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Park147

Model 147 Lighting Switch

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I have a 1930 Model 147 and I am trying to fix the lighting.  The lighting switch on the dash is frozen and I cannot figure out how to remove the switch or find a replacement part.  Any advice?

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Posted (edited)

Welcome Park147,

 

The switch handle is held to the switch shaft by a long machine screw that passes through the center of the switch. You reach it by working from under the dash board with a thin screw drive. The handle is potmetal so be careful trying to remove it. It has two small tabs on the inner side that engage the switch shaft. They break off easily if you try to twist the handle out.

 

If the handle is stuck because the shaft of the handle is swollen (very common with pot metal of that era) use a much longer screw through the switch into the handle and gently tap the head of the screw as you pull straight out on the handle. Once out, if the pot metal is not badly cracked, gently file the shaft smooth so it does not bind in the switch housing shaft soak. Then soak it in WD-40 for a day to prevent further internal corrosion, the reason why potmetal of the 1920's and early 30's swells and cracks.  

 

A late member was reproducing those handles in brass. I think the Franklin Club's Parts Project manager, Keith, now has the mold (and for the small hood door pull hooks) and is looking into having more handles cast. Contact Keith through the Club's website. 

 

The switch housing is held to the dash panel by the round nut on the dash face end of the shaft. Gently turn the switch as you hold that nut and it can be undone.

 

The switch can be opened by carefully bending back the retaining tabs only enough to get the contact insulating board off. Be very careful of how the switch parts are in relation to each other. Make a drawing or take photos as you go so you can reassemble in the proper order. The contact plate is spring loaded, so as you open the switch watch out that parts don't go flying. 

 

Clean and then coat the contacts with electrician's anti-corrosion paste, or dielectric grease from the auto parts store. I use Gardner-Bender "Ox-Gard" on all electrical connections and switch contacts. You can get it at some hardware stores, or online. Keeps electrical connections clean for many years.  

 

Once the switch is apart, heat the retaining tabs cherry red to anneal them so they won't crack off when you bend them back at reassembly time.  

 

Paul    

 

 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)

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Paul, what to do when the board is in bad shape?

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Posted (edited)

Gordon,

 

Because of decades of spring tension on the contact plate, the insulating boards will warp with age. Then the contact plate does not make contact with the copper buttons in the insulating board. When that happens, I very carefully straighten the board back by slowly bending it with a clamp against a piece of wood that has a slight hollow cut into it. If you try to bend it quickly it is likely to crack, but slowly bent back flat over several days it goes back into shape.

 

Paul 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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My switch was frozen because the diecast knob had swollen - I ended up destroying the knob to get the switch out of the dashboard.  Thereafter, I bought a reproduction switch from a club member (in perhaps 1979/1980) and it worked well for years - then the tabs broke off.  I took the switch parts to a friend and he made me a new one by turning a piece of stainless, a piece of stainless stock, silver solder, and his dremmel/moto tool  - that switch I am told is still go 17 plus years later and looks very nice.  The switch seemed to work fine and I never did take the switch apart and clean it (I probably should have (and the switch at the bottom of steering column too), though while at that time while I was resourceful equally I was not fond of switch projects - today I tackle it, though I am still not really fond of switch restoration - sometimes it goes well and other times not to my satisfaction).    If you choose not to take it apart, you might want to install a relay someplace in system.  The secret to nice bright lights will be clean electrical connection and REALLY REALLY well thought through grounding. 

 

My "point" is try your best and resourcefulness is a pretty handy thing  matched to lot's of really knowledgeable people too that have tackled and willing to offer suggestions (aka Paul as an example).

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