[T3] turn signals/brake lights and something new

Daniel Nohejl d.nohejl at gmail.com
Sun Feb 26 15:05:55 PST 2017

> I suspect you've got at least 2 problems: The melted brake switch 
> would seem to point to a short somewhere in the brake light circuit. 
> Check the wiring, the bulbs, and the bulb sockets. My guess is that 
> high current draw thru the switches caused them to melt.

The wiring at the melted brake light switch didn’t look abnormal. There was fraying just above where each wire entered its connector but nothing melted and no strange smells. The connectors themselves were strangely much cleaner than the ones on the other switch (we put dielectric grease on those about 2.5 years ago) but that was the only unusual thing. I looked at the bulbs and the bulb sockets and found nothing out of order. Everything was clean and dry. 

> It's also worth knowing that high current thru these wires often 
> causes the insulation on them to look "corrugated" because the heat 
> causes the insulation to swell and get oversized.

The insulation on the switch wiring didn’t look strange at all. 

> From your description, it sounds like this happened sometime just 
> before you smelled that bad smell, like when sitting at a stop light 
> with your foot on the brake.

We were driving on a twisty road (lots of braking) when we smelled the smell. I wasn’t driving so I don’t know what the smell coincided with and Jessica doesn’t remember. The blown fuse occurred maybe 5 minutes later while braking and signaling a left turn. We stopped into a store for about 20 mins and replaced the fuse. That one blew a moment after leaving the store while sitting at a stop sign with the brakes applied and again signaling a left turn. The next day, we replaced the fuse to see what conditions would blow the fuse but it hasn’t blown since then….more than a week ago.

> It's possible that the melting progressed just far enough to short 
> the hot terminal of the switch just as you happened to try the L turn 
> signal. They are different fuses; which one blew?

#9 blew. On my car, 9 is the fuse for “stop lights, warning light for brake operation, turn signals, and horn” so I guess it makes sense that if the brake light switch was having an issue that using the turn signals would blow the fuse. Or does it not make sense? Isn’t there just a plunger inside the switch which makes contact when the switch is pressurized so the lights come on? That would suggest that the problem was upstream from the switch like you’re suggesting but where?

Either way, we drove about 60 miles today and everything was perfectly fine. I figure a short in the system wouldn’t be a one off occurrence, so maybe there’s another issue laying in wait and which will of course make itself known at a very inopportune time. 

> As for the leaking gas tank hose, there should be a sort of wide 
> rubber band under each end of that hose, over the metal pipe 
> underneath. That band is often damaged if the tank is removed and 
> people don't realized that it is necessary. In your case, it may be 
> missing or it may be torn or cracked.

I tried to back off the filler neck hose and see if the rubber bands were in place, but the hose was oddly squishy and it seemed I’d either have to destroy the hose to get it off or else lift up the tank a wee bit and I didn’t have the inclination to do either today. Even if the tank has ever come out, it was before we owned the car or when it spent a year in OR so that would be 4 or 5 or more years ago. Seems odd that it’d be the rubber bands after all this time, but who knows. In any case, I rotated the hose a bit and it seemed to grip each nipple more tightly. I also moved the clamp to a new position and will see if this helps. I’ll also order more rubber bands and a filler neck hose just in case. 


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