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May 2012 Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on May 1, 2012
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When Trasborg came to me and asked for help with fixing the turn signals on Jp magazine’s ’01 Wrangler, I thought he was just lazy. I mean, how many articles have I done on turn signals in Jeeps? As an editor he should have read all of them before they got printed (it is kinda part of his job—well, maybe it’s his whole job). So, I didn’t know if he just didn’t bother reading them in the first place, or if he was just too lazy to dig out the stories and look them up himself. But I like helping people, and I like writing for this magazine, so instead of telling him to get his lazy butt off the couch, I agreed.

Here are the guts of the master switch. Trasborg tells me that he hit the hazards one cold winter day, and couldn’t get them to shut off. He also told me that over time, other things seemed like they stopped working, until the headlights stopped and he had to stop driving the Jeep at night. So, I figured some little tab or spring was loose and got gummed up in other stuff. After breaking a tab getting the switch out, I pulled it apart and immediately several small parts jumped out. I spent a couple of days finding them all, but in the end there was just no way to put it all back together and make it work.

I went to his place because he’s got more tools and beer, er, soda pop, than I do, and went to work. And, yes, he sat on the couch playing on the computer the whole time. He was muttering something about deadlines, but the one time I looked I saw some ticked-off birds on the screen.

The switch is in the steering column, and I figured out how to get to it on my own, so I figure you can too. Trasborg tells me that it is a turn signal switch and it was changed for the ’01 model year. He says the earlier TJs had the headlight switch in the dash and for 2001 it was moved to the steering column. I don’t know about all that, but this switch controls way more than just the turn signals. He had no headlights, no parking lights, no turn signals, no brake lights, and no hazards. The only lights that did work on the outside of the Jeep were the backup lights. To me, that makes this more of a “master” switch than a “turn signal” switch. When I asked him about it, his response was, “Well that would explain all the screeching brakes behind me at stop lights.”

I figured that I could pull the thing out, fix whatever was wrong inside, and put it back together. I mean, if I can do a starter, I should be able to do a switch, right? Boy was I wrong. And, I kinda sorta broke the original getting it out, so even if I did fix the guts, I’d have had to glue it back into place. So, follow along as I show ya how to not break stuff worse, and how to replace the master switch on an ’01-’06 Jeep Wrangler.

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Collins Bros Jeep

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