View Full Version : 1982 Newell 38' Classic No Brake Lights!

03-02-2009, 05:24 PM
They only problem that we had with the Prairie Schooner was no Brake Lights. I could use some more of the valuable advice afforded by this forum.
1st the right and left Turn Signals are working (now that I have been able to change out the burnt Sealed Beams, thanks Clarke). The Emergency Flashers both work as well.
2nd I have been able to find the Pressure Switch (located forward in the Air Line to the Front Brakes). There is Power here and the Switch is working. I have found another relay that is energized by the Pressure Switch that I believe works with the Cruise Control (another issue for later).
If I use a Jumper Wire from the Cruise Relay to the Right/Left Relays for the Turn/Brake Lights, I can get Brake Lights but not with Turn Signals. This leaves me to believe that the problem is forward and in the Brake and Turn Signal Circuit at the Front of the Coach.
Can someone describe what the Turn/Brake Circuit is?
* Patti and I had the pleasure of meeting Clarke and Elaine, they came to Hemet and gave us some great advice,

03-02-2009, 06:35 PM
I am certainly not as familiar with the Classics as the Series 2000's but from your description it sounds like the brake light issue is not a cruise control issue, although the cruise control issue could potentially be tied to your brake light issue. You have separate turn signals (amber) which are also the emergency flashers. The turn signals are a totally separate circuit from the brake lights. You are correct that the brake light switch is triggered by the brake pedal pressure. This switch also cancels the cruise control. The brake lights are on a separate circuit than the turn signals. For example on my coach front terminal board, terminal 7 is the right rear turn signal, 8 is the left rear turn signal (11 and 12 are left and right front turn signals) and 19 is the brake lights. You should have a separate fuse for the brake lights (fuse 3 on mine).

I would start looking for a fuse for the brake lights to confirm it is good. You can substitute a fuse from a circuit you know works to see if the brake lights return. The brake lights are live all the time. They are not wired through the ignition switch.

I really suspect a relay problem since you have power at the pressure switch. I have a brake relay on my front terminal panel and another on my rear terminal panel. If you can find your brake relay(s), make sure it or they are working.

03-02-2009, 07:23 PM
Thanks Micheal,
Where is the relay at the front of the Coach?

03-02-2009, 07:35 PM
That is a question that Clarke could better answer. Mine is behind the carpeted panel in front of the passenger's seat.

03-02-2009, 07:54 PM
Hi Steve....unfortunately, I have no idea where the front relay is. I will look the next time I visit my Newell at the storage yard. One of the downsides to not having any electrical issues is that I have not had to locate these items. I guess I would be smart if I was proactive and just located them for future reference, in my "spare time"...LOL! Actually, this issue has been in the back of my mind, and is coming more to the forefront as others have been dealing with similar issues. It is only a matter of time on a 27 year old coach that I will have these same issues come up, no?

My best guess would coincide with Michael's.....my front fuse panel, and electrical connection panel is under the dash in front of the passenger seat, and there are, no doubt, some relays whose purpose I have not identified as of yet.

03-02-2009, 08:19 PM
Thanks Guys,
I am at the Cabin typing today but when I get back, I will look and get back to you. I am thinking like Clarke that the components are in front of the Co-Pilot Seating.
I contacted Newell and they do not have any records for these older Coaches and no Schematic available. Really nice guy that I talked to but the person that would know about this is retired and the only other person that could help is out awaiting surgery. I did a Google search and found a generic type of schematic so that I have some idea and will go from there.

03-02-2009, 08:52 PM
Unfortunately, even as recently as the early '90's models, I have never seen a wiring diagram. I have had some of the 'old hands' at Newell pull a little 2x4' booklet out of their pocket where they had made some notes of various parts of the wiring for various older coaches.

I suspect you have a relay in front of the drivers seat and another in the rear, likely outside compartment near the taillights. If you find the rear relay, jump 12 volts to the trigger lead on it and it that works, it is likely the relay in the front. If it doesn't work, then you a bad relay in the rear.

