1962 BRAKE WARNING LIGHT SWITCH


Q:

I bought my Corvette several years ago and it was truly a basket case. The car had been disassembled nearly twenty years before, and I have been trying to put it back together ever since. I have been lucky with many things, but I have a question about my brake warning light switch. Can you tell me where it goes, and how to install it properly?


A:

Thank you for your letter about your 1962 Corvette brake warning light.

You will need the brake warning switch, the wiring harness with light socket and the special light bulb that was used starting in 1961, which is a special flashing light bulb called a number 257 bulb. Before 1961, the brake warning light option used a separate flasher assembly to flash the light globe; but in 1961, when the brake alarm option became standard equipment on the Corvette, the new flashing bulb was used. 


Look under the dash at the parking brake mechanism. Operate the parking brake handle up and down and view the moveable plunger that slides up and down inside of the hollow tube. Look on the lower end of the plunger and find a little round headed pin projecting out of the plunger. It has a head that looks like the head of a screw. It moves up and down with the movement of the plunger. This pin is the device that contacts the brass ramp of the switch to turn on and off the parking brake warning lamp. The brass ramp in turn contacts the button of the switch and depresses it just enough to turn off the brake alarm light. Don’t worry if the brass ramp is damaged, leave it as it is. It will probably work fine.


Place the parking brake handle all the way down to the bottom of its travel. Loosen the screw that closes the clamp on the switch and open the clamp so you can place it around the hollow parking brake tube. Re-attach the switch assembly below the area where the pin is located. The switch has an area that is open to receive the pin. Inside that area you will see the brass ramp for the pin to contact when the brake is released. The round part of the switch, the part that is shaped like a lipstick, should be pointing straight up. Tighten the clamp to the point where you can just barely move the switch up and down the hollow tube by hand. Remember, the switch must be installed toward the firewall, below the pin.


Attach the plastic plug of the wire harness to the receptacle marked “BRAKE ALARM” in the fuse panel. Attach the two bullet shaped wire terminals to the top of the switch into the two bullet openings. Either bullet plug goes into either hole in the switch. Plug the socket with the 257 mini globe into the proper hole on the back of the instrument panel so that, when lighted, the light will show through where it says BRAKE.

With a Q-tip, place a small amount of silicone grease on the tip of the button in the switch and on the brass ramp where it will come into contact with the pin. Don’t worry that the brass ramp may be damaged from prior use. Don’t try to repair it.


Turn the ignition switch to the on position. The lamp should turn on. Slowly, with your hand, move the switch up the hollow tube, away from the firewall, toward the pin. The pin will fit into the open area of the switch where you see the brass ramp type device. Move it only far enough to extinguish the light. Carefully, tighten the screw on the clamp just enough to fix the switch permanently to the parking brake assembly. 

Good luck with your restoration, and thanks for writing.