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I've had a headlight switch for my '65 on the shelf for some time, just trying to getting around to replacing it (because my interior lights wouldn't respond when rotating the switch). Now, starting today the interior lights stay on all the time. I presume the rheostat in the switch has finally failed, since the interior lights stay on even with the doorjamb switches disconnected. Can anybody give me helpful hints on replacing the headlight switch? Can it be done without removing the dash pad? Can I reach it going up through the fusebox access panel? Can I take the bulbs out and safely operate the car so the lenses and sockets don't overheat? I've looked up in there and it looks tight, I'm not sure I can get my Homer Simpson fingers up in there. It might be time to overcome my fear of removing my dash pad... if so ,any hints on that would also be appreciated. THanks Drew Rivnik

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Don't fear removing the dash pad.

On the '63 (I assume '65 is similar) there is a little spring-loaded button on the body of the headlight switch that you press in and then pull the knob and shaft completely out of the switch. Then the nut that fastens the switch is exposed.

Yes you can just remove the bulbs as a temporary fix.

Interior lights are "ground seeking". They have power all the time and each of the various switches in the car provides the ground for some of them to come on (except for the door switches, which make them all come one).

If all of your interior lights are staying on, it is not the headlight switch that is at fault, it is one of the door switches. That is the only place all 3 grounds come together.

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Drew,

The headlight switch can probably be replaced thru the access panel but best to remove the dash pad. The switch is probably available thru most typical auto parts stores (been awhile since I replaced one) so dont pay an arm and a leg for it. The headlight switch only provides a ground for the sail panel lights so if all your lights are on, as Jim states, you have another problem. Be sure the wires from the door jamb switches are not touching ground. Also, be sure you have the correct bulbs installed. A single contact bulb will install in the socket in place of the double contact bulb and provide funky symptoms. Good luck,

Tom Mooney

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Thanks for the advice. Apparently it was a faulty door switch. I have only the drivers side switch installed. I took the switch out (recently purchased from OPGI ), took it apart and cleaned and reassembled it and it worked fine.( Does it seem odd that it failed in the on mode? ) However my interior lights still do not respond to the rheostat so I guess I'll have to change the headlight switch if I want that feature. The shop manual says to go in through the" left access door to instrument panel", so I will try that first. Also my console and map light do not work when opening the door and do not respond to the courtesy light switch ever since my last exploratory foray into the console. So I guess it's back in there to poke around next chance I get. Electrical glitches give me the willies! Thanks again,Tom & Jim. Drew

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This is an old thread but I'm hoping you can update it with what happened in the end. Dash Pad or access panel. I just tried through the access panel today briefly and gave up when I couldn't even reach the switch. I'm frightened my dash pad might crack removing it but will give it a try. You just remove all the screws and push it up at the front before pulling it away from the screen, right? Don't know how hard one needs to push but mine seems stuck.

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I just had mine out on Monday and what I do is push down or lift up around everything so it is not stuck on something. Mine was not moving so I carefully pried toward me on both from edge corners to get it moving then once I broke it loose I took my time moving it forward since I never did this type before and I did not know what to expect next. Once forward a bit, I saw that someone installed 2 modern speakers so I had to remove the wires and then I was able to contort it out of its space. My insulation was hanging everywhere so I was careful not to tear it all up. Once out I replaced all my dash bulbs I couldn't reach from underneath, I re-glued the insulation with 3m contact spray cement I installed the correct and missing clips, cleaned the glass you can never reach, cleaned the actual top itself and I had a bronze metallic spray that matched so I masked off the grill sprayed it, then installed the top with the correct screws. Now its your turn! Good luck.

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Thanks Rufcar, I really appreciate your input and will give it a go when I have time and let you know.

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This is an old thread but I'm hoping you can update it with what happened in the end. Dash Pad or access panel. I just tried through the access panel today briefly and gave up when I couldn't even reach the switch. I'm frightened my dash pad might crack removing it but will give it a try. You just remove all the screws and push it up at the front before pulling it away from the screen, right? Don't know how hard one needs to push but mine seems stuck.

