L300 Combination Switch.

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FalcoColumbarius
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L300 Combination Switch.

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:00 pm

Like a lot of things in life, it happened suddenly and it came out of left field. I was driving to Jay & Christine's, east on the No.1 just west of the Kensington Exit when I smelled what first seemed like hot brake shoes. The first thing I did was check my E-brake, it was disengaged. My next thought was that the smell came from a car up front so I turned the fan off ~ the smell stopped. I passed Kensington and the traffic had changed in front of me so I put the fan back on ~ there was the smell again. My imagination started to get more creative, was it the A/C? Was that glycol I was smelling? I got to the backyard of the Tardis Hotel, switched the engine off and got out of the wagon. As I said hello I realised that the lights were still on. I thought: "Silly man, you didn't turn the lights off" and went back to the van ~ the switch was off? At this point Jay says "Oh no, I've seen this before, you have to pull the fuse, it's your combination switch ~ it happens to these vehicles". So I pulled the fuse and started to worry. Apparently the smell of fusing plastic was in the van all the time, the fan was just blowing it to my nose!

I must interject here, I would like to comment on Jay's character: Jay's behaviour is exemplary and I wish more people would follow it. He is one of the most generous and caring people I have ever met and it is truly an Honour to know him.

Fortunately, Jay had a broken combination switch in his work shop that I was able to cannibalise with what was not broken on mine. This, incidentally, is really good practise for survival in zombie world. When I first looked at the switch all I saw were many multi coloured wires soldered to PC boards and it was, quite frankly, intimidating. So I looked closer and this is what I found: It is a simple switch, complex in style but simple, non the less. The images in this posting were taken with cel phones in dubious light conditions, my apologies for poor quality.

There is a small carriage that slides back and forth. It is controlled by a little thingy that is controlled by the rotating switch at the end of your wand. It turns the running lamps and the headlamps on and off. When you turn the switch at the end of the wand, the little thingy at the other end of the shaft pushes the little carriage back and forth. The little carriage has two copper contacts that connect to the contacts on the back of the relevant PC board. They look like this:

Image

Now you can see in the picture that what has happened is the contacts have gotten dirty over time, this dirt has helped to generate arcing (as indicated by the burn marks). In my case the arcing caused the switch carriage to fuse to the body and the wand pivot to do the same, which was the smell I experienced whilst driving. Let's look at the wand:

Image Image

As you can see the wand has a protruding ring, on the end of the ring is a tube that holds a spring and a ball bearing. As you move the wand to make a signal the ball bearing goes over bumps in the track. The pivot for the wand is under the metal plate, close to the switch carriage, which is why it got fused, as well, in my experience.

When the fusing happened it changed the molecular structure of the contact plate ~ it was no longer copper but had become a new alloy, created by heat.

There is a magic coating that goes on these contacts. This coating does a number of things:
  • It cleans the surface of the contact.
  • It enhances the connexion.
  • It also reduces or stops the arcing between the contacts.

Here is what I did:

First I had to get to the contraption in the first place. Underneath the steering wheel, by your lap as you sit in the seat is a small Phillips screw; this secures the horn control to the top of the wheel, you need to undo that first. Once that is out of the way, you push/lift the horn control forward, like this:

Image

You see the tab with the hole is where the screw goes in; the two forward tabs secure the unit via fixed leverage. Next, the wheel has to come off. This is done by removing, I believe is a 17mm nut (if it is not I'm sure you can work it out):

Image

Now that that is away you need to mark the position your wheel is at so you can put it back in the same direction on the spline:

Image

The wheel should slide off. I have heard that some people have experienced difficulty in removing the wheel, I have found that by not trying too hard it comes off easier. This is what you should see next:

Image

Next you must remove the casing about the steering column; this involves six Phillips screws from the underside:

Image

The under piece should fall off. For the top piece to come off requires the steering column to be in the down position, which is done by moving this lever:

Image

Now we get to the combination switch. To get it off so we can work with it you need to remove two screws:

