DIY - Rebuilding the headlight switch

Ok friends, here's another edition of kitchen table restorations, except tonight my wife has kicked me out of the kitchen so I will be cluttering up the back deck table while enjoying some vino. Anyway, these expensive switches can be rebuilt quite easily. This is my friend's switch, I noticed that when I turned the parking lights on it started to emit a little smoke so time to rebuild, I did mine a few years ago.

Pry away the corners where the aluminum case is crimped, first with a tiny screwdriver then a little bigger one to free up the plastic top, try not to destroy the metal too much as it will be re-crimped later:

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Then as it starts to release, ease the pieces apart, a corner or 2 may need some more prying:

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Off it comes, 2 of the prongs stay behind:

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Top off and lots of crusty gunk:

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Important to note the contact layout for reassembly:

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Pull out the slider piece:

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Caution: springs abound: total of 6 small and 2 large in the entire switch, 4 for the slider top:

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Bottom side has 2 plastic pieces that fit into the indentations in the case plus the 2 large springs:

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Pull the reostat unit out in one piece, be careful as it is spring loaded and keep holding it together while removing because it will want to fly apart:

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All clean with 45 year old grease removed and all electrical contacts sanded with uber fine grit, reostat coil cleaned and lubed with some spray electronic cleaner/lube:

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Last edited:

Stevehose

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Reassembly:

2 little springs into the plastic piece, these will provide tension for the metal contact piece against the reostat coil:

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Metal contact piece, one spring fits on a little mound on the piece, the other spring presses on the reostat arm:

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Lay the plastic spacer on (my apologies to DQ for my spray-paint stained thumb):

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Then the metal plate:

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Pinch it together then slide it into the housing, the little indents in the case walls and the tabs of the metal plate which fit into the bottom of the case will hold it in:

LqclRJF2Qb-c9SwH5AjtW6WAFAg4ESS6DcH-xGVhvNSzSM6YOrTPDjxy3-ta-47_SyYvr2_KYDxb7bPev7Mua6RpSxQB0B2khw7Kf2vMsEBeql5nq8veF15nlwqZdtTLe46xBkNAnH1FSUc9XiPVp2WR5s8JZBbZbU-uyawVGG95JmXr2WuomiqLFx894x09BqA7jG6VHKyYYh95ubRB3ePEo7MgjN2JgiAAH6c4B45pTZ6uN4q98YyscVP0G-qzmZkDquMSSXnOqWEn1FUlpzgxTAXIoJmKxCWzYcwab8pjJJyR5hKm4wNOQ89dUgPCy6fCRwsayBFTn-ljo-T3_lQJmyEJ-2dL-MCrMpUtM-yrsHJMXc2QmOlltl-OeCBIH4tc2Yyuh0ZobCzwiVpsoAX5GaiV3HZx1IwcsY-d2oiEZrg2Q2aeLtPY5Zj0-a-idqWNwg0vRqGOUwjkBivbgYVwa1r17Z6SDQAD9UVsLXzJ2SC7WtfsA7KmYw73r_2TqK80lxOcAkI6sz9sueEL4Yy_msvnurrIOFZipGuMzYGxw0hHCjxMmFNSKgJERscEYqfgqOsDJNp9Ftrq975r9ubQX99-A70-tkXFFLoNzbTtHuxo=w578-h770-no



Grease the bottom and insert the pull rod, the cutout on the rod is what the center of the slider piece fits over:

