There is a very large class of people that own 65/66 Mustangs that, as far as I can tell, anyway, have been, for the most part, ignored entirely. They don't really want that 100 pt. show car that is so nice and was soooo expensive that they're afraid to drive it, they also don't want to make their car capable of achieving warp factor three. They just want this car that they dearly love to be able to cruise around smoothly and reliably, without having it dump them out on the side of the road or have it start making weird noises or belching out big clouds of funky-smelling smoke. And I think, truth be told, that this is by far the largest class of Mustang owners. They take their car to some technician when what they actually need is a mechanic, and this, frequently, does not work out very well at all for the owner. They don't want to re-engineer the entire car, they just want someone to fix what broke. These are the people that I am trying help out with this blog. Some problems require a little bit of back and forth, as in, "Try this." "I tried that and it didn't change anything."
" Oh. well, you probably need to try that." " I tried that and it helped, but it still isn't quite right." "Now you need to try this...." If you go to http://www.allfordmustangs.com/ and then go to the classics forums, you will be able to do that with a pretty hefty gathering of some very knowledgeable people that also happen to be very friendly. None of that ridiculous one-upmanship, no flaming or abuse, none of that stuff. Just good, solid advice from people that know what they are talking about.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

1965 and 1966 Mustang headlight switch replacement

To replace the headlight switch, you have to first remove the instrument bezel. This is not a big deal at all, and I've given the very simple, step-by-step instructions in a piece called, that's right, instrument cluster removal.
Shown below is a picture of the headlight switch connector. Just unplug that from the old switch, as shown in the next picture. There isn't any secret clip that you have to undo or anything, it just unplugs. Sometimes it will be kind of tight and try to fight you a little bit, but, it will turn loose.

Next, pull the switch knob out, as if turning on the headlights.

There is a release button for the knob shaft on the switch, as indicated by the arrows. You can't see it with the switch installed in the car, but you can easily reach it, if you know where it is. This is where it is. You just push that button all the way in and, while holding it in, pull the knob shaft out of the switch.

Next, take a flat bladed screwdriver and unscrew the little bezel thingy from out of the switch.

Then the switch can be removed from the car. Place the new switch in the car, and re-install the little bezel thingy, insert the knob shaft into the new switch, while holding the release button down, and this is what you end up with. A brand new headlight switch installed in your car. When installing the knob shaft, be aware of the fact the shaft is triangular in shape, as is the hole that it goes into. Twist it around to get the shaft lined up correctly with the hole when re-installing the knob shaft. Don't use excessive force, because there are some things inside the switch that you can break. It takes a little force to get it in, but, don't start really leaning on it, or pounding it in with a hammer or something. It is a very simple job that you can easily do yourself successfully.


Joe said...

Hope you are able to help me...
1) Trying to determine if my very original-low mileage 64 1/2 Mustang has original panels, hood or trunk. Where might the stamps be (how do I find them & what am I looking for)?

2) I've seen many different floor mats in 65's. Do you know what the original mats looked like that Ford put in the early Mustangs and where can I find reproductions. I'm also looking for an original consle (black/chrome) for a convertible w/AC if anyone can help.

3) Did all 64 1/2's have '64' on the break light lense, and did all have two horns mounted on the inside of hood? What other little things can I look for to determine if my 64 1/2 has the original parts? (I was told by the previous owner that she was in such great shape when it was restored over 18 yrs. ago that not much needed to be replaced (original eng/trans,carb, generator,distrib, radio, seats, door panels, etc)I just wanted to verify panels and anything else that I could.

Thank you so much, if you are able to help.

Veronica said...

Hi Joe.
I just posted some pictures of the different floor mats that were available for the 65/66 Mustangs. The blue ones with the horse on them came with my car. They're the original Ford mats, not reproductions. If your car came with floor mats from the factory, that's what they would have been. Probably not blue, though. That would have depended on what color your interior was.

