MK2 panel light switch

Instead of trying to revive a dead panel light switch with new resistors (I tried and failed) could I fit a simple off/on switch, similar to the others, to activate the panel lights without being able to dim them?
Will that work? Thanks. Ron

Yes, no problem.

I always thought it was humorous that Jaguar thought that anyone would ever want their panel lights off at night, or otherwise be able to make them dimmer than they are at full brightness (dimness). The three positions are Invisible, Nearly Invisible, and Barely Visible. If I ever needed a spare switch I would eliminate the panel light switch entirely.


The reason British cars had an ‘off’ position for the panel lights is that if you needed to park in an unlit street at night, the sidelights had to be ‘on’. This switching reduced the battery run down rate. I think the same law/rule applied in European countries but I don’t know what rules are relevant today.

However, I agree - the panel lights are not very bright. Neither was the person who designed the system. I believe there are dimmable LEDs available but I haven’t investigated this yet.


If you replace the dimming resistor with wire then you will have off, on and on. Noting that on is still dim per above. No need to replace the switch. Alternatively, leave the middle position (old dimmed position) unconnected and you will have off, off and on.

Peter, that makes sense. I recall that my dad’s Renault 4CV had only one parking light on each side, and only one of those would be illuminated. It had a switch that would select which side would be on, to reduce battery drain even further. The single light was high up on the “D” pillar so you could see it from either direction.

Yes, we had Renaults and Peugeots in our family and they had the discreet parking lamp on the rear pillar with a little switch to light one side or the other.

Thanks all for the replies. Wiring up the switch worked but the result is still very poor panel lighting. I am replacing the lot with 0.72W LED globes. Will those work with the old 3 resistor 3 position switch (I have a working spare) or should I stick to the wired off/on switch?

Most led globes are not dimmable, only on/off will work. No resistor needed, even possible led defect if a resistor is used.

1 Like

Is that why Jaguar put those super bright front sidelights on the mk 2 ? :grimacing:

Quite probably, as the prominence of the sidelight grew over the years until it was dispensed with by being incorporated in the headlights with a bulb shining through a gap in the side of the reflector - 1980s?

There is another reason why the sidelights are so important in the UK. It is permitted to run with headlights off in very well lit urban areas to cut out glare to opposing traffic and pedestrians. With headlights off, it is only the sidelights that give an indication of the clearance size of the vehicle and they need to work. I think it was created in the early days when roads were tight, meandering and winding around 500-year-old buildings. I was chastised by an oncoming driver when I was last there 10 or 12 years ago. I had just entered the 30 zone and the first street light, and was preparing to stop at my digs, but had not turned my lights off.

A variation to this existed for pre-war cars - some or all, I don’t know. When lights were dipped, the driver’s side extinguished, and the left side dipped to illuminate the kerb. The pod style Lucas sidelights (a la Mk IV 1.5) have a red jewel in the top, which is visible to the driver, who can see from the driving seat if it is working.

I love these quirky things of olde.


I fitted the LED instrument panel globes (apparently 0.72W) but I am still disappointed with the level of illumination.
Any suggestion regarding bright globe specs and place of purchase?



I used these in my MK IX, which has the instruments illuminated from the front, and they work wonderfully. The bulbs are NOT dimmable, since they have a circuit inside that allows them to work on any voltage and any polarity. They are rated at 360 lumens each, which is about the equivalent of a 25 Watt incandescent. My winter project is to install them in my MK 2.

I‘m happy with bright (city), dim (overland), and sometimes I even use off at night because I can!
I believe off is for parking at night. Newer cars allow to select which side to light, of course… and I don’t need the license plate lights to be on either but it is what it is.
My lights work fine for me. If yours don’t, it’s your eyesight or bad connections, but not the car… and so far I have regretted every LED I fitted, with one exception, but that LED failed way too soon and now I‘m back to something that I understand.

Can we have more info on your experience with LEDs please David, as I intend fitting LED brake and headlights ‘one day’ mainly to lighten the load on my 55 year old wiring

I installed a green shifter indicator LED. I had to get it in range (brightness, colour) with strips of paper, it lasted for a few weeks and then started to flicker and ultimately died. I have taken it apart and it was the LED that failed.

I also tried a few times to install interior lights with LED I remember now. They never look right and the worst you can do is have a classic car with some LED lamps that destroy the appearance. Even the better ones. White headlamps, I don’t see the advantage.

When the car left the assembly line it was functioning perfectly. I like to keep it that way.
Besides, your wiring was designed for incandescent lamps, it can take the load no problem at all.

Of course I see the advantage of low current consumption, especially when leaving the lights on overnight etc. but I gave up on finding nice warm white LEDs that are reliable. In many cases a lamp that is replaced now will last the lifetime of the car and then some.

If you want to put LEDs in some places the people here will have good information on what works.

Thanks for all the advice. I replaced the 8 panel lights with white LED E10 globes.
Not very bright, do not look out of place and a great improvement .
Also I rigged up a connection and replaced the single map light with 2 BA9S LED globes - now I can read maps at night except I don’t have to.