Image

Now they are removed, gently pull the switch unit off of the steering column and turn it upside down. here are two more screws and a plastic clip to disconnect:

Image Image

Next is the contact plate which is held on by three screws and a "tongue in slot" arrangement. This plate reveals the switch carriage and contact plate. Note the "tongue" at the top of the plate in the second picture:

Image Image

The switch carriage comes out easily (when it's not welded to the body) and looks like this. Beneath it you will see the "thingy" that moves it back and forth:

Image Image

This is where the magic starts. I found this product called "Deoxit" at RP Electronics on Rosser Street, in Burnaby. It comes in different formulas ~ get the 100% concentrated version. This diminutive tube cost me nine bucks:

Image Image

You administer the "Deoxit" to the contacts. As I mentioned earlier it is a cleaner, you need to clean the gunge from and around the contacts. Having done that I re-administered the product and let it dry. It doesn't take a lot:

Image Image

Then you put it all back together again and drive along your merry way!

Will this help you in your particular situation? I'm not sure. I think this will help a little, 'though ~ This experience has be very enlightening, to say the least. It also has given me a sense of ability and achievement. I did it! And... I got out of the Tardis Motel backyard around two in the morning. I really must extend my heart felt gratitude to Jay who was near by or actively working with me. You are a good teacher, Jay, and a good friend.

Falco.
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby sasquatch-hunter » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

People who still have daytime running lights hook up to headlights, this post is a must read!

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby White Mule » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:03 pm

I'm thinkin'...if the Zombies were in hot pursuit, would I use my signal light?

Zombies: "Brains! Brains! Brains! Brai...oh wait it looks like he's turning left. Brains! Brains!

Falco: "Doh!"

Sooooo is it fixed? Is this a must do proactive repair? Are they all going to start frying at the same time? Will we escape the zombies? Oh my God, what about the children?
Thanks,

White Mule

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:25 pm

White Mule wrote:Sooooo is it fixed? Is this a must do proactive repair? Are they all going to start frying at the same time? Will we escape the zombies? Oh my God, what about the children?

I believe it is fixed, well ~ it's been nigh on a month and it hasn't fried yet (knocks on head). I guess time will tell. Regarding as a proactive repair, I would say so. The cleaner the machine the better she runs and I seriously believe that it was because of dirt build-up that it arced in the first place.

Regarding the children... I think "The Who" got that one right, except it's the I-pad now... .... .... :?
sasquatch-hunter wrote:People who still have daytime running lights hook up to headlights, this post is a must read!

Thanks, Seb ~ I think generally it doesn't hurt to understand one's vehicle better and it is a transferable skill. What I look at in this thread is only the lights, I'm still looking into the wiper controls, which I have yet to clean but I think I will.

Falco.
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby strada-caster » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:20 pm

sasquatch-hunter wrote:People who still have daytime running lights hook up to headlights, this post is a must read!


2 questions??

could this be the reason my DRL unit started buzzing at me? I removed the piggybacked unit on the seering column, and currently only have highbeams no matter what position the switch is rotated to.

could this be the reason that I can turn my headlights and radio on when I rotate the headlight switch to on WITHOUT ANY KEYS IN THE IGNITION....

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby Artacoma » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:00 pm

Post of the week award :-D :-D
Rik
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:36 pm

strada-caster wrote:
sasquatch-hunter wrote:People who still have daytime running lights hook up to headlights, this post is a must read!


2 questions??

could this be the reason my DRL unit started buzzing at me? I removed the piggybacked unit on the seering column, and currently only have highbeams no matter what position the switch is rotated to.

could this be the reason that I can turn my headlights and radio on when I rotate the headlight switch to on WITHOUT ANY KEYS IN THE IGNITION....

Okay, to begin with let me remind everybody that I'm a painter. As far as all the different after market items like "DRLs" &c., I haven't got a clue. I would think that your removing of the piggybacked unit would have something to do with the re-action that you experienced rather than dirty contacts. This post is more regarding the switch, itself. Perhaps Sasquatch-hunter can address that issue. Either way, dirt is an enemy to electronics.

