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Chrysler TC Brake light switch defective - How to remove?


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I metered the brake light switch and it is bad, so I am trying to figure out how to remove it from the top of the steering column. It almost looks like you need extremely small hands to get to its location which I don't have. 

 

Is there a secret on how to get it removed short of dropping the steering column down to get at it? My friendly mechanic stated, "you should be able to reach up and grab the switch and push it toward the ratcheting end and then drop it out of the holder." I cannot get my hands anywhere near the switch to even begin to move it in any direction. I can barely get one hand above the steering column and the brake support frame to even touch the switch. I am unable to view the switch holder at all. 

 

What is the magic removal process?

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1 hour ago, JerryLG said:

I metered the brake light switch and it is bad, so I am trying to figure out how to remove it from the top of the steering column. It almost looks like you need extremely small hands to get to its location which I don't have. 

 

Is there a secret on how to get it removed short of dropping the steering column down to get at it? My friendly mechanic stated, "you should be able to reach up and grab the switch and push it toward the ratcheting end and then drop it out of the holder." I cannot get my hands anywhere near the switch to even begin to move it in any direction. I can barely get one hand above the steering column and the brake support frame to even touch the switch. I am unable to view the switch holder at all. 

 

What is the magic removal process?

DETERMINATION ! The easiest way for YOU to get to the switch is to REMOVE the drivers seat from the floor of the interior so you will have room to work! 

Then remove the seat from the car. Now you can lay down in the interior of the car.

818BB92D-345F-40F3-AC9C-66EA10791FE3.jpeg.abca2589d275d1db8a6974931f4851d9.jpeg

AB091FA3-3939-4C9C-9F9C-8D0437F77A99_1_201_a.jpeg.e2e7a6022efe34beb2f3bd0e90e69910.jpeg Then reach up and pull the switch toward the the rear of the car, sliding it out of its round retainer. Slip the wire harness off the stud as seen in the photo, finally disconnect the harness at its connection to the rest of the instrument harness.   Now you have the magic removal process.

 

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Hemi, great picture and great suggestion. I see in the photo that the steering column is gone which is why I was asking if it made sense to drop the column loose from its holding bracket. With that column in place, I am having a hard time trying to figure out how I would be able to move the switch toward the back of the car, as I cannot get my hands or fingers near the switch to move it in any direction. 

 

What is holding the switch in place toward the back side of the car? Is there another metal bracket that the circular molding on the back of the switch fits into, as I am unable to move that switch in any direction?

 

I am calling it quits until later this evening as it is just too hot to work on in the garage right now. 

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Posted (edited)

"What is holding the switch in place toward the back side of the car? Is there another metal bracket that the circular molding on the back of the switch fits into, as I am unable to move that switch in any direction?"

Yes, there is a stationary bracket into which the switch is inserted. The stop lamp switch is merely shoved into that hole containing a retaining ring snapped into that hole. It is this circular retainer that latches on to the groves in the switch that you see in the picture of the RockAuto switch. These groves allow you the ability to move the switch in the bracket, to adjust it correctly.

 

 

If you lower the column you would gain greater access but the column will be in your way to a great extent. That is why you see the column completely removed from the interior. The photo is from the time when I converted my TC to a standard Vacuum Booster brake system, therefore the steering column had to be out of the car. 

DDAA289C-0BBF-4BAA-BE01-FE9AD6FAA1F9.jpeg.8eb1de590281d63cc572850ef56687b7.jpeg

Edited by Hemi Dude
Added photo (see edit history)
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Hemi, I was finally able to get a small mirror reflection over the top of the brake pedal support and I can see the nut and the retainer tab on the outside of the support. I am hoping that I can push the switch toward the rear of the car and get it to release from the retainer after removing the nut and washer.  

 

I will try to attack on Thursday morning to see if I can remove the nut and then get the switch to come out of the retainer bracket. I will update you on my progress. These photos have been a big help.

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Hemi, I removed what turned out to be an 8 MM nut and the switch and its mounting bracket were then free from the brake support top-half clamshell. I just spent the better part of 3 hours trying to turn that switch in every direction I could without being able to remove it from that clamshell cavity. It wants to hang up on the brake pedal actuating L-bracket. I am unable to get any kind of a socket or wrench on that 8 MM nut in order to try to get that L-bracket free to turn it a slight bit to make room for the switch removal. Garage is just too hot to work on it for now. Will take another look when it gets cooler. I am thinking the switch needs to be pulled or pried from its mounting bracket first (if this is even possible due to lack of space), then remove the bracket and take things out in two separate parts. As a side note, I am unable to find a replacement adjusting clip (PN 6031704) anywhere locally. I have to assume I will need a new one as the old one in all likelihood may get damaged while trying to remove it from the defective switch. 

