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Thread: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

  1. #1
    CF Nutter CrazyDave's Avatar
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    Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Seen far too much of this lately.....Corrado headlight switch problem, smoke from behind dash, acrid smell of burnt cables and if really unlucky full on electrical fire and total loss of car

    This is caused by the headlight switch developing a fault that sometimes shorts out the switch illumination earth feed wire (very small brown wire) with headlight live (very large) and bang....electrical fire.

    Prevention is always better than cure so thought I'd post up this easy cheap little mod that will protect the small wire if the fault occurs. I don't normally like cutting anything on a standard car loom but in this case it's a must!.

    Parts are all available from Maplin electronics so easy to get hold of.

    Whole job takes about 30 mins to do, piece of mind afterwards....priceless

    If you've already been unlucky enough to have had the fire behind the dash, you must check that the rest of the loom is OK before doing anything else. The wire that fries is loomed together with lots of other wire which also get insulation damage when this happens.

    Also a great writeup on switch testing etc here by RW1 (that's the copyright issues sorted :wink: ) Plus info on testing new VAG switches that are faulty out of the packet

    Also if you aren't confident with 'elastic trickery', get some who is to do this job for you

    You will need:
    Fuse holder. I got this one from Maplin for 59p Part Number PC78
    [attachment=5:3c69jvfq]DSC04079.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    Fuse. 200mA. Also from Maplin for £2.68 pack of 10. Part Number GL52G
    Soldering Iron
    Multicore flux solder
    Side cutters
    Wire sprippers
    Small flat blade screwdriver


    Here goes.....

    1. DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!!!!!!!

    2. Remove the switch from the dash surround. By gently lifting it at the sides with a small flat blade screwdriver. Ease one side out a little then work on the other side until it pops out.

    [attachment=6:3c69jvfq]DSC04086.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]
    The switch, early valver but similar on all models

    [attachment=4:3c69jvfq]DSC04077.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    3. Locate the small brown wire on the connector at the back of the switch. It's the one on the top left as you look at the switch from the front.

    [attachment=2:3c69jvfq]DSC04078.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    4. Cut the wire about 2" or 5cm from the connector. It needs to be just long enough to allow the body of the fuse holder to open up. Strip the ends back by about .5" or 10mm and twist the strands then fold it over. It should now fit nicely into the silver tags of the fuse holder kit with a little copper showing to solder (longer than shown here!)

    [attachment=3:3c69jvfq]DSC04081.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    5.Fit all the fuse holder case over the cable ends, then the springs and finally the end caps. Then solder the end caps on.

    [attachment=1:3c69jvfq]DSC04082.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    6. Fit the 200mA fuse to the holder. Twist and lock the fuse holder shut.

    [attachment=0:3c69jvfq]DSC04084.jpg[/attachment:3c69jvfq]

    7. Double check everything and then reconnect the battery to test that everything still works! Then finally refit the switch into the dash surround.
    Skoda Superb Estate TDI - Previously enjoyed now sold Classic Green VRT..

  2. #2
    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ mic_VR's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Legend!
    Corrado VR6 'Mincy' - 24v Conversion, AP Racing 4pots, Koni Coilovers, Rota Force 17's, Vibra-Technics Competition/Road, TT Dual Borla, Fresh paint.......... sold 2011.... Bought back 2013!
    Corrado VR6, R32 conversion - sold 2013
    CCGB #2907

  3. #3
    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ lilfuzzer's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Nice solution and write up Dave think I may have to do that for piece of mind
    Chris
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    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ Wullie's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    You know that is such a sensible mod I'm surprised that no one has ever done it before. Well done my man.
    Alpine White 1990 1.8 16v gone to a new home.

    Current mode of transport 2001 Megane Cabrio, apologies.

    The older I get the more I recall how little I knew when I knew it all.

  5. #5
    ⋆⋆ CF Member ⋆⋆ Jim Bowen's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    i did mine when i replaced the switch last
    Just like a golf................But better!!!

  6. #6
    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ Wullie's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Quote Originally Posted by 3corsameal
    i did mine when i replaced the switch last
    Clever boy. I just need to be led by the hand most of the time. Would the fuse holder etc from Halfords do the same job? there isn't a Maplins near me.
    Alpine White 1990 1.8 16v gone to a new home.

    Current mode of transport 2001 Megane Cabrio, apologies.

    The older I get the more I recall how little I knew when I knew it all.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator davidwort's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    inline radio fuse holder should do the job, from halfords or anywhere, just make sure you have the right rated fuse so it pops first before anything gets hot!
    my 1990 16v thread

  8. #8
    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ Henny's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Quote Originally Posted by Wullie
    Would the fuse holder etc from Halfords do the same job? there isn't a Maplins near me.
    Yup, any old insulated fuse holder will do... mine's got a 1A blade fuse in it as that's the type the rest of the car uses...
    H-YYU - '91 Pearl Grey G60... was 251.7 BHP SOLD
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  9. #9
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Looks fairly simple to do, i'll get mine done over the weekend!
    1994 VR in Dragon Green with all red rears, DG autotech Uprated Headlight Loom, 312mm front brakes, Koni TA's with H&R springs, Eibach ARBs, Rear strut brace, full Jetex exhaust. Soon: 280mm rears, stainless 6 branch manifold, 63mm stainless decat, lightened flywheel, ARP conrod bolts, 360cc redtop injectors, rotrex C30-84 , headspacer, full set vibratechnics mounts!

  10. #10
    ⋆⋆ CF Donator ⋆⋆ Wullie's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight switch and loom fires.....DIY prevention

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDREW 30
    Looks fairly simple to do, i'll get mine done over the weekend!
    I reckon I'll give it a go as well. Look out for the headlines. "Car bursts into flames in driveway" which is slightly better that "Car bursts into flame on motorway" This electricity stuff is puzzling, don't trust anything I can't see.
    Alpine White 1990 1.8 16v gone to a new home.

    Current mode of transport 2001 Megane Cabrio, apologies.

    The older I get the more I recall how little I knew when I knew it all.

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