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'88 Window Switches - Refurbed and WONDERFUL!!!


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Hey All :)

 

Just a note to say that I finally got around to refurbing my '88-Red's console window-control-switches and I am amazed at how well they now work compared to before. It takes very little pressure in either direction for either switch to effortlessly operate the windows now. I had to press uncomfortably hard to get the driver's window to go up for the last two years. The passenger side was better than the driver's side before but now it operates like I'm sure they did when the car was new. Mine '88-Red currently has 90,670 miles on it.

 

I actually performed this refurb first on my 160k '89-Blue's switches back in 2012 or so and the difference was night and day then. I took a plethora of photos of the process and uploaded the set to my Flickr page as an album. Here is the link for those interested:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49770894@N03/sets/72157645384851757

 

There is one tool that I bought at Radio Shack years ago that is invaluable for cleaning switch and relay contacts - a fiberglass cleaning pencil. It is nice because it easily removes the oxidation and years of arcing from the contacts. You can buy these pencils almost anywhere on the web. This is the one I have that  I use at work that I bought from here:

 

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/DISTRIBUTED-BY-MCM-SABU10191-/SABU10191

 

The secret to soft-touch operation while you're refurbing is to add a daub of solder about 1/16" thick to the center oval of the brass mechanism as shown in the second picture on my flickr page. The pic is titled, "DSC02468 89 Reatta Power Window Switch Guts". I also used the fiberglass pencil to scuff up the brass oval and then applied a daub of solder flux before applying the daub of solder.

 

I HIGHLY recommend this refurb to anyone who hates how hard you have to press older switches to get your windows to operate!!!

 

Lesson here too is, don't just replace those switches and throw out the old ones!!! they're easy to fix and besides saving money, you save these rare parts!!!

 

Cheers,

Dan Gibbs :)

Edited by Dan Gibbs (see edit history)
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Dan,

Nice work, and thanks for documenting the process, I should have done so as I've done a similar rebuild before but never seem to have time to develop a tutorial for posting. I have reproduced decals for these that are good, but not quite 100% original in appearance as they are white legends on a matte black background, not foil like the original. Simply too expensive and difficult to replicate die-cut decals like that. The backlighting works as original, as that was a design requirement for the new decals.

Dave (Daves89) has the first set of these I've distributed beyond my own use. I expect to offer refurbed switches with new decals soon, but finding enough cores that can be cleaned up and restored is proving difficult. I also wonder if the slightly different appearance of the decals may not be satisfactory to some. They really need to be replaced as a set or the difference in appearance will be too noticeable so if I do offer them it will be as a pair. I had the original typeface and layout of the legends matched on these new decals to satisfy my attention to detail.

KDirk

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Thanks for the tutorial Dan. I have been the recipient of kdirks handiwork and it was the last thing I did this week on the Red. It really dressed up the console and is an item to certainly consider. I hope Kevin makes them available to the Reatta community.

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Great photos of the switch with it apart. Thanks for sharing them with us.  I don't see any instructions to go with them that explains how to get the switch apart, etc. Is there a writeup that I missed?

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Hey Ronnie :)

 

You're right... I see that I didn't show how to take apart the window switch. If you look at pics DSC2473, DSC2474, and DSC2475, you'll notice four small rectangular slots near the bottom edge of the outer switch shell/cover. Then, compare those slots to the four tangs (two on each side) on the inner switch body shown in pics DSC2472, DSC2476 and DSC2477.

 

To disassemble the switch, I used four small flatblade screwdrivers placed in the bottom of the assembled switch - I placed the screwdrivers in the points between the inner switch body and the outer shell to make room for the tangs to clear the rectangular slots on the outer shell. I then gripped the electrical-connection pins with some needle-nose pliers to pull the inner switch body out of the outer shell.

 

Once the inner body and shell are separated, look at the pic DSC2472 and notice the large brass plate on the top of the inner switch body. This needs to be removed to get to the switch contacts. Use a small pocket-knife blade to pry between the brass plate and the black plastic body - it will lift straight up. You can use less than four screwdrivers, you just may want to have a friend hold the outer shell for you as you release one side and then the other to remove the inner switch body. I used four Xcelite 3323 screwdrivers as they're common around my shop and I usually am by myself :)

 

There are four common contacts on the brass plate on the underside to clean. The corresponding moving contacts are on the inner brass mechanisms. This point is where the fiberglass pencil that I mentioned in the previous post makes this cleaning a breeze as you can easily get to the inner contacts with vey little effort to gently clean them. You'll notice also there are four solder blobs on top of the brass plate where the contacts are located underneath - I went a bit overkill and soldered the contact crimp-points on the top of the plate just to be sure. I scuffed those points with the fiberglass-pencil and applied a little solder flux to speed soldering on those points too.

 

As a side note - whenever soldering, whether wires or whatever, using non-acidic solder flux is a massive time and part saver. The flux allows you to solder faster and better and not have to apply tons of heat to a joint to get the solder-bond. When working with metals attached to plastic, this is a big deal as applying heat for too long will of course transfer heat to any attached plastic and usually melt or damage the plastic.

 

Cheers,

Dan G

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Hey, I forgot to mention before work - there are disassembled views of the headlight switch, wiper switch, console shift indicator, and 89 four button switch bank under the cassette player too. All in my album on Flickr.

 

You can get to the contacts to clean them in the headlight switch, wiper switch, and 4-switch bank.

 

When I had all of those apart, I cleaned them thoroughly with a tooth brush and windex, and then matte-cleared them with a can of Krylon. They turned out great looking - for those interested :)

 

A big reason I cleared them, including the buttons, was to prevent "use" from removing the white lettering on the buttons over time.

 

Cheers,

Dan

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Dan, good call. Rustoeluem makes a matte clear that I prefer for coating the buttons. Also, for buttons with surface contamination (almost looks like the legends are partly worn off) this can often be removed by wet sanding the button with a 3000 grit pad just enough to remove dirt and grime and then allowing to dry before clear coating. I've saved many marginal looking buttons on the headlight and wiper pods and got them looking new with this techique.

KDirk

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  • 1 month later...

The C clip is on back side the shift knob.  If you move the shift lever (make sure your parking brake is engaged) fully backward, you should be able to see the clip.  It can be removed by prying it out with a thin flat head screw driver.  Be careful to securely hold the shift knob in place while removing the clip.  The knob is spring loaded, so you don't want it to pop off and loose the spring. 

Edited by Howard (see edit history)
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