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Old 09-15-2021, 09:19 PM   #1
pierrot
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Default Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

The simple short answer is yes, it does. I replaced my brake light switch yesterday. This was a warranty part from Autozone - Duralast P/N DR 4109 (the A/Z part in their box was a GM part with the OE P/N molded on to it [90504499]). I can't recall how long ago this was, but the A/Z part replaced my factory original part some time less than four years ago. So the factory original part lasted a very long time.

Well, last Thursday, 9/9, a man in a vehicle passing by me to my right yelled out that my brake lights weren't working. I was on my way home from work. After completing some errands I'd arrived at home and checked the brake lights. I found that they were intermittently working but only when the brake pedal was depressed very hard.

Okay, I've got a bad switch. On Friday the Autozone clerk told me that they had to wait for a part found only at one of their warehouses. The replacement switch would arrive on the following Tuesday. (Oh great...I have to wait for this......the car is down until then.) The part arrived when promised and I installed it yesterday. Happily, the brake lights were now working as expected and as they always had. However, there was another benefit which came with installing a new brake light switch.

For several months I'd been having a problem when shifting out of Park. I would step on the brake pedal but could not shift out of park without depressing the pedal for several times. I thought that perhaps the BTSI (Brake Transmission Shift Interlock) solenoid was partially failing. That was wrong. The problem was being caused by the failing brake light switch. I am certain of this because I now no longer have make multiple depressions of the brake pedal to allow me to shift out of Park. So if you ever have a situation where you can't shift out of park normally and easily, it might be worth your while to replace the brake light switch.

In a somewhat unrelated subject the online cataloging of this part is problematic, though it need not be. Both AutoZone and RockAuto online catalogs show two stop light switches; one has four contacts and the other has two contacts. Curiously, both AutoZone and RockAuto have another category specifically for a cruise control release switch which turns out to be the same as the 4 prong brake light switch found in the other section. To make matters more confusing, the brake (or stop) light switch section does not differentiate between the purpose of the two and four contact switches. Why would this be? A cruise control release switch is not a brake light switch (or stop light switch [if you prefer]) as it does not engage the brake lights when turned off, nor does it interact electrically with the BTSI solenoid. Its primary interaction is with the cruise control box under the hood.

Sssooooo............ If you're ever asked by a parts person if the brake light switch on your L-Series car has two or four contacts, the answer here is TWO.
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Old 09-21-2021, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

hi pierrot- oh hell. now the old stoplight switch trick. been in many wars, but havent encountered this one yet. but always want to be ready for an enemys sneak attack. no cruise control,blinker fluid , abs or muffler bearings in my 01 L100. check all my lights monthly. usually a failed bulb. assuming this switch is located on or near the upper part of the brake pedal. correct? also this two pole switch is the old type with spring loaded contactors and a push off springed button to activate the lights. correct? would be the opposite from the clutch pedal switch on the floor which when pushed by the pedal turns on the ignition/starter circuit. might be smart to pick up this switch now for the near future when they become as scarce as parts for a 37 studebaker which had a wizard control switch next to the floorshift. bet nobody left in the world can say what that was for( i can). thanks tons, regards and keep up the good work. bob f
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Old 09-24-2021, 04:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

Picture or location where that part is?
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Old 09-25-2021, 07:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

hi sages- the wizard control was a switch on the driver side of the floor or tunnel which allowed you to turn on or off the free wheeling mode of the overdrive transmission. this was used on level terrain to reduce engine revolutions, increase mpg and decrease wear and tear on rotating parts. it also allowed you to shift between 1st, 2d and 3d as long as you were rolling. proved to be too unsafe and overtaxed the brakes. regards bob f
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
hi pierrot- oh hell. now the old stoplight switch trick. been in many wars, but havent encountered this one yet. but always want to be ready for an enemys sneak attack...in my 01 L100. check all my lights monthly. usually a failed bulb.
This is usually the case for me as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
assuming this switch is located on or near the upper part of the brake pedal. correct?
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
also this two pole switch is the old type with spring loaded contactors and a push off springed button to activate the lights. correct?
Yes, but it looks nothing like the old style switches. Look one up for your car at RockAuto.com and click on the "Info" button to see a picture of the part.
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russet View Post
Picture or location where that part is?
Go to the brake pedal and follow it upward until you see a small bar across the pedal arm with two black plunger contacts resting against it. That's where the two parts are.

Strangely, my computer gives me a reply stating that doesn't recognize the file type for my photo so I can't upload a picture until I figure out what's wrong.
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Old 10-01-2021, 03:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

Here's a picture attached below.
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File Type: jpg brake light switch picture 2nd copy.jpg (87.4 KB, 14 views)
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Does a failing brake light switch cause more than one problem?

This is the first vehicle that I can actually hear this switch go on, very slight delay upon pressing the pedal.
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