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VSA Brake Switch Clean


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#1 Stevearcade

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:44 PM

HI guys,

I've had a couple of occasions when my Cruise-Control's not wanted to activate. A couple of taps on the brakes have fixed the issue, leading me to think there was perhaps something at fault with the switch on the brake pedal that tells the Cruise-Control when I'm braking.

Further still, I'll often have my VSA light come on after normal braking. Not heavy or extreme braking, normal everyday braking. The light stays on and will only reset if I switch off the engine and restart the car. The light is not the scary one with the ABS, it's just the VSA and "!" in a triangle like this:

Posted Image

So anyway, I reckon there will be dirt and crud causing faulty connections and confusing the VSA control unit and/or Cruise-Control. So I figured I'd take it out and clean it.

Under the footwell, pressed up against the brake pedal is a large white plastic switch. You honestly can't miss is. It will come out with an easy quarter turn anti-clockwise and un-click the cable from it. Then you should be looking at this:

Posted Image

You can easily take the switch apart with the aid of a couple of small flat blade screw drivers. Once apart, you've got a white part and a black part with a spring loaded black pushrod. In the black half are the switch terminals you need to clean. Some of these will slot in and out for easier cleaning. Once all apart it will look like this:

Posted Image

The red circled areas are the areas of attention we're going to be working with.

First of all, carefully slot out the one half of the terminals that will remove. You should be presented with this:

Posted Image

Now use a very small wire brush (or old tooth brush if you haven't got a small wire brush) and very gently clean off residue, dirt and grime from the areas circled in red. Then give them a good going over with cotton buds dipped in some sort of cleaning fluid. I used White Spirit, a bit extreme perhaps, but it did the job.

The area circled in blue is slightly bent in order to be springy, as part of the switch mechanism. I gave this a tiny tweak and bend to increase the springiness on the assumption that it will have lost some of it's original springiness over the 9 years of use the car's seen.

Another key area to clean are the metal contacts in this picture, again circled in red:

Posted Image

Cleaning these should help with the smooth movement of the switch.

Now the pushrod of the switch. Two areas to consider here:

Posted Image

Firstly the part circled in pink are two little metal pins that are acting as springs. Give these an extremely gentle tweak outwards (and I mean very gentle!) away from the shaft in order to put a tiny amount of rigidity and springiness back into them. This should help the switch feel tight but smooth.

Finally, the area circled in blue is where the rod goes through a hole in the white casing. I put a very tiny bit of grease here to make the switch a little smoother in motion.

Once all of this is done, simply click it back together. You can't put it back together wrong as there are all notches and things that mean it can only be assembled correctly. Then put it back in the car. For this, leave the brake pedal where it is, slot the switch in until it is pressed and will not go any further and give it a quarter turn clockwise. Don't push it through further than the brake pedal's resting position otherwise it will stop your pedal retracting as far as it wants to meaning the brakes may always be very slightly on :unsure: .

Anyway, apologies for the slightly blurry photos, my phone's camera is pony. I hope this is of some help to people. I've yet to test drive the car, so have no idea if this has actually made any difference. But assuming it has worked, I've saved myself a little money for 15 minutes work. And hopefully I've saved some of you guys some money too.

:)
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#2 whereami

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:53 PM

Good Write up Steve. Very educational A* ;)

#3 Stevearcade

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:52 PM

Ok, so out driving today. The first time I braked, the VSA light came on :rolleyes: . I restart the engine and the first time I brake, the VSA light comes on <_< . There's a pattern here...

So I took it out and investigated. I think I found the culprit and what in fact causes much of the problem in the first place.

Posted Image

The black pushrod has a ridge on it just below the square top. It's on the opposite side to what's in the picture. The opposite side of the metal spring plates.

Anyway, this ridge pushes the contacts apart in the switch mechanism. After all these years, the ridge has become slightly worn and the top of the ridge had a slight notch in it that was catching and causing the switch to not open and close cleanly.

First I considered the metal part the ridge rubs against to open the switch. In the below picture it's the all copper part and the area we're talking about is between the two red circles. The ridge presses against that and pushes the switch open.

Posted Image

Anyway, I very slightly, with some tweezer pliers, bent the tip of the copper part that the ridge presses against upwards and outwards. This meant the tip of the copper component was no longer catching roughly on the ridge. Secondly, as this part is purely mechanical and there is no electrical current to consider, I put lots of grease on it ;) .

