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Old 12-15-2014, 06:49 PM   #1
Humy
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2008 AURA XE
Default Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

My center brake light is not working. The dealer is saying that is not related to the recall work they did a couple weeks ago. Any chance the harness recall work they did could cause the center brake to stop working? They say the brake light and harness need to be replaced.

How do I get to the brake light? Looks like I need to remove the cloth panel behind the rear head rests, how do I do that? Anyone know part number for light assembly and the harness that powers it?

Thanks
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Before you try replacing the center high mount stop light LED, try checking for a blown 10 amp STOP LP FUSE 47 or STOP LP RELAY 49. If you're familiar with basic wiring, jumpering relay terminal sockets 30 and 87 will send 12v immediately to power the CHMSL LED.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

a fuse or relay issue would affect all three stop lamps the same.
in my experience the chmsl connector is the usual culprit. at least one guy here (or in g6 or malibu forum) was able to jerryrig his to work but we just replace the whole lamp assy.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

My wife's 07 Aura XR is doing the same thing, ****intermittently** though. Sometimes it works other times it doesn't. I've also had it to the dealer for the recall.

Any part #'s for the harness and or CHMSL replacement???
...
Paul K.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

cant help with part #s but for anyone wanting to try a repair u will likely find bad soldier joints on the LED light board at the connector pins. careful re-soldering with a pencil iron might bring it back to life.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

I had the BCM wire connector pin clean & grease recall work performed by the GM dealer on my 2008 Aura back in December 2014. Coincidently, afterwards the third brake light became intermittent. I complained about this and the dealer had the mechanic fiddle with it from inside the trunk, and eventually he got it working again.

The other day, I noticed it was out again and took it back to the dealer. They looked at it and claimed it had nothing to do with the original recall, rather it was a bad connector or broken circuit board at the back of the LED lamp assembly as it would work again if you held the connector just right. They said this is a common problem and they had another Aura in the day before with the same problem. They said it would require replacing the whole lamp assembly (at my expense) ... I disagreed and left.

Looking at it again once home, I found that you can access the bottom of the LED lamp assembly and the connector through a 4" circular hole in the body hidden by the trunk trim panel. The problem is that the connector is very small, has an unusual release latch, and is basically an exercise in frustration to try to reach and disconnect to inspect / clean. The last time it was in the shop, all they did was put a piece of electrical tape over it to keep it fully pressed into the lamp housing socket. What I saw was that the tape was loose and hanging ... hence, their "fix" did not last long.

From a casual web search, the poor design connector on this third brake lamp is a common complaint with GM and is seldom a fuse or bad LED unit, yet the dealer will charge you $300 to "fix it"

If I can't get the plug out (without breaking it), I am going to try using a wire tie as a more permanent way to hold the plug fully in the socket. You would think at this point with all its safety woes, GM would be more proactive on common, known problems that are safety related.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Unfortunately, any electrical tape used in cars will not last. The adhesive always turns to goo and leaves the original taped connection useless. The taped connection lasted long enough to work...........
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

The CHSML on my 09 Aura started acting out after having had the recall done as well. Sometimes it illuminates, other times, not. Perusing the Malibu forums, it seems to be a common issue that probably should have been addressed by the recall. Luckily it was working for state inspection last go around, so I haven't spent the money to fix it.

Has anyone reached out to GM over this?
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kknobl View Post
The CHSML on my 09 Aura started acting out after having had the recall done as well. Sometimes it illuminates, other times, not. Perusing the Malibu forums, it seems to be a common issue that probably should have been addressed by the recall. Luckily it was working for state inspection last go around, so I haven't spent the money to fix it.

Has anyone reached out to GM over this?
since the lower brake lights still work i would expect gm could give a flying f++k.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kooler King View Post
Looking at it again once home, I found that you can access the bottom of the LED lamp assembly and the connector through a 4" circular hole in the body hidden by the trunk trim panel. The problem is that the connector is very small, has an unusual release latch, and is basically an exercise in frustration to try to reach and disconnect to inspect / clean. The last time it was in the shop, all they did was put a piece of electrical tape over it to keep it fully pressed into the lamp housing socket. What I saw was that the tape was loose and hanging ... hence, their "fix" did not last long.

From a casual web search, the poor design connector on this third brake lamp is a common complaint with GM and is seldom a fuse or bad LED unit, yet the dealer will charge you $300 to "fix it"

If I can't get the plug out (without breaking it), I am going to try using a wire tie as a more permanent way to hold the plug fully in the socket. You would think at this point with all its safety woes, GM would be more proactive on common, known problems that are safety related.
I have the same problem I think. Where is this 4" hole and did your wire retainer idea work out?
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Yes, holy thread resurrection.

I just wanted to add that I had the same issue -since my other brakelights worked, it wasn't on my list of priorities until.... I had to do my car inspection.

This was about 4 months ago; I fixed it by wedging an end of a cable tie in there, and so far so good, 100% third brake light working. I wedged a piece of wood on the brake pedal and then experimented waggling the switch (lord knows what kind of connector they use, but for security and not wanting to come apart I'd say they should use this design as a lock on a safe). After trial and error I realized if I held the connector in a certain way, I could get the brake light to work every time -and I found I could wedge that cable tie in there to keep it in just that right position, and voila, the rest is history.

Worth a shot for anyone out there who has the same problem.
...
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

This has been an ongoing issue for me with my 2009 Aura XE. For my last 2 inspections, I was able to get a stable enough connection to pass (ok -- with the help of the men in my life). But now it seems the light only works when I start the car, then no longer. Any idea what that could mean?

