So my Toggle Switches Disintegrated

Dustin Dial

New member
Site Supporter
Allrighty, so I began to replace and /or clean up and inspect wires on the two Solenoids attached to the wall of the engine bay. I still have no power signs of life, so wondered if these were burned out/bad. So in the process of taking them off the side wall, and then the wires off the toggle switches, the switches were rusted through so bad they disintegrated just when I tried to turn the screws.

So my question is, since I still don't know exactly what these were for despite asking around, and some research, should I replace them? Or take the opportunity to do some kind of other system? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I assume the one with the toggle switches helped run the emergency equipment. Will just any toggle switch do or should I get a specific kind/ Thanks a ton!



 

Paul Steinberg

Administrator
Staff member
Super Site Supporter
In looking at your pictures, it isn't clear what the solenoid closest to the radiator is for. I would need a better picture of that one. I believe that the toggle switches are to disable the solenoids so they cannot be activated from the drivers compartment switches. The one closest to the firewall (the switches and solenoids are mounted on the inner fender pan) might be for controlling the siren, but it would have been a very small siren based on the wire size. If I were there, I would purchase 2 new switches, and cut one wire at a time, and make a new wire, and hook it up exactly as the old wire is hooked up. Doing one wire at a time will keep you from making mistakes. I am only going to address the switch that is on the right at this time. I have no idea what the rear switch is for, and will require better pictures of the wires attached to it. There is no question that the switches are no good, however, as for the solenoids themselves, they might still be serviceable. Also take good pictures of everything before you start any work, and preserve the pictures on a place other than you phone. That way, if you loose or damage your phone, you will still have the pictures. Also, purchase like colored wire, and terminal ends. I can't tell for certain if it is 12 gauge wire or not, so you will need to take one of the wires with you to the auto store to make sure that you get the correct wire and terminals.
The large red wire on the solenoid that I mention above, I believe comes from the battery. I wouldn't mess with this wire presently, until it is confirmed that it needs work. There is a "fusible link" going from that terminal to the small terminal that feeds power to the solenoid from the large red wire. There is also a smaller red wire that goes up to the switch, and it appears that the other side of the switch goes to the green wire, that disappears in the picture. Please let me know where that green wire goes. There is a small green wire on the 3rd terminal of that solenoid, that goes through the hole between the 2 switches, and appears to go toward the cowl of the car It will be up to you to determine where that wire goes from the solenoid. Once I know where each end of the green wire goes, I can better figure out this circuitry.

Now, if I were there, I also would spray the side of the inner fender pan with Simple Green and water, and lightly scrub around everything, and then rinse with water. Being that there is no battery power, cleaning up the "field" before starting work will make it easier to identify wirea, and where they go. I don't like working on a dirty engine compartment.
 

Peter Grave

PCS Member
Super Site Supporter
For my money some guy whose initials are MM wired it. From what I can see when the selonoid is energized it supplies power to the two swithches that have green wires running off each going to something. It would be nice to know what they are feeding as it would seem there are two of it that he builder wanted to be able to control individually. But they are only energized when the selonoid is at best a strange way to have it wired.Looking further down there are three heavy battery type cables that appear to be bolted together and liberally taped up just what that mess feeds would be good to know. There is much rust and corrosion present and it looks like it could be simplified if we knew a bit more of what the whole hodge podge is doing. right now from the pictures it looks like a fire waiting to happen.Also the one heavy cable going from the taped up mess has no tape around the lug coming away and is awfully close to the second selonoid just waiting to short out.
 

Dustin Dial

New member
Site Supporter
So I appreciate the information he saw as a result I've stopped doing anything.

I was going I to do a straight Solenoid switch out and reconnect all the wires back the exact same way they were. However I'm gonna wait to get a friend in here who is a mechanic and electrician to help me out. I don't have a lot of experience that's why I was going to do a direct swap out of the solenoids until I broke the toggle switches.

If you have any recommendations on specific types of toggle switches I would appreciate it! The ones that I broke had no identifying markings other than "Made in the USA."
 

Paul Steinberg

Administrator
Staff member
Super Site Supporter
The toggle switch are On/Off toggles with screw terminals. Nothing to difficult to find a good quality part at your local electrical supply house. I would stay away from Home Depot / Lowes, and similar stores for this item, because of quality issues.
 
I'll suggest you take a little trip to Delcity.net and spend some time learning about switches, relays, terminals and wiring.

They offer quality products at reasonable prices and plenty of information.
 

Peter Grave

PCS Member
Super Site Supporter
Please find someone with knowledge of wiring to look at the mess you may not need much of it. I wish you were closer I could help. This brings back the memory from 1969 a local Squad had a 68 Superior Pontiac with a Federal Q. They were sent to our shop by another squad whose Cadillac we had done some work on. The issue with the Pontiac was when running an emergency call the lights and siren could not be operated at the same time after a couple of minutes the rig would shut down (as in STOP) dead no battery. I thought a short somewhere WRONG! We fired it up lit up sirened and it got dimmer and slower. Wait a minute! We checked the alternator for output AND THEN discovered the rig had been ordered wrong it was equipped with a 42 amp passenger car alternator it just could not keep up with the Q and the lights. We got one of the big Delcos and end of problem.
 

John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2017-2020
Super Site Supporter
You know which side is the power wire. Remove the wire from the other side and touch it to 12 volts see what lights up or makes noise. Don't make it complicated. If you make something work then label that wire.
 
Another thought that comes to mind, we have pretty good luck removing corrosion on wires here in the Rust Capitol using vinegar. It will often bring the copper back to clean and bright in hours.

Second thing, since the car is sitting, it's a good time to give every nut, bolt & screw you can see a drop of Marvel Mystery Oil and let it work its magic.
 
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