03-02-2009, 09:05 PM
The only relay that is energized by the pressure switch looks to be part of the cruise control. when I jumper it I can get the relays for the right/left tail lights to come on although it does mess up the turn signals when I do that.
I looked under the dash area and haven't found a relay yet. I have more info now so I will try again later today.

Richard and Rhonda
03-02-2009, 10:18 PM
Are your rear turn signals and brake lights separate? Or do they use the two filament bulb setup. The two filament bulb setup allows you to have brake lights and turn signals on the same bulb. What makes me pause is your statement about the jumpering messing up the turn signals. If the brakes and turns are one and the same, then your jumper is somehow sending power to the turn signal filament and not the brake filament.

Do you have brake light signal at the trailer/tow connector?

03-02-2009, 10:21 PM
If the tail lights come on, you either have burned out elements in the tail/brake light units or the wiring is cobbed up. The tail light/brake light assemblies should have three wires going to them: a ground, a tail light wire and a brake light wire. The turn signals should have only two wires hooked to them: a ground and a hot wire. It could be that the brake lights went out and someone hooked them to the tail light circuit or tried to wire both the tail and brake lights to the same circuit.

Good luck.

03-03-2009, 02:16 AM
No Guys,
The Tail Lights are seperate Lights from the Brake Lights, both are Two Wire Sealed Beam type Lights. I agree that the Wiring has been messed with, looks like someone tried to repair this before. I am going to remove everything that they did so that I can get back to where it was when built.
I was only using the Jumper to trouble shoot the system. What I was trying to say is that it looks like the rear is OK (still not sure) and the problem is forward. If I just had a Schematic!!! I would be able to trouble shoot it but I guess if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
I haven't tried the trailer/tow connector yet, that will be tomorrow AM.

03-03-2009, 03:40 AM
Interesting Steve. The original wiring on my coach had 1 tail light on each side, 1 turn signal on each side and 2 stop lights on each side. However, the tail lights and stop lights were both dual bulb lights that could have been wired up either way. There was one of the three wires taped off on each of the tail and brake lights.

When I replaced my tail/brake lights with LED units, I rewired the lights to have lower two lights on each side as tail lights and all three on when the brake lights are on.

Richard and Rhonda
03-03-2009, 03:32 PM

Your observation that the wiring had been "cobbed up" to steal Michael's expression, would lead me to disconnect all the lights in the rear and get out the old voltmeter.

Take a stick and press the brake pedal down to activate the switch and see if you get 12V on any of the wires back there. If you don't then your plan of completely tracing it out is the way to go.

However, if you do get a 12V brake signal, your task is much simpler.

03-03-2009, 03:38 PM
Steve's is set up the same as mine. 3 sealed beam lights on each side....1 running, 1 brake, 1 signal on each side. These lights look like headlights with colored lenses, and as Steve said, they are each 2 wire setups. Each light only performs the function it is wired for.....brake, signal, or running....none are dual purpose.

03-08-2009, 02:33 PM
Talked with Steve yesterday afternoon and he says he has isolated the brake light problem to a faulty switch in the steering column. Now to find a replacement switch. Do any of you know who made the steering columns in the Newell Classics in 1982? He will be calling Newell tomorrow morning to get that info, but if any out there who own a vintage Newell in this age range know this info drop Steve a personal message, or post it here on this topic for him! He made the rounds of the local automotive shops (AutoZone, etc., but they had no idea what it was, or what to replace it with....LOL!)


03-08-2009, 03:46 PM
In December 2007, my cruise control failed. When it did, my brake lights wouldn't work. Newell told me that was normal, and that I needed to change the cruise control switch. After I changed it the brake lights started working properly.

Hope this helps.

03-08-2009, 08:10 PM
Sorry Clarke, don't know who made the steering columns for the early 80's Newells. The early 90's Newells used a 1989-1991 Chevy/GMC truck steering column.

