Headlight combination switch repair - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Headlight combination switch repair

I know there are other fixes out there for the 240-280z headlight switch contact problem but this is certainly the easiest and uses no additional parts.

My switch was so bad that it generated enough heat to desolder the wire from the switch itself. Not fun at dusk when you lose all exterior lights.

I had taken apart the switch and cleaned up the contacts but they had a coating on them that prevented oxidation - once this was gone they just oxidized and overheated again.

The thing i noticed about the switch is that not all of the contacts are used, but they are there - the internals of the switch are symmetrical. The unused contacts are pristine. Pics are of an extra one i had canabilized for the spring loaded nubs.

- Unsolder the 4 wires
- Bend back tabs being careful to hold the board in place
- with the switch in the middle position carefully lift the board away
- notice the spring loaded nubs/rocker switch actuators and mind the rockers
- cut the locating tab off the side of the board
- rotate the board 180 degrees and carefully replace, minding the rockers and nubs
- before bending tabs, rotate the switch to ensure it actuates properly
- bend tabs in place and resolder wires onto new contacts
- enjoy headlight switch sure to fail in ~30 years
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1740.jpg (272.6 KB, 623 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1741.jpg (280.5 KB, 513 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1742 (Modified).JPG (503.7 KB, 528 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1743 (Modified).JPG (861.5 KB, 505 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1747.jpg (265.3 KB, 468 views)

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'78 280Z - 3.1L MSII Neverending Tuning
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 10:27 AM
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I just did this not to long ago, night and day increase in use.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:37 AM
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I have not used it but i think this would be good for contacts like this.

Electrical contact improved by carbon black paste.

http://wings.buffalo.edu/academic/de...y%20carbon.pdf

http://www.tedpella.com/semmisc_html...m#anchor399622


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Last edited by black gold man; 12-10-2012 at 11:40 AM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 12:32 PM
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Aren't you just swapping the running light contact for the headlight contact? I just had the solder joint on my running light contacts break due to heat cycling, like you described for your headlights, and installed a relay to remove the load after resoldering it.

A good idea but in some cases, like mine, the other side gets hot too. 1976 280Z coupe.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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If you just wanted to swap the running light contact for the headlight contact, you could just swap the wires left to right. What you're doing is instead of using the center to top connections, you use the center to bottom connections. With how short the wires are, i decided that the easiest way to accomplish this was to flip the entire board around.

The wires go onto the same relative positions they went on before (the "top" 4 spots), but now you're making use of the part of the switch that has never been used previously. You solder to the center posts and to the two posts shown that currently have no solder on them.

As you can see from the pictures, the heat source is the connection between the top post and the rocker, and not between the pivot and rocker. One of mine is clearly black from heat in the picture.

My failure was on the running lights as well, but i know other people have had the headlight part go as well. originally the heat simply melted the actuating nub. only later did the joint unsolder.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 02:38 PM
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I see. I didn't think it through. Pretty slick, nice work.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 10:00 PM
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Just recently my headlight switch became intermittent and its a very bad feeling to not have any lights. I got as far as unscrewing the 3 retaining screws, sprayed contact cleaner and reassembled, but no improvement. I will try again and this time disassemble the switch tabs as shown in your excellent photos.

If it works and I get to Heaven before you, I will tell them to let you in.

Thanks so much !

NATHAN
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 11:21 PM
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You get an "A" for ingenuity!

Chattanooga, TN 82 white w/ red na coupe 153,000 83 2+2 330k mi 82 Black/buck 126k mi
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 04:21 AM
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Nice photos. I would recommend anybody with an earlier car do this, and convert to headlight relays to make the switch last as long as possible.

they go dead from the amperage of directly switching headlight power. Put a small relay on it like the plug-n-play conversion out there now, and it should last forever with no degradation whatsoever!

I did this on my 73 back in 1992, when I changed the fuse box and the relays save your switches! If you take the time to fix the switch, take the time to make it last (at least 60 years this time, right! ).

Great Pictures and Writeup. A basic Z thing to do. Should be a sticky!

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 11:49 AM
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I did a write up for relay installation on an 83' in my rides topic, posts #10 and #12, for anyone interested in DIY headlight relays.

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