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Head Light Switch Fuse

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  • Electrical: Head Light Switch Fuse

    I replaced what looks to be the original head light switch in my 62 GT a month or so ago because the lights were sometimes flickering and putting upward pressure on the switch handle stopped this. Last night I was driving home after a very nice cruise and had the headlights on for perhaps 15 or 20 mins when they simply stopped working. No sound or obvious surge or anything. I still had signals and brake and back up lights. Fortunately we were close to home.

    I pulled the switch out and soon found that the fuse that is attached to the switch was the problem. Fortunately I had kept the old switch and was able to use the old fuse and got it working again. As this fuse appears to be the original, or at least has been in the car a very long time, and has never blown I am puzzled as to why the new one only lasted a month! I have made no changes to the lighting system since installing the new switch. The car has halogen head lights and LED signal/marker lights. I bought the switch from Chuck at Studebakerparts.com.

    Has anyone had problems with these fuses blowing? Any suggestions as what to look for considering no changes were made and the original fuse was in there a very long time? Could it just have been a poor quality fuse with the new switch? Can these fuses be purchased separate from the switch?

    Appreciate any thoughts or advice. Kato

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  • #2
    That is not a fuse, it is a circuit breaker and will reset automatically when it cools down. You may have a short or too much of an amp draw on the system.
    Frank van Doorn
    Omaha, Ne.
    1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
    1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
    1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

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    • #3
      I am finding on many of these old cars that the circuit breakers do not have the capacity they had when new, possibly because of oxidation of the contacts within. They will flip off with no real cause, and more so on a hot day. I now make it a regular practice to install a new circuit breaker whenever there is the slightest cause. They are (mostly) universal in size and easily available. Get one with the same amp rating listed on the case. They are only $12 or so from Napa and well worth it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 41 Frank View Post
        That is not a fuse, it is a circuit breaker and will reset automatically when it cools down. You may have a short or too much of an amp draw on the system.
        Yes I have since learned that! Unfortunately it did not reset even after several hours. Can't explain the cause as nothing has been altered but I'll see what happens with the original breaker on the switch now. Thanks.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ross View Post
          I am finding on many of these old cars that the circuit breakers do not have the capacity they had when new, possibly because of oxidation of the contacts within. They will flip off with no real cause, and more so on a hot day. I now make it a regular practice to install a new circuit breaker whenever there is the slightest cause. They are (mostly) universal in size and easily available. Get one with the same amp rating listed on the case. They are only $12 or so from Napa and well worth it.
          Very good to know! The strange thing is this was a new switch and breaker. I had never had a problem with the old breaker so for now I have put it on the new switch. I'll look into a new one at NAPA as you suggest. Thanks.

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          • #6
            Flip the rug back and inspect the dimmer switch and wiring. Very often this is the cause of what you are experiencing.

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            • #7
              the original switches will not handle halogen headlights, especially if you go to Hi beams. Too much capacity. A case can be made that the new (NOS) switch had already oxidized from shelf dis-use. Follow suggestions above...

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              • #8
                You may need to add a relay in the system and use the switch to activate the relay. That takes the heavier draw from the halogens away from the switch.
                sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                1950 Champion Convertible
                1950 Champion 4Dr
                1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                1957 Thunderbird

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                • #9
                  Check your halogen bulbs. They come in many different wattages these days. 55/65 watt should be ok since the old 6014 incadescent that was used for decades was also 55/65 watt. Anything more just might be too much for the system.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Thank You for all of these tips and suggestions. I will look into all of them.

                    Kato

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bensherb View Post
                      Check your halogen bulbs. They come in many different wattages these days. 55/65 watt should be ok since the old 6014 incadescent that was used for decades was also 55/65 watt. Anything more just might be too much for the system.
                      I just checked the bulb and it is rated 65 watts for high beams and 35 watts for low. You are saying this should be OK?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kato View Post
                        I just checked the bulb and it is rated 65 watts for high beams and 35 watts for low. You are saying this should be OK?
                        Yeah, it shouldn't be drawing any more power than the original incandescant sealed beams. If there's a problem it must be elsewhere. Could just be a bad breaker, as was earlier mentioned.
                        The head lights are the only bulbs I did not change to LED's in my '62, consequently, they are the only ones I didn't measure the current draw on, so I can't tell you what it actually is; but if you do the math, the low beams should draw around 6 amps and the high around 11 amps, given the wattage's you posted.
                        Last edited by bensherb; 08-22-2017, 12:22 AM.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bensherb View Post
                          Yeah, it shouldn't be drawing any more power than the original incandescant sealed beams. If there's a problem it must be elsewhere. Could just be a bad breaker, as was earlier mentioned.
                          The head lights are the only bulbs I did not change to LED's in my '62, consequently, they are the only ones I didn't measure the current draw on, so I can't tell you what it actually is; but if you do the math, the low beams should draw around 6 amps and the high around 11 amps, given the wattage's you posted.
                          That makes sense as the breaker is a 20 amp. The tail lights being LEDs should have much less draw than the originals so as you say the problem must be elsewhere. When I shake the faulty breaker you can hear something metallic inside as if something let go. It could very well have been a defective breaker and nothing more or possibly the dimmer switch might be the culprit as I was switching from high to low beam a lot when they quit.

                          Thanks again!
                          Last edited by Kato; 08-22-2017, 05:50 AM. Reason: sp

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                          • #14
                            You may want to see how many amps your pushing. I would stay with OEM headlights but its always fun to try different things. What ever you do get that corrected its not fun when your headlights go out. You can swap the breaker with a larger one but make sure your circuit can handle that. Remember your high beam is going to draw the most amps, also do check all connectors for good contact including grounds. GOOD LUCK

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                            • #15
                              Don't forget that you already have in your car a very handy and useful amp meter. Thus, you can check how many ampères are drawned by your headlight. This is obvious but I have a tendancy to forget that myself.
                              sigpic

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