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Discussion Starter #1
I posted a question about this a few months ago and I'm almost positive that my multifunction switch inside the column is bad.

My dimmer switch (which is part of the multifunction switch) initially started working only intermittently. As in, sometimes the low beams would work and sometimes they wouldn't. Now they don't work at all. As you can imagine, driving with your high beams only at night, is a bad deal.


The thing is that the multifunction switch costs $180+. A big chunk out of my budget. I haven't put any money in the Chevelle for a while now, so I'm not blowing it or anything. I'm pretty hesitant to buy any electrical parts used and it seems that this model has a habit of these going bad. Also, there is a separate part # for a switch with a tilt column and those without tilt. So, my search on Ebay is kind tough, as no one has been able to guarantee me a used switch that works for a tilt-equipped truck.

ANYWAY, is it possible to bypass the multifunction switch and use something as simple as a 3-way toggle switch? As in OFF, DIM and BRIGHT? Would this be crazy to hack into the factory wiring? What would you need besides a toggle switch and some wire? How about relays or fuses?

I eventually would like to fix it right, but if I could get it done for $10 or so, I'd give it a shot. This is driving me crazy. :( Thanks.
 

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I would think that a switch (and possibly relays) could be made to work. If you eventually want to fix it right, make running splices into the factory wires (peel back the insulation, wrap a new wire around the existing wire and then solder and insulate the connection).
I don't know what size of fuse you would need for protection or if you could use an existing feed wire but it could be figured out with an amp meter.
If the headlights draw let's say 10A, use a 15A switch or a low amperage switch with a 15A-30A relay.
When you put in a new inline fuse, try and use the same style fuse (atc, agc, atc, mini atc, etc) so if there is ever a problem it is more consistant with what is stock in the fuse block and you are not searching for a special type of fuse should it blow.
On my customized car I have basic lighted rocker switches for the headlights, parking lights, fuel pump, alternator, etc and these are low amperage switches (1-2A) and they are all wired into 30A relays and I have never had a problem with the setup.
Jim
 

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Jim, thanks so much for the reply. I don't have the stuff in front of me, but I did buy:

3-way toggle switch. "On, Off, On" So, hopefully it work as "Dim, Off, Bright".

2 relays: it gives different values on the amps tho. Not sure how to describe it without them here in front of me. I do know that it said to use a 20amp fuse with it.

Pack of 20 amp fuses.

In-line fuse holder with plastic cover.

Hopefully my friend can show me how this goes together and we can get the problem "solved". I definitely want to buy a new multifunction switch sometime, as I think it's causing my cruise control to not work intermittently. $180 is a large pill to swallow right now, tho.

BTW, Jim, I don't think I've seen you around. Do you lurk or are you new here? I don't hang in this forum much tho, to be honest.
 

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Originally posted by 70_FathomBlueMalibu:
BTW, Jim, I don't think I've seen you around. Do you lurk or are you new here? I don't hang in this forum much tho, to be honest.
I visit this site and the first generation Camaro site but I'm mostly on Steve's Nova site under Custom Jim (stevesnovasite.com/forums).
I've been a Chevy owner for many years and am mostly into the Nova models but if I can help a person with another Chevrolet model I try to do so.

As far as the parts you have they should work. The toggle switch will do nothing more than trigger the relays so they can connect a higher amperage wire to the headlights. If you can maybe seperately fuse each relay so that if one portion of the headlights burn out or short out the other will still work. If you have one fuse and let's say one high beam shorts out the low beams will still work.
Depending on how it's wired you can have either the low or the high beams on or have both on. If both hi beams and low beams are on it may be slightly brighter than with just the high beams on.
Some of the relays I have at work show 30A/40A ratings but I always run them with a maximum of 30A going through them as I have a feeling the 40A is not a continious rating.
One thing too, mount the fuse holders to where they are easily accessible so a fuse can be easily replaced if needed.

Jim
 
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