Saturday, 20 February 2010

Dodgy Dip Switch in Ipswich

Driving through Ipswich at night the urgent flashing of other drivers alerted me to a problem. When Neil pulled up behind another car he realised that my headlights were not on, only my sidelights. He checked the headlight switch and found it to be on then flashed the lights using the column stalk – only to find all 4 headlights coming on as they should and startling the driver in front. He pulled off into a retail park where a furniture store had thoughtfully built a glass-walled showroom ideal for testing one’s lights. Various switches were tried again until a press of the floor mounted dip switch restored normal functioning. 

This was of course forgotten about until he needed to use the headlights again and found the same problem. Last weekend he decided to investigate further and after studying my wiring diagram concluded that it must indeed be the floor mounted dip switch that was playing up. Armed with a screwdriver and multimeter he contorted enough to remove the switch, pressed it by hand and observed sparks emanating from the underside behind the connections. A check with the multimeter confirmed current was at least flowing to the switch, so Neil put everything back to make sure it did not get lost and went inside to look for a new one. A quick search online found a remanufactured switch on the original Lucas part number on the Holden’s site and this was ordered. 

He replaced the switch today, reconnecting the 3 wires in the correct order, and straight away normal functioning was restored. We went out for a celebratory drive, and just to make sure checked the switch on our return home.

The floor mounted dipswitch is such a useful device, freeing up the hands and giving the left foot something to do, that it's surprising that it no longer appears on new cars. Perhaps the desire to provide a proper place to rest the left foot took precedence, or perhaps the Blenheim still has one?