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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My reverse lights have been working on and off since I bought my car about 2 months ago. I know that the reverse light switches are a common problem and I was heading to IPD to pick up some other parts so I decided to pick up a reverse light switch and replace it.

It is fairly straightforward, took about 40 minutes (a lot of time was spent trying to find the right tool for the minimal space there is to work with). Here is the write up:

Parts Needed
  • Reverse light switch ~$20 bucks from IPD or FCP Groton
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • 8mm socket
  • 7/8 deep socket
  • Socket universal
  • Possibly another magical tool (see below)

First thing to do is remove the airbox. I didn't take any pictures of this since IPD has a pretty good guide on how to remove the airbox for installing their Air Management System. Airbox removal instructions.Follow up to step #9 I think, no need to go any farther as the rest is for installing the R-Kelly intake.

Next up, locate the shifter cables coming in to the top of your transmission:


Right in between the two cables kind of hiding under the piece the cable attach to is where the switch is located. You should be able to see a wire heading into that area. Mine was fairly dirty and hard to spot. I found it much easier to put the car in first gear as it provided the best access to the whole area.


Once you have found the wire, disconnect if from the reverse light switch. Here is a picture of the location with the car in first and the wire already disconnected. You can barely see the two prongs sticking out:


Now comes the hard part (for me anyways). Using a regular socket doesn't work because the prongs sticking out of the end keep it from sliding on all the way. A deep socket worked but was too long to attach a ratchet to the end of it. I tried a variety of things for quite some time before having some success. Here is a picture of my winning combination:


I ended up using the deep socket with a universal attached to it. Then attaching a ratchet to that with the handle facing the left front wheel. With it set up this way I could just get enough leverage by pushing down on the handle of the ratchet (not actually ratcheting it), to break it free. I then just removed it by hand.

Next just install the replacement by hand and use the same method (or whatever works for you) to tighten it up. I don't think it needs to be very tight as it isn't really going anywhere, but definitely tighter then you can by hand, so get a good solid turn on it.

After that, connect the wire back to it. You may want to check the contacts and make sure they are clean and in good condition. Then just put the airbox back in and you are done!

Enjoy!:)
 

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There is a much simpler way to do the same job. The roll pin that holds the gearshift lever to the gearbox can be pushed out with a pin punch and a hammer and removing the linkage will give you heaps of room to use a normal spanner. You have to do this to fit a short shift kit to the box so combining the 2 together kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

Regards,

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh nice! I thought of doing that but I was afraid if I took it off I wouldn't be able to get it back on easily. It felt like there was some tension so I was scared haha. There is still a piece that sticks up in the back that makes it hard to fit a ratchet on there. You can kind of see it on the last pic behind the universal on the left. Thanks for the info!
 

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wow nice write up! I need to do this and i was wondering where it is
 

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Great timing. I need to do mine as well. Luckily DE does not check reverse lights for inspection so I passed that last week for the next 2 years. Nice write up.
 

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Replaced switch on 2004 S60R. Was unable to get the 7/8 socket to work. Socket fit on, but could not attach ratchet. Also tried an O2 sensor wrench, like one pictured above, with no luck. The sides of the wrench were too thick and would not go on switch. What did work for me was using a 7/8 open end/box end wrench. Pull keeper pin (resembles paper clip) from where shifter cable attaches to the gearbox and the cable will lift off allowing it to move. On the pictures above, the shifter cable is attached differently (without visible pin). Once the cable is removed, put box end over switch, with open end of wrench angled towards you (only way to get it on). The moveable part (where cable attaches to) will move as you loosen/tighten switch. Took 2 trips to the store, and failing miserably, before success with wrench I had in the garage the whole time. With "proper" tool, should only take 20 minutes to take air box out, remove cable, replace switch and put everything back together.
 

