is readily available in the most mundane of places, even in Beyond Honolulu. This is a safety issue, do not cut corners, make substitutes or compromises. You just don't Jury-rig things like brakes, lights, fuel lines, seat belts, Jack stands, etc and "hope for the best." That is how the Darwin Awards got established.

I used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. My oldest kid does it now. I don't think anyone would feel comfy doing that with a canopy held together with duct tape.

Don't ever skimp on safety; you can do what you have to do to get off the trail, but fix it right.

I think it's fine to clean up your dash dimmer switch if it isn't working right, that's a good point Lou.

plym49 09-30-2010 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Opihi59 (Post 10206923)
The necessary part is readily available in the most mundane of places, even in Beyond Honolulu. This is a safety issue, do not cut corners, make substitutes or compromises. You just don't Jury-rig things like brakes, lights, fuel lines, seat belts, Jack stands, etc and "hope for the best." That is how the Darwin Awards got established.

I used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. My oldest kid does it now. I don't think anyone would feel comfy doing that with a canopy held together with duct tape.

Don't ever skimp on safety; you can do what you have to do to get off the trail, but fix it right.

I think it's fine to clean up your dash dimmer switch if it isn't working right, that's a good point Lou.

I'm puzzled. Are you talking about the person who refurbished his dimmer switch, or me for pointing out that this seems to be a pin-compatible, standard GM part?

Neither would seem to be something to get riled about. There is nothing wrong with cleaning corroded connections to make something work; if there was, we'd all be purchasing new vehicles every time our battery terminals needed attention.

The same goes for using another, similar switch if, as I wrote in my post, the part you want is not available and you need to get home. There is nothing unsafe about using a switch with cosmetic differences if the rest is the same.

Was is safe for you to resew the fasteners on your fabric top? I'll bet if you ask Bestop or Rugged Ridge or whoever they would reply "of course not, that would be unsafe". Was it unsafe? Of course not. Needle injuries aside. :)

Let's all champion nimbleness and agility. Goodness knows that that is something that can get you home when you break down on the trail.

:cheers2:

Opihi59 09-30-2010 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Opihi59 (Post 10206923)

.......you can do what you have to do to get off the trail, but fix it right.....

I think it's fine to clean up your dash dimmer switch if it isn't working right, that's a good point Lou.

Never thought I'd quote myself. I would never get riled at anyone, and will be the first to offer any apologies if anyone feels I have said something wrong. I would not want to be deemed critical, or overly opinionated otherwise any legitimacy I have on the forum would be compromised.
I work in an industry where safety has to come first, and I suppose it just oozes out of me at every opportunity, especially if I'm the OP. I tend to make public service announcements. This is a wonderful forum, it helps many Jeepers and promotes repairing your own stuff.

Thank you for your many contributions to a great forum. :tea:

88blkyj 09-30-2010 08:13 PM

so if they turn on and off...and you have to play with the switch for em to come back on it is most likely the switch? I always thought they could be shorting somewhere else. I have the same bright toggle problem so i am hoping it is a switch but dont wanna spend the cash lol...if I can just clean the switch what all i clean? just the contacts? this dang this is so annoying! haha.

steve20 09-30-2010 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 88blkyj (Post 10211981)
so if they turn on and off...and you have to play with the switch for em to come back on it is most likely the switch? I always thought they could be shorting somewhere else. I have the same bright toggle problem so i am hoping it is a switch but dont wanna spend the cash lol...if I can just clean the switch what all i clean? just the contacts? this dang this is so annoying! haha.


Take the switch out and just look at it. You will see clips on it just pop it open then baking soda and water cleans it right up. However if you feel its not safe just get a new switch.

88blkyj 09-30-2010 09:05 PM

true well i took er out and she was caked with mud and a spider hahah. hopin that is my problem... if not has anyone done the wiring over? cuz i know how to wire just such a rats nest from PO i donno where anything is going ahha.

88blkyj 10-02-2010 11:04 PM

so i cleaned the switch today and run it for like 2 hours with the headlights on no shorting out. great im happy and think i have my problem fixed...So i give it the test and go ahead and flip on the brights...about 2 minutes later...there she goes shorting out again. what gives?


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