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Brake Lights don't work!


New Member
May 20, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Anchorage, Alaska
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer
My car recently died and I had to replace the alternator. At the same time I decided I would check all bulbs, fluids etc to make sure the car was ok. I found that the brake lights wont turn on at all when I press the brake pedal.

All other lights work fine.

Reverse, Hazards, turn signals, lights, high beams...

I found if I move the brake switch located under the drivers side by the brake pedal upwards and back it will turn the brake lights on. However, this is sparatic at best. Sometimes I can press the brake pedal while doing this and the brake lights come on and sometimes the brake lights come on without the brake pedal being pressed. No rhyme or reason really.

I was going to replace the unit but found out it was $80! Eeks. I just paid $194 for an alternator... I get $30 back after the core is returned... But this is adding up quickly and I would like to know that the unit is bad and its not a loose wire somewhere first. Any idea where those wires go? I have heard they connect up by the steering column somewhere?

Oh yeah, the unit I have is he 5 plug module, not the 2 wire module.

I have a 99 model Explorer. It was made 5/5/1999 if that helps.


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sounds to me like a bad brake switch. $80! where the heck are you shopping?

I went to Autozone... They quoted $15.99 if I had the 2 wire module.

Here are a few other pictures of the plug.



Shows compatible in O'Reilly's guide. Install it in their parking lot, should be a 5 minute swap, if that.

Don't lose the yellow pin, and pay close attention to the black nylon bushing position before removing.

Tried replacing it and the plastic broke on the new one.... Super flimsy. However, I noticed there was a plastic bushing around the brake rod area and the unit. I removed the plastic bushing, plugged in the old unit and all is well. I put the plastic bushing back in and put the old unit back in and it wont work. Removed bushing again and put it back together and its working again. So something with the plastic bushing isolating the connection i think was the problem. Now hopefully they let me return the broken unit.

Was your third brake light initially not working as well? I'm experiencing a similar issue after replacing my alternator. All lights including the third brake light are working except the left and right brake lights. Fuses and bulbs are fine, so I might swap out the switch. Thanks!

2002 Explorer third brake light...

All 5 of the bulbs are blown and i am not getting power through the connector. Does this mean i have a bad ballast?

I think Ford stopped using that stupid ballast after '97. I converted my '97 to an LED strip. it's highly unlikely you have 5 burnt out LED's. you need to look elsewhere for the problem.