Tony-

On a '63, I assume your '65 is the same, after you remove the screws on the front underside of the pad you don't LIFT UP, you SLIDE TOWARD YOU a bit (maybe 1 inch) then lift up. Then continue to slide toward you.

It might be hard to break it loose and start sliding it toward you. The vinyl cover seems to stick to the other trim around it if it has not been out of the car for a long time. And there is nothing to really safely grab onto and pull. On the '63 I gently pull on the edge of the defroster vent opening with my fingers. Once it breaks loose, it is easy. If you have a tilt wheel, lower the wheel down as low as you can to help clear it.

If you are trying to lift up from the start, the tabs that stick out that the screws go into will not allow the pad to go up. That might be your problem. Again, this is based on the '63. The '65 might be different.

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If you are trying to lift up from the start, the tabs that stick out that the screws go into will not allow the pad to go up. That might be your problem. Again, this is based on the '63. The '65 might be different.

I used exactly the same technique on my '64.

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Thanks Jim, I'll try doing exactly what you describe because I was trying to push up first so that may have been the problem. I'm sure 65 would be the same as 63-64. My tilt-column goes up from centre but not down but I can always take the wheel off if I must. Won't have time to do this until later in the year.

Preparing to drive the Boattail to our Buick Nationals in Perth in late August. It's a long way from Sydney. 2,500 miles one way.http://www.mapsofworld.com/australia/distance-calculator/sydney-to-perth.html

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Update on my headlight switch replacement: It took some perseverance, But it was essentially easy to replace the switch through the fuse access panel, although admittedly it would have been impossible if my hands were any bigger. You should be careful not to put too much stress on the old wiring when jockeying the fuse panel out of the way, likewise with the flexible vent tube. The hardest part is aligning the ground ring, which has a tab that fits in a slot in the dash opening, with the slot on the switch. If you have a pair of locking hemostats or tiny needle nose you can reach through the hole and grab the ground ring by the tab & have an assistant hold it in place while you finagle the switch into position behind it. Then hold it tight while you screw the escucion(sp) into the switch. And here's a tip that will prevent you from having to do it all over again like I did....Before you install it you need to attach the knob/actuating rod to the new switch, pull it out into the on position, remove the knob (using the button on the switch), THEN install the switch....The rod will not snap into place properly if the switch in in the closed position. Another helpful tip....Have a couple of beers or a martini beforehand, not three cups of coffee. You may have to maintain a contorted position for some time and you need to be cool, calm, & collected. Drew ps They make it sound easy, & it may be, but if it's not already cracked don't take that dash pad off if you don't have to....if it's going to crack,that's when it's going to happen, & you'll hate yourself ($500-$700 worth) afterward!

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Great detailed advice. You have to wait for the right time to do these tasks, no point rushing. The list gets longer. Another job I must do is rear 1/4 window tracks and rollers.

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On 6/29/2013 at 3:05 PM, Jim Cannon said:

On the '63 (I assume '65 is similar) there is a little spring-loaded button on the body of the headlight switch that you press in and then pull the knob and shaft completely out of the switch. Then the nut that fastens the switch is exposed.

Hey Jim I'm replacing the old black vinyl on the centre console of my 63' Rivy and one of the steps is removing the knob as you mentioned above. The problem I'm having is getting the rod back into the headlight switch and getting the lights to turn back on. The rod isn't being "held up" by anything any longer and simply slips out. I've tried pressing that button again on the side of the switch without any luck. 

 

Please help. 

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The trick to reinstalling the rod is to move the knob and rod assembly in and out of the switch very quickly while you are pressing on

the button up and down very quickly. You have to do this until it finally grabs the rod. Usually takes me about 20 seconds of doing this to get it to latch.

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Put a little dab of grease on the tip of the rod it will make it slide in easier.

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6 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

The trick to reinstalling the rod is to move the knob and rod assembly in and out of the switch very quickly while you are pressing on

the button up and down very quickly. You have to do this until it finally grabs the rod. Usually takes me about 20 seconds of doing this to get it to latch.

I'll try anything thanks!

 

I'm actually putting wood grain on the console but didn't want to start that step until I figured out the light switch knob replacement. Hasn't been easy but nothing is until you've done it once or twice. 

 

Thanks again, 

 

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