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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read through several 'brake light stuck on' threads, but I can't seem to find one that describes closely the situation I have.

The car is a 2001 focus wagon.

In park, everything works normally, signal lights flash normally, brakes lights turn on and off, etc.

The problem is this, as soon as I shift to any of RND21, the brake lights stay on and when the turn signals are used, both sides flash alternately (right or left).

In the tailgate wiring harness, the wire for the 3rd brake light is broken, I have taped off the ends so that they are not touching the body - until I can fix the wire properly.

When I step on the brake pedal, shift back to park and release the brake pedal, everything is back to normal again.

I recently replaced the brake light switch, so it is new. (I removed the old one and caused damage to the unit requiring me to replace it)

If anyone has encountered this same problem or has any feedback I would greatly appreciate the help. I plan to fix the wire to the 3rd brake light and then see if this changes the situation.
 

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Most of this could probably be accounted for in three words: "bad ground somewhere". And we might even narrow down where that might be. But first we have to figure out what all this has to do with the GEARSHIFT! There is just no electrical connection there. Must be something obscure.

Now then, Did this problem start when you replaced the SL switch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

No, the problem was there before and that is what prompted me to check the stop lamp switch. It was my own foolishness that wrecked the original stop lamp switch and that is why I had to replace it.

After driving the car last night, I found that the problem is most definitely intermittent. Over an 1 1/2 hours of driving, the brake lights did not stick on once and we shut the car off and turned it back on again, and let it sit for a while in between.

I agree, bad ground definitely comes to mind. What it does have to do with the gearshift is, according to the wiring diagrams, the release solenoid for depressing the gear shift button and the stop lamp switch are electrically connected.

I am still going to try and repair the 3rd brake light wire today - I'll let you know what I find out.
 

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Do you have cruise control? I have a stick, but my brake lights were doing some really weird stuff, and it was because the cruise control module went out and took the brake switch with it (or vice versa). No idea how the cruise control might be tied into an automatic... just throwing it out as a possibility.
On mine the brakelights worked normally until I started the car, and then they came on and stayed on.
Does indeed sound like a short.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I have cruise and, it doesn't work. You could be right about it being related, but I'm not sure how and I haven't investigated the cruise not working problem.

I did fix the 3rd brake light wire today and not only was it broken, the insulation was bare in a few spots, so I fixed it all.

The stop lamp switch seems to be working properly both in gear and in park and now the 3rd stop lamp works as well. So, I will have to see if I can catch it still happening. The reason I was so bent on getting the 3rd lamp working is because it is switched directly from the stop lamp switch. From the schematics, it doesn't seem to be routed through any other device. So, if the switch is the problem, the 3rd lamp should stick on. If the switch is not the problem and the 3rd lamp sticks on as well, then I am getting voltage to the lamp from something else.

Someone tell me if I am chasing down the wrong path or if I've got it all wrong.
 

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I knew my cruise had stopped working. Then someone told me that my brake lights were staying on - I thought I had the answer... because stepping on the brakes kills the CC, I believe through the brake light wiring. Oh well, for once K.I.S.S. didn't apply, the brake switch and the CC module ended up costing me $190 at the dealer (not complaining, having your brake lights on all the time is NOT safe, and that was the fastest way to fix things).
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A few more questions.

1. How did you know the CC module was the problem with the cruise not working?

With mine, the indicator that the cruise is switched on doesn't light up at all.

2. Where in the vehicle is the CC module located?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Any solution for this ? My car is doing the same thing as stated in the first post. I've replaced hazard switch, multifunction switch, and brake light switch. Checked hatch wiring, all grounds, fuses and relays, battery connections. It seems to happen when the cars gets warm or when the car sits in the warm sun. In the winter it will do it after about 30-40 minutes. On a warm sunny day almost immeadiately. Ambient temperature related or coincidence ? My CC is not being used, it's unplugged at the clockspring. I did that long before the brakelight problems.
 

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Sounds like you guys have a problem with the transmission selector switch, or more commonly known as the neutral/safety switch on the trans.
 

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IDK found this.Maybe it doesn't apply at all. I know thw warmer it is the more frequent my lights get stuck.
Between 1985-1999, engineers manufactured Electronic Control Modules ECMs with great design and precision. One problem has been revealed over the years: some of the components that were used have shown a tendency to fail, especially by heat. The heat from the normal operation of the current in the unit and the heat from the environment the ECM unit is stored in. Some models are stored in the cab which can reach temperatures of up to 140f. Some models are stored in the engine compartment which is the worse possible environment for a computer processor. The engine compartment is exposed to the elements of the environment outside and the engines operating environment. Normal operations can adversely affect the ECM unit over time as well. Components such as the ECS, the ISC, TPS, engine sensor, alternator or failing batteries can adversely affect the unit. Reversing polarity when jump starting vehicle can damage the ECM.
 

