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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
brake light switch is fixed

My 1999 Honda Ody Ex would not go out of park. I had to put the key in the inter-lock thing and put to N and then start and it went fine. The brake pedal was not making that clicking sound when you push down on it. It had done this along time ago and I checked the brake lights and one was out so I changed it and it all worked fine. So today when it done it when I got it home I checked them and the upper brake light was black. I changed it but I still have to put the key in the interlock thing and put in N to start. Any ideas on what to do? Anyone know how to change the brake light switch? Looking online and that came up. No warning lights came on or anything. PLEASE HELP!!!:confused:
 

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gore, I had this happen on my 2003. First, it was getting tough to get it out of park. I mean, the switch was starting to fail intermittently. It took a couple taps on the brake pedal to make it work, and get that little "click" where it actuates the shift lever interlock (i.e., unlocks the lever so you can pull it out of "PARK").

One day last year, no amount of tapping on the brake pedal with my foot would work. I squeezed my not-so-large frame onto the driver's side floor, and saw the switch. It's a little black and white plastic box (for lack of a better word) near the top of that steel arm attached to the brake pedal. As I recall, it is easy to remove.

I disassembled it (I think there's a spring in there, so do this in a box to contain the parts). Then, I dressed the little round contacts with a very fine emery board used for finger nails, since they appeared pitted and cratered. Followed this with fine emery paper (400 or 600 grit). These contacts look exactly like the points on an old ignition system (anybody remember setting gap on a points & condenser ignition back in the old days? :) ).

Well, it's still working like a charm.

If doing this is not something you want to do, the switch is not too difficult to replace. The big difficulty is fitting yourself onto the floor under the steering wheel, and leaving room for your arms to do the work!

OF

Edited for: forgot to mention the final contact dressing using fine emery paper
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ODYFAMILy,

Thanks so much I will check it out. I think the switch at the store isn't that much and might be better to replace. I hope it is just that. The upper brake light (on the back windshild) was burnt out. I changed it but it still wouldn't make that darn clicking sound. It done that before and it was the back brake light and I switch out and it fixed it but maybe since this one was more burned out, I might need to do the switch or another light is out. It was getting late so I had to stop. Thanks for your help. :)
 

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You're welcome, and keep us posted. cnn has a good thread on replacing the center-mounted third brake light on the hatch. Saved me from breaking that little red cover piece.

Both of ours were burned out last year. Don't know how long they were like that, but my understanding from others here on this forum is that the continuous slamming to close the hatch (just like any other big hatch) is tough on the bulb filament.

It sounds like it's the switch, and I hope it's only that, too.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ODYFAMILY,

I went to look for the switch. I couldn't see what you are talking about. There is a switch on the van that is at the brake pedal and if you push down the brake pedal it looks like it makes the brake lights come on and it you don't it is pushing on a button thing that keeps the switch to off. Is that what you are talking about. Could mine be in a differant spot, as mine is 1999 and yours is a 2003. Thanks
 

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That's the one. When your foot is off the brake, the little plunger that sticks out of the switch is pushed in by the brake pedal. When you press on the brake pedal, that little plunger sticks out.

There should be 4 wires leading to the switch. 2 wires go to the brake lights, 2 wires are responsible for allowing you to pull the shift lever out of PARK.

OF
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ODYFAMILY

I changed it today. Only took about 5-8minutes. I went a head and bought the part. Mine was white and silver. Maybe cause our van is a little older then yours. They had it at Auto Zone for $38.99 but I got them to match Advance Auto for $29.99. Now it makes that wonderful loud clicking sound when you push the brake and shifts alot easier too.:p Mine wasn't that hard to get to. Right by the brake pedal. The women at the store kept saying it is the tranny and I told her no brake lights were coming on and that it was the switch. Thankfully I (we)was (were)right. Thanks for all your help.
 

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Thanks, gore...but I learned it first from other fine folks on this forum.

I always like a success story! :D Especially, when it's a "low-cost" fix like this one.

Just keep up on those ATF changes, and your 1999 should last a good long time. I had a silver 2001 EX, and regret the day I sold it. I see the new owner frequently, and he's well past 130,000 miles on the original tranny.

OF
 

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Just wanted to report that I had the same problem today on my 2003 EX...couldn't shift out of park and the brake lights wouldn't come on...so after reading this thread, went to the local Honda dealer and picked up the switch for $12.07, swapped out the part and was good to go in about 5 min...AWESOME!

Can't thank you guys enough for the amount of time and money I just saved for not having to take it into the shop and wait all day for the repair.

TK
 

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takitagawa, glad this helped. Also, glad you posted the Honda price for that part...it seems the Honda spares prices are starting to ease down a little on certain parts (though, not on others).

OF
 

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I just want to report that I had the same problem with my 2003 Odyssey. I was having problems shifting out of Park sometimes, to the point where I was having problems shifting out of Park all the time. I had to do the "put the key into the slot located on top of the steering column" trick.
After reading this thread, I went ahead and removed he switch (located just above the brake pedal with brake pedal arm activating the switch with physical contact) and I took it apart and cleaned it out and filed down the contacts for better contact. Upon re-installing the switch, it seemed like the interlock issue was solved, until my wife reported the issue was still there while she was out doing errands.
I then made a trip to the Honda dealer and bought a new switch ( part# 36750-SMA-013). Price = $9.71

Upon installing the new switch (and the switch holder which came with the new switch), which took about 2 minutes, the shift interlock issue seems to operate normally.
After a week of daily use, the van operates normally. There is no more issues shifting out of Park. AT ALL!!

Looks like replacing the switch solved the issue for me. I was worried I was having transmission problems or something. Alas, it was just a dumb switch.

Anyway, thank you to the forum members who posted this solution for me to fix this issue.
 

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:) :cool:
 

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I think when that switch goes bad, the cruise control stops working also. Did yours?
Buffalo4
I never had cruise control issues, but I never use the brake to disengage the CC either, I just turn it off at the wheel.
I did not notice any brake light issues either. I should also say, I didn't look for any brake light issues!
So I may have been having issues there with the brake lights and didn't know it.
I do agree though, if you have problems shifting out of Park with your foot on the brake, check to see if your brake lights are on or off. If off, then you know the switch is bad.

Thanks!
 

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There are two sets of contacts. The switch is a SPDT (single pole double throw) switch, if I remember correctly. One set of contacts is for the brake lights, while the other set is for devices that rely on knowing whether or not we are using the brakes. I did not have any brake light difficulties, but Buffalo is correct, in that it is possible for both sets to have issues simultaneously, since both contacts endure an identical number of cycles in use.

OF
 

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Many times some don't notice when the brake light bulbs burn out until the last one does.
Most would not notice the upper one not working and only realize that the lower ones don't work when they are backing up at night and applying the brakes and wondering why there is no brighter red light happening and it was because the 'last' one finally burned out, usually on the drivers side. :)
Buffalo4
 

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The fender brake lights have a failure sensor. If either burns out, a warning light on the instrument panel lights up.

Dave
 
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