We are preparing for our 2014 snowbird season and one thing I like to do is make sure our 1994 Ford F350 tow vehicle is in tip top shape. As they say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This is particularly true when it comes to extended RV trips. None of us want to be spending time broken down on the side of the road or waiting around for repairs. So this is the time of year I make sure all those little nagging issues with the truck are taken care of.
Case of the Flakey Ford Truck Headlight Switch
One issue that has cropped up lately is an intermittent headlight switch. Every once in a while, I pull the switch on and nothing happens. With a little jiggling and cycling of the switch they will light up, but obliviously something is amiss. Time to dig into the dash and figure out the issue as not having lights would suck big time. You just know they would completely fail at the worst possible time.
Opening the Dash Panel
*Before beginning the repair undo the trucks batteries so there is no chance of shorting things out.*
This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to taking the dashboard apart. I had it apart a few years ago to modify my oil gauge circuit so I knew there were a few tricks to it. First, there are a couple hidden screws behind a pair of plastic trim pieces. The two trim pieces just un-clip exposing the two screws.
Once those screws are out the dash panel just unclips and can easily be pulled off except for one thing. The headlight switch knob needs to be removed. This is the second tricky part. You have to pull it out and rotate looking for a small slot in the plastic stem. Inside that slot is a little retaining clip that is spring loaded and needs to be freed using a small screwdriver blade.
After removing the headlight knob the next thing to do is undo the fuel tank selector switch wiring and wrangle the dash panel out of the way exposing the headlight switch.
Removing the Headlight Switch
With the dash panel out of the way, it is pretty easy to remove the headlight switch just loosen off the retaining nut located on the front shaft and there is enough room to wiggle the switch and wiring out.
As you can see in the photo my problem was pretty obvious. The switch had overheated and several connectors were damaged along with the Molex wiring plug. Lucky I decided to check it out as it would have totally failed in no time.
Installing a New Headlight Switch and Connector Plug
I was pleasantly surprised when the local auto parts store had both the Ford Truck Headlight Switch and Molex Connector Wiring Plug in stock. I was also happy with the price. The switch was $42 and the plug $20 for a total of $62 plus tax. Not bad! The original Ford part number stamped on the headlight switch is E778-11654-AA. The Lordco Auto Parts numbers were S2004 for the headlight switch and PT767 for the Molex Connector Plug.
Installing the switch was very simple except I had to remove the shaft as the replacement didn’t come with one. The trick to removing the switches shaft is to depress a small button on the side of the switch. This releases the shaft. Then just insert it into the new switch until it clicks into place.
The wiring harness required a little more work as you have to cut off the old connector plug and slice all nine wires together to the new connector. You could use butt connectors for this but I decided to solder them all. Make sure you get all the wires connected to the proper spots as the color coding can be a little different on the replacement connector. Finally, I gave everything a good cleaning in there and re-installed the wiring and dash panel. The lights fired up and the new switch felt great. One more thing scratched off the to-do list.
Video Detailing the Headlight Switch Repair
There you go another successful little DIY repair. Hopefully, his post helps out someone with the same headlight switch problems. Ford used that particular switch in a great many of their vehicles. I figure taking into account parts markups and auto shop labor I likely saved myself $100 to $150 bucks.
Every little bit counts especially with the amount of fuel it is going to take to drag our house down south. I likely could have further reduced the cost by looking in an auto parts salvage yard for the parts or buying them online but preferred to go with new ones available locally.
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