View Full Version : Brakes: Brake lights issues and brakes on 59 Hawk

08-22-2013, 04:25 PM
I have my first Hawk on its way to me.

The previous owner tells me that the rear brake light does not work. He says that "Changing the "switch" doesn't seem to fix the problem"

He had a few more comments on the brakes as well:

"In our "road salt" region I don't drive it in winter. Also I haven't been able to drive the car much for two or three years, which doesn't help any. The brakes get "squirrely" when the car sits for several months. Carefully drive it around for a while and they should come back to working as they should.
I never use the hand brake. It worked several years ago when I worked on the brakes. I have been reluctant to use it recently: it may well be frozen, and I've been afraid it could stick in the "on" position."

What should I be looking for to fix the problems (the light in particular)?

Thanks in advance!


Skip Lackie
08-22-2013, 05:13 PM
If one brake light works and one doesn't, then it's not the switch. It's either: (1) Bad bulb, (2) Bad ground on that side, (3) Broken wire to that side: or (4) Bad/corroded contacts in the socket. Do the directional signals work? They use the same wires, bulbs, and sockets.

If neither brake light works, it's either the switch or the wiring. Climb under there and find the master cylinder. The switch screws into the back of the M/C, and should have two red wires connected to it. Pull them off the M/C and short them together. The brake lights should come on. If they do, it's the switch. If they don't, there's a wiring problem somewhere, or you have bad grounds in both rear lights (see above paragraph about directional signals).

08-22-2013, 05:20 PM
Also if BOTH Stop Lights are out in addition to the above, it may be the Stop Light FUSE.

It is located on a square piece of Micarta (insulator Board) along with the Turn Sig. Fuse and the T/S flasher Unit under the left side of the dash.

If the DOME Light works, the stop light fuse is OK, it is on the same Fuse.

08-22-2013, 05:31 PM
Cool - now I have somewhere to start looking (when it gets here)


08-22-2013, 05:57 PM
The brake lights also go through the turn signal switch. That is so you can have the right brake light on while signaling a left turn, for instance.

If the turn signal switch does not "feel" right, it may be at fault. The wiring diagram is in the official shop manual.

08-23-2013, 08:14 AM
Phillip, the brakes acting "squirrley" is troublesome.. Drive it slowly and carefully until you can figure out
what is going on. As to the parking brake, lube it well, and try to work it up and down. It should free up;
Probably just stuck from non-use.

Joe D.

Blue 15G
08-23-2013, 08:28 AM
I agree with valleyguy. It sounds like you have more brake work ahead of you than just a switch. If it were mine the first thing I'd do is pull the wheels and see exactly what condition everything is in. Lines and hoses as well.

I did buy a Stude once that had a non working parking brake. The handle wouldn't pull out, it was locked solid. When I lubricated a pivot point near the front of the cables it freed up and worked fine. "Your results may vary."

Dave Bonn
'54 Champion Starliner