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Old 15-09-2006   #1
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Brake Light Switch: ESP/Lights/Selespeed Problems?

Yep, you read it right, not brake light problems but solutions to a problem you didnít know you had. Many Stilo owners will have had to change their brake light switch through ASR warning lights and brake lights not working or staying on sort of problems but for those that havenít then I feel you should be forewarned of something that may be coming your way if it hasnít already.

Imagine the scene, Iím driving along a dual carriageway and a young lass draws up along side and is pointing and mouthing intelligibly something like ďI thought my bum looked big until I saw the back end of your StiloĒ. At least I think thatís what she says and so I smile sweetly, give her a thumbs up and say back something which probably looks like ďYes you can get a full wax, back and crack down the road for £45 donít you knowĒ

Anyway, I decide to check things at the rear when I get home and Iím lucky in being able to check my rear lights in a neighbours front window acting like a mirror -spoils his TV viewing but handy for me. So everything looks intact and I check my brake lights a few times in the window Ė
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, uh?
Did I imagine that? Did the high level brake light come on but not the low level ones? Is that possible?
Fine, fine, fine, fine, then same again!
Fine, fine, fine then NOTHING! Whatís going on?

Looking at the circuit diagram the high level brake light is indeed on a different circuit to the low level ones, the high one being directly connected to the brake light switch and the low level ones only being turned on by the body computer so itís easily possible for the high level to work with no low level ones

Now I hear that new brake light switches are better designed and more robust than the originals, the operating point isnít right at the top and therefore over sensitive and the switch isnít so affected if you happen to trip your foot underneath the brake pedal. (The original would often reset itís brake light operating point just by a simple act of pulling up on the brake pedal or catching your foot underneath it. Not good).

So Iíd advise everybody to check out the operation of their brake lights, not by asking someone to check as you wonít know whatís happening, but by reflections and watching what happens with your own foot operating the brake pedal. If youíre getting odd things happening too then itís time to replace the brake light switch before someone reshapes your rear end

New switches are £5 from Fiat. Not too difficult to fit but Iíd advise practising shuffling a deck of cards with one hand in the dark upside down first

Remove the sound deadening over foot panel and throw it away if you havenít already done so, more room for your feet and you can hear the indicators as well then.
Switch is a bayonet, light bulb type, half turn to remove. Connector to it is a pull up release catch which is where youíll need the fingers of steel and origami in the dark skills

Refitting is absolutely nothing like removal (just like it should truthfully say in the Haynes manuals) as you will be all out of patience and fed up with being upside down by then

Donít forget to test the operation afterwards

Q: Are you saying that you need to keep pressing the brake peddle half-a-dozen times or so to be sure when testing rather than relying on a single press?

A: Yes it's inconsistent due to poor contacts. 20 out of 20 tests should show things to be ok. Mine didn't make it that far

Quote Originally Posted by badkilla
Ok, I definately have this problem now, and the reflection of the brake light is either none present (which is dangerous) or its really weak. I paid a visit to Fiat Glyn Hopkin Loughton yesterday and went to the parts department to pick up a brake light switch. They sold me this.

Im ready to set to work to eradicate this problem once and for all.
Q: Deckchair, how easy is this thing to fit once I take off the sound deadening thing. Do you have some good step by step directions on how to get rid of the old and fit the new.

A: It's fiddly and requires some good control one handed under the dash. Get the driver's seat as far back as it will go. The switch is right above the brake pedal arm and, at first, looks like a right pig to do as you can only just get your fingers on it and have to go almost toally by feel but, like a light bulb, just a half twist of the switch and it's out, push it upwards to release it from it's securing bracket. i did it so many times i can do it in seconds now so it's not difficult but a bit of a strain to get to so get comfy

Once it's released you have a bit of slack in the wiring so you can move the switch over the top for a bit more slack so you can get to the electrical connector. This is just a raise release catch on the side of the connector and pull off, again tricky because yoi could only use one hand on it but, once the connector is off, the switch is out

You reminded me though that I had a problem fitting the new switch as it just would not rotate to lock into position no matter how hard i tried. I needed to file off a small amount of the plastic from here on the locating lugs of the switch to enable it to fit.

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The plastic moulding lugs had some overhanging plastic preventing the switch rotating in to secure it. You might have this too. That was frustrating as it could have gone in first time and took a while to realise why the new one just wouldn't go in but the old one would go straight in

Once installed, remember to adjust the centre plunger as described above. You can check the operation either by reflections or by raising your tailgate as you can then see the high level light whilst you put your foot on the brake

Quote Originally Posted by badkilla
Just replaced it, the old brake switch was not connecting to it properly, took a few hours as I have little to none experience with these things, but cant fault deckchairs help, I will now probably be able to do this again without heading to the dealers. For anyone needing assistance for this problem, follow this guide and simple, you cant go wrong
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02 Stilo 1.6 Dynamic 3 door
99 Bravo 1.2SX

Last edited by Stu DemonD; 18-01-2007 at 23:49.
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