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brake light switch

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  • brake light switch

    I'm converting my 51 Champion to disc brakes, using a new dual chamber MC. My Champion currently has a hill-holder, with the brake lamp switch activated by the hill-holder. I do not plan on keeping the hill-holder, and would like comments on how you would modify the system to still have a brake light switch. Can I just fabricate a switch bracket that is physically activated by the pedal?

    Anyone had this issue before?

    Las Vegas, NV
    '51 Champion Business Coupe

  • #2
    Your car's brake lights should be operated by a switch installed in the hydraulic system. I believe yours should be in the 4 way connector where the pipe from the master cylinder splits to go to the two front wheels. In any case, the switch can be anywhere where it can "see" hydraulic pressure and activate.

    I'd keep the hill holder. It's a handy gizmo. Just plumb your rear brake line through the hill holder.

    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA


    • #3
      The conversion to mechanical (as opposed to the hydraulic you now have)is a good way to go. With your Champion you can do like I did with my Transtar (or not). I got a normally open closed switch from NAPA for a 50s Chevy of some sort. It's got a mounting tab with two threaded screw holes, two terminals for the wires and a spring-loaded lever (arm?). I got underneath the truck and held the switch mount against the floor and positioned it in such a way so that the pedal arm under the floorboards will hold the switch arm actuated from it's natural position. I marked the location of the holes (thru the holes in the mounting tab) onto the floorboards and drilled them from underneath (safety glasses please!). Then with help, I ran two appropriate screws down from above and into the tab. Tighten them up, wire the two wires to the switch and you're good to go!
      When you step on the brakes, the arm's allowed to go to it's normal position and the contacts go closed...... LITES![:0]

      Lookin' in my old NAPA book, I'd guess that switch is one of these:
      Echlin SL 113, SL 128 or SL 129.

      Miscreant adrift in
      the BerStuda Triangle

      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
      1960 Larkvertible V8
      1958 Provincial wagon
      1953 Commander coupe

      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


      • #4
        Thanks for the response. Dick - Since I'm replacing my MC with a dual chamber MC, I'm not exactly sure where my switch could "see" hydraulic pressure, unless I installed a "T" downstream of the MC and hooked the switch to that.

        The switch that Mr. Biggs suggested was sort of what I was thinking, but I'll figure it out as I go. The hill holder seems like a handy gizmo, but probably not of any use here in Las Vegas... pretty flat. However, as I plumb the rear system (changing to 3/16") I'll see if I can get it to work.

        Las Vegas, NV
        '51 Champion Business Coupe


        • #5
          Personally I think it would be easier to use a tee, you need one with female double flares on the running ends and NPT on the tee end, but that may just because I'm better at cutting and flaring than welding :/


          55 Commander Starlight

          55 Commander Starlight


          • #6
            I concur with Mr Biggs. There are two switches though - one swinging to the right and the other to the left to go to the "on" position when looking at the arm. You want the one that swings to the right. The arm is tapered too. You will notice that you will be able to bend the arm in the thin section to the "up" position when looking at the arm. Mount it to the floor between the brake and clutch pedal with the bend resting on the brake pedal arm. The correct position on the floor is where when the pedal arm is just pressed on taking up the slack at the MC the switch activates. If you attach a clip to the floor to the outside of the clutch pedal arm you can hold the brake wires close to the floor pan so that they do not rub on the pedal arm. Maybe Mr Biggs can check to see if he has the switch with the arm on the right or the left as I am doing this from memory.