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tttz

Replace whole ignition switch, or just the rear electrical connections

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Hi there,

I've been having a multitude of issues with my 71 240Z lately. The issues have included:

  • Lack of spark when starting (starter motor turning)
  • Not even turning over when starting
  • Engine cutting out immediately after starting
  • Engine cutting out/dying as I'm driving down the street
    and most recently
  • buzzing when the driver door is opened (although no key is in the ignition - However inserting the key stopped the buzzing)

I noticed that the parking brake light would sometimes be illuminated when the brake was engaged and sometimes not. A little jiggling of the key would cause the light to come on... hence my suspicion that the switch may be worn.

A couple questions, and I apologize for not doing a thorough search before hand.

1. Could some (or all) of the aforementioned issues be due to a worn ignition switch?

2. Are there electrical connections in the tumbler portion of the switch, or are all electrical connections in the rear? (I realize this is easy enough for me to go see, but I thought it wouldnt hurt to ask.)

3. Most Importantly - Any other advice as to how I could determine if I should replace the whole switch or just the rear portion. Or is there more troubleshooting I could do?

Thanks for your time,

Ty

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Unplug the switch and see if the problems go away. The assembly is two parts - key and tumblers and an electrical contacts switch. There is a small rod between the two that transfers the key twist to the contacts. If you take the switch off, you can unplug the electrical part and actuate it with a screwdriver.

If your switch has never been off you'll have to deal with the headless screws. The screwdriver slots are designed so that thieves can't easily remove the switch.

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Unplug the switch and see if the problems go away. The assembly is two parts - key and tumblers and an electrical contacts switch. There is a small rod between the two that transfers the key twist to the contacts. If you take the switch off, you can unplug the electrical part and actuate it with a screwdriver.

If your switch has never been off you'll have to deal with the headless screws. The screwdriver slots are designed so that thieves can't easily remove the switch.

Thanks. I'll try that. Can the car be driven with the tumblers separate from the contacts?

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Chances are good that most/all of your problems are caused by a worn electrical component of the switch. As Zed Head says, that part comes off the back side of the switch with just a couple of Phillips head screws. When removed, you have eliminated the key (mechanical) switch from the actual ignition process (and yes you can drive the car if the electrical switch will start it). You'll need the key switch only to unlock the steering wheel. Unless your key switch is really messed up and not operating smoothly, no need to mess with it and the rivet-head screws holding it in place. The electrical switch is readily available and easily replaced.

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Unplug the switch and see if the problems go away. The assembly is two parts - key and tumblers and an electrical contacts switch. There is a small rod between the two that transfers the key twist to the contacts. If you take the switch off, you can unplug the electrical part and actuate it with a screwdriver.

If your switch has never been off you'll have to deal with the headless screws. The screwdriver slots are designed so that thieves can't easily remove the switch.

Not to split hairs but the assembly is actually 5 parts - keys that go into a plug assembly , which fits into a housing assembly, which turns a cam , which lastly turns the electrical switch at the end. We'll ignore the steering lock parts.

The obvious questions are : the car is over 40 years old, and chances are the entire assembly might have been replaced at least once already - so just reading the symptoms as described , I would replace the entire assembly , and before installation I would take the hopefully ''new'' lock assembly to a locksmith to have it keyed alike to the rest of the car locks - unless it's a dog's breakfast already and you don't care. Geez , all in one breath , too !

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