Monday, September 16, 2013

Ignition et al

This was supposed to be a happy little story about using the right tool for the job, then things got out of hand...

Remember the other day when I did a great job troubleshooting and got the sunroof and interior lights fixed? Well at some point during that the horn, turn signals, flashers, wipers and washer quit working. Apparently this is a fairly common problem with the mk3 Jetta and a simple fix in replacing the ignition switch. The switch itself is cheap but unfortunately the one screw that holds it is in the most obnoxious place possible which requires pulling the steering wheel and the whole lock assembly. In the picture above I've just put my new 5 ton 2 arm puller onto the sleeve that adapts the steering wheel to the steering column. I'm sure theres a special place in hell for the guy who decided to not make the hole in the steering wheel the same diameter as the steering column and then only put a little tiny flange on the spacer. See the big wrench (1 1/16") below the puller? Its giving the puller something to pull on. I had to buy the puller because none of my 3 arm pullers would fit...

After I got the sleeve off I didn't realize that to remove the lock assembly I had to unlock the lock and managed to rip the assembly apart. Whoops! Fortunately a local junkyard had a replacement, I actually bought the whole steering column because I managed to bugger the threads on the end too, it was quite a morning. Here's a shot of the junk car I pulled from:

Now the new lock assembly came with a different lock tumbler but I don't want to have to use two different keys on my car so I want to transplant the tumbler from one lock assembly to the other. VW apparently never thought anybody would ever do this so they didn't make the lock tumbler removable. Fortunately they used a standard lock tumbler barrel so all you have to do is drill a hole in the lock assembly and stick in a pin. Well the instructions from VW are fairly vague so when I drilled the old lock assembly apart I had to also cut a groove to find the lever to push on.

Since I knew where to drill I did a much better job on the second one. Thats good because this lock assembly is staying in the car.

Anyway after considerable swearing I got the new steering column installed, this is a really lousy job because the column only goes in one way with 39 ways to do it wrong and you can't really tell which of the 40 possible positions you're in until you find out you did it wrong. Meanwhile you're standing on your head under the dash.

So finally, finally the new column is in, the lock is keyed correctly, the new ignition switch is in and ARGH, the horn, wipers, washer, lights, daytime running lamps, and high beams still don't work.
I went back and tested the original ignition switch and the one from the junk car, all act the same. So I guess it wasn't the ignition switch at all. Oh well, at least it was cheap.

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