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Servicing Chrysler non-tilt Standard Columns -1969 to 89
Posted by Rod Williams - Phoenix, AZ - USA - Gonzo Impressioning on March 09, 2003 at 10:18:50:

Standard Column


The following pictures are of a mid-eighties model Dodge van, the column is the standard, non-tilt style. This is the same basic column that Chrysler has been using since
ignition locks were first mounted in the column.

There were very few changes made since this column was first introduced. Most of the changes over the years involved the ignition lock retainer, minor changes but still located in the same area with the same service procedures.

If you remove an ignition or a electrical ignition switch from a 1969 Dodge Dart, it is much the same as models all of the way up to when the double sided, modular column took over around 1989-90.

The columns are simple to work on, there are few hazards to look out for. If you follow procedure, removing an ignition lock usually takes 5 minutes. Halderman says it takes 10 minutes but I don't eat donuts while working, so...
: + )

The main hazard to watch out for... when removing the C clip from the center steering column shaft for the bearing, make sure that the center shaft is locked down so that it will not slip when the clip is removed. 

Bill Newns recommends opening the hood and clamping round jaw vicegrips on the steering shaft in such a manner that when the center shaft bearing clip is removed, the column does not drop. If the column drops it may be a little annoying to get back into place in order to replace the clip when reassembling. 

Sparky says to put the vice grips on your nose and wiggle your feet a lot, while eating a donut. Helps with the circulation. 

If you run into a column to repair where the customer allowed the shaft to drop then screw the steering wheel nut on the center shaft, turn the ignition key to ON, and use a broadbladed screwdriver to pry carefully up on the nut until the grooved channel that holds the clip in the center shaft is visible

The Chrysler non-tilt - Standard Column is easy to service.

For Chrysler, the threaded puller bolt holes in the steering wheel are substantial as they are large in comparison to GM, Ford or any other steering wheel I've seen.

The center shaft is splined and mates with the steering wheel, there is a double wide area in the spline arrangement of each piece, the steering wheel is made to go on one way only.

Disconnecting the battery on this vehicle is optional. If you are just going to remove the ignition lock, disconnecting the battery may be the most dangerous part of the job, especially if the battery is in a weak condition as that is when hydrogen gas is most abundant. Wear safety glasses when working around batteries, disconnect the negative cable first. The only live wire in the column with the ignition
switch in the OFF position is the horn wires so at worst you may accidentially honk it.

It's a good idea when pulling any wheel to make sure that good quality, hardened bolts are used. Make sure that each bolt is screwed in an equal amount, use a screwdriver or long awl to measure with, gives a fairly quick and accurate measurement. For a wheel that is rusted on, you need all of the help you can get, use the shortest bolts possible, use an accurate measuring device to
make sure each bolt is in the same amount of threads before pulling. Tapping on the top of the puller when tight and spraying a good product like WD40 or Liquid Wrench on the shaft is helpful.

I can't remember a time when I had a stuck wheel on a Chrysler non-tilt, column, they are usually easy to remove. Of course I am telling you this from my experiences in Phoenix Arizona, the land of little rust and very little salt.

Remove the 3 Phillips screws from the plate that's around the center of the turn signal assembly, carefully pull the plate off being careful not to break the delicate cancelling cams on the turn signal assembly. Mark the plate for

Remove the 3 Phillips screws from the lock bowl housing. At this point, if you are only removing the ignition lock, you may be able to separtate the lock housing from the lower shift housing by pulling up on it and then turn it to the right until the large access hole is lined up with the screws holding on the lock pin guide plate. You will have to watch the wires to make sure they do not pinch. You can then remove or loosen the locking lever guide plate screws enought to see the ignition lock retainer peeking out from the lower right side. Otherwise you will need to clamp a
curved jaw vicegrip on the steering shaft located
under the hood then remove the center shaft bearing C clip which will allow the lock housing to be completely removed. No biggie either way, your choice.

Under the lock housing is the notched lock plate, it lifts off and so does the spring underneath. It's a simple arrangement and would be difficult to re-assemble incorrectly.

Now you can easily see the locking lever, the locking lever guide plate and the 2 large headed Phillips style screws. The lock retainer is just behind this plate, barely peeking out from the right side. Easy to access. In the case of a
double retainer which some models incorporate, the second retainer would be located behind the key buzzer contact assembly, held on by Phillips screws. Once the buzzer contacts are pulled aside there would be a small, pea sized, round, silver, spring loaded trap door. Use an awl to depress through the trap door while pulling on the lock.
Make sure a key is not in the lock when removing.

You can also see from the pictures the electrical ignition switch which sits directly behind the ignition lock and is held on by 3 Phillips screws. On several occasions over the
years I have had to repair these switches by restaking them back together. Easy job. For complete removal, disconnect the harness under the dash, use a suitable tool to remove and mark each wire from the connector and pull out. Remove a few other obvious items and guide wires up and out.