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98 Chevy Lumina Brake Light/Turn Signal Problem


liquidfuse
02-21-2008, 03:11 PM
This issue started recently that I can recall, but I am unsure which started first. Here are the details. My tail lights light up when on but the brake lights do not come on except for the middle brake light in the back window. The right turn signal light flashes very fast, the front right turn signal flashes fast but the back turn signal doesnt flash. If I fiddle with the turn signal lever I can get it to flash at a normal rate and both lights will flash appropriately.
The left side has no problems except for the brake light no coming on, but the turn signals work fine. I checked the back light bulb, seems to be working but should I just go ahead and replace it? The fuse is good as well, does it need to be replaced?

Note: As per an vehicle inspection that was done, the mechanic told me I needed to replace the brake light switch, and I did but it did not help. Do I need to adjust the brake light switch at all? Tighten it in the socket, so the contact is closer to the brake lever?

Any suggestions would be great! Thank you.

j cAT
02-21-2008, 05:09 PM
This issue started recently that I can recall, but I am unsure which started first. Here are the details. My tail lights light up when on but the brake lights do not come on except for the middle brake light in the back window. The right turn signal light flashes very fast, the front right turn signal flashes fast but the back turn signal doesnt flash. If I fiddle with the turn signal lever I can get it to flash at a normal rate and both lights will flash appropriately.
The left side has no problems except for the brake light no coming on, but the turn signals work fine. I checked the back light bulb, seems to be working but should I just go ahead and replace it? The fuse is good as well, does it need to be replaced?

Note: As per an vehicle inspection that was done, the mechanic told me I needed to replace the brake light switch, and I did but it did not help. Do I need to adjust the brake light switch at all? Tighten it in the socket, so the contact is closer to the brake lever?

Any suggestions would be great! Thank you.

the brake pedal light switch needs to be adjusted... push down on pedal very slightly switch should activate rear brake lights.... if not then switch needs to be adjusted....

liquidfuse
02-21-2008, 05:14 PM
What about the turn signal right side being affected? Would that affect that too?

j cAT
02-21-2008, 06:37 PM
What about the turn signal right side being affected? Would that affect that too?


most likely the brake lt switch failed. then you or someone attempting to repair messed up the tail lt lamps... put bulbs in wrong ,,,,,,,,, wrong bulb...etc ..............

jeffcoslacker
02-21-2008, 07:35 PM
The multi switch in the column with the turn signal/wiper/4 way flasher/cruise control switch is notorious for this problem on GM's, and specifically Lumina...

From your description there is virtually no doubt in my mind this is your problem, very typical...

cadgear
02-21-2008, 10:46 PM
I second Jeff's opinion. The brake light switch isn't nearly as prone to going south as the column multi-switch. As you said, fiddling with the turn signal lever fixes the problem temporarily, that's your clue right there. Over time the contacts bend and wear out, in a few rare cases you can bend them back and keep going but I recommend a replacement. DIY it shouldn't be too much to spend but the fact that you're working with airbag components, removing the steering wheel...well, if you're not 110% confident you can do it, turn it over to a pro.

liquidfuse
02-22-2008, 02:48 AM
I didnt put in anything wrong. It was messed up for awhile now and I didnt realize it was the brake lights, I know the turn signals have been screwy for a long time though.

So no one changed anything or put anything in wrong. So its not that and I know you are trying to give me suggestions to help but I dont appreciate being told I did something wrong when I didnt.

I didnt put the bulbs in wrong, that was actually the last thing I checked because they work well the turn signal does but the brake doesnt, but the light for the tail light works when lights are on at night.

Basically here is the rundown again: Took car to get inspected it failed. Told to replace the brake light switch(most likely cause for problem), I checked fuse(no problems there), checked the lights and confirmed the tail lights were messed up but right turn signal has been flashing fast for a long time and I ignored it, changed brake light switch as suggested(maybe it need to be tightened???), lights are still messed up so thinking its turn signal switch or flasher or multi function switch.