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I narrowed it down to the hazard switch. Well I kind of did. When I applied heat to the switch I can get the lights to get stuck. I cool it down and the lights go out. Stiil don't know the cause as to why it gets warm by itself. As far as cause and effect, I found the effect but not the cause. Still don't know how the car RPM's off when this happens. I did not do a test drive. Just messed around in the driveway.
 

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Found the broken wire in hatch, soldered and now working

Just like Daddy Wagon, I had the same problem brake lights not working. and after reading his post checked my hatch and found 2 broken wires and the insulation cracked on all the wires. I Resoldered and used shrink tubing to cover and retaped the cracked wires. NOT a easy fix as the wires are really jammed in , and the rubber cover will not fit over the wires after soldering the splices. thanks for saving me a trip to a repair shop.
dave j
 

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I have the same issue as the first post, only to add to the mix I noticed when you push the button on the shift lever and have someone watch the brake lights they stay on (while buttons pressed even when still in park when u let off the button in park the lights go off I know its not the brake switch (cause in park it all works flawlessly) so not the switch I checked my high mount light its melted and wires have broken insulation but no broken wires I fixed the insulation and kept the bulbs out of the high mount because them being stuck on is melting the housing... I'm at witsend here coujld it be the shift thing that the switch activates in the shift lever? Has anyone fixed the issue??? There is over 100 posts about this issue with no prevailing info on why or exactly how to fix it. what does the shift button have todo with the brake lights? Why are the lights only acting up after pressing the button? HELP US...lol. sorry for any missed letters on my words using my cell phone
 

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I'm having the same problem on my 2003 ZX3. I've repaired the wiring harness that runs into the rear hatch door, to no avail. I recently installed a LED high mount unit, but it works fine while the selector is in Park as many others. I did not notice if the problem manifests itself when the gear selector button is pushed. I will check that tomorrow.

Thanks in advance to those who spent time troubleshooting this problem and shared the info!
 

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Okay, I have same issue on my new to me 2002 ZX3. Spent the better part of 7 hours checking the wiring from the bulbs to under the front seat. Here is what I can tell you....1) it's not the wires in the boot to the hatch 2) It's not low on brake fluid 3) it's not the switches on the brake. The "stop light relay" in the fuse box under the hood is being told to pull in by something. i.e. if I pull the relay out you can hear the solenoid drop and the lights go out.

One guy who has the problem said it's his hazard switch overheating so he drilled a hole in the vent to keep cool air on it. ... I think the switch is only a signal telling something else to do something. I'm sure it's not an actual mechanical switch/device so I don't think much current is going through it at all. I would guess I have a problem with my General Electronic Model (GEM) but I'm not sure this 2002 car has one. I can't find anyone to tell me if my car does have one.

ANY HELP would be appreciated. I can't be the only one in this situation.
 

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UN-FREAKIN believable ... One guy on here said he put new bulbs in his high (third) light and now his break lights work. I thought he probably had a short...I decided to go buy some and replace them all since they too were all burned out.

POW - BANG - Now my side brake lights work. I'm guessing it's a design to tell you all 5 bulbs in your third light is burned out or some really pathetic electrical engineer had a major design flaw in the system. Hey, I'm an Electrical Engineer so I can say that. :)
 

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Well that makes me wonder if the aftermarket LED unit I installed is the culprit. I bought a resistor to si
mulate the load of incandescent bulbs. I guess I will install it and see what happens.
 

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Good idea

Well that makes me wonder if the aftermarket LED unit I installed is the culprit. I bought a resistor to si
mulate the load of incandescent bulbs. I guess I will install it and see what happens.
I was thinking the same thing because I really like the LED units. Let us know how it works and what size resistor you are using.

Thanks
 

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SUCCESS!!! Turns out the aftermarket LED highmount unit I installed was the culprit. There was not enough resistance in the LED unit therefore whichever module monitors this circuit thought all the bulbs were blown. I installed a 6 ohm 50 watt load resistor to simulate a proper load across the LED unit. It is wired in parallel. You can do a search and find out how to do it. I ordered the resistor from HERE. But you can probably find them cheaper elsewhere because that site will charge crazy shipping. I only ordered it from them because I also ordered an HID kit for my motorcycle.

I am so relieved to have finally figured this out. But I'm banging my head on the wall because I should have known this from the start.
 
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