Dealer also quoted me around $300. I'm wondering if I should just buy the assembly on eBay or will I still not be getting a good connection...
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

I'd recommend giving the block-of-wood-on-the-brake-pedal-cable-tie method if you haven't already. This may also rule out a bad wire or the brake switch (though if it is the brake switch, your other brake lights would have the same problem). If you can't get a consistent connection, I can't imagine there's much more you can do other than potentially hard solder connections (no idea how difficult that is, and it may be really difficult or just not possible) or buy and install a new unit

While there is a possibility it's not the unit connector giving an issue but some bad connection in the wire or brake switch, given how much trouble there is with these, it's less likely.

I didn't even try removing my assembly -but from my twisted vantage lying down in the back looking up in the darkness, I wonder how easy it will be!

Quote:
Originally Posted by callamari View Post
This has been an ongoing issue for me with my 2009 Aura XE. For my last 2 inspections, I was able to get a stable enough connection to pass (ok -- with the help of the men in my life). But now it seems the light only works when I start the car, then no longer. Any idea what that could mean?

Dealer also quoted me around $300. I'm wondering if I should just buy the assembly on eBay or will I still not be getting a good connection...
...
2007 Saturn Aura XE 3.5 L LZ4 V6
2002 Saturn SL2 1.9L (manual)
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Old 03-23-2019, 01:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kooler King View Post
The other day, I noticed it was out again and took it back to the dealer. They looked at it and claimed it had nothing to do with the original recall, rather it was a bad connector or broken circuit board at the back of the LED lamp assembly as it would work again if you held the connector just right. They said this is a common problem and they had another Aura in the day before with the same problem. They said it would require replacing the whole lamp assembly (at my expense) ... I disagreed and left.
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenman View Post
cant help with part #s but for anyone wanting to try a repair u will likely find bad soldier joints on the LED light board at the connector pins. careful re-soldering with a pencil iron might bring it back to life.
I joined this forum just so I could address this issue because GM knows it's a problem with the manufacturing and, as far as my research goes, they have not addressed the manufacturing issue that makes a piece of ABS molded plastic and inexpensive electronic components carry a $113 price tag for a new one, or makes you pay a dealer $300 dollars to spend 30 minutes replacing a part that will fail again for the same reason.

It is NOT the connector. However, greenman is right, it is a bad solder joint.

Here is how I repaired mine.

1) Pull the deck lid off - be careful, because the length of wire to the assembly is just long enough to be ripped off the connector if you stress it to much. Now, cut the wire leaving enough of a tail to work with. You will reconnect it later with a length of two conductor wire to make it easier to manipulate the deck back in place.

2) Break away the melted plastic holding the light assembly to the deck lid and remove it.

3) Gently pry out the red lens to access the LED's.

4) On the backside you will see a circuit pad with a (+) next to it. Strip back the wires and using the continuity tester of a Volt-Ohm meter determine which connector wire/pin is positive by checking for a circuit between the (+) pad and the wires.

5) Now, using small insulated alligator clip test leads, one red and one black, clamp power to the assembly using the car battery. Wiggle the connections if necessary to ensure all LED's light up.

6) If they all light up, then the problem is a cold solder joint from the positive pin through the circuit board to the metal tabs that the LED's are mounted on. You can see this if you remove the connector and push in on the pin and observe the circuit board moving. That metal tab through the circuit board is where the cold solder joint is.
NOTE: because the circuit board is held into the assembly with melted plastic pins I decided not to remove it to reach the other side of the circuit board.

7) With the connector removed from the assembly, use a 20 watt soldering pencil, well tinned, to heat that tab from the LED side until solder flows freely. Keep the heat on a few more seconds to let solder leak through the circuit board to the other side and reestablish a good connection. Let cool undisturbed a full 20 seconds. Plug in the connector and test the assembly at the car battery, wiggling the connector to see if any flashes occur. If they do, repeat this step.

8) Reattach the light assembly using rubber cement applied from the bottom of the lid to the assembly's tabs. Let it dry. Don't worry about it being as secure as it once was because the window will hold the assembly in place when the deck lid is reinstalled.

9) Now, using 4 good quality splice connectors reconnect the wires with a length of wire between them, being sure to observe polarity between the colors of the wires. Reinstall the deck lid, verify it still works, then get it inspected.

It's a lot of work, and you'll need the tools, but you just paid yourself $113 to $300. Spend it on something you like.

Last edited by Eleutheros; 03-23-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 11-01-2020, 03:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Center brake light not working, could it be recall related, how to change?

Hi Guys, so I’m new to the form. So I realize this might not be the answer for everyone with this intermittent, high mount stop light problem, but here’s what worked for me. In general LED lights have a long life and rarely burn out.

So the first thing I did before I started was check the fuse, (the #47 slot, in the engine fuse box)…which was good. Then without even taking the rear deck off to access the light….I checked the harness connection. First I wedged a stick on the brake pedal, then from the trunk I dropped down the fabric covering under the rear deck, which had 4 plastic buttons. There is a factory cut out hole there right under the high mount stop light, enough for you to reach with your hand. I wiggled that tiny connection and sure enough the light went on.

So now in order to tighten the play within that small harness, I cut off a one-inch length from the tip of one of those plastic electrical ties and jammed it in…on one side of the harness. Please note, it doesn’t go in all the way and most of it hangs out, but you need enough to work with. As a result the fit was pretty tight and seemed to do the trick. It’s over 2 weeks now and the light still it’s working.

It’s important to note the plastic electrical ties are you best bet to reduce any play, because the tips on those ties are tapered, and rigid enough to jam it in. They also are just the right thickness to eliminate the play in the connection.

Good Luck!
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