442 1985 442 Dash Brake Light Staying On

SurferBill25

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 11, 2022
24
3
Does anyone have a diagram or information indicating how to access or service the parking brake switch? My dash BRAKE light is staying on, even with the brake released, and the fluid is not low.
I had removed the plastic shield ubder the dash but still was not able to locate the switch. Made sure the parking brake lever was pulled all the way up. I suspect that the switch to the lever is either stuck, has bad contact, or is bad.

Some guys on the Olds / 442 Facebook page suggested that I should disconnect the wire to the switch on the proporting valve, but I am not see any switches on the valve or wires to it.

Appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks.

Bill
 

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
7,012
113
The brake switch comes on when you have the ignition in-between run and start for the bulb test, parking brake applied, or when the combination valve is thrown for whatever reason. It's possible the switch got stuck on your parking brake. Do you even use the parking brake? Did you try raising and cycling the foot lever by hand with the release handle pulled?

There's a tan with white stripe wire going to all 3 of these what sets off your lamp- so either you've got a nicked tan/white wire that's being grounded for whatever reason, or something is really amiss with one of these. Could it be the ignition switch at the base of the steering column (tan/white wire there on the switch plug)? Doubtful, but not out of the realm of reality. Maybe it's the switch on the parking brake. Look for a tan/white wire pigtail going to it on your parking brake. It's a normally closed switch that's held open by the position of the foot lever. Maybe the copper strap got hosed and won't open for some reason. It bolts (and grounds) to the parking brake assembly and is held open when the parking brake is fully released, which keeps it from grounding, until you press the foot lever and allow the flat spring switch to close. Kinda like a thick reed switch. Unplug the pigtail, and test for the lamp again. If the light goes out, you're in the right place. If not, check something else. If it is the brake switch, you can get them new on ebay or Amazon for a few bucks. Shop around. GM p/n 1264464 or Standard DS-905.

7.95 with prime (free shipping).

If you can reach it, remove the plug on top of the combination brake valve on the inside of the frame. If your light goes out then, the switch has "tripped" for whatever reason or there's a renegade ground in that part of the circuit. If it's still on, then it's likely something else. That's a PITA because there's no good, easy way of resetting it if the switch is tripped. That button up front does NOTHING for that. You may be able to remove the plastic switch on the valve, and reaching in with a pick tool and moving the spool back to center. Much easier to do off the car.

If you work on your car, you should have a set of the CSMs. AKA Chassis Service Manuals. They're specific for your model and year. I never leave home without them. Worth their weight in gold.

There's very little the CSM does not cover.

BTW, here's an auction on ebay that has the complete set, including a couple of non-GM books, an 85 Chilton's manual and a 1985 Motor Vehicle ID number book. For that price, it's a great value considering what you get. Just the basic 2 manual set cost over $200 when you could still get them from GM. Like a dummy, I paid full ride from their printing place, but there was no ebay at the time and had no idea where I could have got them slightly used. The GM basic set on this one looks to be almost new. The only thing missing would be the 1985 Fisher Body manual, which has good info in it, but it's like an old, high school science book. Uses some pictures from the 60s... :)


85 Cutlass Brake Warning Lamp Wiring Diagram.JPG

85 Cutlass Brake Warning Lamp Wiring Troubleshoot.JPG
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Ugly1

G-Body Guru
Oct 26, 2021
853
93
Lost in the woods of NH
The brake switch comes on when you have the ignition in-between run and start for the bulb test, parking brake applied, or when the combination valve is thrown for whatever reason. It's possible the switch got stuck on your parking brake. Do you even use the parking brake? Did you try raising and cycling the foot lever by hand with the release handle pulled?

There's a tan with white stripe wire going to all 3 of these what sets off your lamp- so either you've got a nicked tan/white wire that's being grounded for whatever reason, or something is really amiss with one of these. Could it be the ignition switch at the base of the steering column (tan/white wire there on the switch plug)? Doubtful, but not out of the realm of reality. Maybe it's the switch on the parking brake. Look for a tan/white wire pigtail going to it on your parking brake. It's a normally closed switch that's held open by the position of the foot lever. Maybe the copper strap got hosed and won't open for some reason. It bolts (and grounds) to the parking brake assembly and is held open when the parking brake is fully released, which keeps it from grounding, until you press the foot lever and allow the flat spring switch to close. Kinda like a thick reed switch. Unplug the pigtail, and test for the lamp again. If the light goes out, you're in the right place. If not, check something else. If it is the brake switch, you can get them new on ebay or Amazon for a few bucks. Shop around. GM p/n 1264464 or Standard DS-905.

