Cleaning a 1967 headlight switch

My new project has headlights but no dash lights. When I pulled the headlight switch, I found quite a bit of corrosion. I sprayed it with contact cleaner and gave it a good brushing, but that didn’t seem to help anything.

Is there any way to clean/fix the rheostat or is replacing the headlight switch the only solution?

Also, would it damage anything to jumper the headlight tab to the dash tab to bypass the rheostat and check if the dash lights come on?

Is this before or after cleaning?

This was before cleaning – the way I found it when I pulled it out of the car. I scrubbed all the green off and thought I got all the contacts, but still no dash lights.

Make sure the end of the green part that rubs up against the rheostat is clean as well. A piece of emery cloth might help.

Are the dash bulbs good and working? Fuse good?

I replaced the bulbs and the fuse first.

There are two sides to the dimmer circuit. The inner slip ring and the outer wiper. You have to get both of them clean and free of corrosion. Examine the switch carefully, take a couple of pictures, and then disassemble the front part and clean all the contact areas with very fine grain sand paper or emery cloth.

You could use a test light or an AMP meter to look for current before jumping. Is there a good ground ?

I am in the same boat as you, brother. Except I have a 1968. I have replaced the fuse and I have a new switch to install. I replaced all the bulbs too. Wish me luck as well.

I spent half an hour grinding the spacer off my old switch to install a new switchlast night. Still no dash lights. Guess I’m tracing more wires …

Does anybody else have any advice as to why the dash lights are not working for JETEXAS? Surely somebody in here has had this problem. I am experiencing the same problem myself. :think:

Success! As I was troubleshooting last night and at a total loss as to why I had no power at the fuse panel, I decided to jumper 12 volts from my cigarette lighter to the panel to see if the circuit was good from there. As soon as I stuck a blade between the fuse and the fuse holder, the dash lights came on. I hadn’t even connected the other end of the wire yet.

Apparently I did have power at the fuse panel.

I pulled the fuse again, cleaned the fuse holder thoroughly with a wire brush, and pinched the metal pieces together with needle nose pliers. I put the fuse back in and everything worked.

Mine are working again too! I am not sure what the fix was because I replaced the fuse yet again and I had the dash completely installed in the car. Maybe a ground issue. No matter. All done!

you can easily jumper the instrument wires coming into the HL switch, or use a multimeter at the switch, and see if the current is making it’s way into the switch. I assume you’ve checked the associated fuse. A poor instrument panel ground will also isolate the bulbs and cause your issue.

BTW, the circuit breaker in the HL switch gets weaker over the decades of use. It’s a prudent precaution to replace the switch even though it has no obvious faults. NAPA sells the best quality reproduction switch that I know of. Of course a NOS MotorCraft switch is preferred.

Of course, installing a headlight relay circuit is a common upgrade that has several benefits aside from more visible headlights; weigh a relay, the current is bypassing the HL switch and you won’t have to worry about losing your lights due to an aging or faulty HL switch.