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Fix Instrument Light Dimmer

In addition to flopping around when I first got it, the headlight switch in my beetle didn't work right in terms of dimming the instrument lgihts. It's the style that you pull out one notch to turn on the running lights, and another notch out to turn on the headlights. But you also turn the knob to dim the instrument lights.

When I got my car, when you turned on the running lights, the instrument lights (basically illuminating the speedometer) came on as expected. And the knob on the lights switch did turn. But the only levels of the light was either full on or off. If the lights switch was turned all the way clockwise, the instruments lights were on. But turn it just a little bit counterclockwise, and the instrument lights would go off.

The problem on this one turned out to be simple. The resistor/spring in the light switch was broken; I don't know when or how. I didn't take the switch out until I had a new one to put in. The new one had a spring all the way around the shaft. With the new switch in, the dimming function of the lights switch works just fine.

To remove the lights switch, you have to remove the knob and then remove the special retaining nut with the switch removal tool (but FIRST disconnect the battery ground! The wire that powers the running lights is UNFUSED!). Once the retaining nut is removed, then lower the switch down and get at the wiring through the opening where the radio sits. I guess for me this repair was easy because I have taken my radio out. You need to be very careful to put the wires back correctly, and have the switch fastened tightly to the dash board before reconnecting the battery.


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