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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:32 pm 
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Location: Midland Park, NJ
Mechanical Brake Light Switch for a 1954 Ford

Ever since I got my 54 I was worried about those behind me seeing my brake lights. I don't like the hydraulic switches as they tend not to come on unless a lot of pressure is applied. I wanted to change it to a mechanical switch, but other car purchases and the resulting changes I made to them always seemed to get in the way. Last winter I got my 64 Fairlane squared away so I planned to do it this winter.

Finally, it's done. I started at the beginning of the winter, but the cold and snow put a damper on everything so I only got half way through. The weather has gotten better so I finished it up.

You need only a few items - a bracket, a metal piece for a spacer, switch, wire and terminals. For the bracket I went to my scrap metal bin and found an angle piece, 1 1/2 "wide, 1/16 " in thickness and the final length was 3 5/8". For the spacer, I used a 1/8 piece of aluminum. The switch I bought from American Autowire (part # 500097, picture 3), but I see that the switch can be purchased from other sources. The switch comes with terminals.

Pictures 1 and 2 show the final bracket. As noted above, the length is 3 5/8 inches long. The side that is cut is 1 3/4 inches from the top. Pictures 7 & 8 show the bracket and switch as finished.

The only modification that I made to the car was to grind down the lip on the dash/firewall brace to better position the switch with the brake pedal arm (picture 4). I did not remove all of the lip. This, with the addition of the spacer, placed the center of the bracket in line with the brake pedal arm. I Gorilla glued the spacer to the bracket. The bracket is held to the brake/clutch pedal bracket with two #10 machine screws which should be sufficient since there is very little tension on the switch and bracket. Once I had decided where to place the mounting holes I drilled and tapped the brace, not a very easy thing to do with the wires and other things in the way. The length of the screws is important. If they are too long they may interfere with the stop on the brake arm. My final length was 1/2 inch.

The wiring is very simple. One wire is spliced into the stop light wire coming out of the steering column and the other is connected to a power source. The power source I wired mine to was the light switch (based on a similar set up for a early TBird) but it can be wired to the ignition switch (power in terminal or the accessory terminal. Two things if you wire it to the accessory terminal - 1. you will not have brake lights when the ignition is in the off position and 2. you must disconnect the wires on the hydraulic switch as you will get electrical feedback to the various items that may be connected to the accessory terminal. I disconnected and taped the wires on the hydraulic switch anyway.

With the new mechanical switch, you now have two sources for brake lights. If the new mechanical switch goes bad, all you have to do is disconnect it and connect the old wires back onto the hydraulic switch. With the mechanical switch, the brake lights now go on as soon as you touch the brake pedal.

When working under the dash, I found it was a lot easier to remove the front seat which gave me lots of room to work.


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