03-08-2009, 09:43 PM
Hi Tuga.....well, that may be the switch he is looking at....his cruise control is also not working. This may fix two problems.

03-08-2009, 11:57 PM
my cruise control is totally separate from the steering column. it is a switch on the left arm console of the drivers seat.


03-09-2009, 02:30 AM
I have an 88 coach and had my steering colum rebuilt by newell two years ago. It is a GMC steering unit.
I agree with most of the other comments about checking for relay's.


03-09-2009, 02:33 PM
Thanks for all of the help guys,
The problem turned out to be in the Hazard Switch. The Brake Light Circuit is interrupted when the Hazard Circuit is energized. I couldn't find the part so I added a jumper to prove the repair and get the coach operational. I now have Brake Lights, Turn Signals and Hazard Lights (as long as I don't use the Brakes and Hazards together).
I will try contacting Newell later today and find out if they can help with the switch assembly. I tried to get the switch assembly at my local NAPA but they were of little help. I may try again later knowing that the assembly may be a GMC Truck.
Thanks again for all of the help guys, your help is greatly appreciated.

03-09-2009, 04:53 PM
Good find Steve. I forgot the hazard warning switch was in the circuit. I suspect that a 1980 or 1981 Chevy truck would have the same warning switch in it.

03-09-2009, 06:47 PM
Just got off the phone with Newell. I was able to talk with a knowledgeable Technician, Bobby. He was well informed and told me that they have had allot of trouble with this Hazard Switch. The replacement Turn and Hazard Switch comes complete in a new Cup Assembly. They were not sure what Column it was but most likely an International.
Parts were in stock and will go out UPS later today and I should have them by the end of the week.

03-09-2009, 07:33 PM
Steve, that is great news! Maybe I should order one too for when mine goes bad! Out of curosity, what was the cost????

03-09-2009, 11:52 PM
The price that I was told for the assembly is $160.00. I will let you know how hard it is to install and maybe give you a hand with yours , if you need it. WE should look at yours to ensure that it the one that he said was problematic.
I am including pictures of my Column to help you identify it.

03-10-2009, 05:14 AM
Looks like mine....we'll compare in person in a couple of weeks!

03-18-2009, 02:23 PM
I installed the replacement Switch Assembly the other day. I did have a couple of problems and would like to give you a "heads up" in case one of you needs to make this up-grade.
1st; the J-Bolts that secure the Cup to the Column needed a couple of washers in order to allow tightening. Simple fix with a run to the Hardware Store but the parts were not in the "Kit" making a repair on the road a little problematic.
2nd; The Steering Wheel Adapter made contact with the Hazard Switch Wiring and created a Short in the Brake Light Circuit...very frustrating! A few chosen words and I was able to move the Terminal on the Hazard Switch enough to allow it to clear the Wheel Adapter, much easier than having the Adapter Machined.
Other than these problems it does look like I have all of my Rear Lights Working properly now.
Thanks for all of the help,

03-18-2009, 02:31 PM
Steve, thanks for the followup. Always glad to hear that a mystery problem has been solved.

01-14-2010, 11:12 AM
The brake lights on my 38 Classic recently stopped working and after reading through this forum, I was able to quickly "fix" my situation; however, word to the wise, I found that my only problem was that my hazard toggle was partially pushed in. Once I pushed it all the way in and pulled it all the way out, my brake lights starting working. Therefore, I conclude that my hazard light assembly may be wearing out; however, always check for the easy and obvious before ripping things apart.

01-14-2010, 02:26 PM
Great advice.....many here, including myself, are predisposed to assuming that the worst has happened, and sometimes take a long time to check the simple things first, like the hazard toggle, or a loose ground wire, or blown fuse.

01-15-2010, 01:25 AM
It sounds as though your problem is closely related to our troubles. Chuck at Newell Parts was able to send me a replacement Assembly (the old parts are no longer available and the replacement parts may be in short supply, not sure). If you do replace the assembly request my drawing from Newell or PM me for it. You may need to machine the Hub fro the Steering Wheel.