I really dont want to spend the money, so what would be the easier thing to start with, tightening the brake light switch and if doesnt work then what?

jeffcoslacker
02-22-2008, 08:39 AM
Just for kicks try cycling the 4 way flasher switch...once in a while the button gets stuck in a position where it affects the brake/turn circuit...but most likely the multi is failing...as we said, very typical of your problem on Luminas...

The glaring clue is the stop/turn circuit runs through the multiswitch, the high mount brake light is on a seperate circuit and will operate regardless of the condition of the switch...but since the same elements in the bulbs work the outboard brake lights and T/S, that cicuit is shared...the common point between them is the multiswitch...

If the brake light switch adjustment was involved, the high mount wouldn't work correctly either, and the cruise control would would take much more than a light tap on the brake to cancel...

liquidfuse
02-22-2008, 09:47 AM
Damn I had an inkling it was going to end up being the turn signal switch, any idea what thats gonna cost me?

I am starting to see things come up here and there and am wondering if I should ditch the car now and get something else before having to drop more money into than its worth?

jeffcoslacker
02-22-2008, 02:23 PM
I think the switch is about $125, shop labor if you don't do it yourself probably at least one hour, maybe 1.5...so in the $200+/- range, I'd say...

How many miles on it?

Luminas loose value so fast with mileage, it's almost a matter of is it worth selling...

My '97 with almost 140,000 is only worth $2400 or so...so as long as it runs well and goes down the road, it stays...

j cAT
02-22-2008, 02:31 PM
I really dont want to spend the money, so what would be the easier thing to start with, tightening the brake light switch and if doesnt work then what?[/quote]

look the brake light switch has to be adjusted.......not tightened..........also installing these bulbs wrong is very common problem as the electrical grease obscures your view.... the turn signal problem is probably the switch at the steering collum or wrong sized bulb in side that flashes faster..... as the more current that flows,,,,, the faster the flash.......so check all bulbs for correct number and installation....and check brake switch that you installed to switch when pedal pushed very slightly....

liquidfuse
02-22-2008, 02:51 PM
WHen you say the brake light switch needs to be adjusted not tightened, what exactly do you mean by that remark? Please elaborate!



The brake light switch has "threads" on it when it fits into the bracket...it can be raised or lowered as needed to be at a proper height over the pedal...IIRC you remove a clip, slide it up or down as required, snap the clip back on.

Bulbs will cause the fast flash if burned out or reversed, like he said, due to incorrect impedance in the circuit...but they also do the same thing when the rear circuit is open as happens when the multiswitch goes bad...you said moving the signal stalk slightly will make them slow down to correct speed? The lights are working back there when when you make that happen, most likely...have someone watch while you do it...

liquidfuse
02-24-2008, 02:05 AM
I was wondering if someone responded, I didnt get a confirmation someone edited my entry. So I would turn it to the right to close the gap between the switch and the pedal and turn it left to make it bigger, I gotcha.

I cant remove the clip I dont have the right tools to do so and its installed and I dont want to risk breaking the clip. If I just push the lever a little bit forward after I have turned my right turn signal on they work just fine. But I have noticed that my brake lights dont even light up at all now, neither one does like they should when they are on at night.

This is just a messy thing, I wonder how much I could get for my car maybe $4000 if I am lucky?


WHen you say the brake light switch needs to be adjusted not tightened, what exactly do you mean by that remark? Please elaborate!



The brake light switch has "threads" on it when it fits into the bracket...it can be raised or lowered as needed to be at a proper height over the pedal...IIRC you remove a clip, slide it up or down as required, snap the clip back on.

Bulbs will cause the fast flash if burned out or reversed, like he said, due to incorrect impedance in the circuit...but they also do the same thing when the rear circuit is open as happens when the multiswitch goes bad...you said moving the signal stalk slightly will make them slow down to correct speed? The lights are working back there when when you make that happen, most likely...have someone watch while you do it...

Bearwulf
02-24-2008, 02:45 AM
IF the interior is immaculate,the body strraight, power train in good shape, under 100,000, and you fix the problem, Maybe!

