brake switch 1955

Discussions related to braking systems.
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brake switch 1955

Post by carsud2638 » Sun May 15, 2011 8:03 am

I find I need new brake switch for my 55 400 series with auto ride suspention which take a 3 terminal switch. I have no luck finding new one . Any suggestions of convertionto some thing else

Dave Czirr
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Re: brake switch 1955

Post by Dave Czirr » Sun May 15, 2011 12:26 pm

The original Wagner-Lockheed switches with the 3 posts have been in short supply for some time and when you find one they tend to be quite pricey. Use of silcone break fluid tends to give them a very short life - reasons for this not well understood but if you find an original and use silicone brake fluid, don't expect it to last long. There are a couple of options:

1. There is a late model model VW switch with the same thread size and 3 blade contacts instead of posts. I don't recall the part number but any good counter guy at the local parts store should be able to help. Some folks have also reported short service life of these units when used with silicone brake fluid.

2. You can purchase a little conversion kit which uses a conventional 2-prong switch just like Packard and others used for decades (NAPA's SL-134) and a small electronic relay with a short little wiring harness that connects the switch to the relay to your existing 3 wires. The little relay is about the size of the tip of a finger and easily hidden under the air duct. Many of us use this solution and it's regularly advertised in this club's newsletter. Price is $33 and includes the switch, relay, wires and instructions. Email is, address is PNR, P.O.Box 205, Snoqualmie, Washington 98065.

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Re: brake switch 1955

Post by JWL115C » Mon May 16, 2011 10:58 am

O_D, et al --- Do you suppose the short life of the stop light switch when using DOT-5 brake fluid has something to do with some of the old fluid remaining in the switch and that the old fluid residue and the new DOT-5 fluid set up some kind of reaction at attacks the switch innerards? I recently replaced the BL switch on my '55 Clipper when the one that was on there stopped working. The brake system was recently rebuilt and DOT 5 fluid installed. I believe the switch was the one that was on the car when the system was rebuilt. I will watch and see how long the new switch works.


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Location: Bowral, Southern Highlands NSW, Australia

Re: brake switch 1955

Post by Ozstatman » Mon May 16, 2011 2:33 pm

I use Dot5 fluid in my '41 120's system and the switch failed after about 18 months use. The same happens with my mate Wade, he's used Dot5 for 20 years in his '37 120 and the last 3+ years in his '37 Super 8 and the switches fail and all need replacement on a regular basis.
Currently - '50 Packard Eight Touring Sedan
Previously - '41 120 Club Coupe(Sold October 2017) & '38 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold July 2009)
Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW Australia

"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

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JD in KC
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Re: brake switch 1955

Post by JD in KC » Tue May 17, 2011 5:52 am

JWL115c Wrote:
I will watch and see how long the new switch works.
By all means do. My '50 has had DOT 5 for at least 5 years and the switch is still good. I have DOT 3 in the '49. I haven't decided which way to go with the '41 but since it will be an all-new brake system (new lines and hoses, new master and wheel cylinder kits) I'm leaning towards DOT 5.

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Re: brake switch 1955

Post by carsud2638 » Wed May 18, 2011 6:05 pm

will try the vw. route. I was aware of this switch but in looking at wiring diagram it appeared to me that it routed one terminal to a brake light and the other to turn signal switch with both having juice at same time unlike Packard but will give it a try. thanks for info. Am not using dot 4 or 5 so maybe no trouble

Randy Berger
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Re: brake switch 1955

Post by Randy Berger » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:36 am

I gave up on the hydraulic switch which also shut off the torsion level on my 56 400.
I installed a GMC mechanical switch with dual contacts mounted to the steering column and the activating plunger rests on the brake pedal arm.
This switch is designed to shut off the cruise control when you apply the brakes and to supply current when the brake pedal returns to normal position.
I just used the contacts to shut off the T/L system when applying the brakes and supply the brake lights with current when depressed.
This was a Howard Hanson suggestion and it works well.

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