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Thread: No Brake Lights, Help!

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    Registered User lonetreesteve's Avatar
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    Default No Brake Lights, Help!

    My brakes lights on my '72 240z/4-speed don't work properly. For some strange reason when I turn on the lights, both the brake lights and the tail lights come on. I've read through the archived threads and have checked out all of the following so far:

    All of the connections on the rear tail light are correct.
    All of the fuses are good and are the correct ones in the appropriates places.
    All of the bulbs are correct and they all work.
    I changed out the brake switch on the pedal apparatus.
    I checked out all of the connections.
    I changed out the headlight switch.

    Certainly someone has run into this problem before.

    Thanks!
    Steve

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    Registered User JimmyZ's Avatar
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    Very strange. You havent done any switching of the wires on the steering column?? That would be my first thought. The bulbs are 1157's for arent they??? For fun try the hazards and turn signal light to see if they are wired right.
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    Semi-retired admin Arne's Avatar
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    Sounds like a possible bad ground at the back of the car, to me.
    Arne - Former owner, HLS30-37705, 7/71, 905 Red
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    Registered User lonetreesteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyZ View Post
    Very strange. You havent done any switching of the wires on the steering column?? That would be my first thought. The bulbs are 1157's for arent they??? For fun try the hazards and turn signal light to see if they are wired right.
    Jimmy, I checked the brake light bulbs and they are both 1157s. Hazards and turn signals all work fine. I'm pretty sure that all the wires are connected correctly under the steering column. I'll check again.

    I'll also check the grounds in the rear as Arne suggested.

    Thanks guys
    Steve

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    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    Hazards AND T/S both work "fine" yet the Brake lights are on with the Tail? Since the Haz and the T/S both use the same filament as the Brakes, it might behove you to double check the wiring to the Stop Switch.

    Something changed recently... you weren't having this problem before. Try to remember what you last did to see if it might have had an impact here.

    You might check that you don't have a "cross-threaded" bulb in one of those sockets while you're checking the grounds.

    E

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    Registered User lonetreesteve's Avatar
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    I checked out the wires in the steering column and in the rear again and everything looked correct. I have attached pics of the steering column, the switch on the upper part of the driver's kick panel and the rear tail lights. Do you see anything that might be connected incorrectly?
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    Steve

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    I agree with E. You changed something alright.
    I noticed that you changed the light switch. Although you can't screw up on the big plug it's possible to screw up and misplug the individual wires on the steering column. Try unplugging some of those individual wires one at a time and observe whether your brake lights out. (Go out with the lights on that is) I've managed to plug the wrong ones in the past.

    This is probably your problem. It may also be that you have a switch from a year of Z which doesn't jive with your earlier model.

    I'm sure you've tried disconnecting the brake light switch already. (Just to see if the switch is misadjusted) If it were misadjusted the brake lights would stay on of course.

    IF I'm reading this right then all six of your rear 1157 bulbs are coming on when the light switch is turned to "on".????? This isn't a simple matter of someone swapping your bulbs in their sockets to have fun with you.

    Let us know what it is. Now that I took a little more time to read your post I'm betting on the wiring in the column or an incompatible switch.

    Jim
    Last edited by JimmyZ; 11-08-2008 at 06:54 PM.
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    I still suspect a ground issue. The bulb sockets on a 240Z require a good ground in the rear wiring harness. When you turn on the tail lights, the power goes into the dim filament and to the brass base of the bulb for ground. If there isn't a good ground at the black wire, the power then feeds backwards through the bright filament and back up the wiring until it finds a way out.

    This seems more likely to me than the possibility that the tail circuit is crossed with both brake circuits.

    Here's a couple of simple tests. Turn on the tail lights (which should light the brake filaments as well). Leave the ignition off. What happens when you use the turn signal (either side)? Normally, the brake lights for what ever side turn signal you activate should go out. If that doesn't happen, I don't think the wiring is cross-connected.

    Also. try adding a separate ground wire jumpered into one of the black wires at the tail light connection. See if that has any effect.
    Arne - Former owner, HLS30-37705, 7/71, 905 Red
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    What happens when you step on the brakes with the headlight switch off? I'm guessing only your brake lights will come on and the turn signals will still operate fine. Does the problem only occur when the headlight switch is turned on? I'm inclined to follow E's thought about a socket problem first and bad grounds as an unlikely second.

