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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Weird problem with rear gate light switch.....

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7 replies to this topic

#1 SmashedGlass


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Posted 04 June 2014 - 09:29 PM

Weird issue with the rear cargo area dome light on my '88 wagon.

--Light lever flipped forward, light is permanently on. Check, works correct.

--Light lever in middle, no light gate (hatch) open or closed. Check, works correct.

--Light lever flipped to rear....Light comes on and stays on with gate closed, turns off 2-3 seconds after opening gate and releasing handle. NOT correct.


Like the main dome light when it's set to work off the door switches, in that rear position the light should (unless there is some bizarre logic here) be ON with the gate open but OFF with the gate shut. Not the other way round as mine is doing.


I removed the gate latch assembly, which is where the switch is located that works the light when it is set to open=on/closed=off, but there is no way to actually get to the switch (whole latch actuator assembly riveted together around switch), I even tried swapping the two wires around....No bueno. 


Anyone else ever seen this happen with the rear gate/cargo light? I think the switch in the latch assembly is somehow internally screwed up, though I don't see how it could magically reverse it's operating mode.



Edited by SmashedGlass, 04 June 2014 - 09:31 PM.

#2 wagonist


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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:36 PM

The mounting screws are in correctly? I think 1 of them is the earth. I'm guessing here, but if not in, the circuit might be "flowing" backwards.

#3 SmashedGlass


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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:43 AM

Yeah, everything is mounted up correctly, and the wiring is fine too; it's a simple open/closed circuit setup for the switched light. One screw to the dome light assy is the ground for the 'main' light, the second wire runs to the latch switch. It being such a simple system, and having swapped around the two wires to the switch and had same result, tells me that something is fubar with the switch itself.

Edited by SmashedGlass, 05 June 2014 - 06:50 AM.

#4 SmashedGlass


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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:50 AM

Got it sorted. I don't know how, but it works proper now. All I did was take the latch out, clean it off, and put it back in---another one of those situations where simply pulling the parts out and putting them back in magically cures a problem. 

#5 l75eya


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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:53 PM

Those are the best fixes.

#6 Dinky26



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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:16 PM

Somewhere in the parts you took apart, I bet there was something giving a bad ground.

#7 SmashedGlass


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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:20 AM

Yes, or a chunk of dirt blocking a contact. Also, apparently you have to make sure you damn near slam the hatch shut, or sometimes it won't trigger the switch to open condition :D

#8 Tsuru


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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:38 PM

I "fixed" all the interior lighting in my 88 wagon simply by removing the assembly (assemblies) pulling the switches apart (the little levers have a ball bearing in them backed by a spring which contacts a metal - uh - contact)

and spraying the contacts with contact cleaner (LPS1), wiping the contact points clean with a paper towel, and then re-greasing with silicone grease and reassembling.

they all work now.

all they needed was cleaning,

I didn't even have to replace one light bulb!


now...to do something about the rear end that is all rusted out behind the wheel wells. sure gets dusty in that car over some of these trails.




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