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Performance Specialists Since 1963

Upgrading the High Beam Switch on Your Vintage Volvo to the Turn Signal Stalk

2011-03-09 - IPD Staff

Upgrading the High Beam Switch on Your 122 (Amazon) to the Turn Signal Stalk

In the 1960s, Volvos that were imported to the US were required by the DOT to use foot switches to switch between Hi and Lo beams. As this addition was an afterthought, the switch Volvo used was made by the well known British electrical company, Lucas.

If this switch fails, you'll find that when you activate it with your foot that instead of switching from Lo to Hi or Hi to Lo, that it simply turns your headlights off. Less than ideal. Later Volvos (and many other cars as well) rely on the turn signal stalk for this function. Pull straight back and the lights switch from Lo to Hi or Hi to Lo. Volvo 122 models have the switch and the wires, so adding the feature is fairly straightforward.

You'll need some female spade wiring terminals and a 'piggyback' terminal; and a headlight relay from a 140 or 240 series car. The rear mounting hole will line up with the hole that secures your current reverse relay. It’s best to disconnect the battery before starting.

First, remove the wires from the foot dipper switch and reroute these wires through the firewall to the location of the new relay. It's a trick, but they'll fit alongside the harness next to the fusebox. Place these out of the way for now.

On the bottom of the relay are 6 terminals.

On early cars (mid-1967 and earlier): Next, locate the three wires under the reverse relay, usually wrapped and tucked nearby.Unwrap the bundle, then rewrap the red one (we won't be using this). Connect the grey wire to terminal "31B." Connect the 'piggyback' to the black wire and plug this into terminal "15," and add a jumper wire to terminal "81A" so that 15 and 81A are electrically joined. The other end of the black wire should be tucked into the loom near the fusebox - locate and connect to the lower inboard fuse.

On later cars (mid-1967 and later): You'll need to add this black wire - from the lower inboard side of the fusebox to terminal 15. You'll also need to lengthen the grey wire from the turn signal switch - it should be hanging just below the steering column under the dash, and should have a blue butt connector already attached.

Returning our attention to the wires from the dipper switch: connect the double red wire to terminal "56A" (one goes to the headlights, the other to the high beam indicator on the dash). Now connect the grey wire to "56B" and the yellow wire to "56." That's it!

Reconnect the battery and you're back on the road. When the lights are on, pulling on the turn signal switch will toggle between Lo and Hi beams, and when the light are off, activating the switch will flash the hi beams momentarily.