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With the transmission in Drive and no pressure on the brake pedal, the exterior brake lights are still on.

This is not a problem caused by the brake pedal switch (both of the plunger switches located at the pedal test ok). With the car ignition on and the transmission in park, no pressure on the brake pedal, the brake lights are NOT on. Pushing the pedal causes the brake lights to come on and causes the solenoid release pin to activate, allowing the transmission selector to be moved out of park. If the selector is left in park, releasing the brake pedal causes the brake lights to go out, that part of the brake circuit seems to be working ok. The problem with the brake lights staying happens when the transmission is moved out of park to any other position, including neutral and allowing the car to stand with no brakes on or to just coast, the brake lights still stay on when there is no pressure on the brake pedal.

I don't have a wiring diagram for the car, does anyone know where they can be obtained for free or low cost? It appears there may be a relay in the interlock circuit that connects the brake pedal switches, transmission selector switch, and ignition switch.
 

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The same problem exactly, with my 2002 Focus SE wagon. Also, the third break light does not light at all. Here's the problem....The wires in the umbilical cord connecting the body to the hatch are "trashed". The insulation is brittle and cracked. Two of the wires are completely severed. Poor engineering at this critical junction. I'll try to put up some pictures. You will likely find the same problem with yours.
 

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Awsome Information and details bro!

Today i had the same problem come up on my focus , i opened up this thread and the info was helpful and right on the money. I plan on re wiring the entire area this weekend and modifing the entire area so this will never happen again.

I appriciate your details and help , you saved me some money and that put a smile on my face
 

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Same issue here

Thanks for the posting. I have the exact same issue going on and will be checking this wiring out tonight. I'll post pictures of what I find as well in case it helps anyone.
 

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This has happened to me too and my symptoms were the brake lights staying on in drive, neutral, reverse (with engine running), and also no high bar brake light at any time. The brake lights were okay, initially, when in park.

So I opened up the umbilical harness as described, using the hidden tab, and immediately saw lots of wires with cracked casing. In my case the thin green wire with yellow stripe was completely broken apart, and I know from checking the bulbs on the high bar brake light that this wire goes there.

I connected the broken wire and all problems were resolved. e.g. side brake lights started working normally and also the high bar light also began to work again.

So it will be interesting to fix this mess - wish I could shrink wrap them, but it is a tight space and the rear windshield washer feed line is also in this same umbilical, making it tight and need to be careful not to puncture that hose.

Also, everyone should note that abnormal hot temperatures that can occur in the side brake light assemblies. As double filament brake light bulbs burn continuously while driving, the danger of melting the plastic taillight red lens is high. Mine were hot too touch !

Thanks all for this great post as it pointed me to the problem area quickly. To bad they did not engineer this better for real world use - it is clearly a weak spot, which can cause some interesting problems.

Cheers
 

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Would like to add something else. After i reconnected the broken wire in the hatch, not only did the brake lights started working like they should but my Cruise control started working also. My cruise control went out a few month back randomly and thats probably when my brake lights started to stay on, so i guess those 2 systems are somehow connected together. So im happy killed 2 birds with one stone. :)
 

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Well, this thread saved me money ....

I had this weird problem that my break lights were always on and I did a little google search and found this thread .... and what I read was identical to the symptoms that my car was showing ... bingo ... I didn't even verify the wires in the umbilical cord, I went straight to the hardware store to buy some connectors and the next evening discovered and repaired the mess ....

Car: 2003 Ford Focus SE Wagon

Symptoms:
- 3rd break light would not work at all
- break lights would always be on with the transmission in Drive or Reverse
- with the transmission in Park, the break lights would work as expected
- cruise control not working
- rear wiper not working


When I inspected the wires in the umbilical cord connecting the body to the hatch I found a whole mess in there ... 5 wired were severed and on the remaining wires the insulation is brittle and cracked ... I could see bare copper wire in many places ...

Here a picture of what I found:
http://kalypso.net/temp/DSC00529.JPG

And here a picture of what it looked like after the reapair:
http://kalypso.net/temp/DSC00535.JPG

Now, I am not a mechanic and I have the feeling that I will have the same problem soon again, but at least I have a temporary fix for now ..... all the wiring would need to be replaced in there ....

But for now my break lights work as expected ... even my 3rd break light ...

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge and experience here ...
 

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I had a similar problem. Changed the brake switch under the brake pedal and nothing. I fixed the problem by replacing all the bulbs on my third brake light. Its weird but it worked lol
 

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I got lucky with mine

I had the same problem. My brake lights stayed on when my car was out of park. My cruise control would not work either. All of my high mount brake light bulbs were burnt out. When I replaced the bulbs, the problem was solved. Call it luck, or whatever, but that was the problem. Because the brake lights were on, it was telling the cruise control that the brakes were engaged, therefore not allowing the cruise control to come on. Hope this helps.
 

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I just had this same problem as well. Brake lights on all the time when in anything other than Park, third brake light not working. Not sure about Cruise Control, but guessing it didn't work either. I checked the umbilical harness as described above, but everything seemed to be intact. So I simply replaced the bulbs in the third brake light as the last poster suggested and everything returned to working order. Seems absurd, but there you have it.
 

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To 2002focusSEwagon, Brake lights wiring problem.
Thank you for taking your time to post the photos of the focus wagon, i really appreciate it. i would have never isolated this.
 

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To 2002focusSEwagon, Thank you for taking your time to post the photos of the focus wagon, i really appreciate it. i would have never isolated this.
 

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Many hours of scratching my head has been avoided because of FOCUSFANATICS.

Awesome.
 

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This site def saves time money and scratched out eyes lol well maybe not the eyes but yea u get the idea also why doesn't ford recall this issue???
 

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I posted this up in the other brake light thread, but I'm having the same problem on my 03 ZX3. Brake lights work fine in Park, but if the selector is moved to any other position, the right and left brake lights stay on. I fixed the wiring harness, but that did not solve the problem. Still looking for answers.

I should note that I installed a LED 3rd brake light unit recently.
 

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I just bought a used 03 focus wagon to replace a caravan. Was a 2.5hr drive to go test drive/pick up. Internet pictures can only tell you so much.

On way back stopped for gas, wife was like your brake lights stopped working. So stopped at auto zone down street, saw fuse blown, bought a 15, push brake, blown again. Threw a 30 in there, bam push brake, back wiper goes. So I knew it was a crossed wire. Just needed 30 in there to get home without a ticket out of state or something.

Get home, sure enough, think 9 wires in there, 2 big ones I assume are ground. All are either broken or stripped to the wire. The brake/wiper lines were melted together.

I cut it at the top where it comes out near light and on hatch before it goes up.

Soldered new wires that have more insulation, wrapped each solder point in electrical tape. and also gave it more slack to hopefully stop the cracking. Also, I didn't have 2 same gauge wires, so used 2 medium. So 11 wires go up and little bit more slack now.

It took maybe 30-45 mintues to solder/tape/put everything back together.

BTW TY to user for pictures on how to get the plastic thing out. i could only get the rubber back on like 50%, was thinking today of breaking it out and buying a new one. I could not get that plastic piece otu without thinking I was going to break it.
 

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dardack - good to hear you got yours fixed! I'm sure the wiring job was LOADS of fun.

hooligan998 - I've seen prev. notes that at least SOME LED replacements act like the blown bulb scenario mentioned in this thread, no appreciable "draw" from the LED's so it acts like the bulbs aren't there at all. Might be worth plugging in the old light to see what happens, the only LED's that seem to work for that application have a resistor in them to "mimic" a regular set of lights.
 
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