I am about to take me ute to get a "safety" certificate so that I can get it registered (QLD, Australia) and I have one issue left that is still a possible problem.

The switch that operates the reversing lights isn't working. Or more specifically the bit in the transmition that activates the switch isn't working as I have replaced the switch for a new one and know it is correct.

The gearbox seems fine aside from that, and the switch works as expected if disconnected and activated manually. I don't have the money, time or skill to pull out the engine and gearbox etc.

I want to know what the next best way to create a reverse switch is. I am thinking a push switch correctly positioned near the gear shifter so that it gets pushed when in reverse. Is there any other way it can be done that would be reliable?

Edit : Apparently we can't be trusted here to operate a manual switch. It seems from what I can find that it must be switched automatically when put in reverse.

  • Someone has suggested I check the electrical system as it sounds like a short or blown fuse. I have checked the fuses, but since the switch works outside of the gearbox I don't know if this can be correct. Thoughts?
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 3:35
  • Have you checked the new switch - i.e. disconnect the wiring loom from the switch, and check with a multimeter that the switch is open-circuit normally, and closed-circuit when it is in reverse. That will tell you whether it is a mechanical problem or electrical. If you don't have a multimeter (and you should, they're incredibly useful tools for so many car problems), try shorting the connections across the switch and see if the reversing lights come on.
    – Nick C
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 8:36
  • Thanks Nick, that seems to be the crux of the problem. The switch seems to be a closed circuit by default, but this is the switch sourced from Mitsubishi direct for this vehicle. It seemed strange to me that it would be a closed circuit by default. I do have a multimeter as well, it's invaluable for more than just cars :)
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 8:56
  • So I'm having the same issue with my reverse lights on my triton. Im guessing there's just a cavity above for the ball bearing to go once u select reverse and it's not going to end up somewhere in my gearbox
    – user25127
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 12:55
  • 1
    If you take out the reverse sensor switch, put it back in with a ball bearing above it and it should solve the issue. Obviously you will need a ball bearing of the right size.... it should be about the same as the switch pole.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 3:46

4 Answers 4


Thanks to some helpful people here and on the Australian 4wd forums and a local gearbox repair place I have found a solution.

Apparently the gearbox the the MJ Triton uses a ball bearing above the reverse switch. The gearbox pushes it down (pushing the switch) when in forwards gears which opens the circuit and turns the lights off. In reverse it lifts up and closes the circuit which turns the lights on.

Personally I think that's an absolutely stupid way of doing things but that seems to be the way it works.

  • Tim, you describe the way it works which is great, but what was the actual solution? What did you (or the gearbox place) do to rectify the problem?
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 1:17
  • I ended up tracking down a couple of ball bearings. (I needed 2 of the only size I could find in a hurry) and put them in above the switch. Seems to have done the job since I couldn't find anywhere that had the actual replacement.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 6:51
  • thanks to this link yet another triton lives on i bought three 5/16 ball bearings from my local bearing shop and only needed 1 shoved in before i screwed in the switch and it worked a treat sure beats pulling the gearbox apart much appreciated
    – user12164
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 4:53
  • Glad it was helpful. It sure does beat pulling the gearbox apart. :)
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 9:07

I had the same problem.. but when i shoved the gear shifter into reverse hard and shook it hard it flashed. So what i had to do was take my dremmel and grind the part of the switch base below the threads down to allow the threads to screw further into the transmition. I took off about an 1/8 of an inch and Now everything works as advertised.. :-)


As an alternative, you could make a mounting bracket for a push-to-make switch somewhere on the gearshift surround at the base of the gear lever in the cabin and wire the reverse lights to that. That way it would engage when the shift lever was pushed into the reverse position and wouldn't be a manual switch.

  • Thanks. I had considered (although not till afterwards) possibly using a magnetic reed switch so it wouldn't need to make actual contact with a push switch but in the end the ball bearing above the switch under the gearbox proved to be a simple enough fix.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 23:47

What are the rules about reversing lights in Aus? Over here it is quite permissable to have a manually operated reversing light, as long as it is not used when the vehicle is moving forward - i.e. You simply have a switch somewhere near the gearstick that you flick on when you pop it in reverse.

  • 1
    Over here it must be an automatic switch and cannot be replaced with a manual switch. Apparently we can't be relied on to switch it on and off at the relevant times. :(
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 22:26

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