Blue Bowtie
02-24-2008, 09:34 AM
I just did a '96 (may be a different switch if you have radio controls in the steering wheel) a couple weeks ago. The switch was $50, and took about three hours to replace.

jeffcoslacker
02-24-2008, 02:25 PM
I'm seeing prices like that for just the stalk with it's associated switches, but not for the actual switch assembly in the column with the turn signal and 4 way contacts...are you sure?

Blue Bowtie
02-24-2008, 11:49 PM
Positive. Aftermarket, of course. It was my daughter's '96. Unfortunately, the new switch didn't include the exposed part of the push button for the hazard flasher, so I had to repair the old button to fit onto the new switch. Other than that, it was plug & play (after air bag and wheel removal, of course).

liquidfuse
02-25-2008, 10:22 AM
IF the interior is immaculate,the body strraight, power train in good shape, under 100,000, and you fix the problem, Maybe!

No as I have said earlier in my post this car has 82k miles, hail damage, dings and small dents from asshole people not paying attention or caring when their door hits my car, interior shows wear, but most everything else is in fair shape. So more like $3250?

liquidfuse
02-26-2008, 11:14 AM
New development, I discovered yesterday the rear side lamps were not lighting up and that one was burnt out and corroded and the otherside was just corroded. So I clean the contacts in the socket, replaced the lamps and now all the lights in the rear of the car light up, but the brake lights still do not work, that and the turn signal flashes fast on the right.

I am going to check the front side markers to see if they are burnt out or corroded as well! I think water had been trapped in those sockets or just time had taken its toll on them!

j cAT
02-26-2008, 12:09 PM
New development, I discovered yesterday the rear side lamps were not lighting up and that one was burnt out and corroded and the otherside was just corroded. So I clean the contacts in the socket, replaced the lamps and now all the lights in the rear of the car light up, but the brake lights still do not work, that and the turn signal flashes fast on the right.

I am going to check the front side markers to see if they are burnt out or corroded as well! I think water had been trapped in those sockets or just time had taken its toll on them!


Its about time you got that screw driver out and started looking at these light bulbs.... gotta get dirty if ya got no money if your gonna have a vehicle....this old.. and with that hail damage no one is gonna even consider buying at any price....perhaps a friend can help you learn more about vehicle maintenance or maybe a night course in this work... you,ll save a lot of money...

liquidfuse
02-26-2008, 12:23 PM
Its about time you got that screw driver out and started looking at these light bulbs.... gotta get dirty if ya got no money if your gonna have a vehicle....this old.. and with that hail damage no one is gonna even consider buying at any price....perhaps a friend can help you learn more about vehicle maintenance or maybe a night course in this work... you,ll save a lot of money...

Well I have done work on cars before, I just havent had to do too much in the last 6 years since I have had my 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Its kind of like riding a bike, I just havent been around much, once I get a manual for this car and just run through things I will be okay. But this issue is a bigger deal, I have some money. I know how to maintain a vehicle, but Chevrolet does not have a good record for building cars to last a long time without doing a lot of work or spending a good bit of money to keep them running.

offxroad
02-26-2008, 12:59 PM
Well I have done work on cars before, I just havent had to do too much in the last 6 years since I have had my 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Its kind of like riding a bike, I just havent been around much, once I get a manual for this car and just run through things I will be okay. But this issue is a bigger deal, I have some money. I know how to maintain a vehicle, but Chevrolet does not have a good record for building cars to last a long time without doing a lot of work or spending a good bit of money to keep them running.

i would have to totally side with your fellow Lumina owners of past, present or what have you. definitely find a way to replace that light switch, especially since your top/third brake light still functions, proving that the brake switch may have little if anything to do with this issue of your outboard braking light malfunction.

;)

flux690
05-10-2008, 04:59 PM
Hi. Did you get this fixed? I have the same problem and it's definately the multi-switch in the steering column. My temporary fix was to stick a piece of foam behind the switch to push it forward to help make the correct contacts.

If you fixed this problem yourself can you tell me how you removed the steering wheel?

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