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Old 03-12-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
willy3486
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Brake warning light on

My daughter has a 2001 Focus 4 door. It has had new rotors and pads in the front before she got it. Then last August I put new drums and brake shoes on the back. She has had it a couple of years but drives it very little. She drove it roughly 100 miles a week the first year and now that she is in college maybe 200 miles a month. She was going to a friends house tonight and the brake warning light came on and then off, then on,off,etc. She called me and I went to where she was about 10 miles away. I looked under the car and no fluid leaking. I checked the fluid and it was full. It did not need any. She said the brakes were working fine and wanted to drive it home. It has done this before a few times so I thought it would be ok. She would be more at ease driving it than her moms. Then on the way home she said the light came on and stayed on. She also said it drove fine. She said she did not hit her brakes much but they worked fine,no grabbing,etc. From all indication its fine but the warning light is on. She had forgot to tell me that it has been getting louder. But I think that more of the muffler getting a hole or something to that effect. I plan on taking out for a test spin so what should I look for?


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Old 03-12-2011, 08:09 PM   #2
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:31 PM   #3
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Double check the stupid stuff. Operate the e-brake up and down a few times to see if the light goes out. Spilled drinks can cause that switch not to function properly, but typically it goes out the other way when it sticks. It could be shorted due to spilled drinks though. Don't go tearing the console apart yet- a few other things need to be checked first.

Is the ABS light on also? Does the car have ABS? If no, keep going, if yes to both then still keep going, but you might be in for a horridly expensive trip if nothing else proves to be the problem.

I think it's the brake fluid level switch. This switch will be tied into the master cylinder somehow. Mine is in the cap, but my wife's van has it in the master cylinder. You're looking for the electrical plug that has 2 wires in it. When you find it- unplug it, and then see if the light goes out. Most likely it will not- that's because all of these switches I've worked with in the past have had to have continuity between the pins for the brake light to be off. This means you need a small piece of insulated solid copper wire, or something else to bridge the 2 points on the connector. A big paperclip would do it if you don't have wire- just tape it so it doesn't short on anything. If the switch is the problem, then the light should go off when you bridge those pins. Double check it if it works, if it doesn't, then that's not the problem. I'd take the console apart and see if I could figure out if the e-brake switch was the problem next.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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I am in the process of checking mine out I only just brought it and a week later the ebrake light came on I have topped up the fluid and still on will try the switch at in the engine bay next.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Ok just did the bridging of the circuit on the reso sensor light never went out so I guess now I have to look at the E Brake switch any way to test this first ?
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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On my '04 the switches "make" the contact to turn on the light, pulling the connector at the fluid reservoir does NOT turn the light on when the brake handle is down.

(just tested it to confirm my memory)

E-brake switch is a very simple open plunger type (you can see the whole mechanism when you get to it). No easy way to test I can think of other than pulling the console for access.

I personally had an "odd" situation with this, intermittent brake warning light that didn't correlate with switch positions when it decided not to work properly. Other times it worked with the switches as designed. The final "solution" came when I changed instrument clusters for a "junkyard" one to get a tachometer type cluster. Problem disappeared, and shows up again if I install the original instrument cluster.

In my case, the problem was internal to the instruments, though it's NOT a common issue (that is, not one seen often on this Forum).

Just wanted to share that experience, in case you run into it as well.

Luck!
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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Ok after checking everything and still with the E-brake light staying on I sussed out that it was the cluster brought a another one a grey looking one put that in and E-brake light now goes on and off as it should so faulty cluster for me.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #8
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Gad it worked out for you!

Don't know HOW long I would have put up with the intermittent, if I hadn't run into a deal on a cluster with a tach. for an upgrade...
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