Ignition switch just spins....no start position resistance - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Ignition switch just spins....no start position resistance

Something let loose in my 71 camaro steering column causing the ignition cylinder to freely spin through the start position that usually has the spring resistance. Any idea what likely broke and maybe a pic or instruction on repair.

I post this here, since it is the same steering column and key style as my Roadmaster. I am sure someone has run into this.

Thanks
Todd

95 RMW, 2 1/2 Pypes X, Dynomax VTs, CIA Tri-Y\'s and hook up pipes, swisscheese airbox, TB bypass, airpump del, EGR delete, herter tune, 160 T-stat, Ported F-car Alums with LS2 Beehives and Crane Gold 1.6RRs, GMPP 845, 3.73s, 3200 Vigilante, Trans Go Kit, mech fan del, 34mm front bar, 21mm Ford rear bar, monroe SS shocks, ZQ8 jounce bumpers, poly bushings all around, cop car body mounts, Taylor 8mm, AutoLite Iridiums,

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 11:47 AM
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Your description does not help much. If the car starts and runs but is easily rotated to the start position without the "spring resistance" I would guess you have a bad switch at the bottom of the column. I have not seen this failure. I do not see any other place where the spring would be.

While you wait for a qualified reply have a look at this web site for column diagrams:

steering column exploded views for ford, gm, dodge, chrysler, jeep, plymouth | Steering Column Services

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 12:13 PM
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The only spring return is for the start position. It has detents that are controlled by the switch on the top of the column under the dash, and the return spring for the start position is also contained in the switch. The lock rotates a rod, that goes through the column and turns a cam. The cam pushes a cast piece against a rod that goes to the actual switch. The rod fits into a hole in a slider with contacts on it to engage the different functions of the switch. When it is properly positioned, the switch will make the correct contacts corresponding with the functions desired.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 12:15 PM
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Assuming the Rod is still connected to the Ignition Switch, it's probably just a broken Tumbler/Lock Cylinder.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 12:42 PM
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The tumbler/lock cylinder does not have a return spring. The spring tension felt by the lock cylinder is transferred by the switch on the lower column.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:02 PM
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There is a spring on the left side of the steering column that attaches to the gear that actuates the rack gear. The function of this spring is to activate the steering wheel lock pin. It is the spring on the far right of the pic.
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1996 DGGM Impala SS

Last edited by 4x4high; 06-21-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:32 PM
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That spring only holds the parts together when they are not under load. It is called a preload spring, not a return spring.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulle...ion-parts.html
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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I assume this is the system I have. The cylinder rotates and stops at the expected 2 locations - it does not travel too far. It also exhibits no detent feel in the various function spots - just turns freely. The lock pin does actuate so the cylinder is apparently still connected to the sector gear.

What I gather here is that the rod has likely become disconnected via some broken part (pin at bottom of the rack, plastic sector gear, etc.)

Thanks
Todd
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95 RMW, 2 1/2 Pypes X, Dynomax VTs, CIA Tri-Y\'s and hook up pipes, swisscheese airbox, TB bypass, airpump del, EGR delete, herter tune, 160 T-stat, Ported F-car Alums with LS2 Beehives and Crane Gold 1.6RRs, GMPP 845, 3.73s, 3200 Vigilante, Trans Go Kit, mech fan del, 34mm front bar, 21mm Ford rear bar, monroe SS shocks, ZQ8 jounce bumpers, poly bushings all around, cop car body mounts, Taylor 8mm, AutoLite Iridiums,

[email protected] ??.? ?.?? 60\'
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Kiehl View Post
That spring only holds the parts together when they are not under load. It is called a preload spring, not a return spring.
Incorrect, the preload spring goes under the rack gear and preloads it. The spring I'm talking about actually connects to the gear that moves the rack gear.

It's been awhile since I've had to get into a GM steering column. The spring I was referring to IS NOT a return tension spring as I originally said but rather it is what actuates the steering wheel lock pin.

1996 DGGM Impala SS

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 04:46 PM
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Does the starter engage when you turn the key? If not then the rack gear has broken which is a very common problem and you'll find a new one at your local auto parts store in the "help" section.
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1996 DGGM Impala SS
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