Author Topic: Ignition Switch Problem in Switching to Tilt Steering From a 4 sp. Trans Am  (Read 4562 times)

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Offline 782:56gears

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Im installing a tilt steering column from a 1977 trans am with a 4 Speed in a 1978 thats an automatic , non-tilt car. When I turn the lock cyllinder to the start position in the 1977 column, it PULLS the ingition swich actuating rod. With the old Auto, non-tilt, the ignition switch rod is PUSHED as I rotate the lock cylinder to the start position. So I can't just swap over the old ignition switch. The wires going in and out of the switch are the same colors, but I would have to rotate the key backward to the start position.

 I had asked many sources if this was a doable swap, so I am at a loss, and in the middle of the job. Fortunately I have something else to drive for now. The part numbers for the switches don't change from '77 to '78, but each year has different part numbers based on whether it is a tilt wheel or not. The type of transmission didn't matter. I might be SOL on this.

Any ideas on where to go from here?
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 05:29:59 PM by 782:56gears »

Offline 782:56gears

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It looks as though I can reverse the two plugs that go into the ignition switch and turn them side to side and get the same result, with the ignition switch rod "pulling" as I turn the key switch to the start position, instead of "pushing" the ignition switch rod as with the non-tilt wheel.

I know this is a fairly common swap, so it must be do-able. Still not looking forward to turning the key for the first time.

Anybody else done the tilt-column swap?

Offline ta78w72

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The ignition switches are different for a tilt and non tilt.  Re read what I said before....you leave the ignition switch on the column but change the neutral start switch.  Don't feel alone...I did exactly the same thing.

A normal column pushes the ignition switch....but a tilt column, because of tilt mechanism pulls the switch so everything is backwards switch to switch.

So your fix is to replace the ignition switch on the four speed column with the one that came with that column....(I'm assuming the four speed column had the correct ignition switch.  If it didn't buy an ignition switch for a tilt column and install it...they're only $12).

Offline 782:56gears

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TA78W72 - I had picked up on the part concerning changing neutral safety switches, but not about keeping the tilt-steering ignition switch, but do see where its mentioned. As the male connectors appeared to be very different and the actuating rod moved in the opposite direction I was really thrown. Later realized I could reverse the position (and turn over) the two multi-wire plugs and get the same result as the rod moved inwards instead of outwards.

I showed the difference to a 20-season drag racer who said it wouldn't work; I'd start a fire. Took a chance and put it all together as I was running out of weekend, but wanted to check the posts before connecting the battery, turning the key....and checking for smoke. I'm not normally brave enough to try a multi-wire connector that obviously has a different connector pattern, but it appears this should work. Thanks for the tutoring.


Offline ta78w72

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There may be more than just a couple of wires that are different.  I'm really not sure.  Your best bet is to install the correct switch. 

Offline 782:56gears

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I used the ignition switch that came with the tilt column, and reversed the two multi-wire under dash plugs from front to back, and turned them over as well (its the only way they will fit into the sockets) and all worked well. By placing the two switches next to each other and comparing the male-prong patterns, they are reversed due to the tilt column pulling the ignition switch rod, and the non-tilt column pushing it as the key is turned.

A few anxious moments, but it was the only way the plugs would go in - so tilt wheel conversion successfully completed along with 160 mph speedo install and high beam indicator fixed at same time by replacing all 11 of the #194 bulbs as long as I was in the neighborhood.  Many thanks for the assistance.

Offline ta78w72

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Yeah, it's quite a shock to put the key into the "lock" position and have the engine crank. 

Glad everything worked out for you.  I just installed the rebuilt column in my Y88 yesterday.  I'm almost ready to add fluids and start that baby up!

You should order the rack rebuild kit just to have it on the shelf.  Those bearings are most likely shot.  You don't need to pull the column to do the rebuild.  The kit is about $30.  Better to buy one while you still can.   You need special tools though.  A wheel puller, lock plate depressor and a pivot pin puller.

Offline 782:56gears

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What might be a good place to get the steering column rebuillt kit - as it sounds like they will be hard to get soon?

Appreciate the assistance 78W72. Good luck with the Y-88.... I recently learned the difference between a Y-82, 84, and 88 here so I finally have an idea of what I just said.

Offline RENOVATIONS

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You can still get the rack kit at your GM dealer.
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline ta78w72

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Part number 7844651
you can order on line from here:
http://www.gmpartsdirect.com/

Offline EA1 Jenks

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Guys, just came upon this thread. I want to do the same swap in my 78. If I understand your thread, you cannot just swap without switching the ignition wiring? I was planning on finding a tilt wheel with a good ignition switch and key. Like to hear how things went with Hailey our swap? Jim

Offline EA1 Jenks

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The site with the rack kit says it is for much newer GM cars, 90ís?

Offline Aus78Formula

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ignore, wrong reply.