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    240Z Elec. Upgrade guy Zs-ondabrain's Avatar
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    Ok, Here's my take on it. Take it for what it's worth..

    I looked at the pictures and the headlight switch wiring looks to be correct, as is the T/S switch.
    The third picture is your horn relay so don't worry about that.

    I would suggest this....
    Remove all of the rear taillight bulbs
    Make sure all of the single wire sockets have only 1156 bulbs.
    Make sure there is minimal or No corrosion (use dielectric grease on each and every bulb in the Z.
    Make sure only 1157 bulbs are in the 2 wire sockets. If only one of those 1157's are twisted wrong or forced in incorrectly, there will be issues, Like brakes coming on with the parking lights.

    The parking lights have nothing to do with the brake lights, so to speak. The combo switch controls the parking lights. The brake switch (on the pedal) and the T/S switch, control the brake lights. The turn signal switch controls the brake lights as well as the turn signals and the both go to the Hazard switch.

    I would start with the bulbs in the back then check the hazard switch. ALSO!! Check the 2 center wires on the 6-wire metal switch on the T/S switch. They are green and green/yellow. Solid green is the wire from the flasher and the green/yellow is from the brake switch, if the solder has flowed and they are touching, you may get a constant brake light. But that would'nt explaint the ON with the Parking lights.

    Dave.

    P.S.
    If all else fails, Check each wire on the taillight harness's on each taillight. There may be a crossed wire inside the vinyl tubing, I've seen it happen and it will cause the problem you're having.
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  11. #11
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    God we should really try to have some betting allowed on the site. I'm sitting here thinking about it while comparing pics. It does look like everything is good on the column as Dave said. (Just looked at mine)

    Ok Ok Ok

    Check the wires down at the brake light switch. The two green wires with the yellow stripes plug into the brake light switch. It might be possible that some other wires were mistakenly plugged in. The brake light switch has two GY wires on it.
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    Well guys, after I got back from the movies and dinner with my wife and 2 of my kids, I made some progress thanks to your good advise. I changed out both wiring harnesses, cleaned all the sockets and checked all the bulbs again (all the bulbs are new as they were before). The good news is that the brakes don't come on with the lights when I turn the lights on, but there are still no brake lights with or without the lights on.

    I did trade out the light switch earlier, but the brakes didn't work before I traded it out. I switched the green/yellow wires around on the brake switch, but no luck. I will try putting the original brake switch back in tomorrow (it's 10:20 pm here in Colorado) Thanks, guys I think we are getting closer.
    Steve

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    240Z Elec. Upgrade guy Zs-ondabrain's Avatar
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    Now that the brakes don't come on permanantly, try the turn signals. If the turn signals work and the brakes don't, the problem could be in the Metal turn signal switch. They warp over time and overheating can also cause the warping.

    Expose the T/S switch, press on the brakes while connecting the green/yellow and white/red wire on that metal switch box. If the brakes work, then the metal box is the problem.

    Let us know what you find.
    Dave.
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    Registered User beezee's Avatar
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    Looking at wire diagram circuits for a 74 car illustrates separate fuse circuits for brake and tailights, are earlier cars the same? May have a fuse or power feed problem at fuse block

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    Registered User JimmyZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonetreesteve View Post
    . I switched the green/yellow wires around on the brake switch, but no luck. I will try putting the original brake switch back in tomorrow
    1974 is probably different.

    Unplug the two GY's at the brake light switch and run a jumper between them. If this doesn't turn on the brake lights then jostle the brake light fuse a bit. (Twist/shift it to break through any corrosion) You may not need to replace the BL switch. I'm sure you did it right but is the switch adjusted right?? Try a mulimeter on the leads of the BL switch. (Check for continuity when the pedal is depressed) You should have voltage at one of your GY wires at the switch.

    Swapping GY's won't have any effect since it's a simple switch. There are some other wires with plugs in the vicinity which could have been plugged in. That's why I mentioned it.
    Last edited by JimmyZ; 11-09-2008 at 11:51 AM.
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    Registered User lonetreesteve's Avatar
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    I tried switching out the turn signal switch as Dave had recommended, but it didn't make a difference. After that, when I turned the lights on the left rear brake light came on also. I tried a number of the other suggestions you guys made, but nothing seemed to do the trick. I wonder if I just need to buy some new tail light harnesses somewhere. I really all of the help you guys gave me.

    By the way, I took a picture of 2 wires under the steering column, 1 red wire and 1 ground wire. I assume these are for fog lights or are they for something else?
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    Steve

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    R & B = Key-In Warning Buzzer circuit.

