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Discussion Starter #1
I had to do it, but it was my own '86 Spider.

I took the day off to tear apart the lawn tractor and while i was in town checking on the price of parts, my ignition switch suddenly stopped working. The key goes in, the steering wheel lock releases, but then it just dead-ends before it gets to the degree of rotation needed to supply electricity anywhere.

Well, I took off the shroud covering the bottom of the steering wheel, and saw that there were only a few wires coming out, so I made some jumpers with some lamp cord and spade connectors and hotwired the alfa to get it home. I think it's the first time I've ever hot-wired a car.

Now, the questions come. I don't know how to remove the ignition switch, and my IAP workshop manual doesn't show this. Are these switches easily repaired? Are replacement switches easy to come by? Does this sound like a common problem?

I can drive the car as-is, but I'd really like to fix it right. wires dangling between the knees while driving isn't exactly elegant. If the switch is too hard to get to, I might rig up a temporary solution with a rocker switch and a momentary switch mounted on a pad underneath the dash. I can't see losing an entire driving season over something like this!!

Tim
 

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1966-2013
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They aren't too awful bad to replace and are somewhat readily available. (around $120 something w/2 keys I think)

You'll need a dremel with a cutoff wheel or simular to cut a groove in the retaining bolt so you can remove it with a screwdriver. (it's a shear bolt simular to the dizzy hold down bolt that ends up with no head, just a pan, when it's installed. It's not overly tight, just impossible to turn without some type of groove cut in it)

There's pix somewhere around here of the process.

The big trick is getting the proper replacement switch as there was a transition from a short barrel to a long barrel sometime around 85-86.

The long barrel will fit either column, but will stick out of the clamshell on a short barrel setup, while a short barrel will also fit either column, but won't stick out of the clamshell properly. (IIRC, you prolly have the long barrel)

There's also a difference in wiring between them, (number of wires and plugs is different), which is prolly your best method for deciding which one you actually need.

Then there's that whole 'do you want lighted or unlighted' to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, Tifosi. You've been a great help with my problem and for others with a similar problem, from what I can see. This is exactly the information I needed. I probably have the long barrel, and it looks like a lighted switch, though my light was not connected.

I also found that one of my "mystery wires", a disconnected wire under the dashboard comes from the ignition switch. That wire had a behavior that baffled me--it was hot when I started the car, but after a minute, the power went away. Then it came back on when I parked the car. It makes sense that such a wire might supply an ignition switch light. I don't know if I'll try to hook up the light. It seems that the bezel around the switch covers it anyway.

Tim
 

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Glad to be of serivce.

If yours is lighted, then yes, you'd have one wire that was hot when you opened the doors and stayed that way until the curtesy light timer shut it and the other lights off after X amount of time. (if you're not opening the doors and getting power the way you describe, especially after shutdown, then I don't have a clue what it would be unless mabe you've got an aftermarket alarm system in there that it might be part of?)

The light proper is one of those dinky bulbs simular to what goes in the little hood over the climate control sliders and is mounted in the side of the barrel in a plastic housing. (the one in the linked picture is not a lighted barrel)

The bezel does cover it, but the light itself actually projects out through the keyhole proper by design, so you know where to aim your key in the dark or when the curtesy lights are set to off.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't figure out the door opening part on that wire, but it's probably correct. When I wanted to "hardwire" my radar detector into the car, I went hunting for a suitable wire underneath the dash. I found a couple that seemed promising, and were unconnected to anything. One went to ground, and the other was hot. So I used those. The problem was that about 30 seconds after I started driving, the radar detector shut down. I'd stop, shut the car off, and the detector would come back on. It was exactly the opposite of what I wanted, and I was completely baffled as to why one would need such behavior from the car's electrical. I had no clue that the key switch was lighted, as mine never worked and until I removed the shroud, I had no clue there was a light circuit in there!!

I found the switch at IAP for $120, and one at Centerline for $98. Any idea whether they are the same, or which is better?

Tim
 

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No idea on the difference. Might be worth a call though.

Sipea is the manufacturer for the factory stuff, beyond that :shrug:

Radar detector:

Do you have power windows and mirrors?

If not, you can tap into where the relays would go in the fusebox to get a keyed power source. (well, you could anyway, but it's a bit more tedious with stuff in the way)

Just a matter of probing the empty plug sockets with a multimeter to determine which one gets the power with the key on.

