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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Remove the 3 Phillips screws from the lock
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,
Under the lock housing is the notched lock
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
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
You can also see from the pictures the
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.