Introduction: Servicing Jeep Cherokee (96 & Older) Turnsignal / High Low Beam Switch

I was having issue with my turn signals, as well as my high / low beams (that portion turned out to be relay related). New switches are pricey, in the 60-70 range. Being that i would rather fix something, and knowing the electronics in these are usually built to last a while, i thought I would see if there were any how to threads out there.


So here is one (this is cloned from my how-to on!

First things first... Pull the assembly from your steering column. You will need a phillips screw driver, a security torx (the screws have pins in them) for inside the column, and a small socket, for the bolt that holds on the plug harness.

I used a dremel with a tiny diamond bit to remove the center post from the security screws, because I have all of those drivers at work.

One you have that, head inside, and grab a few tools. What you will need:

    -a T9 and T10 Torx driver
    -rubbing alcohol
    -Brasso (or other brass / copper cleaner)
    -paper towels & cotton swabs
    -dielectric grease, the XJ's best friend next to DexMerc III

Here is the unit as it comes out, in my case, filthy.

Step 1:

On the back, there are 5 torx screws. remove those. Don't worry, nothing will jump out. Once we have it open, you can see the full insides.

These are all of the traces that control the lights and signals. (the wiper functions are in the right side unit, and I have not figured out how to open that part without destroying it). In the picture above, you can see the left unit, the parts under the brass plate control the high and low beams. On the right, the top slider is your hazards, and the bottom the turn signals.

(wish I took pics of this) To remove the hazard slider, you will need to remove the spring from the bottom. it has a captive pin in the housing edge, and slides up into the slider itself. remove that and set aside. Next, you will need to use a flat blade screw driver, and gently pry next to the case where the hazard button protrudes. Do this when the unit is warm, so you dont crack it. Set that unit aside. You should see what is in the second picture.

The small black lever to the side is the part that makes the hazard button act like a pushbutton pen. Remove it, clean it, and set aside. The top slider for the blinkers and be pushed down (as seen in the photo) and and it will come out. Dont force it, there is a pin under that connects to the cancellation switch (white rocker on the side).

Set this aside, it is as far as you will disassemble those bits today.

Step 2:

Next is the high / low beam section. In this photo, you can see the rockers , toggle, and 2 springs. 1 is attached to the toggle, and the other is attached to the actual switch (top) and is a piece of spring steel, that will like to fall out on you. Dont loose it.

Carefully remove these and set them aside.

Something to note about the rockers, they have springs that push the contacts down. Check those. if they are corroded, look for suitable replacements, probably in your local small hardware store, or perhaps an alternator shop may have them.

Also note all the nasty green corrosion. Thats what we are here to fix.

Step 3:

See that crud? Its old grease and corrosion. Wipe it up with alcohol, let it dry. Then take some Brasso on a paper towel or swab, and coat the tracings liberally. Let them sit for a few minutes, until they start looking really tarnished. Then go back, wipe them off, buff with more towels, and finally clean up with more rubbing alcohol.

Do the same for the brass plate, both sides, and the contacts on the various switch pieces and sliders.

Step 4:

After everything is clean, break out the old dielectric grease. Apply it everywhere you dont want corrosion. I probably went overboard, but thats how I do this, so I can one day drive this thing with scuba gear on. Or have it last in Pittsburgh.

Assembly is the reverse of taking it apart, the only tricky part is the hazard slider. A wide flat blade screwdriver helps there, with gentle pressure.

Note in that last pic, the tab sticking up. That will need to engage with your lever in the other side, or your high beams wont work. Give it a pull in and out to make sure all is working again, it should toggle the other piece back and forth. I also gave the long flat spring a bit of a bend to increase the spring rate, so it has a more positive click.

Before you screw it all together, make sure the lever is moving back and forth ok. If it doesn't, don't force it, you will only break something.

I would also recommend cleaning the outer pin contacts and putting grease there before install.

Thats about it. Install, test for function. Unless you have damage, or a severely burnt and shorted contact, everything should be easy to clean and get back in working order.

I would also not recommend using an abrasive to clean, no need to wear these old contact more than they already have. Save that for your NSS, where it makes sense. Brasso does a heck of a job, and the grease should help prevent further corrosion for some time.