Remove electrical connector from brake light switch

josiah

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Make
toyota
Model
camry
Year
1987
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Engine
4 cylinder
1) For better access to brake switch I removed the lower dash dashboard panel (panel below steering wheel).
2) Sitting on front edge of driver seat, leaning forward with chest against the steering wheel, I can reach around the steering wheel, reach in and grab the electrical connector and brake light switch(they are above the steering column). Note: I can grab it but cannot see it because it's behind the UPPER dash.
Question->How do I disconnect (pull out of) the electrical connector from the switch?
Connectors usually have a lever that you can press down to release a catch and then slide them out; but this connector doesn't seem to have such as lever. Also space is limited so can't seem to use screw driver of pliers. I have grabbed the connector and pressed on the top of it and wiggled it around but it will not release (come out of) the switch.

Thanks.
 

bob428

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About 50 secs in on this video.
 

josiah

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1) I saw this video months ago.
2) What is done in video will not work for me because in the video the entire dashboard has been removed. In my case the upper dashboard is intact. I only removed the lower dash.
3) In the video a screw driver (looks more like a punch) is inserted to release connector. However I do not have the room to insert a screw driver.
Thanks anyway.
 

Mobile Dan

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Loosen the lock nut and rotate switch and lock it down in a different position if that will improve access to the release tab.

Take a length of heavy wire and bend it so that it looks like the letter "P". Hold it in a clenched fist with your pointer finger pointing. Guide the "point of the P" to the target area with the wire following your finger, your fingerprint pressed on the wire. The wire against your finger may need to be bent to get the angle right. You have a fingernail at the end of your finger, on the top of your fingertip. The wire is like a fingernail on the bottom of your fingertip.
If the wire is too thick to "catch the release tab" you may have to flatten the end to look more like an awl or flat-tip screwdriver.
 
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Mobile Dan

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Got a new switch? Study it for clues as to how the connector might work.
Looks like switch is different if the car has cruise.
without...1620831389020.png
with...1620831456773.png
 

josiah

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Got a new switch? Study it for clues as to how the connector might work.
Looks like switch is different if the car has cruise.
without...View attachment 11345
with...
Got a new switch? Study it for clues as to how the connector might work.
Looks like switch is different if the car has cruise.
without...View attachment 11345
with...View attachment 11346
Thanks Mobile Dan!!!

1) The brake light switch is with cruise control.
2) My plan is to remove switch and test it before buying a replacement.
3) The electrical connector is a male connector which fits partially inside the switch. The connector feels smooth on top with no noticeable press- down tab. I think you press down on top of the connector at the correct point to lower the catch and it then slides out of the switch.
4) I previously tried to rotate the switch around for better access and tried to insert the end of a paper clip. Based on your advice above I better use something stronger than a paper clip.
Plan to try again tomorrow and this weekend.
Thank Mobile Dan
 

josiah

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Thanks Mobile Dan!!!

1) The brake light switch is with cruise control.
2) My plan is to remove switch and test it before buying a replacement.
3) The electrical connector is a male connector which inserts partially (front end only) inside the switch. The connector feels smooth on top with no noticeable press- down tab. I think you press down on top of the connector at the correct point to lower the catch and it then slides out of the switch.
4) I appreciate your advice to rotate the switch around for better access. I tried to do this a bit before, but tried to insert the end of a "large paper clip". Based on your advice above I better use something stronger than a paper clip.
Plan to try again tomorrow and this weekend.
Thank Mobile Dan
Also appreciate your good advice to bend to strong piece of wire into a P. Thanks.
Also thanks for your very complete instructions.
 
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josiah

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Mobile Dan and other members:

I still cannot disconnect electrical connector from the brake light switch.

Additional info:

Location of brake light switch->look under dash board at the very top. The entire dash board (upper and lower) are bolted to a strong metal foundation (or frame). Part of this frame or support wraps around the steering column; a few inches above this support you will find the brake light switch. The switch is partially enclosed by the framing with minimum room.

Brake light switch(see image of switch below)->The switch is for a car with cruise control. At the top there is a open slot. When the connector is inserted into the switch the catch atop the connector apparently pops up to secure the connector inside the switch.

The electrical connector->I unbolted the lower finish panel (panel below the steering wheel). Now I can reach in and feel the switch and connector with my hand. If I lay on my back I can see it. The connector has no apparent press down tabs to release it. For example when I lowered the lower panel I disconnected the dimmer switch; which had a press down tab; simply press down on tab and connector comes right out. I see no tab on the connector going to the brake light switch.

Toyota service manual->I have a manual purchased from Toyota. Based on the manual the car has 4 types of electrical connectors; 2 are press down and 2 are lift up. Based on the image below what type of connector was used? Press down or lift up?
The manual has instructions on how to test brake light switch; but I see nothing on how to remove it.

P shaped wire->Mobile Dan I followed your good advice. (1) I loosened the switch locking nut and rotated switch about 90 degrees clockwise (or to the right because more room that way; to the left there is a speaker to deal with). (2) I shaped a wire (actually part of a coat hanger) into a "P" shape. I pressed the wire against the top of the connector and against the catch and still could not remove connector. I plan to try again.

Interesting point->If I press my finger on top of the connector I think I feel a slight give (as if it goes down) but the connector doesn't come out of the switch.

What would a pro mechanic do?->What do I need to remove for better access at that connector? For example should I remove cluster finish panel?

You tube videos->I have seen two videos where the person accessed the switch through the lower panel but in both cases they gave you a before- and-after and never showing how they removed the switch.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

1621301928721.png
 

Mobile Dan

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1621304844893.pngThis plug is not just like the one on your car, but I chose it to explain the concept of what you need to do. See the "tooth" on the top of the blue connector. If you were to put the blue connector against your pictured switch, and you lined up the tooth with the rectangular hole on the side of your switch, and you pushed the connector into your switch, the ramp on the tooth would slide into the switch, but when fully inserted ("click") the tooth would catch on the edge of the hole. You need to get that tooth "un-caught". If you push hard enough at the right angle, it should pop right out.
 

Mobile Dan

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1621306629299.pngThe connector tooth "catches" in the hole to lock the connector in place. Put a pointy tool into the hole and press against the tooth to get it "un-caught".
 

nickb2

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tip, buy a few packs at same time, cuz they warp easy, like I wrote above, I go through a few a year, so buying them in advance helps when I snap or get a few stripped in plastic shaft.

I bought a set from snap on, was good quality also. But they were way more expensive and I would still bend or distort them. So I went back to buying these cheap ones in bulk.

:cool:
 

nickb2

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Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Also try pushing on connector then use pick tools to disengage the lock tab. And then pull.

If all else fails, and the connection is massacred there are repair kit available at toyota part store.

I find these threads funny. They show the little things in this trade that piss you off. I have in the past used universal brake switches, and they work fine, just need to redo a bit of wiring.

I am only bouncing ideas here in case you destroy the connection, you may have to go down this route.

Here is an example of what my man brain is trying say.

 

billr

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Maybe the OP has to give in and remove the upper dash too? That may seem like a lot of bother, but how is "the easy way" working for you so far?

My most recent frustration with this kind of crap (snap latch) was O2 sensors where the sensor half of the connector is mounted to the car frame with barbs and a snap latch. Once you have the wiring connector half un-mated, then you get to fuss with the latch on the mount, or rip out the barb. Why, oh why, didn't they mount the harness connector half to the frame????
 
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