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Super Moderator
1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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23,865 Posts
Start at the battery terminals and posts. Scape off any hard scale and oxidation at the inside terminal and outside post contact surfaces. You want clean, shiny lead for battery connections.
Follow the battery cables to where they terminate at the fuse/junction box for the (+) side and the engine ground bolt AND body panels for the ground (-) side. Make sure that all connections are clean and tight. Make sure that all the fuses and relay plugs are seated.
Sometimes it helps to loosen and then retighten a connection or unplug and replug a connector because oxidation that causes a poor connection may not be visible from the outside and still affect the connection. The terminal metal gets scraped when plugged back in or nut retightened so a fresh conductive surface is now securely connected.
The headlight and brake light switch 'surge' makes me think that a firewall connection or dash/instrument panel ground may have a high resistance. 26 year old connections may be oxidized from just sitting there all these years.
The radio memory, headlight and brake light power do not go through the ignition switch as they get battery power to work all the time, even with the key off. Therefore the ignition switch probably isn't the first thing that I'd condemn without more investigation.
 
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