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Brake Switch Replacement How-To (W/ Pics) FAQ

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  #1  
Old 06-07-2010, 04:38 PM
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Default Brake Switch Replacement How-To (W/ Pics) FAQ

I recently replaced the brake light switch on my '98 XK8, and I thought I'd go ahead and document the process here for others. I am going to attempt to include several pictures. As this will be my first time doing so on this forum, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Some of the steps/pictures included here may seem painfully obvious, but I subscribe to the theory that having too much information is vastly preferable to not having enough. So without further ado, here are my notes:

Supplies used:

New brake switch ($70+tax from dealer)
Socket wrench with 12" extension
8mm socket
Piece of scrap wood about 15" long

The nuts which mount the brake switch bracket to the vehicle's body are located under the hood/bonnet. After opening the hood, you need to remove the plastic cover identified by the green arrow below. Simply insert a finger or two into the hole presumably provided for this purpose and lift up and in towards the center of the car.





Next, remove the two 8mm nuts indicated in the picture below. You will need an extension if using a socket wrench. I used a 12" extension and had a few inches to spare.





Now move to the vehicle's interior and unplug the switch's electrical connector, which is located behind the brake pedal. Mine was readily visible, but even if yours isn't, you should easily be able to find it by tracing the wire from the switch.





Remove the old switch and replace it with the new one. NOTE: The switch is designed to be engaged when the brake pedal is RELEASED. You will probably be working blind (I was unable to see the mouting holes no matter how I positioned myself), so if you do not orient the new switch properly, you will waste a lot of time trying in vain to mate the bracket's studs to the holes where they belong. There is a horizontal bar that protrudes from the brake pedal stem. This bar and the actual switch that is activated are shown in the two photos below.The side of the switch housing that allows the switch to make contact with the bar should face toward the front of the car.








If you are replacing the switch by yourself, you can wedge a piece of wood or something else under the switch to help hold it in place while you re-attach the nuts. Once the nuts are in place, re-connect the elctrical connector and test the switch. After the replacement, my brake lights stayed on even when the pedal was released. A gentle wiggle of the switch followed by a little additional tightening of the nuts solved the problem. Do not over-tighten the nuts. I don't have torque numbers for them, but maybe someone else here does.

That's it - job done. Good luck!

Last edited by sgtofmarines1775; 06-07-2010 at 04:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:27 PM
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STICKY ! ! !

We have another great Sticky!
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:14 PM
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Nice one sarge...nice post c/w great pics and write up to boot......will surely be of benefit to others.
FAQ'd
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:23 PM
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Ooh rah, Sgt.! Semper fi and all that good stuff. Nice writeup, the pics are priceless.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:58 PM
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If you are going to take pictures for posting at least clear out the leaves and debris in the picture! Sorry, couldn't help it!!
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:56 PM
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Default Thanks SGT!

Thanks Sgt, guide was a great help yesterday.
Aligning those bolts was challenging haha!

the main problem i found was the Bar got in the way of alligning them, so i used the 17 inch stick i cut to hold up the switch , to push the break pedal in while i positoned the switch, worked like a charm.
( if the break pedal is stiff to push start the engine )

Cheers again for the helpfull post
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:47 PM
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OH MY GOD!!! I don't know whether to thank sgtofmarines or to curse him! His instructions were helpful, I wouldn't have known where to start without them, but putting the switch back in the car nearly killed me. I'm going to be sore for days.

Removing the switch was easy. I just followed the directions in this thread. But putting it back in took 6.5 hours. SERIOUSLY! You guys know me, I don't shy away from tearing things apart and putting them back together, but if I had know how hard it would be to get the switch reinstalled I would have just taken it to the dealer. The f***ing thing just did not want to go back in place. I got my wife out in the garage to help me, and she was giving me directions from under the hood, trying to help me line up the two threaded studs with the the holes in the firewall. They just wouldn't line up! Then I tried threading some fishing line down through the holes and tying it to the studs. That didn't work. I even removed the driver's seat so that I could lay on my back on the floor and look up at the brake pedal. I started at ten o'clock this morning and had the switch out by 10:15. It was repaired by 10:45. I finally got it reinstalled at 4:30 this afternoon! Never again will I try to replace that switch. It's definitely going to the dealer.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:49 PM
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Damn... I just read simon's post right above my last one. Maybe it would have been easier if I had started the engine...
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:39 PM
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Default Thanks for the chuckle!!!!!!!

