View Full Version : Brake lights not turning off.

10-17-2008, 07:23 PM
So, like the title says, the brake light switch isn't always turning off on my 40, and I got burned this week when they drained my battery. I've read up and seen that people have solved this by reattaching the spring on the pedal, but mine is there and pulling strong. Is there a way make adjustments to the switch itself, or any other solutions?

Also, my trickle charger claims it should fully charge the battery in 12 hours, but after two days it still was only at registering at 9 volts. I then needed to run jumpers to my car and let it idle for awhile before it would even begin to turn the starter over. This was on a brand new red top. I'm not sure if there's a battery issue or not, but could it be that there's a problem with the starter since it won't turn over with pretty much anything short of a full charge? Running the jumper cables alone wasn't getting it enough power.

Maybe it's time for the gear reduction upgrade?

10-17-2008, 07:33 PM
my spring pulls pretty strong but pretty often I have to manually pull up the pedal with my foot until I hear it click.

Your master cylinder rod also pushes on it, so if your brake shoes aren't adjusted completely properly they may be adding to the problem. Adjust your brake shoes to where they need to be and then check your pedal freeplay. If all that is in spec then it should fix the problem. If it doesn't, then I have no idea.

A red top Optima I believe can still get killed by running it down too low; it's not a low-cycle battery like a yellow or blue top. Go have it checked out by Autozone or someplace that tests batteries and they can help you.

10-18-2008, 02:29 PM
Did everything used to work properly, or is this a new-to-you 40? Have you done recent brake work? If everything used to work, and you haven't done anything to the brakes recently, it sounds like a faulty switch. I believe they are adjustable, as is the rod as Matt mentions. If this is a new-to-you rig, it's time to check on a bunch of things. If you did recent brake work, certainly make sure the rod is adjusted properly. What vintage is the 40?

10-18-2008, 04:56 PM
It's a 72, new to me, and as of yet, drum brakes are something I'm clueless about.

10-19-2008, 11:52 AM
Okay good. Drum or disk won't make much difference in whether the brake light is on or off when it's supposed to be.

First thing I'd check is rod adjustment. It may not be adjusted long enough, but then again it might be fine. Off the top of my head I forget the exact play the manual calls out, but it's a little bit, like 1/8" or so. I'd also check switch adjustment; typically it's not a problem unless somebody removed and replaced it. Again I don't remember the exact adjustment the manual calls out off the top of my head, but the little button part should be fully pressed in when the pedal is up and not being depressed. It could just be faulty, but I would expect it to fault open before a closed fault.

I forgot to address your battery question. I've had a blem red top (which has lived in 2 different cruisers) work great for 9 years and is still going strong, but it's never been fully drained like yours has. My experience with conventional construction batteries is that once they've been drained too far, they're history. I've also had a blem yellow top which never did work right and acts the same as yours, yet had never been abused by being fully drained or over charged. Since it was a blem I had no recourse and just chalk it up to sometimes they're no good out of the box. I have another blem yellow top which has only been used a little and seems to work fine. I'd suspect that yours is probably toast, but you might still be able to get it replaced if it isn't a blem.

10-19-2008, 12:19 PM

From my understanding of batteries, with the dry cells, it should survive a full drain as long as you don't rupture a cell by trying to charge it too fast. That's why I had it on a trickle charger first, so at that point, a rapid charger shouldn't hurt it. Should survive a fair share of drains before dying that way.

As for the engine not starting without a full charge, I'm not really inclined to believe that has to do with the battery since I had this problem before I replaced it, only with the red top, it definitely doesn't drain as quickly as the old one.

I'll try to get out and see if I can play around with the rod and switch today.

10-19-2008, 06:47 PM
Just remember that all the systems on your work, if working properly, should, well, work properly and well. Gear reduction, red tops, disc brakes, 350s, superchargers etc. are only to be used as "upgrades" rather than "fixes."

Your battery has to have a good 10-12V to start I think. I would just go test the red top, you never know for sure until you test it, and testing it is easy. Weirder things have happened than your battery going bad after one full discharge.

Blem=blemish (or cosmetic second in some industries) - normally perfectly functional, but there might be some cosmetic damage or some other reason why the manufacturer can't sell it at full retail price.

10-19-2008, 10:26 PM
When it's charged fully, the battery is holding 12v+ just fine. I replaced it after the old one started spewing ooze at the at the terminals. I didn't really consider it an upgrade, just a much needed replacement.