Combination Switch clean/lube - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Combination Switch clean/lube

The wiper switch in our '84 Spider was acting up. I'd have to fiddle the switch to get the wipers to work. First I tried a few squirts of electrical contact cleaning spray. That helped make the wipers work better but it made the lever itself difficult to move. I suspect the cleaner spray removed some lube inside that part of the combi-switch. Today I decided to remove the switch assembly to see if I could open it up to clean & lube it.

Turns out it is not difficult to do. I probably spent more time getting the steering wheel & column cover halfs off than disassembling & re-assembling the switch.

Once the steering wheel is off the switch is held to the column by two bolts/nuts. The wiper's wire connections are simple - one multi-pin connector to undo. For the headlights & turn signals I had to lower the fuse box & turn it around to remove the connectors. Make note of what goes where so you can plug it back in correctly later.

With the combi-switch on my work bench I noted that the cover for the wiper section is held in place by four metal clips. I carefully pried them off (holding the cover in place until all the clips were off so nothing would fly out never to be found again).

With the cover off, I removed & cleaned all the parts then applied some di-electric grease for both lubrication & to prevent corrosion of the (?brass?) electrical parts. There are three U-shaped metal parts with a small spring behind them to make the electrical contacts. Note where they fit on the lever - 2 on one side, 1 on the other. The spring loaded button in the end of the lever rides in the notches cast into the inside of the housing to hold the lever in each of the 4 positions (off/intermittant/normal/fast). Once re-assembled the lever moved smoothly to all positions.

Although the turn signal part of the switch had been working OK I decided to take this opportunity to clean & lube it too. The aluminum cover plate has four tabs bent over at each corner. Pry up those tabs then gently push the plastic clips aside to free the cover (again holding it in place then removing it carefully to prevent things from flying out).

The lever itself has a spring inside it that rides against the pivot post. When re-assembling use a small screwdriver to hold the spring back so you can place it over the pivot post. There is a spring loaded (2 springs) U-shaped metal piece that makes the electrical contacts for left or right signals when the lever is moved. Again I cleaned all the bits and applied di-electric grease.

The cancelling mechanism is quite simple. There is a sleeve that fits on the steering column. When you move the lever to switch on the turn signals it slightly jams the canceling mechanism between the lever and that sleeve. When you turn the wheel back (after completing the turn) the canceling mechanism pushes the lever back to the 'off' position.

I did not go inside the headlight part of the switch. They have been working fine and it appears that the headlight part of the combi-switch is riveted to the assembly. I assume it, too can be opened & cleaned/lubed but I decided leave well enough alone. Hopefully I haven't just jinxed the headlights...
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- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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Last edited by ghnl; 01-10-2009 at 07:15 PM. Reason: added a link
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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More photos of the notches for the wiper lever & the turn signal bits.
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- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2009, 08:10 PM
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Nice work and great pictures.

It may be worthwhile to note that the same basic procedure works for most years of the Spider column switches, even those without the wipers. The switch is basically unchanged over the years on the blinker/headlight side of things.

Often the electrical contacts have lost lubrication, are filthy, and the metal tangs no longer stick up enough to make good contact. When cleaning you can simply place a small blade under the tangs and lift them a mm or two and the contact will be like new.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2009, 08:55 PM
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Combi switch: plugs-in again where?

This is a great guide! My combi switch is rehabbed, but in my excitement I didn't properly document where everything plugged-in back at the fuse block and harness, (when I unplugged it way-back-when!) The obvious plugs are obvious, but how about the black ground? There seem to be a dozen places on the fuse block where that should go. I just don't want to do it incorrectly. I have Papajam's wiring diagram but am not making any headway
Help!

Thanks
Andy
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-25-2009, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iracema1 View Post
...in my excitement I didn't properly document where everything plugged-in back at the fuse block and harness, (when I unplugged it way-back-when!) The obvious plugs are obvious, but how about the black ground?
Andy, Andy, Andy...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghnl View Post
Make note of what goes where so you can plug it back in correctly later.
See if any of the pictures in this thread are helpful.


- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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Last edited by ghnl; 09-25-2009 at 08:23 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-25-2009, 07:51 AM
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Hi Eric:
Properly chastised I stand! Yessir, may I have another? (hehe!). I know better than to have done that, but one gets in a hurry and....
Thank you, thank you! This should get me back on-track!
Best
Andy
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2009, 10:00 AM
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Rehabbed combi switch: do I have the wrong one

THANKS for the great fuseblock photos and for Papajam's wiring diagram. Now I am confident that all combi-switch plugs and wires are where they should be on the harness and the fuseblock.
However, the plot thickens:
The headlight switch and wiper switch work fine, but the windshield washer motor and turn indicators do not activate

I actually switched-out my old combi-switch for a rehabbed one from Alfa Parts. They assured me that all switches were interchangeable so long as they were the "rounded lever" type. However, having eliminated the variables of the connections, as well as the fuses, I think that I have the wrong combi switch.
So, before I call Alfa Parts to get a new one, am I overlooking anything? Thanks for everything
Andy
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2009, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure what is meany by 'round lever type'. The lever in our '84 Spider has squarish ends...

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


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