Brake switch fix

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223sniper
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Brake switch fix

Postby 223sniper » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:50 pm

Recently, I noticed that my brake lights were staying on constantly and only going out when I pressed all the way down on my brake pedal. The front brake lever had no effect on the lights. After a quick e-mail exchange with Bill at VT Cycles, I followed his advice to use a wire jumper to eliminate the switch on the front brake as being the culprit. Then a Google search uncovered an article by Vance Blosser on the Crawford Sales Company web site on how to deal with a stuck brake switch. The purpose of my post here is to build on his advice.
After removing the switch from the bike, I douched it out with CRC QD Electric Cleaner but there really wasn't any crud in the switch so I reasoned that I needed to delve deeper. After drying the switch off, I lubed the pin with some of my moly paste but is still felt rough as it traveled up and down inside the switch housing. I then attempted to search for a means to lube the upper part of the pin. As I peered into the housing, it became apparent that I might be able to remove the pin if I disconnected the spring that attaches the switch to the brake pedal. After bending the hook on the spring a bit and removing it from the pin, I was able to pull the pin out of the switch housing with needle nose pliers. Immediately I saw that the shaft of the pin was corroded, probably with that metal eating salt crap the Maine DOT uses. At first I went after the corrosion with fine emery paper. It quickly became apparent that this was a soft metal, probably aluminum, so I switched to 0000 grade steel wool to make it as smooth as possible. I then applied some 10% moly paste, buffed it in and set the pin aside. Returning to the housing, I liberally sprayed it some MMM Super Lubricant and shook off the excess. I then reinserted the pin. Care needs to be taken here because on my first attempt to do this I popped out a brass washer imbedded in the base of the switch housing. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve it, clean it up, reinstall it and then reinstall the pin. Then the top of the switch along with the plugs that attach to the brake wiring received a generous application of Silicone Grease and the spring was reattached and lubed with more MMM Super Lubricant spray before the unit was reinstalled as indicated in Vance Blossers article. With the bike turned on, both the front brake lever and the pedal operated the brake light as expected. Now, if had the tools and skills necessary, I'd turn out a stainless steel version of that pin to eliminate the salt corrosion issue.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby prmurat » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:12 pm

Interesting post!!
What's your take on new ones doing the same ie always on?
Thanks.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby 223sniper » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:34 pm

I am not aware of the new switches so I can't really respond to that. My Gear Up is a 2011 so maybe it has one.
I decided to make a boot from a paunched inner tube from my road bicycle to protect the switch from salt spray. To start I measured the switch housing and found it had an OD of 0.42 inches. I then snipped off 4 inches of the tube and cut it end to end to form a sheet as the tube ID was far larger than the switch housing. The sheet had four ridges which formed rectangles. I wanted a tapered boot so I trimmed off one side of the sheet on a diagonal through one of the rectangles. After w@$#ing with dish detergent and water and degreasing with brake cleaner, I roughed up the mating edges and used rubber cement to glue it into a tapered tube overlapping the edges by the width of one of the rectangles. This gave to top and ID of approximately 0.4 inches and the bottom large enough to accomodate the hook on the end of the spring that attaches the switch to the brake pedal assembly. A trial fit on the bike revealed that I needed to trim off 0.375 inches so it would fit. I then installed the boot using a wire hose clamp to hold it firmly on the switch. I tried a hairpin clip and a hitch pin clip at the bottom but it did not allow the spring to return the switch to the off position so I left them off. Hopefully the opening is small enough and far enough away from the switch so it is adequately protected. I took some pictures but can't seem to attach them. If anybody is interested I can e-mail them with a description.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Hogmaine » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:58 pm

My front brake switch flutters in the wind and is now worse with the Hippo Hands on. My rear Brake switch fell apart during our winter camping trip. It was green and corroded inside. If they filled these with dielectric grease on install it most likely would not have rotted out the way it did.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Vbull » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:53 pm

I've filled the switch with grease and it still failed. Finally made one using a normally closed push button panel switch. Had to make a plunger to fit the switch and the bike frame out of nylon. Still on the bike 2 years so far. I keep looking for a non mechanical proximity type switch. Plenty to be found in 24 volt but nothing yet that will work with 12 vdc.

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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby MartyL » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:09 am

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: THE EVIL DREADED REAR BRAKE LIGHT SWITCH is back from it's unholy lair of the underworld!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: Will we ever be rid of the evil beast!!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Hogmaine » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:05 pm

I believe this may work

http://www.fargocontrols.com/spsensor.html


Operating Distance: 4mm
External Diameter: M12x1
Power Supply: 10-30 Vdc
Output Function: NPN, NO
Power Drain: < 15 mA
Voltage Drop: <1.8 V (@ Imax)
Switching Current: 150 mA max
Short Circuit Protection: Yes
Operating Frequency: 2 kHz
Case: Stainless Steel
Sensing Surface: Plastic
Flush Mount: Yes
Protection Degree: IP 67
Operating Temperature: -25 to +70 °C
LED Functions Indicator: Yes
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby 223sniper » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:03 pm

The tough part may be it's operating distance of 4mm which is about 5/32 inch.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby catfish » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:45 pm

Using it would probably mean adding a relay into the brake light circuit because i do not know what the current carrying capacity of the switch is.It might only be capable of carrying a small load.

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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Hogmaine » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:39 am

The tough part may be it's operating distance of 4mm which is about 5/32 inch
Being a machine shop owner I work with these switches as they are on most CNC machines for various functions. They actually work between .010" - .157" so you set the switch with a non- metallic feeler gauge any where between that range from the brake pedal or maybe a plate screwed to the brake pedal. When the brake pedal is depressed further than the 4mm's the switch will activate breaking the magnetic field. So the operating range really is not an issue. I am willing to bet though I have not checked, that the stock switch operating range is pretty close in travel. The relay issue is most likely a definite consideration here. I will check this out with our local Ural electronics expert also on this forum.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Trevorski » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:25 pm

Have long thought that some sort of proximity switch would be the cat's meow for the rear brake switch-- eager to hear/ see what you all arrive at.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Hogmaine » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:38 pm

I am ordering a couple switches, and let you know back how it works out.
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby pierce » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:59 pm

Easy fix, take the switch of the bike. Now pull the rod out the top, take notice how your spacers are placed. If you look at the top of the rod while turning it slowly you will find it's out of round. Take a stone and make it round' a little bit at a time. Replace rod and check for smooth movement. Now it will not stick. :)

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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby Flattwin94 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:32 am

2012 gear up up and my rear brake switch is sticking :o will sort it out today
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Re: Brake switch fix

Postby gflapg » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Flattwin94 wrote:2012 gear up up and my rear brake switch is sticking :o will sort it out today

I thought that was upgraded? Notice I did not say fixed.
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