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Thread: F750GS Replace Brake Light Switch

  1. #1
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    F750GS Replace Brake Light Switch

    Question: How to remove the Rear Brake Light Switch?

    I recently took the excellent Level 1 and 2 DART course with Bill Dragoo. Highly recommend checking it out at https://billdragoo.com.

    On day two we practice navigating ruts. It wasn't overly muddy, but deep enough for my F750GS to get stuck. Pushing through the mud and coming out on the other end, I discovered that the mud and ground underneath bent my rear brake pedal to the point where it touched the footpeg plate and thus locked up the rear brake.

    Trying to get the brake pedal operational again broke the brake light switch. I have the replacement switch and the two pins ("Grooved Drive Stud" according to the microfiche) that attach it to the footpeg plate. However, I cannot figure out how to remove the broken switch. Getting a tool into that space seems difficult and I'm wondering if anyone has had to replace theirs and knows the best way to remove the switch.

    BTW, this does not seem to be a single occurrence. I watched a Swedish rider do a full 10k review of the F750GS and he said that the only issue he has had during that entire ownership is, yes, you guessed it, the brake light switch broke. :-) Go figure!

    2020-10-14_14-44-06.jpg
    Tech on Two Wheels: 2018 R1200RT Mars Red (Mine), 2019 F750GS Silver Metallic (Mine), 2018 G310GS Red (My Wife's), 2011 Honda CBR250R (We Use For Practicing)

  2. #2
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Looks like it may be possible to get to the pins with a long, skinny set of needle nose pliers. Looks like the official manual says to half remove the swing arm bolt (replacing that section with a 24 mm diameter pipe) so you can access the back side of the foot peg plate.
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

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    Quote Originally Posted by drneo66 View Post
    Looks like it may be possible to get to the pins with a long, skinny set of needle nose pliers. Looks like the official manual says to half remove the swing arm bolt (replacing that section with a 24 mm diameter pipe) so you can access the back side of the foot peg plate.
    Man, that's a great find! Thank you so much for digging that up. I had found another thread on an R Nine T forum where a guy wanted to powder coat the footpeg plate and ended up having to destroy a perfectly fine switch because he couldn't get the pins out. However, he took the footpeg plate off the bike entirely. Not something that I fancied doing without having the service manual with the instructions. You found the perfect information.

    Incidentally, I will be ordering the service manual for the bike. :-)

    And I have to agree with the assessment in that linked thread. BMW I am sure had their reasons why they opted for this particular implementation. Seeing now that as far as I know am now the third person who is dealing with having to replace that brake light switch, it clearly shows that it could have been engineered better.

    Again, thanks for helping with tracking this down.
    Tech on Two Wheels: 2018 R1200RT Mars Red (Mine), 2019 F750GS Silver Metallic (Mine), 2018 G310GS Red (My Wife's), 2011 Honda CBR250R (We Use For Practicing)

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    Quick follow-up for fellow riders reading this and running into the same challenge with a broken brake light switch:

    The Short: The switch is out! :-)

    It actually appears to be much easier than anticipated and required a narrow flat screwdriver and a mallet. With the exception of the brake pedal, which needed replacing as anyhow, no complicated disassembly or removal of any parts is required.

    The Details

    • The brake pedal had to be removed for replacement, so it was already gone. This made room for the screwdriver to fit the narrow space.
    • I didn't care whether to further damage the already broken brake light switch, so I used the narrow screwdriver with the mallet to drive it into the plastic housing of the switch. This provided just enough leverage that when wedging the screwdriver against the footpeg plate, one half of the switch housing broke off along with the pin!
    • Repeating it with the second half of the switch housing also popped it off, along with the second pin.


    I can now put the new switch on and push the pins in with needlenose pliers.

    This was completely surprising, but once again, due to the links with the images, I was able to "see" what I didn't see behind the footpeg plate.

    Hope this helps someone else. You obviously would destroy the switch if you'd need to do this to a perfectly working switch. But then again, you wouldn't need to do this, unless you desire to do something like powder coating the footpeg panel as in the other thread I had found.
    Tech on Two Wheels: 2018 R1200RT Mars Red (Mine), 2019 F750GS Silver Metallic (Mine), 2018 G310GS Red (My Wife's), 2011 Honda CBR250R (We Use For Practicing)

  5. #5
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Always glad to hear of a good ending!!!

    Now... does someone make protection for that part? (And is it cheaper than a several new switches??)
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by drneo66 View Post
    Always glad to hear of a good ending!!!

    Now... does someone make protection for that part? (And is it cheaper than a several new switches??)
    Indeed. I had already prepared myself mentally for having to take apart everything to get those pins out.

    The last challenging aspect is/was the position of the little metal plate on that switch. BMW seems to be using that switch for several models and it is made in a way where that little plate can be mounted on the front or the back of the switch. I had to ask other F750GS owners to verify what it looks like on their bikes since the original switch on mine was broken to the point where I couldn't verify.

    For reference to others having to do this: On my 2019 F750GS, the metal plate on the switch in the open position points toward the front wheel. I had to take mine off the new switch I bought from the dealer and put it on the opposite side.

    As for protecting the switch, that would indeed be interesting to see if anyone has come up with a solution. I don't think there is one, given how BMW positioned that switch. You get an object hitting it in an unfortunate incident, and that'll be it. In my case, practicing going through deep ruts in the off-roading course built up so much mud and dirt in that sensitive area that this not only broke the switch but also bent the brake pedal to a degree that I had to replace it as well.

    A friend reminded me yesterday that there is one thing you can count on, no matter what kind of vehicle you are taking off-roading: Something is bound to break. :-)
    Tech on Two Wheels: 2018 R1200RT Mars Red (Mine), 2019 F750GS Silver Metallic (Mine), 2018 G310GS Red (My Wife's), 2011 Honda CBR250R (We Use For Practicing)

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