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Discussion Starter #1
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
 

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I just did this not to long ago, night and day increase in use.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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mpcapps is a candidate for sainthood

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 !
 

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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!:p ).

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

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I installed a wiring harness that adds relays to the circuit, thereby reducing the amperage that goes through the switch. Fortunately I didn't have a problem prior to adding it. The wiring harness also restores full voltage AT the lights, increasing brightness. This allows you to add advanced lighting systems as well. :)
 

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There is a saying....."Fools rush in where angels fear to tread". I have violated it many times and I was pretty nervous about popping the cover to the headlight switch, but I do like to drive at night, so........Guess what? The problem was just a bit of carbon crud built up on the contacts. Scraped it off, reassembled, and Bingo !

Would have never had the guts to open it up without your great pix. Thanks !

Nathan Mayo
 

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MSA sells both headlight and parking light harnesses with the relays. Just to throw that in there.
 

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So I guess my question is, when I the board off the section where the spring is, is there supposed to be a spring / hat in each hole? It seems like it should be that way, however I only have a spring in the passenger side lever/hole.

Should there be two? Am I missing one?

 

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Look at the 2nd and 3rd pictures in the Original Post.
Is your spring in the left position in that pic and do you have a rounded plastic pin in the right side? It looks like you have the pin in your pic.
If that be the case, I would say the spring is to give a "snap feel" as the contact bar is pivoted by the cam of the selector shaft; then the pin would just be a rocker for the bar on the right.
I've never had one apart, and you can wait for someone who has if you want to be sure.
 

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Know this is old thread, followed example and fixed all my running lights, and dashboard lights with this:smile great easy fix. thanks to the poster
 

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Just a note: when OP says bend the tabs back carefully, lift on the "open" end of the tab while holding pressure with a flat tool at the "base" of the tab so you gently lift the tab to vertical and do not bend the base of the tab back past vertical with the switch case.

Bending the base seems to be one way to stretch the metal at that point and the tab can break off.
It may take more than one time over-bending the tab base like this but why take a chance even when bending it once.
 

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Switch

My 82 zx has a different switch but it was simple enough to repair. Pulled the steering wheel, removed the cover, pulled the switch assembly and cleaned the contacts with 400 grit sand paper and a brass brush.
All is well ow with the little blue girl.
Thank you all for the wonderful page and all the sage advice.
 
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