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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a 1991 Spider today. A friend followed me home and told me when we got home that I didn't have any brake lights. I checked the fuse and it seems fine. Any simple solutions from the seasoned group of owners here? Likewise, since I got home I have discovered a number of items I will be inquiring about. If I am not approaching the forum properly please let me know. Thanks in advance.
 

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There should be a switch activated by the pedal (look up under the dash). Make sure the wires are attached to the switch. If they are attached, temporarily remove them and connect them together. The brake light should then come on. If they work with the wires connected but not with the switch then the switch is likely faulty.

Also check that the brake light bulbs are functional. And that the bulb holders are getting a good connection to ground.

If I am not approaching the forum properly please let me know.
The only thing missing are some photos. We like pictures. They could even be of your Spider...
 

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Here's what the brake light switch looks like. The metal button on the end should be touching the pedal's arm and depressed with the brakes released and it should be pushed out when the brakes are applied. When the button is out the internal contacts should send 12V to the wire leading to the brake lights.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I'll give it a try tomorrow and get back with you. I'll try to get a few pics posted also. Just learning how to use the site. Thanks
 

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Eric is dead on as usual and his troubleshooting of the break light switchis the logical first step. But another possibility besides the bulbs being burned out or a bad or mis adjusted breaklight switch is the possibility of bad ground wires to the bulbs.

Alfas are notorious about having bad or poor grounds to various electrical items and the bulbs in the trunk and to the front parking/turn/marker lights are the most common to have ground problems. My idiom is that where Alfas are concerned, you can have too little ground but you can never have too much ground. On my spider I have added additional dedicated ground wires directly from many of the outside lights to very positive grounding bolts on the sheet metal work. I sand down the immediate area where the bolt is to bare metal and then apply diaelectric grease to the bare metal to keep it from corroding. I use stainless steel bolts and elastistop nuts to further provide positive ground.

This may sound like overkill and maybe it is, but all my lights work properly all the time. And the fact that it is ground you are providing means that you are not doing anything that could cause you any future electrical problems, because ground is ground is ground.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Robert, thanks for the grounding advice. As I go through the car I will heed your adviceon grounding. Are the brake lights grounded individually or is there on ground for the three lights?

Thanks, Wayne
 

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Wayne,
On your 84 there is a single ground wire on each lamp for all the bulbs on that lamp. These go out with the minature wireing loom to a plug on each side coming out of the main loom for the entire trunk area. What I do is to double ground this single ground wire to one of the studs which hold the lamp assemblies to the rear sheet metal, one additional ground on each lamp. Then if I have any problems with an individual bulb in any of the lamps, I add an additionnal ground wire from that bulb to a mounting stud. These mountining studs pass through the rear sheet metal panel under the trunk lid to which all tail lamps and license hardware are attached.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Eric,

Thanks a bunch. When I did as you instructed, the lights worked. Hence, a faulty switch. That is just item one of a list of items the previous owner neglected. Thanks again, I hope you allow me to lean on you a bit in the future.

Wayne
 

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Wayne I had the same issue with my 1991 Spider, turned out the switch was fine, instead it was the hack splice job a PO did to the brake wires that lead to the switch. Part of a [email protected]#$%^ previously installed security system I had to remove. It was fun soldering up under the dash. Not!
I'd also recommend pulling every fuse in the box and cleaning the fuse spades. I had several fuses- mostly those for the lighting systems- that were so badly covered with oxidation that although the fusible link was good visually, they had very high resistance readings on my ohmmeter.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jim,

Thanks for your thoughts. It turns out it is a faulty switch. I do think I will clean the fuse spades as you suggest. Just got the car and have a pretty good list of items neglected by the previous owner.

Thanks, Wayne
 
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