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1936 buick electrical issue-headlight switch


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My light switch decided to malfunction and the driver's headlight would not come on when switched to the 3rd(country) or 4th position of the headlight switch. Checked wiring and assumed it was switch. Got my oversized butt under the dash for the day and changed out the switch. Tested the old switch and indeed no. 5 and 10 switch wasn't operating properly. Installed another switch and connected the wires and low and behold when I hooked up the battery the passenger headlight, both fender lights and the taillights were on-----when the switch was in the off position. I then ran the switch thru the 4 positions and the only one that didn't work properly was the off position. Running lights on one, headlights and running lights on country and bright to passenger on 4 when dimmer switch pushed with driver light working. Any ideas what the problem could be--don't relish pulling the switch again but would bet I'll have to do it. Any suggestions welcome. 

Thanks

Rod. 

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There are three triangular-shaped contacts in there. They are not all the same (but possibly 2 of them are). It is pretty common for people to get them in the wrong order.

 

That said, I don't recall ever hearing about the exact issue you are having.

 

Does your switch have a circuit breaker? Any fuses? I don't think thats the problem, I'm just trying to get my head around which switch you have.

 

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When I restored my '37, my headlights were on in the fully off position.  Turns out, the plunger just wasn't pushing in all the way, thereby keeping some of the contacts touching all the time.  

I removed the small (brass?) grommet from the headlight switch and that allowed the plunger to fully seat and that fixed my problem.

 

IMG_9169.thumb.jpg.fda054c116067b77362b37bc5b6c455d.jpg

 

Dash throttle pull.  See that brass base?  My headlight switch had that also.

 

 

IMG_9168.thumb.jpg.c018d2ae4ec16125e2b64a9ebf52ba62.jpg

Ash receiver...  same brass do-dad under the plastic knob

 

 

IMG_9165.thumb.jpg.cc4de0d4860575f8786448c1ed7c661a.jpg

 

I removed that brass trim piece from under the headlight knob, which allowed it to travel further in.

 

 

IMG_9170.thumb.jpg.9f99a2972da35dc84843a3a2d97ac002.jpg

 

By allowing the knob to depress all the way in, the lights go off properly.

I never quite figured out if I just had the wrong pull knob for my light switch, but I was getting grey hair trying to figure that thing out.

 

Anyway, that was my fix for my lights being on all the time.  

 

Hope it helps

Gary

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thanks for responses. I'll double check and see if knob is indeed going all the way to dash. I did not check as I assumed it did. I do not have a fitting like yours but i do have a fitting with lip on outside that is threaded for tightening the switch itself. Could be that is not tightened properly. When I get to shop I"ll certainly check.

My switch is fused 30 amp fuse attached to the top of switch. I did not open up the switch which I installed but did bench test and tested OK, at least I thought. I did remover the base of the switch I removed and indeed had 3 triangular contacts with 3 dimples on each for contact with copper disc in switch. Well worn but didn't think enough to cause problem with operation. Spring under each of the triangular contacts and my all appear identical in size. 

I''ll check on the off position and report back.  Don't really think that is issue as if it were to make contact should be position 2 which is just  just the fender lights  and not the headlights as well as they are position 3 and 4.  Thanks

Rod

 

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problem solved----altho not sure how it was solved. Removed several wires from switch and checked after removal of each to see if lights off when switch in off position. When I removed the driver headlight wire and put battery cable back on positive post the lights were off. But I also moved a wire hanging down which is for one of the bulbs in dash and don't know what it was touching before I moved it--it was close to switch itself.  Don't know how it was fixed but at least for time being the lights are operating as designed. Do believe the switch I removed was bad as when I bench tested it not making contact with one of the contacts so that was not a waste of time. Appreciate your suggestions and wish I had something helpful from my experience but at least I didn't have to remove switch again--really a pain in the butt.

Thanks

Rod

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