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Thread: Neutral Safety Switch (aka Neutral Start Switch)

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  1. #1
    Van Fan
    My Van(s):
    1988 MasterAce Surf
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Louisa, VA
    Rep Power

    Neutral Safety Switch (aka Neutral Start Switch)

    I think this might be informational, but there's a question here too. I've had my 1988 MasterAce Surf for a little over a year. It's always had an intermittent starting quirk, where it won't. Turn the key, I hear the fuel solenoid click but starter will not turn over. I've read about "hot soak" issues and worn starter contact/terminals being suspects or culprits, but I don't believe that is the case with my van.

    Recently, my reverse lights started acted up. Shifting from Park to Reverse, they often would not turn on. If I shifted from Drive or Neutral to Reverse, then they would come on. Bear with me. While I was looking for a new reverse light switch, I learned the neutral safety switch also controls the reverse lights. One day my van just wouldn't start. I shifted from Park to Neutral, and it started, although this does not always work. When this occurs now, I get underneath the van and tap on the neutral safety switch, and this seems to be a reliable way to temporarily fix my issue.

    My problem (and question) is the fact that a new, neutral safety switch is between $300 and $500 from Rock Auto. I have discovered many parts for the gasoline engine are also compatible with the diesel. I think there is a ball detent in the switch that has become a bit sticky. Does anyone know if it would be possible to take the switch apart, clean and lube and reassemble?

    Edit Update: I did take the switch apart. There is no ball detent, but there are 2, spring loaded copper contacts. One controls the starting and the other controls the reverse lights. The inside of the case was as dirty as I expected but, the actual issue is the rotating arm that holds the spring loaded contacts was broken. The arm itself is a type of plastic and the metal rotating thingy is pot metal. I'm in the process of repairing it in the form of JB Weld PlasticWeld and (2) 4-40 screws to reinforce things. I hope to have it back together in the morning.

    Edit Update: 24hrs later, I installed the repaired switch. I wanted to ensure the epoxy was well cured. Initial results are the van starts in Park, Neutral and the reverse lights come on when in Reverse. I hope this repair lasts several years. I'll have to remember to not be rough with the shifter.
    Last edited by bikeregg; 08-13-2019 at 09:26 AM.

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