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1960 Lark Headlight Switch Replacement

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  • Electrical: 1960 Lark Headlight Switch Replacement

    This may sound like a really basic question but has anyone who owns a 1960 Lark replaced their headlight switch? I own a 2 door with deluxe trim and a 259. Without going into the details of the testing I've done to determine I have a short in the switch and determined I need to replace it, I'd like to know 1) how to remove the knob- it's white and I think original, and 2) how to remove the switch itself. It appears there is a retaining nut on the front of the switch on the dash side but may require a special tool to spin it? With the nut loosened it does not appear the switch will slide through the back of the dash without the knob being removed.
    Thank you.

  • #2
    On the inner edge of the white knob, there is going to be a little notch. Below that notch is the top of a spring clip that keeps the knob from pulling off the switch shaft. A small flat screwdriver can put enough pressure to release the tension so the knob can be pulled off.

    You are correct about that chrome ring - it is threaded to the switch and the switch pulls back through the dash face to be removed. Studebaker vendors used to sell a tool that would slid over the shaft and engage the two notches in the chrome nut. I have in the past, used a small flat screw and tapped the screw ring on and off, but have to be really careful it does not jump off and scratch something.

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    • #3
      What symptom led you to the switch? Headlight problems are often caused by the dimmer switch. Being hidden under the carpet it tends to get crusty.

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      • #4
        https://www.studebakerparts.com/stud..._id=1647&xm=on

        This.
        KURTRUK
        (read it backwards)




        Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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        • #5
          Thank you 62champ! I was really stumped by the knob. Mine is all rusty and crusty and will be changed with a new one. The link below is to the tool used to remove the retainer nut.

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          • #6
            Thank you kurtruk! That is perfect. It will work for the wiper switch too I want to replace too!

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            • #7
              An update: the link to the tool in this thread is 3/4" from each pin. I have not been able to locate anything smaller. The 1960 Lark retaining nut is 1/2'' across from slot to slot. So this tool will be 1/4" wider and will not work. The slot's on each side of the retaining nut are 1/16" wide by 1/8" long. There is an article in the May 1987 edition (p. 20) of Turning Wheels that describes how one person who owned a 1963 GT Hawk at the time fashioned his own tool from 16 gauge wire. Diagrams and measurements are provided in the article. The dimensions given for the tool he built seems to correspond with what I have found in my car but I have not yet tried to fashion my own tool.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the question Dwain. When I turn on the headlight switch (it's a 3 part switch) to the full on position (all the way out) the front headlights start to flash and a clicking sound can be heard emanating from the switch. When I reach up to feel the back of the switch after turning them off (on for a total of maybe 15 seconds in total) the wires at the back of the switch were hot (very hot) to the touch. The dimmer switch is new. The brake lights, front/rear signal lights all work fine. I'd gladly replace the switch (I think it's probably original to the car and should be replaced as a matter of course) if I could figure out how to get the retaining nut off the switch without damaging the dash.

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                • #9
                  The switches seldom fail and since several wires are hot we learn that the short is not in the switch or else only the feed wire would be hot. As a first step I suggest you unplug the connector at your new dimmer switch and see if all stays cool. Somewhere more than likely you have a wire pinched. Second check would be to unplug the wire that leads from the headlight switch to the dimmer switch--can't recall the color just this moment.

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                  • #10
                    Actually you don't need removed the knob from the shaft, and possibly mess up the holding spring on the knob.

                    In the middle of the top of the switch is the shaft release button, round disc with spring.. With the knob all the way in, push down on the release button, then pull the knob.

                    Makes it easier to get the retaining nut off as well.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Ross. With the dimmer switch unplugged (it is a single 3 part connector) the lights don't come on but the clicking sound still emanates from the switch. It's hard to tell if one or more wires is getting hot because I can't really get at the back of the switch with it still in the dash to fell each wire. I burned my finger on one wire for sure, yes it is still getting hot with the dimmer switch unplugged.

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                      • #12
                        To clarify, the HL switch shown above is for a 1961/62 Lark (part number 1551530).

                        A 1960 Lark HL switch should look like this (part number 1549564).

                        Click image for larger version

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                        Dan Peterson
                        Montpelier, VT
                        1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
                        1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)

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                        • #13
                          Many years ago I made my own bezel removal tool out of thin sheet stock. I had to cut out the center section to a depth necessary to clear the shaft, and then file down each tooth to fit the slots.

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                          • #14
                            I made mine out of a 12 point 9/16" socket. Just cut straight down on both sides of the "teeth", then cut from the side to expose them. The switch may still not be the problem. I think that it is just a short, downstream from the switch. I would start by unplugging both headlamps, if that is not it, start following the harness back to the switch and look for shorts to ground. Good Luck with it.

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                            • #15
                              Here is the tool I purchased to remove my headlight and windshield wiper switches. The company is called Crazylight's Classic Chevy Parts they are on eBay. This tool apparently is for 55-57 Chevy windshield wiper switches.

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