Shifter Bulb, Door Switch Fix, and New Window Scrapers

The weather this past weekend was very pleasant which meant the opportunity for car work was there. It also meant that spring cleaning was in play too. In the end I didn’t spend a lot of time working on the car, but I did find some time to do relatively small but critical things. After I finished cleaning out the garage and installing a bell on my front door I moved on to the car.

First on this list was a simple swap of the dead bulb inside the shifter. This light is there to illuminate the position of the shifter when the headlights are on. This procedure was just a matter of unscrewing the shifter cover and moving it out of the way so I could access the bulb socket. The socket is pulled out of its holder, the bulb switched, and the cover screwed back in place. Now I can see what gear I’m in when it’s dark.

Doorjamb Switch

Next up was the passenger side doorjamb switch. My dome light was not turning on when the door opened. The driver’s side switch was fine but the passenger’s side switch was missing a connection. Like the driver’s side, this switch is a two terminal, normally closed type with the contact on a spring. When the door is open the spring holds the contact in place and closes the circuit. When the door closes the spring is compressed and the circuit is opened thus turning off the dome light. One terminal is attached to two wires that are joined at female spade connector. I believe one wire is the light and the other is to the key minder bell, but I’m not sure. The other goes to ground. This ground wire was the missing one and seems to have fallen down into the body of the car. No matter how much I poked around I couldn’t find it. However it’s just the grounding wire. I reckoned that so long as I can connect that side to ground it should work. That’s when I got creative.

The car’s body is grounded. When the switch is attached to the car the screw that holds it in place is in contact with the body. I took advantage of this by running a small wire from the ground terminal to the screw. This provides a ground and did indeed solve my problem. The dome light now functions as it should. Honestly I’m not sure why Volvo didn’t use a switch built like this in the first place. Perhaps this style of switch was used on other cars and they wanted commonality across their line? I’m not sure.

Window Scrapers

Finally I decided to replace the old, rotten exterior window scrapers. These are the rubber strips that keep water out of the door interior, a problem I’ve faced that has resulted in some water damage to my driver’s side door card  in particular. I had new scraper strips waiting for awhile now so I decided it was time to switch them. The existing ones were in terrible, terrible shape. Totally dry-rotted and inflexible. In fact when I got the holders off the doors and started trying to get the strips out the basically disintegrated in my hands. In the end I mostly snapped them into pieces and pulled them out bit by bit.

The new ones went into relatively easily, but remember the old adage “measure twice, cut once?” Well I measured thrice and still managed to not cut properly. The most egregious mistake I made was making the driver’s side strip much too short. I ended up using a strip meant for one of the longer rear windows to redo it which meant the strip for that rear window was now too short. My stopgap measure was to take one of the cutoffs from a front window and use it as a sort of “patch”. It’s ugly but it should work fine. Overall I am mostly OK with the job I did but obviously not totally satisfied. In the future when I have some money burning a hole in my pocket I might end up buying another set of scrapers and doing it again properly.