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Thread: Did I test the ignition switch correctly?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TODD View Post
    ...The problem is around the ignition switch. Either there is a problem with wiring to the switch or switch is not making contact internally on this START section. This is where the next troubleshooting will focus.

    Hopefully you can find something visually that is disconnected, bent, or broken etc.
    ...
    I wish I hadn't tried that other buick forum first. Someone there had me take the ignition switch off to check for key rack travel. Maybe it's not their fault. Our mechanic told us it needed a new rack, which didn't make sense because only the ignition lock was jambed. Turned out it was just a bad ignition lock cylinder.

    Now it seems I caused whatever is wrong with it now, just by messing with the ignition switch.

    I've installed it 3 times now, the last two times I'm sure I got it right. I've also been reaching back there while starting and gently wiggling and trying to seat all the wires so if I bumped anything loose I might find it.

    I'll keep looking. But, these parts, the ign switch and high beam switch, are pretty simple. They just bolt on. If anything is wrong with them, wouldn't it be on the inside?

  2. #12
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    I'm reduced to just brainstorming now without seeing the thing in front of me. All I have to go on is the exploded view of the steering column (see attached).

    Does the ignition switch operate correctly through all its positions including ACCESSORY?

    I assume the rack gear that operates the switch and the sector gear on the lock cylinder have never been disassembled to where the teeth mesh incorrectly (gears out of time with each other)?

    Did the mechanic say what was wrong with the rack gear? If some teeth are chewed up on the end, the rack may not be able to drive the slider in the switch all the way to START position. Can you watch the rod push the slider along in the switch as lock cylinder goes from LOCK to START? If motion stops after it goes through RUN, then rod travel is insufficient to make the START contact close. With lock cylinder held in START position, can you drive the actuator rod (#76 in pix) farther by hand and make it start up?

    The wiring can be cleared if it is possible to start it up by working the slider in the switch with a rod or screwdriver. Have to be extremely careful doing this test to not let the starter stay engaged if engine starts up. Be ready to pull fuse 1A in a hurry if something hangs up.

    While off the column, the slot in the slider can be checked to make sure it is not chewed up or damaged.
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    Last edited by TODD; 10-12-2017 at 03:34 AM.
    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TODD View Post
    I'm reduced to just brainstorming now without seeing the thing in front of me. All I have to go on is the exploded view of the steering column (see attached).

    Does the ignition switch operate correctly through all its positions including ACCESSORY?

    I assume the rack gear that operates the switch and the sector gear on the lock cylinder have never been disassembled to where the teeth mesh incorrectly (gears out of time with each other)?

    Did the mechanic say what was wrong with the rack gear? If some teeth are chewed up on the end, the rack may not be able to drive the slider in the switch all the way to START position. Can you watch the rod push the slider along in the switch as lock cylinder goes from LOCK to START? If motion stops after it goes through RUN, then rod travel is insufficient to make the START contact close. With lock cylinder held in START position, can you drive the actuator rod (#76 in pix) farther by hand and make it start up?

    The wiring can be cleared if it is possible to start it up by working the slider in the switch with a rod or screwdriver. Have to be extremely careful doing this test to not let the starter stay engaged if engine starts up. Be ready to pull fuse 1A in a hurry if something hangs up.

    While off the column, the slot in the slider can be checked to make sure it is not chewed up or damaged.
    Thanks. I lowered the column a few inches and checked the rod travel again. It goes all the way to start and all the way to accessory. I can also see the slider through the side. I see it move along with the rod through the full range of motion.

    I spent awhile under there looking for anything out of place or broken. It all looks like it goes where it always went. The wires seem in pretty good condition for being so old.

    I checked the slider hole when I had it off last. It looked fine. And the hole is only big enough to fit the end of the rod that goes into it. Seems there's no way to get that wrong. The L shape in the end of the rod just slides in and it bolts on with the night beam switch. If only there wasn't that monster of a connector to deal with I might try replacing the ignition switch next.

    Maybe it'll tell me something if I test the big yellow wire coming off the ignition switch next time I try to start it? Any way to narrow it down further? Like between the ignition switch and that neutral switch thing?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 95ParkAve View Post
    Thanks. I lowered the column a few inches and checked the rod travel again. It goes all the way to start and all the way to accessory. I can also see the slider through the side. I see it move along with the rod through the full range of motion.

