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Austin Healey brake lights don't come on 1967 BJ8

mgtf328

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I had this problem. On my BJ8 there's a switch mechanism on the brake pedal hinge. When you press the pedal a follower rolls around a roller and activates a microswitch. On mine the follower had come off the roller.
I've not explained that well but have a look at the pedal hinge and if it's the same as mine you'll see what I mean.
AJ
 

BigGreen

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Johnny

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Follow the master brake lines down to the passenger side and you'll find the switch. Most likely a wiring switch has a wire broke off.
 

Jack T

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Need a little help with the brake lights on my 1967 BJ8
I have turn signals but no brake lights?

These cars have a hydraulic pressure switch in the system that can fail with age. Look below the generator to where there is a junction block for the brake lines and you'll see the switch with two wires on it. Once you get to it it's simple to replace, but you should bleed the brakes afterwards.
 
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I've gotten a few, uh, "heads up" from other drivers who think my brake lights aren't working (they do). I think it's partly because, unlike a lot of drivers, I don't accelerate to stop lights/signs and slam on the brakes at the last second; I prefer to coast in gear and often don't even have to brake at stoplights if I time them right (I also get my rear end ridden by people who, for some reason, are in a real hurry to stop). But, to be sure, my lights don't come on until I've applied a fair amount of pressure--maybe 5-10 pounds--on the pedal, so if I just lightly apply them they might not light. I think this may just be the nature of the switch and I suspect the rubber diaphragm in the switches stiffens with age. I heard about this item on the emailing list and bought one:

https://www.ronfrancis.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SW-32

I haven't installed it yet, so can't say if it's an improvement (the connector setup is a bit wonky). Also, Roger Moment wrote an article about the brake switch problem in a recent edition of Austin-Healey Magazine in which he described a setup with a microswitch (not original to these cars). I also bought the microswitch, but the installation looks like a PITA and I'm hoping the more sensitive switch solves the problem.
 

Bob Hughes

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All good advice

Go to your trust workshop manual and follow the wiring diagram for the brake lights, then check the wiring to that rectangular relay box on the inside wing (fender) release the screws and wiggle the connections and re-tighten, that is, if your pressure switch is fine. If the lights come on then I would suggest that you clean up all the wiring connections to the box and treat them to some vaseline.

:cheers:

Bob
 

BJ8Healeys

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Later BJ8s (he says he has a '67, but the "year" of a Healey is mostly meaningless) do not have that relay on the inner fender. The failure to come on when the brake pedal is pressed could be due to the bulbs, the light sockets (corrosion), the wiring (loose connections), but is most likely the brake pressure switch on the right inner fender. I got tired of replacing this switch, only to have the replacements fail in a short time. I replaced the pressure switch with a mechanical (adjustable) switch that operates off the brake pedal. It has the arm and roller described by mgtf328. That switch has operated just fine now since 2006.
 

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Michael Oritt

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I was thinking that a mercury switch would be easier to install and more reliable than one with mechanical contacts but apparently they are no longer available, understandable casualties of environmental/safety considerations.

As a boy I had a vial of mercury, as did most of my friends, which I think I swiped from my high school chemistry lab. Great stuff for shining up coins and spattering/shattering with a hammer. I know I handled and no doubt ingested/absorbed relatively large quantities of the stuff with no apparent effect....:single_eye:
 

BJ8Healeys

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I was thinking that a mercury switch would be easier to install and more reliable than one with mechanical contacts but apparently they are no longer available, understandable casualties of environmental/safety considerations.
As a boy I had a vial of mercury, as did most of my friends, which I think I swiped from my high school chemistry lab. Great stuff for shining up coins and spattering/shattering with a hammer. I know I handled and no doubt ingested/absorbed relatively large quantities of the stuff with no apparent effect....:single_eye:

Michael, I think everyone our age played with mercury at some point in our young lives. I remember busting the Hg out of thermometers. It was fascinating stuff.
Watsons StreetWorks, where my mechanical switch came from, says that pressure switches fail because they don't "wipe" the contacts and over time they carbon up. The mechanical switches do wipe the contacts, and therefore last longer. That's what they say. I only know that my stock pressure switches did fail too soon after installation, but the mechanical switch is still doing its thing 13 years later. Looks like the current version is $4 less than I paid in 2006.
 

Patrick67BJ8

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I installed a mechanical switch several years ago and it has worked flawlessly. A mechanical switch will activate the brakes lights with light pressure compared to the original switch. This alerts people behind you much faster that you are braking.
 
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Later BJ8s (he says he has a '67, but the "year" of a Healey is mostly meaningless) do not have that relay on the inner fender. The failure to come on when the brake pedal is pressed could be due to the bulbs, the light sockets (corrosion), the wiring (loose connections), but is most likely the brake pressure switch on the right inner fender. I got tired of replacing this switch, only to have the replacements fail in a short time. I replaced the pressure switch with a mechanical (adjustable) switch that operates off the brake pedal. It has the arm and roller described by mgtf328. That switch has operated just fine now since 2006.

Your setup looks a lot more professional than Roger's TBH. He used a microswitch with a long(ish) lever that just laid across the pedal shaft. I'm gonna try the 'extra sensitive' hydraulic switch then do a mechanical if that doesn't work. I think I've only had one failure of the hydraulic switch in 35 years/150K miles.
 

Michael Oritt

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Maybe you guys are right and the mercury had some effect....

But in fairness to ME I would like to point out that I only have one street car (the Healey)and I AM trying to sell the Courier (really) and recently reduced its price to $22K which should be a steal, though I cannot find any thieves.
 

roscoe

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I might have you beat. My grandfather was a dentist. He used to give us mercury which we duly abused as most kids who got their hands on it. I have you beat because in the basement of our my childhood victorian house was an old coal burning boiler ( not in use for many years) covered in this white flakey stuff. When we couldn't find anymore stray pieces of coal to throw, my brother and I used to break off chunks and throw the white stuff at each other. Yup, asbestos. Between the mercury and that I figure I'm doomed. So far so good. We also rode bikes without helmets and made our own skateboards when kneepads were only worn by wrestlers.
 

Michael Oritt

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A friend of mine's family owned a shoe store in Annapolis which had one of those fluoroscopes that would show your feet in your prospective shoes. It was deactivated--probably banned--some time in the 1960's but Jerry tells me that he and his friends would go into the store's basement and play with the machines for hours x-raying their hands, feet, etc. etc. Check it out:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope
 
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