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143 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have to admit right off... This part is actually from my buddies '87 Corvette. But the principles are all the same. :)

I tried to describe how a switch actually works to him. I just take it for granted how it works.
Since he didn't know, I thought there might be some others that didn't either.
Figured if I was going to send these pics to him, I'd share them here as well...

So - you have a switch that's all there, but either doesn't work at all, or it flickers etc.

Many are stuck together this way (though not all - YMMV!). It's just a matter of GENTLY bending up the tabs on one side.
You can do both sides, but it's usually not required, and just makes it harder to reassemble. I used some flush cutters going at it from the ends to bend them up.

Carefully lift up the contact plate. I do it with the tip of an exacto hobby knife.

Here's the corroded contacts on the contact plate.

And on the moving contact.

This is the moving contact, removed from the switch body. Tiny!

I generally just use the blade of the knife, and scrape the contacts until they're clean.
You could also use some ~1000+ grit paper, but it is actually harder and you might deform the contact. That plate is only about 2mm wide!
Ditto on the fixed contacts. Just scrape gently until shiny. Don't try to actually shave them.

I then like to smear some carbon grease sparingly on the whole plate, and the contacts. Warning... this stuff stains like CRAZY!!!
It puts paint to shame. So, you might want to do all this on some newspaper etc. And wipe all your tools off with a paper towel.
Takes a nail brush and soap to get it off my fingers.

This is the switch with grease on the contacts, going back together.

Hook the edge away from you under the tabs that you didn't bend up (right?!), then wiggle the close edge down.
I then use the butt of the knife to press the tabs down.

Presto... one OEM switch, that's better than new (since they put them together dry)!
This one lasted 29 years in a convertible, so it will no doubt outlive myself or the owners life. ;)

2,472 Posts
Using a metal blade to scrape off corrosion is not recommended. High grit sandpaper is okay if a quality contact cleaner (like cramoline) fails to remove most of the oxidation, but generally, an eraser works great and is non-abrasive.


143 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I guess it comes down to technique. I've done it for decades.
I should have shot a moving GIF to show HOW maybe.

As I said above, you're NOT shaving with it. Dragging it across is maybe a way to describe it.
And use a fresh blade to avoid nicks, scrapes... and bleeding.
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