Artacoma wrote:Post of the week award :-D :-D


Why thank you, Rik... smiles.

Falco.
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby Artacoma » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:55 pm

2 questions??

could this be the reason my DRL unit started buzzing at me? I removed the piggybacked unit on the seering column, and currently only have highbeams no matter what position the switch is rotated to.


Buzzing DRL module means it's on the way out!!!!! REALLY!!!!!!! I went thru 3 of them on my L300 and they all failed 3-15 days after the buzzing started, last module I put in was a heavy duty one from Lordco sortof a finned aluminum enclosure about 2.5 inches square and it lasted the longest and is still in after 9 months
Rik
97 Series 2 V6 LWB

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby after oil » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:22 pm

this post will surely save lives when the zombie invasion comes... multiswitch failure isnt uncommon, and ive seen people pay $500 for one
thanks for the tutorial!

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby TardisDeli » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:40 pm

I agree with Rik on the headlight buzzer making weird noises before it dies .But your problem with the stereo coming on with the headlights ????????? is really weird sounds like someone tapped into the stereo power to run the DRL, and the power feeds back to the stereo when you turn on the headlight switch thus turn the stereo on.
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Of The TardisDeli My TardisDeli travels thru time and space. Our house is nicknamed the TardisDeli Motel, as so many delii owners visit to share delii stories.

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby yojimbo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:56 am

Top tip, when removing the steering wheel, after marking the splines to get it on again straight, spin the nut back on a few times, so when you wrestle it off and it finally lets go, it can't punch you in the face.
1994 L300 Jasper
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby strada-caster » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:11 am

Artacoma wrote:2 questions??

could this be the reason my DRL unit started buzzing at me? I removed the piggybacked unit on the seering column, and currently only have highbeams no matter what position the switch is rotated to.


Buzzing DRL module means it's on the way out!!!!! REALLY!!!!!!! I went thru 3 of them on my L300 and they all failed 3-15 days after the buzzing started, last module I put in was a heavy duty one from Lordco sortof a finned aluminum enclosure about 2.5 inches square and it lasted the longest and is still in after 9 months


what are the odds you have the part number for the heavy duty DRL?? I tried putting in a brand new one (same model as what is in there, Grote #####) and it immediately starting buzzing so I figured it was something other than the DRL unit.

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby strada-caster » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:15 am

TardisDeli wrote:I agree with Rik on the headlight buzzer making weird noises before it dies .But your problem with the stereo coming on with the headlights ????????? is really weird sounds like someone tapped into the stereo power to run the DRL, and the power feeds back to the stereo when you turn on the headlight switch thus turn the stereo on.



agreed it is really wierd...but it just started...never happened before when the DRL was working fine, or when it started to buzz, or when I removed it. this just started out of the blue...

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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby FalcoColumbarius » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:04 pm

Addendum:

Upon doing a little more research I discovered that there is more than one line of Deoxit. I read that although the Deoxit that I used in the original post is excellent for cleaning the contacts and enhancing the connectivity ~ there is yet one more called Deoxit Gold. Where the Deoxit was nine something in price, Deoxit Gold is twelve something. In the directions it still recommends first cleaning with the original Deoxit product before using the Deoxit Gold as the former is a heavier duty cleaner, I guess, where the Deoxit Gold specialises in long term durability with specific anti arcing properties.

I found that the directions and information sheets can be somewhat ambiguous so I'm going to follow up on this by phoning Deoxit in California and talking to a tech agent and see what they say, hopefully I don't get a kid.

The Deoxit Gold label is much the same as the Deoxit label pictured in the original post, aside from having the word "Gold" breaking out of the title line behind "Deoxit".

So now I have spent $22 on this product, still considerably cheaper than replacing the combo switch.

Falco.
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Re: L300 Combination Switch.

Postby Luna-Sea » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:31 pm

Awesome tech post falco,thank you.

Right On! 8-)


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