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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-21-2006, 01:29 AM
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Thumbs up How To - EPC light/Brake light switch install

Hi my fellow Bug fans... got the EPC light on for the second time and decided to take some pics and do a how to for everyone. Do it yourself and tell the stealership where to go...

First, the EPC light came on after about three years of owning my Bug... my first warning light during ownership. VW recalled the brake switch and it was fixed for free at the dealer. Now (Summer 06), VW has once again recalled the switch and sure enough my EPC light is back on. My stealership said they would not fix it for free unless they got something in writing from VW, as I am not on the recall... WTF?? No way I am paying $80+ for them to "diagnose" my Bug when I know what is wrong.

One other interesting thing to note about these brake light switches is, there WILL be THREE versions. Version one (original) was recalled around 04 and now there is version three in the works. According to my stealership they are not shipping from VW until fall 06. I want my brake lights to keep working and the EPC light out, so I got version 2. Anyhow, on with the install...

1) First, try starting the Bug, and pumping the brakes... sometimes this will cause the EPC light to go out... or you will get this...



If it stays on, you need a new switch... proceed to the stealership and pay ~$14 for this...



Mine was big gay purple... In order for VW to keep track of what version a crappy electrical component is, they change the color... see my temp sensor thread for another example.

The original/recall 04 is black...



2) Remove the cover panel above the driver's side foot well...



3) Locate old switch, push in brake pedal, and twist switch body to remove...



4) Unplug 4 pin connector from old switch and plug into new switch (it only goes one way...don't force it!) Insert new switch into frame and depress brake petal. You should turn it until it locks into place and is positioned like the original.



5) Start Bug. Press the brake pedal once or twice and the EPC light should go out...



If it looks like that... great! Replace the cover over the foot well and you are done! If not, check the 4 pin connection and make sure it is fully seated in the switch. Also check to see if you can hear the switch engage when you press the brake pedal.... if not you will need to remove the switch and adjust the push rod. The rod will move in and out for adjustment.

Oh, and check to see if the brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal as well!

That's it, hope this helps someone out. I was reading some reviews from Bug owners on ... I think edmonds.com, mabey yahoo autos and I couldn't believe people complained about easy fixes like changing a headlamp bulb. These people were paying a stealership, $50-$80 to change a bulb!! No wonder they didn't like their Bugs. True NB enthusiats would have found the ORG and be out driving. Hope this saves you all some cash... Be safe driving,

-Audiophil
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Old 07-21-2006, 03:50 AM
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I read that we must wait for December of 2006 for the recall of the recall. I lucked out this last time, the dealership didnt charge to "diagnose" I only paid 105.00 for the new sensor and 120.00 for the tow. (I have insurance that kicked in 75.00 for it.)

anyways, interesting post, thanks for sharring.

PS: The stealership only charged me 105.00 because my boyfriend happen to have gone to grade school with the service manager (small world) anyways... he said it was normally 150.00.... Crazy.
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:25 PM
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Thanks Phil,just had mine replaced last night under warranty,but I would be willing to bet it won't be the only time it needs replacing,judging from everyones experience here!At least with your clear instructions,I can change mine next time when it's outta warranty!
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:49 PM
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I took my car in two weeks ago for this. They didn't have to "diagnose" it, as I told them what to do. I paid $12 (I certainly hope Breez made a typo and didn't pay $105) for the part and $75 for the work... They wouldn't honor the "recall", as there were no "open recalls at this time".

I will write VW and complain about this. They cannot expect us to drive with a faulty brake light switch (meaning no brake lights!) for 6 months before getting it fixed...

edit: the switch comes in two versions; a 2-pin and a 4-pin. Make sure you get the right one for your car...

Last edited by Lmhansen; 07-21-2006 at 12:55 PM..
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:17 AM
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Yes, stealerships will charge whatever they think they can get away with. I have mine change the oil, just so I have a record for the powertrain warranty, otherwise stay away, they are pretty shady. Hope this helps with future EPC light/brake light switch problems in the future.

-Audiophil



Quote:
Originally Posted by lmhansen
I took my car in two weeks ago for this. They didn't have to "diagnose" it, as I told them what to do. I paid $12 (I certainly hope Breez made a typo and didn't pay $105) for the part and $75 for the work... They wouldn't honor the "recall", as there were no "open recalls at this time".

I will write VW and complain about this. They cannot expect us to drive with a faulty brake light switch (meaning no brake lights!) for 6 months before getting it fixed...

edit: the switch comes in two versions; a 2-pin and a 4-pin. Make sure you get the right one for your car...
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:36 AM
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no typo - $105.00 (for a used new beetle I had bought from there dealership two weeks before, and the previous owner did have the first recall done) and they told me I got it discounted.

I was told to contact VWofAmercia after the recall of the recall is anounced in December, they might credit me that amount.

This is the only issue I have had with my NB so far, so I won't complain (too much) But if it happens again before the next recall, I will follow the instructions on this thread!!! woo hoo!!!

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Old 10-16-2006, 04:45 AM
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The switch design itself (even the purple one) is total junk.

It is notorious for failing, and extremely dangerous, so much so that the NHTSA has forced VW to perform (yet another) recall.

