handbrake indicator always on.

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Michael7
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handbrake indicator always on.

Post by Michael7 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:00 am

2003 R/T. A handbrake indicator in dash is always on no matter if handbrake is on or off. I want to check the sensor, but don't know where is it. Any suggestions what to check?
2002 Neon LX (ATX) & 2003 Neon R/T

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Jean-Seb
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Post by Jean-Seb » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:18 pm

Hi Michael,

The sensor is a switch that's right on the base of the handbrake handle. So you'd have to remove the center console by removing the screws at the bottom of the armrest and the two screws at the front in the cupholders. Then leave your shifter in first gear and raise your handbrake handle as much as you can. You should be able to remove the console.

Then you'd have to verify this switch (see picture). Maybe the contacts are dirty or the metal tab is bent. When you remove the handbrake, it should go and push the longer tab out of the way to turn off the handbrake indicator.

Image

Let me know how it turns out. :)

blueneo03
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Post by blueneo03 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:27 pm

^ if that was unplugged it would not come on at all.. the problem is that your brake fluid is low. check it. re-fill it. then inspect why it is low(you may need new pads)
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Michael7
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Post by Michael7 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:23 pm

How handbrake is connected with brake fluid level? I thought its purely mechanical on Dodge Neon. Am I wrong?

OK. This is a full story, it might clarify something. I bought a car that hasn't been used for half a year and I had to drive it home, something like 170 miles away. Hand brakes worked, I mean it held a car and indicator was off when I released it. But after a while (but still during the first ride) I noticed that car became significantly underpowered and felt a burned rubber smell. I'm not sure what it was, but smelled like a rubber. I stopped, applied handbrake, looked under the hood, but saw nothing strange. Engine temperature was OK and hasn't risen above normal. After about 5 minutes I drove again, and after a while everything became normal again. At the same day, but closer to the end of my journey I noticed that when I stop on a small, but noticeable slope car doesn't move even without handbrake. After thinking about all this I came to the following theory: my handbrake somehow stuck, and I drove with handbrake on. Unfortunately I'm not a racer and don't know how burnt brakes smells. I'm worried about a gearbox also. I drove under a load for some time, and it might be a smell of burnt oil from the gearbox. What do you guys think about it? And what about gearbox wear under load?
Obviously I should take a wheel off and check handbrake shoes, but hadn't enough time yet. Going to do it next weekend.
Now handbrake works fine, car rolling on a slope with handbrake released and stops when it is applied, but indicator is always on.
2002 Neon LX (ATX) & 2003 Neon R/T

occasional demons
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Post by occasional demons » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:20 pm

They use the same light for the brake fluid level warning, that's why blueneo03 advised to check the fluid. . .
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Jean-Seb
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Post by Jean-Seb » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:14 am

blueneo03 wrote:^ if that was unplugged it would not come on at all.. the problem is that your brake fluid is low. check it. re-fill it. then inspect why it is low(you may need new pads)
True, true. A little brain freeze on my part here. But I had good intentions. lol
occasional demons wrote:They use the same light for the brake fluid level warning, that's why blueneo03 advised to check the fluid. . .
Indeed, see reply above. :(

blueneo03
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Post by blueneo03 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:27 am

^ no worries it happens often.

but as far as your story OP my thought is that if it sat for a year the brakes were rusty and nasty so when you drove it all the dust and other crap was burning off and they may have been cheap pads. cheap pads will wear down quickly especially when they are in bad condition.

Sooo. when your brakes wear down, it takes more fluid to move the brake cylinder and piston in the braking system ergo taking the level in your reserve tank thing lower and triggering the hand brake/ low brake fluid light. which is oddly combined into one.
Image

2003 neon se crashed
1998 neon highline Sold
2005 neon sxtSold
2017 Volkswagen CC Rline Exec. 2.0t


"Sorry you are so scared of a possible mechanical problem that you will drive an ugly transportation appliance. I'll keep living a colorful life." -some guy about a camry

Michael7
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Post by Michael7 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:03 am

Always thought that this indicator is purely for handbrake, but it is for all brakes.
Checked brake fluid level, it's OK. So something else. Will check handbrake switch on Saturday.
2002 Neon LX (ATX) & 2003 Neon R/T

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Post by occasional demons » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:09 pm

If the hand brake connection or wire was shorted to ground, that would do it. Could be metallic debris in there.

If you happened to put the R/T cluster into the 2002 LX, it will never shut off, unless you pull the bulb. There is a mod you can do to the cluster, but unless you can solder small components, it isn't worth the effort.

Since the proportioning valves do not have a sensor in them, like the old school design, it is not that.
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Michael7
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Post by Michael7 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:23 am

Thanks for the information.
Cluster was really replaced, but maybe other way round, LX into R/T. Unfortunately I don't know from which car the new cluster is, but it worked properly for some time after I bought the car. By the way, cluster is from older model, probably 2001, because it has a white background.
2002 Neon LX (ATX) & 2003 Neon R/T

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sidepipe87
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Post by sidepipe87 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:26 am

well does the cluster go up to 120 mph or 140 mph? Or whatever that is in kph... 120 mph cluster is non R/T 140 is R/T. chances are its the wrong one which means the mileage is probably wrong as well.
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Post by Donkeypuncher » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:59 pm

The fluid only has to be slightly low to set that light off, you wouldn't even consider it low just looking at it. It tends to happen when the pads have worn pretty low dropping the fluid level a little bit.

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