7.95 with prime (free shipping).

If you can reach it, remove the plug on top of the combination brake valve on the inside of the frame. If your light goes out then, the switch has "tripped" for whatever reason or there's a renegade ground in that part of the circuit. If it's still on, then it's likely something else. That's a PITA because there's no good, easy way of resetting it if the switch is tripped. That button up front does NOTHING for that. You may be able to remove the plastic switch on the valve, and reaching in with a pick tool and moving the spool back to center. Much easier to do off the car.

If you work on your car, you should have a set of the CSMs. AKA Chassis Service Manuals. They're specific for your model and year. I never leave home without them. Worth their weight in gold.

There's very little the CSM does not cover.

BTW, here's an auction on ebay that has the complete set, including a couple of non-GM books, an 85 Chilton's manual and a 1985 Motor Vehicle ID number book. For that price, it's a great value considering what you get. Just the basic 2 manual set cost over $200 when you could still get them from GM. Like a dummy, I paid full ride from their printing place, but there was no ebay at the time and had no idea where I could have got them slightly used. The GM basic set on this one looks to be almost new. The only thing missing would be the 1985 Fisher Body manual, which has good info in it, but it's like an old, high school science book. Uses some pictures from the 60s... :)

Dam! My brother gave me the gm manuals for body and repair cause he had no need for them. Motors Manual is another good book to pickup
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

SurferBill25

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 11, 2022
24
3
The brake switch comes on when you have the ignition in-between run and start for the bulb test, parking brake applied, or when the combination valve is thrown for whatever reason. It's possible the switch got stuck on your parking brake. Do you even use the parking brake? Did you try raising and cycling the foot lever by hand with the release handle pulled?

There's a tan with white stripe wire going to all 3 of these what sets off your lamp- so either you've got a nicked tan/white wire that's being grounded for whatever reason, or something is really amiss with one of these. Could it be the ignition switch at the base of the steering column (tan/white wire there on the switch plug)? Doubtful, but not out of the realm of reality. Maybe it's the switch on the parking brake. Look for a tan/white wire pigtail going to it on your parking brake. It's a normally closed switch that's held open by the position of the foot lever. Maybe the copper strap got hosed and won't open for some reason. It bolts (and grounds) to the parking brake assembly and is held open when the parking brake is fully released, which keeps it from grounding, until you press the foot lever and allow the flat spring switch to close. Kinda like a thick reed switch. Unplug the pigtail, and test for the lamp again. If the light goes out, you're in the right place. If not, check something else. If it is the brake switch, you can get them new on ebay or Amazon for a few bucks. Shop around. GM p/n 1264464 or Standard DS-905.

7.95 with prime (free shipping).

If you can reach it, remove the plug on top of the combination brake valve on the inside of the frame. If your light goes out then, the switch has "tripped" for whatever reason or there's a renegade ground in that part of the circuit. If it's still on, then it's likely something else. That's a PITA because there's no good, easy way of resetting it if the switch is tripped. That button up front does NOTHING for that. You may be able to remove the plastic switch on the valve, and reaching in with a pick tool and moving the spool back to center. Much easier to do off the car.

If you work on your car, you should have a set of the CSMs. AKA Chassis Service Manuals. They're specific for your model and year. I never leave home without them. Worth their weight in gold.

There's very little the CSM does not cover.

BTW, here's an auction on ebay that has the complete set, including a couple of non-GM books, an 85 Chilton's manual and a 1985 Motor Vehicle ID number book. For that price, it's a great value considering what you get. Just the basic 2 manual set cost over $200 when you could still get them from GM. Like a dummy, I paid full ride from their printing place, but there was no ebay at the time and had no idea where I could have got them slightly used. The GM basic set on this one looks to be almost new. The only thing missing would be the 1985 Fisher Body manual, which has good info in it, but it's like an old, high school science book. Uses some pictures from the 60s... :)


View attachment 208922
View attachment 208923
Dam! My brother gave me the gm manuals for body and repair cause he had no need for them. Motors Manual is another good book to pickup
Thanks very much for all the very detailed info Geezer! A lot of things to try there, but sounds like they are somewhat difficult to access. To respond to one of your questions, I do use the parking brake, but very little, and not that often. Ordered the car new in January '85, but have used it very infrequently recently, and the light had not been on the last time I used the car before this month. Had been sitting for a few months.

I really think the issue is with the parking brake switch, which I'm having some difficulty finding / accessing. I'll try some of your suggestions with the wires, to see if I can figure it out. If there is a picture of the switch on the parking brake lever on page 201-10-E from the book that contains the Brake Warning System Troubleshooting Hints that you attached in your note, and you could send me a copy f that pictre, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks again for your very helpful coments!