As far as that '64' on the taillight lense goes, all 65/66 cars had that. It does not signify anything about year model. There's actually a pretty long list of stuff that was '64 1/2 only'. They all had a generator, not an alternator, so, yes, they all had those big horns mounted down on the strut rod brackets, instead of on the front of the radiator core support, like a later car. Your brake light switch should be attached to the master cylinder instead of hanging on the brake pedal. The radiator cor support should have these slots that look like gills in front of the battery, instead of the rectangular holes that a later car had. I think that I need to go ahead and make a list of all of that stuff and have a post on that.

The sheet metal on your car will have date codes stamped on most of it. If you look at a write up that I did here on date codes, that should get you going on that one.

Shamus said...

First of all, Thank you!
I love your blog! I'm pretty sure my carb issues got resolved with a rebuild, and now I'm facing an electrical issue with my headlights. I'm going to follow your electrical draw instructions to troubleshoot my issues. I was looking at how much a headlight switch would cost from dallas mustangs, but I wanted to check with you since I've seen you reccomend ignition coils and solenoids. Where do you recommend I get a headlight switch should I need one. Besides my headlights working intermittently and my battery dying overnight after a full charge, my floor brights switch deactivates my headlights completely while at the same time illuminating my dash lights. With brights off, my headlights work(intermittently), but never can I have dash lights on. Also my car dies for no reason while cruising. It could just be a short somewhere and I haven't checked yet to see if the pull out knob on the headlight switch is hot, because I've been leaving it half out since it's light enough to get to work using runners.(which work fine all the time) Thank you again for what you do. I feel like I found a new friend. :) By the way, I have a 1966 Mustang(was my Grandmother's only prior) It had the smog stuff on it, till I took it off.(and then my mom's boyfriend plugged up the remaining hoses to fix my vacumn leak problem I didn't know I caused) It's automatic. I've got an autolite 4100 4V C5ZF-F carb(which I haven't figured out if it's original or not yet. You rock. I can't wait to go through your checklists and become empowered as a Mustang owner!

Veronica said...

Why, thank you. That is very kind of you.

The C5ZF-F carb was used on the 'A' code cars, so, if your car is a 65 model car with an 'A' as the fifth digit of the VIN it could be the original carb. If it still has the tag on it that will have a date on the bottom row, which, if it's consistent with the scheduled production date of your car, would make it very difficult for someone to argue that it isn't the original carb.

It sounds like you definitely need a new headlight switch, but, you also need a couple of other things, also.If the headlights work on low beam, but not on high beam, that usually means that you need a couple of headlights. They only cost like 8 bucks at any major auto parts chain store. The only other things that would cause this is either the wire running from the switch on the floor out to the high beam circuit has a short in it, or, the dimmer switch is bad. There's only one wire going from the headlight switch to the dimmer switch on the floor, so, if it works, it works. From the dimmer switch there are two wires that go out to the headlights, one for low beams and the other for high beams. As far as a recommendation for a switch goes, you can still still get headlight switches for 65/66 Mustangs from the parts department of a Ford dealership. Whenever possible, you want to use the Ford parts. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi Veronica,
In non-bright mode, my 66 (289) has the left headlamp lit but not the right. In bright mode, it's the reverse.Any ideas? Thanks!

Veronica said...

I think that I would start by removing the headlights and switching them with each other. If the problem reverses, then you just need to get a couple of new headlights. If the car does the same thing with either bulb in either position, the problem is somewhere in the headlight harness. It could be merely some corrosion in the connectors that plug onto the headlight bulbs. Let me know what you find out when you swap the bulbs around.

Unknown said...

Thankyou for this amazing post. My problem is a little different as I can not get the headlight shaft to come out at all to turn on my lights...Suggestions?

Veronica said...

I don't really see how that could happen without the headlight switch being damaged. I would start by removing the instrument cluster and having a look, but, you will probably end up replacing the headlight switch anyway, so, I wouldn't be timid about getting that knob shaft loose.