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Headlight alarm warning switch

 
Old 03-27-2013, 09:38 AM
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Commodore
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Default Headlight alarm warning switch

The passenger side switch that mounts to the headlight assembly on my '75 is unattached from its normal mounting place. My lights function perfectly with this switch just dangling from its wires (the plastic threaded back of the switch and its securing nut have broken off and long departed). A new switch sells for about $30.00. Can I just glue my functional switch back in place and not cause any problems? How does the switch know that it must issue a warning and what kind of warning would be signaled should one be needed?
RB
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:12 AM
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Easy Mike
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Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
...Can I just glue my functional switch back in place and not cause any problems?...
Try it.

...How does the switch know that it must issue a warning and what kind of warning would be signaled should one be needed?...
The switch only monitors whether the headlight door fully opened. If the door fails to open/raise, the Head Light warning lamp in the center cluster will illuminate. Your owner's manual explains it.

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Old 03-27-2013, 12:26 PM
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The idea is that when you turn on your headlights, the headlight warning light should come on, and go off when your headlights are locked in the up position.

There is a small button on the switch that gets compressed when the headlight assembly is fully up, and locked. If the switch is connected to the harness, and simply hanging there, then that button can not be getting pressed. If you are not seeing the light come on in the dash, then my bet is that bulb has either been removed, or is burned out.

The purpose of the light is to warn the driver that the headlights are not locked, therefore engine vacuum is keeping the headlights up. Lets assume you are driving at night, and the engine stalls. If the headlights are not locked, the headlights might go down, that would be a bad thing.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:03 PM
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Glue it or just pull the switch from the socket.
Pulling the switch will eliminate the dash light from coming on because that side will act like the light is up.
Hope this helps.
Terry
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:35 AM
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Glue will last about a week in most cases. I glued one on my 76 and it lasted about that long...then the other one went so I just ordered new ones. But I'm the type of guy that doesn't like it when things don't work properly. For me, $30 a piece wasn't a big deal.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:50 AM
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There is a good chance we might be talking about two different 'switches'? The part I'm talking about makes no contact with anything that moves. The part was originally attached by a nut on the back of its plastic assembly to a non moving headlight structure/support. All my dash warning lights as well as buzzers work. The dangling two wire 'switch' hasn't triggered any warning buzzers or warning lights. I think I could simply tie wrap the 'switch' to its regular location and be done with it as it seems that the 'switch' does not care if it's hanging or bolted to where Chevy put it all those years ago. Unless you look up through the lower air intakes you'd never know that it wasn't secured like its twin on the other side. I only noticed it while detailing the area in front of the radiator when I had the car on a lift and wanted to keep it from flopping around (not to mention finding out what it was supposed to do).
RB
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:55 AM
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Would be surprised if we're talking about different things. Do you mean this: http://www.parts123.com/parts123/yb....Z5Z5Z50000050G

If so, as stated above it contacts the assembly in the up / on position to tell you that the lights are all the way up. One end has a little button on it you can depress with your finger if you want to.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:21 AM
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Yup, that's the rascal. Going to have to take a much closer look at my broken switch this weekend. Thanks for doing the leg work finding the part and posting the link.
I'm curious as to how the switch actually works. I'll put my car back on the lift this weekend and run the lights through a cycle or two to find out. Looks like my Corvette will be eating $30.00 of mine this weekend in its quest for life immortal .
RB
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:29 AM
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Below is a picture I took of one of my switches. The bucket is partially up. You can see the button on the bottom of the switch, and the metal tab that is coming up to press it.

When you get your new switch, be careful when you install it. If someone in the past improperly adjusted the headlight bucket, it may smash your new switch, instead of simply pressing the button.