CuQ67sO-WcA_JvL9tWC_qR7c4FHtsMD8OKBBYIpbCUsnAxgKZp35mevFr3jH2igQfjbACPdf-WSTxPwzK87y6sACWjnQGbOKJgQ6V_ybGqqutKMJOIJLiT6tegbtNmml7CCZF14jyK8mPUXbaVdhM5uoCy6-6ZXz3MZv3xAq1rOFVG2f5OFC7lY7JVPsMoyYkUOyL3Gi8j8pLmDr2OzPeZAwK3Wq5IaYiswHxMUc-bwE38xV3-npw6VqdH1x7oUmbuqJkdRZX215suDCry8do76_qSFPJjZ-WNPGN5_pUh__nd5HUqlHZ7xk746bhOX2ALUhgocuRhLD1MA1FKo7Jr1KrGdn_2B0MuLzsWsomJmlCevm2tHOOGVerEwMcrVADc48EWOYe2sNE-K5zpuN2_5YgBFtnqvL-jsrdIAMyZV7RBykqIteFqJSvPXixso4wAmsdCQ6d8l5FpQlaVQxwsOs1GSiuyKrtpArLptJO9J2AjpZuogboZUr5jlZS_hJ5tHOQa4mblfs9yWX1nQ7f-2PZJS1hhmeD2Tp-7I8YacSEn9kmJBz4CiSrSoLFK54zR_QQdklTlUvlR2_CYAdTq3GIucqS2rNGdiaCQvC1ZwLseeZ=w1027-h771-no



Insert the 2 large springs into the bottom of the slider piece and install the 2 plastic cones:

_O32EAD_J4Fc7azMc7ce29bpEyprSxgaJdW0PyCcZn_1a3jSRpbmO7rXtdF8WuT1my6SQa9ZH-d8o1_VW_jMWmFtrMh1sMjnFTx-j2dStnokcYTZ3zUory5-fxLh4QVyka1Yf-IVBQJNcomkV-gveRjH5Ty6mgilsxy8urPF0Awv6BqgHv0zE216vUydgyctsj7rxC9klUdCcFG4NnjNN85GyaDT0lv36lg_OYeBLE1-wEWWxd88xKhddFJAcl0u0d9aeN_pjEWR9quHPeY3oM04Skdsu6NhXVyudCaAL-9FvGQ4aeKkZSQ9oZVfK2zpwE2cAihoPoIK9JReeGXPa7HdOWWPq1dOaijXZnGcA2axr0m4JOUjfvLIpfNS-pw4YlDn53Symjzyf2SjqVdkORLu4BMjyQ3Hom_tDLlAYg6pE5BRCFbx7oz16V_WEVVRXFDBkiLGhSgMnA4nSdl21vNjDzTCWDGHyYMK8Sm-4DUSKK1efdfD9PulRDHcY5Mlm0No5OCH0_9N9_wQA3L0ThmM6u7IBFqYF0Maos89EdN3p_s12QEBVO3G2JbJp3dsSX_W9W8UBhPD0tldv5C0X_SRrgT8SvCeBXix5UIih00hcIAR=w1027-h771-no



Turn the switch on its side and install the slider piece over the cut out in the center of the rod so that it locks on the rod, then reinstall the 4 springs and the contacts (note that the horizontal contact piece is on the top side as the rod exits the housing to the left):

QhTqOf7zK4Vw9a6zCio3oX1Tc_zQOfq_YcCcFSzNhKbtcxLEjIiBbVMEhTYEO30G__GiUUzHuicZ5p-lMuy1877KTb_mtS1T6fqVapkMNG2IEI-it1Qc9b4BZbwT7-FrZ1-taB6-ORgW36MJ4hjtyJui4GcPjfSRu_z0mnV96VsaFDcCNbhHqDFpRN5ikLyvQps9nW6J84VyYVNIdnZw-W0jtrErNd7nSp4rB69EM-MNrmKZj42FcBGFPKL65W9pbEtaQ2vT4mlt7QZ3dxcw453VOxdvt3MbPcvK_J0B0s68w8n3ztkdXiKfsu79RB2FihbTI8Txz1ce2t6taXbEvqEc2VY6odgK6gRedDsNtef2kNdOYIyXnuwKxyx6K3cvH1p6DOcL-a5BVhFuDKoPXXJI15RXozSI8MuKjDLTRBGf43Yum8f6FqphtDaYN163iUL6oFe0FAy6Jzuf97JDvyIbCxXCIfXOZ8vGImRDm1fAImmnTE0lpATwqFmmrjTiYX7_aUjdVofnElJm7UwE8bNUrCwEK6ntgZSDsTK8coOS4auRHgbfIbw463RrALHQzfZ77P0hap3BlVEVqiI1t87BrvgiezoOK6u_It3eEvPYWsoI=w1027-h771-no