I do have the '85 Fisher Body Manual somewhere, but it's stored in a box somewhere and I need to locate it. It's also with my '85 Chassis Service Manual. The books got buried in a move.

Bill
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
7,012
113
Since you have all the books, then forget what I said before.

If you look at the pic below, you'll see the switch location is on the inside of the lever bracket, and on top of the gear teeth. The wire plugs right into the side of it, should be easy to locate and disconnect to check and see if that's your issue. If needed, there's a small bolt that holds it on to the bracket. I have an NOS bracket/pedal assembly but I can't recall if it comes with the switch or not. I'm pretty sure it came with the pedal rubber, but not sure about the switch.


1abrake_aea06572-857b-4edb-8cc7-8bfe06403cb6.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Ugly1

G-Body Guru
Oct 26, 2021
853
93
Lost in the woods of NH
Thanks very mucfor all the very detailed info Geezer! A lot of things to try there, but sounds like they are somewhat difficult to access. To respond to one of your questions, I do use the parking brake, but very little, and not that often. Ordered the car new in January '85, but have used it very infrequently recently, and the light had not been on the last time I used the car before this month. Had been sitting for a few months.

I really think the issue is with the parking brake switch, which I'm having some difficulty finding / accessing. I'll try some of your suggestions with the wires, to see if I can figure it out. If there is a picture of the switch on the parking brake lever on page 201-10-E from the book that contains the Brake Warning System Troubleshooting Hints that you attached in your note, and you could send me a copy f that pictre, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks again for your very helpful coments!

I do have the '85 Fisher Body Manual somewhere, but it's stored in a box somewhere and I need to locate it. It's also with my '85 Chassis Service Manual. The books got buried in a move.

Bill
You could check the switch and see if it moved a little and is causing it. If I remember correctly it just has little ridges in the plastic to hold it in the clip. If it’s original as you said, it may have deteriorated. That old age thing that happens to the best of us!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jeff Blagden

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Aug 12, 2016
444
93
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
I had a 85 Pontiac parisienne that the brake switch went and the brake light stayed on all the time and it kept killing the battery took me a week to figure it out changed the switch all good after that good luck with it and have a good day Jeff from Winnipeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

SurferBill25

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 11, 2022
24
3
Since you have all the books, then forget what I said before.

If you look at the pic below, you'll see the switch location is on the inside of the lever bracket, and on top of the gear teeth. The wire plugs right into the side of it, should be easy to locate and disconnect to check and see if that's your issue. If needed, there's a small bolt that holds it on to the bracket. I have an NOS bracket/pedal assembly but I can't recall if it comes with the switch or not. I'm pretty sure it came with the pedal rubber, but not sure about the switch.


1abrake_aea06572-857b-4edb-8cc7-8bfe06403cb6.jpg
Since you have all the books, then forget what I said before.

If you look at the pic below, you'll see the switch location is on the inside of the lever bracket, and on top of the gear teeth. The wire plugs right into the side of it, should be easy to locate and disconnect to check and see if that's your issue. If needed, there's a small bolt that holds it on to the bracket. I have an NOS bracket/pedal assembly but I can't recall if it comes with the switch or not. I'm pretty sure it came with the pedal rubber, but not sure about the switch.


1abrake_aea06572-857b-4edb-8cc7-8bfe06403cb6.jpg
LOL! While I do "HAVE" the Fisher Body Manual and the Olds Chassis Service Manual, I have not yet relocated them after my move. So your information, and especially this picture, are very helpful. Do I have the switch and bolt properly identified in the attached picture? And sorry about the "Geezer"!! I didn't realize this forum assigned names based on usage. Was surprised to see my "Not-Quite-So-New".
 

Attachments

  • 1985 Oldsmobile 442 - Parking Brake Lever and Switch.jpg
    1985 Oldsmobile 442 - Parking Brake Lever and Switch.jpg
    57.9 KB · Views: 20
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
7,012
113
This is one of those issues that seems at first to be sorta rare, then once you post about it, then more people chime in and say something to the effect of it happened to them, too. And hopefully with all that experience, someone may just land on a quick resolution to the issue.

EDIT: If you bought a G-body new as we did, everyone in that category is probably a Geezer by now!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

GBodyForum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Please support GBodyForum Sponsors

Classic Truck Consoles Dixie Restoration Depot UMI Performance

Contact Admin@GBodyForum.com for info on becoming a sponsor