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Headlight Switch failure Question

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  • Electrical: Headlight Switch failure Question

    Does anyone know what would cause the rheostat for the dash lights on a 55 to turn green??? He put in a new switch and the rheostat on it also turned green. The dash lights do not work.

    I would think that if it were a short then the circuit breaker on the back of the switch would trip. It sounds to me like the rheostat is getting very hot. It was a silver color to start with. Could this be due to something in the dash light circuit drawing too much power? Could it be due to power somehow going directly to the dash lights and bypassing the CB like maybe the wires to the switch being incorrect??? Those are the only two reasons that come to my mind but there is a lot more knowledge out there than what I have.

    I have removed a lot of used switches over the years but have never seen one with green on the rheostat

    Thanks in advance
    Milt

    1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
    1961 Hawk 4-speed
    1967 Avanti
    1961 Lark 2 door
    1988 Avanti Convertible

    Member of SDC since 1973

  • #2
    There are other issues at work. If the dash lights do not work, and the rheostat is getting hot enough to oxidize, then there is most likely a short in at least one of the instrument sockets.
    Bez Auto Alchemy
    573-318-8948
    http://bezautoalchemy.com


    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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    • #3
      Thanks Brad
      Milt

      1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
      1961 Hawk 4-speed
      1967 Avanti
      1961 Lark 2 door
      1988 Avanti Convertible

      Member of SDC since 1973

      Comment


      • #4
        Just curious, is the switch/rheostat a reproduction item or original/NOS? Could be due to cheesy construction if they are repro parts. Also, is there any moisture under the dash, like maybe a leaky window seal allowing water to drip on the switch? Normally if the switch were getting hot it would turn a bluish or brown color.

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        • #5
          It is NOS switch. Thanks
          Milt

          1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
          1961 Hawk 4-speed
          1967 Avanti
          1961 Lark 2 door
          1988 Avanti Convertible

          Member of SDC since 1973

          Comment


          • #6
            Come to my place and I'll show you lots of green. Here, especially in my drafty pole barn, much of the year is spent in relatively high humidity. Any live (hot) circuit is subject to corrosion in certain areas. Usually, any exposed copper, at solder or crimp joints, terminal connections, etc. I don't know why, but the six volt systems seem to be more to prone to corrosion, but that is just my observation with no scientific basis on my part.

            I'm of the opinion that there are certain conditions that set up what I call "conductive atmosphere," where humidity, temperature, and airborne particles combine to create transient microscopic exchanges of current. Kinda like tiny electrical storms. If you have ever walked along a stream deep in the woods, at night, after a thunderstorm, and witnessed "foxfire," it is a glowing electrical phenomenon that appears and disappears.

            While we comfortably sit in our homes, watching TV, posting on forums, enjoying our peace and quiet...our vehicles are hosting a party of tiny little electrical gremlins, all charged up, seeking grounds, having a corrosion party. The more these switches, wires, sit...unused, the corrosion (oxidation) builds. Sometimes, it is possible to clean the contact surfaces and make them functional again. Sometimes, the molecular structure is too eaten up, and burned to a nonconducting ash. There are some lubricant type coatings made to inhibit corrosion, but the greasy residue attracts grunge and is impractical in some applications.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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