First kudos to Sarge and many thanks for the great pictures and info! I just have to add that Reverend Sam gave me a nice chuckle with your post. It really made my day to know I am not alone. I am going out now to tackle the job.
Thanks to both
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:52 PM
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Savage,

I noticed you are in Fairhope. My mom is in Lillian. Are you a member of the Panhandle British Car Association?
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlgeorge View Post
Savage,

I noticed you are in Fairhope. My mom is in Lillian. Are you a member of the Panhandle British Car Association?
LOL! You can't be serious! My parents live in Lillian. They live in a community called Spanish Cove.

Whenever I go down there we always go over to Foley and eat at Lamberts, home of the "throwed" rolls. Have you ever been there? It's awesome!
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:28 PM
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Been to Lamberts. Want to buy some waterfront property in Seminole? Original plan was to retire to LA.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:07 PM
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No, I was not aware of the club until this post. I had been looking and am happy you took the time to bring it to my attention.I am going to the website and check it out. Thanks!!
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:14 PM
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Test Point, what changed your mind about retirement in LA?
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverend Sam View Post
LOL! You can't be serious! My parents live in Lillian. They live in a community called Spanish Cove.

Whenever I go down there we always go over to Foley and eat at Lamberts, home of the "throwed" rolls. Have you ever been there? It's awesome!
What a small world! My mom lives in Hereon Village just up the street from Spanish Cove. I wonder if they know each other? My mom is an avid bridge player and has many friends in Spanish Cove. She doesn't seem to like Lamberts, so I have never been. We used to always go to Wolf Bay until it burned down. We have gone to their new place in Orange Beach, but it is just not the same. There is a new small restaurant in the old hotel in downtown Foley that is real good, Magnolia Tea Room.
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savage View Post
No, I was not aware of the club until this post. I had been looking and am happy you took the time to bring it to my attention.I am going to the website and check it out. Thanks!!
I am a member of the Panhandle British Car Association and try to attend some of their events when I am in the area. They have an active membership. I will be going down there for a week or so on October 5th. Maybe we could meet at the Magnolia Tea Room in downtown Foley one day. My Mom loves that place.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:50 PM
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You HAVE to go to Lambert's. They have huge portions, but even before they bring out the food they have people walking around with delicious side dishes that they serve to you right there on paper towels. The okra is AWESOME! Also, right there at the intersection by the bridge and the used car dealership in Lillian is a cool little diner that has great burgers. Whenever I go visit my parents I always go to Lamberts and the diner.

By the way... get the ham steak at Lamberts. It's about 2 pounds of meat.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:07 PM
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Default TidBit to Add on Switch Replacement

Just changed the brake switch today, not as bad as I feared. Thanks to sgtofmarines1775 for the excellent instructions. After cranking the car and positioning a rod to hold the pedal down I started the job of feeling my way to the mounting holes to no avail. After about 10 min I asked my lovely bride of 30 years to assist me by looking from under the hood and guiding me. This proved to be a test of a long standing relationship however something good came from it. Rather than try and tell me which direction I should be twisting the switch (which is backward from my perspective in the car) she watched the hole and held the old switch in her hand turning it as I would need to line it up and eureka it was in! She held the switch in the air in the same direction as I was holding the one in the car. Really helped me and just thought I might pass it on. PS: Sorry for all the smilies I could not resist, I promise not to do it again.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:45 AM
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2/2011: I just did mine following these excellent instructions. 10 mintues to remove, 15 to reinstall.

Things I learned:

1. After you remove to old switch, run the nuts onto the new one to make sure they go on smoothly.

2. Have someone stick a wires, (or bamboo skewers from the kitchen) through the mounting holes from the top side and use them to determine where the holes are from the underside. I was WAY off in my first attempt to locate the holes. I simply used one skewer as a guide adn the switch popped in, first time.

3. This is definately a 2 person job. It's a waste of time to try otherwise.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:45 PM
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My switch only fails once every now and again, so I'd like to clean it and put it back.

I'm about to attempt this job ("should be 2 man job" but I'm on my own) and was wondering if it is neccessary to remove the two nuts from inside the bonnet/hud?

The switch assembly looks like it has a metal bracket and a plastic switch attached by a small bolt. Can I not simply remove that small bolt to remove the switch leaving the metal bracket attached to the body?

Thanks,
Tom
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