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Oh nice! I thought of doing that but I was afraid if I took it off I wouldn't be able to get it back on easily. It felt like there was some tension so I was scared haha. There is still a piece that sticks up in the back that makes it hard to fit a ratchet on there. You can kind of see it on the last pic behind the universal on the left. Thanks for the info!
Pirate,

I see you have an 04 SR like me, be warned that if /when you have to replace the shifter cables that entire shifter head cast iron thingy ( as mentioned by AussieMike) will also have to be replaced. Volvo had a design change in the cables and they will NOT fit the old unit, and to make it better when you order the cables there is no mention in parts system telling you to order it! But the hard part is getting the old cables out and the new ones in. JFWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pirate,

I see you have an 04 SR like me, be warned that if /when you have to replace the shifter cables that entire shifter head cast iron thingy ( as mentioned by AussieMike) will also have to be replaced. Volvo had a design change in the cables and they will NOT fit the old unit, and to make it better when you order the cables there is no mention in parts system telling you to order it! But the hard part is getting the old cables out and the new ones in. JFWIW
Ok thank you! I am actually looking at replacing them because I am having some weird issues shifting sometimes and I am thinking (and hoping) it is related to the shifter cables since they are known to go bad in the 04. Also, the cable closest the the left front wheel is zip tied into it's mount. I assume this was someones solution to keep it from popping out. I am doing some work on it this weekend (R Kelly intake) and will take another look at it when the airbox is out. Did you replace your cables yourself? I am hoping to get the dealer to do it since I have only had the car 2 months, but if not I will most likely tackle it myself.
 

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Yes I replaced them myself ( too cheap to pay someone to do it) The console has to come out but truly the biggest PITA was pulling the carpet and insulator back and fishing both cables through the firewall/floor. The cables will just pop off the shifter linkage at the shifter but they can be difficult to get in and out. I did NOT remove the shifter so I am sure that did not help, if your thinking a short shift kit that would be the time to do it! Let me know if you decide to do it your self, I used to be a mechanic in a former life.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sounds good! I am going to further diagnose this weekend. Then come to the dealer with some evidence. If it fails, then I will be doing it myself and you will probably be getting some PMs :)
 

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Nice write up. I need to do this as well
 

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I just changed this switch yesterday and I did it with the MAF on (not a good idea but I didn't wanna wreck pipe going to turbo).

Easiest way is definetly leaving the car in 1st and using this custom tool I put together. But anyone should have or be able to get these tools. They are common tools.

It is a 7/8ths 1/2 inch drive short craftsman socket. With a 3/8's-1/2 adapter into the socket, BUT between the two I put a 14 or 15mm wrench I forget what size (whatever fits the half inch side of adapter).

This wrench keeps the adapter from gonig too deep into the socket causing the pins for the switch to be in the way. Once I had the wrench in the right position I was able to crack it loose with ease and then unthread it with my fingers. I have reverse lights now :)!
 

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My reverse switch has also been acting up on my V70R and then I left for Germany for 3 months and when I got back it works everytime I put it in reverse. I was very close to start ordering parts but I figured I'd wait since I was leaving the country for a while.

Nice write up!
 

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My best guess why they go bad is because they get fluid in them. Mine was dripping fluid out of the nipple that gets pressed in when it's put into reverse. The fluid probably builds up between the connection inside causing it not to get a complete connection.

You can almost see in the picture with my magical tool that the threads and nipple are very wet with fluid.
 

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Bump for a good writeup. Even though I just buttoned up my air box after an FMIC and CAI install and I forgot to replace my reverse light switch while I was in there! Will use this guide when I get a chance to do it.
 

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I just finished this install using this guide. Very well written, with great pictures. I do think it is a bit understated how difficult it really is to get the damn thing to break loose. I did it with a 7/8 deep well, universal adapter and 3/8 drive socket wrench.
 

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I did this about a month ago. I had a brand new switch for the 850 (thought it had a faulty switch but both bulbs were out). Apparently volvo used the same switch as far back as the early 80's.

Like Aussie Mike said, the easiest way to do it is remove the shifter arm things.
 

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Got around to this a week or two ago. My switch was definitely gooped up with some sort of oily fluid, even though the area around it didn't show signs of a leak. New switch is working great. Thanks for the writeup!
 
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