I got the ESP/Traction Control light again this weekend and noticed my tail-lights were no longer working also.

I took this damn switch out and took it apart. The design is a total piece of crap. The whole thing relies on a spring to force a plunger out when the pedal is depressed which slides a set of "shoes" off a set of "cams" on the contacts and allows them to close the circuit (thus let electricity pass) and illuminate the brake lamps.

This makes the switch a "fail open" device (when either the spring doesn't generate enough force to move the plunger or the plunger sticks, etc.) which is an extremely unsafe condition, in that the tail-lights will fail to illuminate.

I'm posting detail pictures on the guts of the switch of what I am describing:

Brake Lamp Switch Assembly {Purple = VW's Second Design Attempt Version}:



Disassembled Switch (There was evidence of arcing inside the purple housing and around the outside contacts, see pic 1210 below)



Switch Contacts/Black Plastic "Cams"



Switch Spring Loaded Plunger w/ "Shoe" (lubricant on shoe)



Signs of Arcing Visible



Rotation sets shoe in alignment with contact cams...




The whole thing needs to be redesigned such that pedal pressure activates the switch directly (switch behind the pedal) and not indirectly (via spring), or the spring force increased significantly, or the entire contacts/cams/shoe internals of the switch itself be redesigned.

I'm beginning to think this is why my wife and son were rear-ended last summer. No injuries, but $3k in damage to the bug (rear axle had to be replaced due to off center hit on LR wheel). Can anyone say potential lawsuit?


-CKB

Last edited by bub; 10-16-2006 at 07:12 PM..
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:15 PM
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UPDATE: Visited my stealership today. Was told that I would have to buy my own switch, but that there was an "experimental" switch being tried on a few limited cars that I could not buy at this time (it is green and much more substantial looking - no longer Delphi manufactured either).

I had to buy the old purple one (version "E" nontheless - my old one was "D") for around $11. Popped it in myself there at the dealer lot and all is working fine (for now - or for about 10k miles or a year - that's about how long each of the last 3 lasted).

I will be sending VW this bill and upgrading to the green switch once the recall becomes effective 12/6/06.

It's a safety issue for crissake!

-CKB

Last edited by bub; 10-17-2006 at 07:14 PM..
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:10 PM
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Thought I'd give this excellent how-to a bump.

Aphid's switch was replaced under the first recall last summer, and now this switch has crapped out.

If you remove the switch can you drive without brake lights or do you have to have the switch seated to get an automatic out of park?
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:55 PM
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Update...if you have an automatic, you must have a working switch to crank & get it out of park or neutral.

Fortunately, we had our Jetta's switch replaced under the first recall about 2 weeks ago, so I popped that switch into Aphid since the Jetta is a 5sp.

Now the problem is in the Jetta, that switch keeps ALL the brake lights on, so when I park, I have to remove it to keep from running the new battery down like the previous faulty switch did.

I guess I can deal with this for a month until the next ones are available. Don't get me wrong...we love our VDubs, but this IS an irritating and potentially dangerous problem, and there is ZERO excuse for VW taking this long to get it right.
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:54 PM
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Default Here's the new green stoplight switch...it's more substantial...but MADE IN MALTA!!!!

Screw this VIN thing and messing around with the dealership...

I just went and bought one...they're cheap...$4.31 list...but I still plan to send the bill to VWoA...





Parts guy said they turn harder during the installation "set" than the old ones and have a resistor inside (possibly to minimize the arcing?).

At any rate he also said that the instructions (as you can see are included) recommend lubing the tip...you can't make this stuff up...

-CKB
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:48 AM
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Wow, thanks bub! I went back to check on this old thread I started and I get to see the new green switch, cool.

"lubing the tip", LOL. That is always good advice, especially if you want to see her a second time...
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Old 05-27-2007, 03:07 AM
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Do I get a free one if mine (2000 NB) has never been replaced? If so, should I wait for mine (which is working) to crap out?
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:11 PM
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We've had no trouble either...and our windows are good and the car locks great-----damn things just too reliable.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:08 PM
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Can you buy this part at AutoZone or other parts store?
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:03 PM
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went to my dearship today and told them what i needed and they all looked at me like i was stupid. They have no idea what i was talking about, even after i show them in my manual what i needed. So can any one hokk my up with a part number? so i can do there work for them.

Thanks
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:23 PM
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What happend whenthe light came on in your car???
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Old 09-21-2007, 01:07 AM
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Bumping this up because I used these instructions this evening to change my brake light switch myself.

Sparkle, my '99, wouldn't start up for me yesterday evening when me and a friend were leaving the mall. How embarrassing! Dreading the towing bill and the labor bill from the stealership, I decided to search the board for the problem and found it was as easy and buying a $9 brake light switch and changing it myself. (I bought 2 because I was afraid I might break one.)

Granted, my brother loaned me his tools and held the flash light for me, but it was one easy solution to a big problem!

She started up and shifted out of park perfectly.

And it only cost me $18.

I LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:25 PM
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Recently had to replace mine as well, it was a lot easier than waiting a day or so for my vehicle to be worked on. It was cheap, simple, and I'm sending VW my receipt Thanks for the DIY
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