The way the system works, is by the switches providing continuity when the button is not pressed, and removing continuity when it is. Usually when a switch breaks off, and is simply hanging there, the switch continues to provide continuity and the headlight warning lamp stays on as long as the headlights are on. Either switch can provide continuity, so if one switch is broken, simply removing it allow the other switch to keep the system working as it should.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:02 PM
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Just one final point on the install of the new one once you get it - make sure not to overtighten it...you can see in the picture that it is reasonably loose. Don't use tools for this at all, just install the nut finger tight.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
There is a good chance we might be talking about two different 'switches'? The part I'm talking about makes no contact with anything that moves. The part was originally attached by a nut on the back of its plastic assembly to a non moving headlight structure/support. All my dash warning lights as well as buzzers work. The dangling two wire 'switch' hasn't triggered any warning buzzers or warning lights. I think I could simply tie wrap the 'switch' to its regular location and be done with it as it seems that the 'switch' does not care if it's hanging or bolted to where Chevy put it all those years ago. Unless you look up through the lower air intakes you'd never know that it wasn't secured like its twin on the other side. I only noticed it while detailing the area in front of the radiator when I had the car on a lift and wanted to keep it from flopping around (not to mention finding out what it was supposed to do).
RB
If you've got a hanging switch as described and the red headlight warning lamp on the dash is not on continuously when the headlamps are turned on, you've got a wiring problem to chase also.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:28 PM
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Great picture and nice installation warning. Your photo is like a visible text book .
Correct me if I'm wrong but are you saying that a warning will only happen if both switches fail (even if one headlamp bucket fails to open)? Can it be assumed that if one cut the wires and twisted them together and then capping them with wire nuts [on both sides] that the now missing switches would indicate to the car that everything is OK?
Seems kind of silly that if the headlight doors failed to open and it's dark most folks shouldn't need more warning after they'd hit a few invisible things in the darkness . If that weren't enough how about that yellowish pool of light under the car following you around that should be facing forward?
RB

Last edited by Commodore; 03-28-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong but are you saying that a warning will only happen if both switches fail (even if one headlamp bucket fails to open)? Can it be assumed that if one cut the wires and twisted them together and then capping them with wire nuts [on both sides] that the now missing switches would indicate to the car that everything is OK?
No, the opposite. The red warning light would be on continuously any time the headlamps are turned on, irrespective of bucket position.

BOTH switches need to break electrical contact to turn the light off.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
Great picture and nice installation warning. Your photo is like a visible text book .
Correct me if I'm wrong but are you saying that a warning will only happen if both switches fail (even if one headlamp bucket fails to open)? Can it be assumed that if one cut the wires and twisted them together and then capping them with wire nuts [on both sides] that the now missing switches would indicate to the car that everything is OK?

No - That would keep the lamp on all the time. Simply disconnect both switches and the lamp will never come on.

Seems kind of silly that if the headlight doors failed to open and it's dark most folks shouldn't need more warning after they'd hit a few invisible things in the darkness . If that weren't enough how about that yellowish pool of light under the car following you around that should be facing forward?

The warning is not that they are down, it's that they are up, and not locked. The lamps may come up, and appear to work ok, but not lock. If you are driving in that situation, and your car stalls, there may not be vacuum to keep the lamps up. I would hate to be driving down the road at night, have my car stall AND have the head lights go down when it does.
RB
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for enlightening me and hopefully others about these well hidden and important switches. Needless to say, my replacement switch should ship tomorrow
RB
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:03 AM
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Default attachment nut for headlight door warning switch

Looking for the needle in the haystack here.
The silver nut in the picture, with or without a lock washer.
I bought a replacement (no nut included in box) since my warning switch was cracked in half and dangling from the bottom of the headlight mechanism.
I searched websites for 2 hours and all the photos have the switch without the nut, and no separate part to purchase the nut.
I have searched virtually all websites for the nut to hold this together.
Does anybody know the size of the attachment nut, where to buy one, or another nut of the same size on a 76 Stingray that can be used (and hopefully orderable as a part) to attach the warning switch?

Also, note that the poster that said the interior red headlight lamp warning comes on if the headlight door switch is broken. Mine has been broken (and the light on) forever, and I finally got around to diagnosing the cause thanks to this website.

I am a 3rd owner of a survivor that has been in the family since 1983.

Thanks in advance.



[/QUOTE]







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Old 01-16-2019, 12:19 AM
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BLUE1972
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TO CHECK THE WIRING / SWITCH:

Put on the headlights without the motor running - . Headlights should be down, but on. Warning light should light on the instrument cluster, if not you have a problem.

Push one light up manually, the warning light should still be lit.
Start the car lower the light. Turn off the car.
Turn on the headlights, push up the other headlight - the warning light should be lit.

If the warning light does not light with either headlight up - you have a wiring problem or bad switch.

Last edited by BLUE1972; 01-16-2019 at 12:20 AM.
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