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Steve Jensen
Steve Jensen, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience:  Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE Master Technician 33 years experience
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My 1997 Ford Explorer brake lights do not work. Tested bulbs

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My 1997 Ford Explorer brake lights do not work. 3rd light is working. Side one's not. Tested bulbs and work fine. Fuse is good. Have continuity to socket. Running light will come on. Replaced brake light switch, did not resolve. Have current to switch (and am able to move out of park with brake pedal depressed) and have continuity when switch activated but still no brake lights. Is there a relay that may not be working? Thanks. Greg
Greg, I need to know whether your Explorer is equipped with the message center on the console, this includes a "lamp out" warning. We need this info to help you with your concern. Steve

Edited by Steve Jensen on 10/26/2009 at 12:25 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Steve:
I have a message center and it states "brake lamps OK if on".
Okay, the side brake lamp circuits are routed through the lamp out module, while the high mount brake lamp circuit bypasses the lamp out module. I have had several instances with the same concern as yours (all on 1995 to 1997 Explorers) and the failure was in the brake lamp circuit in the lamp out module. In these instances, the lamp out warning never reported a problem with the brake lamps. The way to verify is to remove the lamp out module and verify that there is power to the brake input terminal with the brake depressed. If not then there is a problem with the wiring between the switch and module. If that is good jumper the brake switch input circuit to the brake lamp circuits and see if they work. If they work, module is bad, if not, then problem exists in circuit to rear of vehicle. As stated above, the likely culprit is the lamp out module, give me a few minutes and I'll see if I can add some diagrams to help you with diagnosis. Steve
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Great. If you can let me know where the lamp out module is located, that would be great.

The lamp out warning module is located near the message center module in the console. You'll need to jumper the light green wire to red /white to bypass the module and see if the brake lamps work. Below are some diagrams to assist. Please note, the lamp out module is separate fromt the message center, but is located near it under the console. Steve



  • Remove the message center console.
    • Grasp the front of the console and lift upward.
  • graphic



    Edited by Steve Jensen on 10/26/2009 at 1:21 AM EST
    Steve Jensen and 5 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
    Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    Eureka!! It worked. I jumped the two ports (light green and red/white) and I have lights. I may just "fix" it by connecting the two wires and bypassing the Light Out Module instead of replacing the module. Thank you so much.
    Yes, some of these modules are no longer available, last time I did a 1997 it was, but I did fix a prior year in just this manner. Good luck, thanks for the accept.