    I spent awhile under there looking for anything out of place or broken. It all looks like it goes where it always went. The wires seem in pretty good condition for being so old.

    I checked the slider hole when I had it off last. It looked fine. And the hole is only big enough to fit the end of the rod that goes into it. Seems there's no way to get that wrong. The L shape in the end of the rod just slides in and it bolts on with the night beam switch. If only there wasn't that monster of a connector to deal with I might try replacing the ignition switch next.

    Maybe it'll tell me something if I test the big yellow wire coming off the ignition switch next time I try to start it? Any way to narrow it down further? Like between the ignition switch and that neutral switch thing?
    Check to see if there is voltage to ground on the yellow wire at the ignition switch when in START. If that point is not accessible, check other end of the yellow wire at pin B6 of the big connector with red bolt C202.

    Another test is to put ignition switch in RUN and jumper fuse 1B to yellow wire at ignition switch or at C202. Jumper should make it start.

    The neutral switch is way off in the circuit and has already proven good in the earlier jumper test to make it start (fuse 1A to 1B).

    Attached are pages on removal of the ignition and dimmer switches. Wires disconnect from the big block in three connectors: top row, middle section (for ignition switch), and bottom row. There is a three-prong locking fork that goes in on the right to lock the pieces together.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TODD View Post
    Check to see if there is voltage to ground on the yellow wire at the ignition switch when in START. If that point is not accessible, check other end of the yellow wire at pin B6 of the big connector with red bolt C202.

    Another test is to put ignition switch in RUN and jumper fuse 1B to yellow wire at ignition switch or at C202. Jumper should make it start.

    The neutral switch is way off in the circuit and has already proven good in the earlier jumper test to make it start (fuse 1A to 1B).

    Attached are pages on removal of the ignition and dimmer switches. Wires disconnect from the big block in three connectors: top row, middle section (for ignition switch), and bottom row. There is a three-prong locking fork that goes in on the right to lock the pieces together.
    The probe doesn't seem long enough to get in where the yellow wire comes out of the ignition switch. I tried it where it enters the c202 connector, no volts.

    When I jump it between fuse 1B and the yellow wire at c202, it sparks and makes an odd faint plunk sound.

  6. #16
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    Ok I was using my probe wire I had stuck in there, unplugged from the multimeter, to jump it before.

    I had a hunch so I poked a larger wire in there on the big yellow wire at c202, then ran it to fuse 1B. It started.

    However, when I test for voltage to ground on my jumper wire, which I know is now connected at c202, I still get no volts.

    What does it mean? Ignition switch went bad from me unbolting it and putting it back on?

  7. #17
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    OMG OMG OMG!

    I should have tried this yesterday but I didn't have the battery hooked up. I finally tried poking the slider gently with a screwdriver while turning to start.

    A tiny poke is all it takes and it starts! It must be about a quarter mm off where it needs to be. Holy moly these cars are sensitive.

    Anyway, Yes! At least I know nothing is broken. Just need to get that switch seated a smidge further down the column.

  8. #18
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    Very good! If adjustment doesn't do the job, the START section of the switch must be defective.
    What has been, can be again. (Bob Wills, 1942)

  9. #19
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks a million TODD. Without your brainstorming I never would have found the problem.

    If anyone in the future has the same issue, here's what I wish someone could have told me weeks ago. And, this isn't even in the service manual! At least not the pages I was shown.

    When installing the ignition switch/high beam switch together, the ignition switch needs to be as far down the column as it'll go, while the high beam switch needs to be as far up the column, towards the steering wheel, as it will go.

    Or, at least make sure both work correctly before tightening and if not wiggle whichever one isn't working in the direction it needs to go without moving the other.

    I finally got the ignition switch working, got all excited and tightened it all down, thought I was done. Ha. Had to do it all again when I noticed I'd lost the high beam switch.

    It all works now. But, unfortunately the security light keeps flashing any time I open the door. I have to perform the 10 min relearn thing every time. After that it works fine, but this is nuts. But that's another topic. This thread's issue is totally solved. Thanks again TODD

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