Install the top and crimp over the plastic whatever is left of the case corners so that it is held back together agin:

ulSS8JHkaFD69Jsb9cwUOjCoJlNnIUlKUX4RnltGFMZbIk_uErfmyzwbQ5MdBKHRW03YmNEtSV_hj5pmNjVEWqbZE7pNWy7uAVrIeK4ZCxaZ7FOkzUmrr3qfNKZIPeVgkaTSXeZeDUqxf6nKdbZJXklZ6jTPrIvP3JfJHz4WVob3gSX6I0WXZX5pRJU-nPijQFQOHdIR4xiM8gssleIAwNMEKN1rC2aWTGWeoxDVQarQAI18ambTuuK1nWvxUvTfXSLrtN9k6VBmVBcMjfHRV_-BdaAN2G8mvxRvESCd04-b2TydaG62crbV6QY6duXAD-qAI4r0lJuEZcaN8tCThPwSwEB-7S7BZskdeD9pTy0tckGuKed1du-u4EHDbKe5VFx-lAO8QmDZXlzhj56fSy84n5zeliKtiX9fC9oy4b4oyHPu8izxLW_9zDYA6u4wqqRM9IsvFPOSIO06enxislk0kyxGA9zYyeYahLzBxZFiU3JUBX7hjH8jifAQX1iBaZdhnt3eJqRswnyaL6Hnr8K93ADvlg7omUVFAI5I3ebEv6APmAOlgppTYBZz9U18i_737m5KaMme_bNGIDTx5vPAcMtkSmxFkvDG-EySHtJX4fNg=w1027-h771-no



Apply JB Weld (how I love this stuff) where the 2 halves meet (there may be a small gap to work some in) as well as the corners to reinforce what's left of the aluminum:

fSHJUIHaZgMIxpsp7kMDOEz_63iJ-J6LKTHWTOEhosQ0jF45HXVuCB1AXLhdlBkpaGzqLcHqTbWjH4rf7o3B3L8FeiFE56ZboH3YRr4LTm_5X_Tlz5aQufRvGK9k-RHBjB7FTumJ7lndq0iEEqKeoJtFpe9gRMA0nlC113Rbe_BFJ-ZNG1tW4s6cnnbeo6tjCOyFLVP31njCL_Nink5DBFq02klp0jR3ItF-5O5YT1Ubu3O6zejQ4G_LdoAeQL6WlpPgU8zuQa91ceJDUUzYUkTPPq6Hk1cs1j1989435phi0OjTbhDzvxqK8rxJoLldWbRC1QS8HCLjWu8ZgC58cMTQoOvO5fg0w03ygv0V8SXtyVzG35LyrPwgGAuXxH3f6YhlViHh5G-emT8hDoJxYmwJ5zP8HIp86ukFSD-jXtdDvxHPXja2ngklbDj22GeXRE7qWHfLZQtkwllA5KUZ3CmXL1VxEHXyJTK9ygamsj9mK3CrUMWGhfLhwHCvK_X1ZuDJFjVfUqTv85a9hH_WKI8TCiW7EQ4JO-PRD8JM_9uA_eHnkPJyhQOScFejEJj28M5GtZPcK4Yd_IxILGdMAYtZJ-X9M-ePQCEPjoJToG7Ap_pT=w1027-h771-no



