Brake (stop) lights

Travelling up the coast last weekend back to the finca, Adrian noticed the electrics seemed to be playing up.

He couldn’t tell whether the dashboard lights were coming on and couldn’t see if the headlights were working in the tunnels.

As the tunnels are pretty well lit, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether your lights are working or not.

Plus, the ammeter seemed to be swinging around a bit. Maybe it was a fuse somewhere – always nice to hope for something simple.

Anyway, we got there ok, but before setting off on the return journey, we went methodically through the light check. It seemed the brake (stop) lights were the culprit and weren’t working.

Now – some two years ago, we had a problem with the brake lights. We had been checking everything before we took the vehicle for the Spanish ITV – and, the brake lights weren’t working.

At the time, we had no idea which was the fuse for the brake lights. In fact we didn’t know what any of the fuses were for. There is no manual with the vehicle and we have not been able to find anything remotely resembling one.

Santana fuse box

So trial and error was called for, and we methodically went through the fuses, trying to identify what each one was for. Out of 14 fuses, we managed to identify nine of them. But even with a full set of working fuses, the brake lights still weren’t coming on.

We posted on LRUK asking if anyone had any idea about the Santana fuse box – hoping it might be similar to a Defender one, because it certainly is nothing like a Series III one. We discovered it is nothing like a Defender one either.

But, help came our way, with a suggestion that we needed to check the brake light switch and see if there was any current going through it. There wasn’t.

Brake light switch – really convenient position…..

The next day Adrian cycled into town to see if he could get a switch. He did, at a cost of 9€. So far, so good.

Then all we had to do was to work out how to replace it. There was no way we could do it without a dismantle job, so off came the wing, out came the pedal box, the reservoir, servo, brake master cylinder blah blah…… All for a nine euro switch.

Everything out

Pedal box on kerb complete with new switch

Anyway, job done and back in and on. Auto-electrician was well impressed with our efforts and he told us it would have cost hundreds because he would have needed to pay a mechanic to do the dismantling job.

All back

So back to the present, and when the brake lights still weren’t working we had that nagging feeling that the switch might have gone again.

But, after the fuses, the next step was the bulbs. Checked those, no, not working either. Not looking good at this point.

Adrian jumped in the Landy and shot into town to see our favourite auto-electrician.

“Arranque,” said the auto-electrician. Adrian started it up. “Ponga los frenos.” Adrian put the brakes on.

“Muy bien,” said your man. “Funcionan.”

Adrian jumped out looking puzzled, so the auto-electrician duly demonstrated to him that they were working.

At which point the penny dropped. The second time we had tested them – after changing the fuse – Adrian had turned on the ignition, but not the engine. So the brake lights didn’t come on. Everything else did – but not the brake lights.

Anyway, he made up a really cool story about how his useless woman couldn’t even tell which lights were brake lights……… and drove happily home.

At least we know which fuse is for the brake lights now.

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