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Brake Light Troubleshooting - 57 Silver Hawk

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  • Brake Light Troubleshooting - 57 Silver Hawk

    I need help troubleshooting the brake lights on my 57 Silver Hawk. I've had the car for one year. I don't think the brake lights worked when I bought it (didn't realize it then). Here is what I found so far.

    Wire was disconnected from hydraulic pressure switch. Re-connected wire - no brake lights. Metered the wire - no voltage on either wire. When I applied pressure to brake pedal, couln't find voltage on any wire (at tail lights or near pressure switch).

    Received a tip from the guy I bought the car from (thanks James) to check the interior dome light. It was inoperable, so he said check the fuse. Replaced a burned out 15A fuse. When I turn the ignition switch, I'm 90% sure I checked the tail lights and they were off (should be since I wasn't pressing the pedal). Had the wife press the pedal, brake lights worked. She removed her foot from the pedal, brake lights still on. After checking several times, I assumed maybe the pressure switch might not be working properly - don't know how to troubleshoot. Turned the ignition off, brake lights remained on (key out of car). Now I'm not sure what is up.

    My guess is that the car was been rewired at some time and now the brake light circuit my not be routed through the key switch. I'm assuming that the pressure switch is part of the culprit.

    I'm in process of re-installing the tail lights assemblies. The car has a 1953 set of tail lights installed. I probably have the wire installed wrong (or incomplete). There are three wires ran to the tail lights. There is only one dual filament bulp. Right now I only have two wires connected. When I turn on the turn signal (without the key in the ignition), the associated brake light goes out. When I turn the signal in the other direction, the associated brake light goes out, and the other brake light illuminates agin.

    This will be fun. At least I have brake lights now - all day long.

    Mark Rogers

  • #2
    The brake lights should work without the key on. Left or right brake light must go out when you move the turn signal switch, otherwise you could never see the signal light blink. This engineering marvel is built into the turn signal switch.
    Brake lights staying on could be caused by a brake light switch that has failed in the closed position, although that would be a rarity. They normally fail in the open position. More likely there is no brake pedal free play. You should be able to push the brake pedal about 1/2" using a pinky finger only before you feel any resistance. Adjust push rod length at the master cylinder as needed.

    Dwain G.