Clean it up and zip tie it closed for a day for the JB to dry:

nCHfhLtSmOLZ1JqQKKQbrl3o6vBtDrj_HEWt5pJ1EPpiT5xhJtKHPe9UtScXdGH0Qy7N9TDyRJ2NbjFeVQE6HtA06yKUB0QBt2aHjKiOcwCIhNS5Ik6ALqyBi539XjiGmDgMl1KWAR8RjYuruorVPuFq5ubhFvhn4p_q7tvQbJm6LBktoUQWtVJyTc7mq5CMQflnDghOCwqWIxSR3QG9V1ou0PKC4VnGSnA_gsRk3c8kmTsKCx0P48RqGXnFe18ZkJ4kXkATTSZSd2hhmOzoqOhoA_M9LYKg3eKE7WZFR2D8Z_4doTF-8TGWk7kdKF9PO95iQG9LldObf_BU5wRGdCfRbjdK7wtXIXPVDlDc1z1h_JZAKtnb2gSdtIaeIKvU12I1Clxmk1zxQ3q30YkAQnXZdbbX4jfcliZDCZ5kos3rNsdX7M7UxGxuPqiY7fQ1PA5lH_oT6JHvFpskBpM8nlh0TBUNaJjSVnhmB_QqnuvfnAP_WZzKbqF3aCJvVUuWo_IK8YGeKcXf5Z5dnGBHo5rlV-5gnBS3NzL-PyW521s5UgbQTiOJsfAXOttlBMSIVofDwHHb1oDKY-Yfl-fzQmN9Kzm52OeUlCeYrgYvjA9PSy2w=w1027-h771-no


Once zip tied you can test the movement/function of the switch while the JB dries. It will be good as new with a nice crisp action and solid "click" as the lights are switched on. And perhaps the reostat will work once again.
 
Last edited:

inovermyhead

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Excellent step by step, while I don't yet need to do my switch it's a great reference to have.

Cheers John
 

Gransin

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Perfect! I definitely need to do this to my switch, I didn't think it was possible until now.
Many thanks!

Cheers,
 

Markos

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Thanks!

You are a master at taking stuff apart and putting it back together the same way. :D
 

deQuincey

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well done !!!
excellent pictures to follow up

p.s. close-up photos show there is a constant pattern in people that do this things, like you and me and others, you can see dirt/grease instilled in the médium layers of the epidermis, only we know that is imposible to remove,...
 

Stevehose

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Hah my garage is a graveyard of stuff I couldn't get back together, this is my second switch attempt so i am down the learning curve a bit.


Thanks!

You are a master at taking stuff apart and putting it back together the same way. :D
 

zinz

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Great write up, you should post this over on FAQ, Steve... give Mint a run for his title of "Master Tinker"

For grins, I just went to W&N"s site for reference. A headlight switch for an e9 is NLA, but they have one for a 2002... it's 239 Euros. :eek: TWO HUNDRED THIRTY NINE.... that buys a lot of JB Weld.

Ed Z
 

DWMBMW

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Apply JB Weld (how I love this stuff) where the 2 halves meet (there may be a small gap to work some in) as well as the corners to reinforce what's left of the aluminum:

.[/QUOTE]

I just hope the JB Weld is also resistant to gasoline otherwise my floats will be sinking driving to the Vintage if the ethanol dissolves the JB on
the cracked tab repair of the weber top cover.

IMG_3307.JPG
 

mulberryworks

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From their site:

Is J-B Weld resistant to water and/or gasoline?
When fully cured, J-B Weld is completely resistant to water, gasoline, and about every other petroleum product or automotive chemical. For wet-surface or submerged water or gasoline repairs, try our SteelStik or WaterWeld.
 

Stevehose

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Perhaps coat the jb weld repair with one of these for an extra barrier? It will see a lot of fuel contact.

From their site:

Is J-B Weld resistant to water and/or gasoline?
When fully cured, J-B Weld is completely resistant to water, gasoline, and about every other petroleum product or automotive chemical. For wet-surface or submerged water or gasoline repairs, try our SteelStik or WaterWeld.
 

zinz

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hmmm... JB Weld is everyone's fave, but 3M makes a host of adhesives for specific appplications. Don in NOLA is a 3M rep and recommended their Scotch-Weld EC2216 for sealing a pinhole in a 2002 gas tank of mine. I'd bet your JB will hold up in that Weber as long as the surfaces were prepped properly.

Ed
 

zinz

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There is no way I paid that much for what I purchased... something goofy going on there.

Ed
 
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