Turn Signal Stalk Maintenance

WreckITFrank

Technical Excellence Contributor
Seems like every defender turn signal stalk I touch has a broken plastic collar. While fixing it, I decided to do a teardown, clean, and lube of the turn signal switch. seems to operate much better and should help keep it running for a bit longer. It's pretty simple overall, but there are some small springs and parts that are easy to lose, so posting here hoping to help someone in the future. The whole process (after steering wheel removal) should be about 20 minutes without beer, 30-60 with. Do note that $70 gets you a new Lucas, so take that into consideration for your time. Good for the spares box though.

What you need:
  • T15 security torx bit
  • PZ2 or PH2 screwdriver
  • Dialectric grease
  • Cleaner and rags, some q-tips would be helpful
  • small piece of sandpaper or emery cloth
  • Small metal brush, brass or stainless will do
  • A small pick

1. Remove the steering wheel (22mm), plastic shroud, and unplug the 4 plugs on the stalk cluster.

2. On the bench, put a clean cloth or towel down to work on, you may need to stop small parts from rolling around and getting lost.

3. There are 2 x T15 security screws that hold the switch to the metal frame, and two black plastic tabs hook the switch to the frame. You have to separate the switch from the frame by removing the screws, and pulling the frame away from the switch stalk.

Screws are already removed, and you can see the 2 black plastic hooks on the left side.

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4. Hold the switch together to the frame, and remove the 2 security screws. Continue holding the switch to the frame to prevent it from separating. Mine was held together pretty well by the clips.

5. Position the switch over the bench, with the stalk facing you, and cradle the switch on the bottom while gently pulling the frame away. You need to angle the back of the switch, almost so the blue-collar can come out. The springs are facing up, so if you gently angle the switch away from the frame before you separate, they won't be loaded and fly away, as they did for me the first time. This takes very little force to do. The pic below shows what you see when you remove the frame.

6. pull the while plastic caps and 3 springs out. There is also a ball, a detent, and a contactor. I circled where these parts are in the pic.

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Here are the springs and parts removed.

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7. push the stalk inward, and pull up on the plastic cap, completing the teardown. You may not get to the bearing or contact until you remove this piece, so watch them if there isnt grease holding them on.

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8. Clean everything. Take note of the 3 contacts (nicely green corrosion in the pic above). Degrease the whole thing, clean the contacts with the emery cloth or sandpaper. I used alcohol to clean everything up after.

9. Lube all the parts needing grease. I dipped the spring ends in the dielectric to hold those plastic caps on and prevent corrosion. Take note of the ball and detent area, I put a lob on both of those areas, and the green center plastic piece on the stalk.

10. Reverse the teardown. Put the plastic piece back on first, then put the springs and hardware in.
Blue is the steel ball, spring, and 1 plastic cap​
Red is the contact, plastic cap, large spring, and another plastic cap​
Green is the detent, spring, and plastic cap​

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11. Carefully put the switch back on the frame, don't forget to put the blue-collar back in first. Tighten the bolts and test the movement. Test the lamps before the final button-up.

*3M 5200 works well to fix the plastic collar or at least to hold together before epoxy. I used a piece of alu can to help support it as well. Next time ill heat a staple and melt it into the plastic and use some minute epoxy.

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Raise a glass to the fine work and knowledge that you stuck it to Joseph Lucas (Prince of Darkness) on this day.
 

MountainD

Technical Excellence Contributor
I’ve been meaning to gig into mine for a while to put in a stiffer detention spring. It prematurely turns off the turn signal as the slightest touch deactivates it. Sometimes that is due to too stiff a dust gaiter or sometimes the ga is rotated 90d. But this is the detention isn’t good enough.

thanks So much for the write up— always handy for flying spring syndrome!
 

WreckITFrank

Technical Excellence Contributor
I’ve been meaning to gig into mine for a while to put in a stiffer detention spring. It prematurely turns off the turn signal as the slightest touch deactivates it. Sometimes that is due to too stiff a dust gaiter or sometimes the ga is rotated 90d. But this is the detention isn’t good enough.

thanks So much for the write up— always handy for flying spring syndrome!
After cleaning and lubing, the clicks were much more pronounced. Maybe some gummed up grease in there holding it from seating.
 

MountainD

Technical Excellence Contributor
It was brand new, so I am guessing it either isn't pronounced enough or spring weight. It isn't the first time--the quality of all these parts has diminished rapidly over the last 10 years. By everyone, including "genuine". So disappointing. They are simple, so easily corrected (just shouldn't have to...).

However, my other "gripe" is that the turn signal "auto off" mechanism, which is working correctly, just doesn't click off sometimes particularly when turning left. I have both posts on my steering wheel and they are correctly engaged in the collar, it is just that I have to turn the wheel nearly a full revolution to get it to turn off. I need to look into that more---I just wish it was more consistent so if anyone has a clue, let me know! This isn't isolated on just one of my defenders--this has always been the case with all of them. I have to imagine others have the issue too...
 

WreckITFrank

Technical Excellence Contributor
From my initial searching on these, that was the #1 issue. The indicator cancel would not work, be to soon, or just randomly decide to work or not. Your think after 40 years of making these, they would have figured some if this out.
 
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