Put the thing back together with a touch more grease on the shaft and push rod springs and now the switch is buttery smooth baby ;) . I checked the switch over with the multimeter and it is opening and closing as it should. I'm extremely confident the switch is now absolutely fine. And as the problem got worse after my initial tinkering, I can assume it is definitely the switch that is causing the light and nothing else.

If this doesn't work, I'll give up and spend the £5 it costs to replace the part :lol: .

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#4 Stevearcade

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:07 PM

Ok, just put it all back amended and taken her out for a spin. I was peddling the brake, trying to get it to wheel spin to trigger the traction control, slamming on the brakes, braking gently for long periods of time and some normal braking too. No VSA ! light. Result :D .

So to sum up:

1) Clean contacts thoroughly

2) Tweak the mechanical action of the removable copper piece with some tweezer pliers to eliminate potential rough movements of the push rod

3) Apply grease to the non electric moving parts to make it buttery smooth

4) Refit

Job done.

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#5 Discodave

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:09 PM

Nice write up mate, I had this problem several years back and did exactly above, not had a problem since.

#6 brett

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:14 PM

Good write up Steve this deserves a rep point :)
 photo IMG_06551_zps16877260.jpg photo 1a30ead12b5799ee4c7f519123a797de_zps2vsu5cen.jpg

#7 Stevearcade

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:21 PM

Cheers Brett. What's a rep point? :blush:

Just for people's info:

Thrashed the car a little today. Had some good old fashioned VSA intervention while I dropped the clutch pulling away in the wet :lol: . Also felt the ABS step into play as I got onto some gravel under breaking on a country lane.

So I know the VSA and ABS systems are working fine.

Better still, I've still not had a single VSA! warning light come on since doing this at the weekend. I'm fairly confident I've solved the issue with the above method.

:)

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#8 brett

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:26 PM

Cheers Brett. What's a rep point? :blush:



:)

:lol: Steve its for members that has contributed to the forum and gave very good info and things.
It looks like you have 6 rep points to date good man :)

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 photo IMG_06551_zps16877260.jpg photo 1a30ead12b5799ee4c7f519123a797de_zps2vsu5cen.jpg

#9 Stevearcade

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:15 PM

:lol: Go Me :D !

Cheer Brett.

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#10 brett

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:25 PM

6 rep points and you dident no makes it all the better when you find out 😄
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#11 crespo

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:45 PM

this should be in the DIY section so this great advice is not lost under endless fuel filter related threads in the diesel section.

#12 Stevearcade

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:15 PM

How odd, I thought I had put it in the DIY section. Maybe one of the lovely mods or admin team could be so kind as to move it :D .

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#13 whereami

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:20 PM

its a great write up steve, If my light comes back on I will be following this. Thankfully I havent had it come back on since I changed the rear brake pads. So I hope that was all it was. B)

#14 toffee_pie

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:27 PM

good write up, thankfully no !!!!!! on my car, but for the first time about a month ago i felt the vsa kick in at traffo lights, obv i pulled away a bit too eager from the lights on the pissing wet road.

#15 Stevearcade

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:32 PM

Alright guys, just a little update. It's been 6 months of daily driving and this issue has not come back. All's good.

My CM2 - Cold Air Intake with K&N Filter, Custom 2.5" Stainless Steel Exhaust, Reflashed ECU, Custom Made 8J Steelies from Extreme Offset, BC Racing Coilovers, Short Shifter, Type-R Gear Knob, XCarLink iPod Interface, Interior & Exterior LED Bulb Conversion, Wind Deflectors, Yellow Fog Lamps, JDM size plates, Type S Grill (with blacked out chrome), Front & Rear Type S Skirts.


#16 TypeR

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

Cant belive I missed this thread. Very good job mate, maximum respect for this.
This will surely save someone money
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#17 Tanna

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 01:32 PM

Anyone know the part number for this part?

#18 paulsco

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:16 PM

Had my VSA light on for a while now, going to give this one a try and see what happens, cheers for the tip!



#19 paulsco

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 05:07 PM

Well I tried it and subsequently wrecked the switch!! So off to the scrappie for me!

Edited by paulsco, 30 January 2014 - 05:26 PM.


#20 paulsco

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 03:59 PM

Well I tried it and subsequently wrecked the switch!! So off to the scrappie for me!


Ah well I should have looked the the pictures in more detail, one brake light switch replaced and for the life of me I cannot see the other switch?