I've got my amp and fog lights connected that way and have had no problems yet after 2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Geez, that security bolt is a friggin' pain in the posterior!!!! I finally had some time to start messing with it last night, and I was back at it this morning. First attempt was to use a cut-off wheel in a dremel type of tool so I could turn it with a screwdriver. I could not get it to budge. Not at all. Tried several times to make a bigger slot so I could use a larger driver, but that didn't help. Second approach was to turn it with a sharp object and a hammer blow. That was a no-go. Third approach was to drill a hole and use an "easy out" to extract the bolt. I managed to drill the hole off-center (can't quite get my head far enough under the dash to see well, but close enough so that it should have worked. No good. Forth approach was to drill it out more, and chip away a large enough piece of the head so that a larger screwdriver could fit in the opening, and the edge could turn the bolt. That failed, too.

Fifth approach will have to wait until the end of my workday. The new switch works great, I just can't seem to get the old one out. Am I missing something? Does the key need to be in some special position when trying to turn the security bolt? I'm ready to grind the entire thing out.

Hey Tifosi, thanks for the tip on the wiring, but I do have it all set. After I realized I couldn't use the "unused" wires, I tested things with my multimeter and isolated a hot wire that would be safe to use. It works great now. I keep the detector on the left of the speedo pod, in the corner of the windshield where it's not easily noticed. I have it attached at a slant so that the detector faces forward and my eyes are able to see the lights without moving my hand from the driving position. This seems to be much better than the "middle of the windshield" position that is most commonly used.

Tim
 

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there might be another way to fix that problem, my 74 started not starting last winter, it was the interlock in the switch that will not let you star the car after the car has started. I sprayed some wd40 in the key slot and the mechanism works ok now.
cliff
 

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flat screwdriver with steel top (the one that you can hit with the hammer without breaking it) AFAIR I hit that thing a few times with that setup and i was able to use that scewdriver to unscrew that thing... though it may not work for you...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
WD-40 in the key slot was the first thing I tried. It was also the second and third thing. Then I hotwired the car so I could get home. It's too late now, anyway. I cut the wire bundle from the old ignition switch to give myself more working room.

I don't see how I could get a hammer to swing in those confined spaces, unless I removed the steering column. Did I mention that I'm trying to do this with the steering column in place? I did remove the knee pads.

I know the bolt is not supposed to be that hard to turn, but I haven't been able to budge it, even with a pair of pliers on the screwdriver for leverage. Believe me, it's not going anywhere without some persuasion. I've been contemplating taking my blowtorch to it, but I think I'll try some gentler persuasion first.

Tim
 

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how about cutting a slot in the end or flats on the end of the bolt with a dremmel with cutoff disk? saved me more than once.
cliff
 

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WD-40 in the key slot was the first thing I tried. It was also the second and third thing. Then I hotwired the car so I could get home. It's too late now, anyway. I cut the wire bundle from the old ignition switch to give myself more working room.

I don't see how I could get a hammer to swing in those confined spaces, unless I removed the steering column. Did I mention that I'm trying to do this with the steering column in place? I did remove the knee pads.

I know the bolt is not supposed to be that hard to turn, but I haven't been able to budge it, even with a pair of pliers on the screwdriver for leverage. Believe me, it's not going anywhere without some persuasion. I've been contemplating taking my blowtorch to it, but I think I'll try some gentler persuasion first.

Tim
lol, i was lying upside down :) with my head underneath the steering wheel, but I did it :)
though now i`m recalling that I first drilled 2 tiny holes one next to the other and then used the hammer and screwdriver to bust into those holes ...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, I got it out. I drilled another hole, and chipped out enough of the head that I could get a screwdriver in and pry the bolt loose. Once I was able to get it moving, it came out easily.

That's when I discovered that the switch I bought (3 wire Sipea) is about a centimeter too long. I've just ordered a 4 wire with the shorter barrel from another supplier, and the sales guy was pretty surprised to learn that the barrel length was different between the two.

So it looks like I'll be hotwiring my car for another week or so. This gives me a great opportunity to straighten up all of the wiring underneath the dash, dip the unused wires in some "liquid tape" so that they don't short against anything, and clean up the contacts on the fusebox and connectors.

The hard work is done, I'm happy to say, and I didn't need the blowtorch.

Hey Cliff, that is a great suggestion, and it's the first thing I tried. But in my case, the screwdriver just couldn't apply enough force. I ended up tearing up my slot. In retrospect, I probably should have cut a deeper slot, but I was already cutting into the steering column casing as it was.

Tim
 
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