Tuning - Part 1 - 11/12/2015

In the quest for safe driving, I began tackling the brake lights and turn signals. None of them worked in the rear. Some diagnostics and cleanup of the tail lights solved their grounding issue and revealed a socket with weak spring metal for the bulb, but nothing that couldn't be worked around yet the brake lights remained elusive. Testing of the brake lights had to continue to isolate the switch and determine where the current wasn't getting through...

My personal favorite, zip ties hanging everything from themselves. I really don't know what the 10ga red wires are for, I presume they are coming from the alternator to feed *something* under the dash... Focus on job at hand... focus on job at hand...

Unfortunately the brake light switch isn't here. The 2 green wires on the plug are for the reverse lights (they work when plugged in!) and the green and black is for the kickdown switch. It is absent, but being a manual transmission that's not an issue.

Probably the hardest switch I've ever had to locate. Had to drop column down almost completely and locate the plug. It is rather short, so this is all I get. Also uses pink and white vs. orange and black of later years. Short the wires and see...

The brake lights "function" which is a term to be used loosely. They work... sometimes... Further investigation reveals that wiggling the turn signal lever causes everything to work and wiggling it some more causes it all to not work anymore. So the column has to be disassembled...

That's annoying. Rusty and grimy, and every little thing that could possible be broken is...

Put broken steering wheel pieces back together, get the steering wheel puller out and REALLY have to crank to get this one off...

Turn signal switch is here. Looks like it's been in the sand for decades.

Turn signal switch is beginning to be removed. Someone already dropped out the 3 screws that pre-load everything together so I had to pull it apart piece by piece. Fortunately they left them in the column (which is the sound I heard when trying to drive it one day).

Pre-load springs. The 2 washers on the left and the c-clip under the springs are called a thrust washer and a wave washer by GM. They go on the column in the previous picture. Pull them off and the assembly comes out.

The rest of the parts in the order they come out (except the upper bearing housing on far right). Everything is grimy and gooey.

Steering column shaft. Definitely needs to be cleaned and re-greased.

Turn signal switch comes out.

Turn signal switch comes apart and is revealed to be very gooey and gummed up. The spring mechanisms on the right of the turn signal lever were stuck.

Switch is cleaned up and ready to go. The loose lower spring is revealed to be caused by the plastic cylinder that holds the spring wire having broken off.

New grease applied, put back together. Tested and it actually works just like it should.

All of the column parts have been thoroughly degreased and are ready to be assembled. The springs, plate, upper bearing, turn signal switch, and upper bowl are actually all one assembly and get put together off of the column for easy assembly (but not so easy turn signal switch replacement).

Well that's a start. Lots of troubleshooting to find various problems. Steering column will get fresh grease and be reinstalled, should last a good while longer now that the 50 year old dried grease is gone!

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Last updated November 12th, 2015