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I have not had occasion to remove a stop lamp switch from its mounting position but from looking at the photo, I would think that after the nut has been removed from the mounting bracket, all you would need to do is press down on the brake pedal a little in order to give the switch a little clearance from the L-bracket. It should then just drop down from its location.

 

To remove the switch from the mounting bracket, I would try to mount the bracket in a vice and just pull back in a quick, firm movement of the switch to remove it. Do not try rotating the switch in the mounting bracket as that could permanently damage the 'adjusting clip'.  

 

I have no source for the clip.

I will likely try to sell the entire clutch / brake pedal mechanisms still attached to the mounting bracket as it came from a 16V TC with a 5 speed trans. It could all be used by someone who would be interested in converting a TC from automatic trans to a 5 speed either a 4 cylinder or a V6.

I have a friend in Idaho who has a 5 speed TC with a 3.0L, it drives so much stronger than with that 604 Ultradrive trans. I have a complete shifter and all the cables as well for an earlier 555 or similar 5 speed.

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Hemi, after two more hours of trying to turn that switch in all directions to get it out, It appears that that L-bracket has to be removed or at loosen enough to get it to turn out of the way. I have just about given up on trying to get the switch out any other way. My issue is that the nut for the L bracket is in a location which makes it difficult to remove and I may not be able to get it started back on the stud once removed.  NAPA says they have universal clips that should work, so I am going to go look at them and see what they have. My switch has the original clip on it and it appears to be factory original by the labeling on the wiring. At least it lasted 30 years. It may take me that long to replace it at the rate I am going. 

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Hemi, 

May I call you to discuss the issue? I think I know what my issue is and a way to do a workaround. If available for a short call, send your contact # to my email: Gapeachjhg@verizon.net. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

After many futile hours trying to remove the brake light switch and it's holder as one piece, I came to the conclusion that the switch and the bracket could not be removed as an assembly due to the lack of clearance between the switch holding bracket and the brake switch actuator bracket. 

 

Following a lengthy discussion with Hemi Dude, I was given instructions on how to remove the steering column to gain better access to that switch. So, here is what I did after using my quick disconnect to remove ground path from the negative side of the battery:

1. Disconnected those wire connections going to the steering column that did not have enough length to allow the steering column to be lowered

2. Loosened the two nuts holding the steering column at the front of the dash ( left just enough threads to hold steering column to dash)

3. Loosened the three nuts holding the steering column at the bottom end of the shaft ( ran the nuts just to the end of the threads, did not remove completely)

4. Placed a plastic carton ( use your imagination)  under the steering column near the steering wheel to allow the column to be lowered after removing the two nuts previously loosened at the dashboard. I made sure that no wiring was being stretched at any point while lowering the column.

5. With the column lowered (not completely removed), I was able to get my fingers on the brake light switch and had to fight with it to get it to release from the holding clip on the switch bracket. It took some time, lots of wiggling, and patience to get it completely free. 

6. Metered the new switch to make sure all connectivity/no connectivity wire pairs were as expected per the service manual.

7.  Installed the new switch using the old holding clip. Aligning the new switch keyway with the clip is another painful act, but it can be done. You just have to be able to see the slot in the clip and the keyway on the switch and get them aligned and at the right angle. Once it was inserted, I pushed the switch forward as far as I could into the clip.

8. I raised the column and reinstalled the two nuts at the top of the dash. I only ran the nuts up to the end of the threads leaving the column loose. 

9. I installed the three nuts at the bottom of the column making sure that the brake switch wiring and no other wiring was caught between the clamshell holding the column. I then tightened the three nuts each a few turns at a time. Once they were just snug, I then tightened the two nuts at the top of the column, and then tightened the three lower nuts. 

10. I reconnected all the wiring previously removed in item 1 above. 

11. Initial check of brake lights showed the brakes were on as soon as the battery was reconnected. I then viewed the switch being activated by the brake pedal and it appeared that the switch was being correctly activated. However, the switch had to be completely bottomed out against the brake pedal actuator bracket before the brake lights would work as expected. One last push of the switch toward the firewall solved the actuator issue. 

 

I would suggest that anyone who needs to replace the brake light switch in a 1991 model just take action to lower the steering column and save yourself some time and frustration. On my car, it appears that the switch holding bracket stud is longer than what is needed. When I  tried multiple times to remove the switch bracket, the stud would not clear the frame support as the switch bracket would hit the brake actuator bracket before the stud would come out of the frame. If that stud were about 4-5 threads shorter, it in all likelihood would have cleared the frame. No amount of twisting or turning of the bracket would get that stud to come out of the frame.

 

A big shout out goes to Hemi Dude (Andersen) for his encouragement and guidance during this ordeal. His knowledge of these cars is extraordinary and of great benefit to the membership. He was very helpful on more than one issue that I was working on, and each item was able to be resolved per his advice. 

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