    In one of the pictures above, the main black ground going to the combination switch is not connected. Have you corrected that? You have swapped the switch out, but an incorrect assumption on how the wires connect can simply replicate the problem time and time again.

    The "Blue" wires (L, LY, etc) are for the wiper and washer, but I don't recall a Black/Yellow at the steering column.

    The combination tail lamps use 3-1156 Bulbs and only ONE 1157.

    FWIW
    E

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    240Z Elec. Upgrade guy Zs-ondabrain's Avatar
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    Black yellow is the starter wire on the ignition, ignore it.

    Do the parking lights come on when you hit the brakes?? Pay attension next time you hit 'em. If the parking lights come on with the brake lights, it's definately a short.
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  19. #19
    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    If that Black/Yellow IS for the Starter, then he has some serious problems.

    The pictures show the B/Y connected to something other than the ignition switch. You can readily see the ignition lock with the B/Y wire not connected to the backside. (Also, aren't all 5 wires going to the Ig. Switch in a single 6 wire connector?)

    Like I mentioned previously, the "blue" series of wires at the column are typically for the windshield wipers and washer circuits. If that B/Y IS for the starter, then what does he do, toggle the Windshield Wiper switch to start his car?

    I'm relying on the wire colors in the harness and not the ones coming from the comb. switch, as I've seen discrepancies with respect to the schematics color legend more often with the comb switches than with the wiring harness. The same discrepancies happen with regards to individual component harnesses (tail-lights, instruments, etc.). But this doesn't mean harness errors don't happen.

    But before we go on a wild chase, I'm still betting it is something quite simple especially if it just started happening. Electrical wire connections don't suddenly decide to reconnect incorrectly, except for a short circuit, and that doesn't involve plugging and unplugging connections.

    That being said, it is more than likely either a broken hazard switch (if it "just suddenly started") or a misconnecton (if it occurred after a "repair" or "upgrade"). That's why I asked what the last thing he had done was.

    E
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    To tell you the truth, I don't know if the brake lights ever worked on this car. I just got it on the road a couple months ago after the refresh and haven't driven it that much. My daughter told me when driving behind me the other day that the brake lights don't work. Also, EScanlon mentioned the wipers, which I completely forgot about - they don't work either! EScanlon might be on to something here. I've got to run to work now, but I'll check back in tonight.
    Thanks again guys.
    Steve

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    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    Reviewing older diagrams it is possible that that B/Y wire actually goes to the Washer motor. Older diagrams show the Washer motor as having a B/Y wire that magically transforms to a Blue/Red (L/R) at the firewall or thereabouts. That it makes it all the way to the steering column switch area is just one more anomalie to note in the wiring schematics I've seen.

    To double check that your brake light circuitry is functional, jumper the two Green/Yellow wires at the Hazard Switch connector and then join the two G/Y wires at the Stop Light Switch. With that shunt and switch bypass your brake lights should be both on. If they are not, or only one, then your problems are NOT in the HAZARD Switch. We need to check the comb. switch next.

    Next re-connect the Haz. Sw, and while you maintain the Stop Light Switch shunt, now at the combination switch cross connect the Green/Yellow wire with either/both the White/Red and the White/Black. When you do so you'll get either the Right (W/B) or Left (W/R) or both lights depending on how you've cross-connected. If you DO have the lights then your problem IS in the Combination Switch. If you still do NOT have lights, then your problem is in the wiring to the back.

    This should get you back on track.

    Check your grounds at the back, they're often overlooked.

    HTH
    E

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    Was the problem ever resolved Steve? I am having the same problem with my 260z. Although, I don't know if they ever worked since I bought the car.
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    Registered User biddljj's Avatar
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    I found this thread whil elooking for a definition of where the gounds are located in my 72 240Z..... Good discussion...

    Jay
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    I had problems getting my brake lights to work, and using this thread i was able to narrow the search down to help me locate the problem. Thanks
    Its Alive!!!!!!!!

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    I discovered that the ground associated with the Combo switch was intermittant.
    If I wiggled the wire I could get the lights to work.... I replaced the connector
    on the black ground wire on the combo switch.... Life is better...
    I am still having rear turn signal issues.... My fron turn signals work fine.
    I'm going back to the harness connectors on the passenger side of the dash.

    Jay
    Not jus a Z - ZDisease

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