North American Turbocoupe Organization



ignition switch problem? or maybe the key tumbler.
Jmantooth Offline
Junior Member
#1
so, when I turn the key the car will crank and start but when I release the key it dies. Holding the key forward a little will keep the car running.  Is this a problem of the key tumbler or the ignition switch in the column?
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#2
(07-28-2020, 04:11 AM)Jmantooth Wrote: so, when I turn the key the car will crank and start but when I release the key it dies. Holding the key forward a little will keep the car running.  Is this a problem of the key tumbler or the ignition switch in the column?

Sounds like the ignition switch. Once you get the key past the tumblers and engaging the ignition switch, the ignition lock’s job is done. Like opening a locked doorknob.

First I would inspect the old switch for dirt, melted contacts, misalignment, etc. Failing all that, the easiest way is to get another ignition switch and install it, see if that solves the problem.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#3
The ignition switches like to separate where the pot metal part connects to the plastic part. The 4 tabs that hold the 2 pieces together get loose. Very common issue on all Fords from the 80s. New switch is cheap at any parts store and easy to replace. The 2 screws that hols the switch on are security Torx. What I do is use a Dremmel with a thin cutoff wheel to slot the screws and take them off with a flat blade screwdriver. Such a common failure that I carry a spare switch in the trunk.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#4
(07-28-2020, 01:11 PM)Jeff K Wrote: The ignition switches like to separate where the pot metal part connects to the plastic part. The 4 tabs that hold the 2 pieces together get loose. Very common issue on all Fords from the 80s.  New switch is cheap at any parts store and easy to replace. The 2 screws that hols the switch on are security Torx. What I do is use a Dremmel with a thin cutoff wheel to slot the screws and take them off with a flat blade screwdriver. Such a common failure that I carry a spare switch in the trunk.

As do I...also a spare starter solenoid, ever since I had one go wonky on me a couple of years ago. The engine kept cranking and would not stop. I was finally able to disconnect the battery. It must have been a full minute and likely more of continuous cranking before I cut the power. The key was off—in fact, I was holding it in my hand in disbelief—so there was no ignition. I subsequently replaced the battery terminals with quick-release ones and—even though I swore I would never mess with it again—the OEM clutch safety switch on the pedal. Never happened before on any of my cars; and it won’t again if I have anything to say about it. I guess it was defective—one of the several disappointing parts I purchased from a supplier I once had more faith in. (Rhymes with CRAPPA.)

But just to clarify, Jeff—there’s nothing inherently wrong with the screws, you just slot the screws for convenience’s sake, right?
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Jmantooth Offline
Junior Member
#5
I pulled the column shroud off and removed the ignition switch.  It came apart and as you can see the plug is a bit scorched.  Is there a source for new ignition switch plugs?


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KERRY88TC Offline
Junior Member
#6
(07-29-2020, 02:43 AM)Jmantooth Wrote: I pulled the column shroud off and removed the ignition switch.  It came apart and as you can see the plug is a bit scorched.  Is there a source for new ignition switch plugs?
I have replaced several on different turbo birds through the years without any issues. They were standard motor products number S611 or BWD brand number PT5534 from the parts stores. Not sure about a source if you are wanting an original part though.
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#7
(07-29-2020, 02:43 AM)Jmantooth Wrote: I pulled the column shroud off and removed the ignition switch.  It came apart and as you can see the plug is a bit scorched.  Is there a source for new ignition switch plugs?

I realize this is a new topic for you, but at least once a month it seems someone has this question or issue.

The electrical design of the Turbo Coupe ignition is seriously flawed. Too much current runs through the ignition switch—when the a/c, fog lamps, headlights are all on, the current draw is such that the switch eventually gives out, and melts like you see here.

There are several solutions. The one myself and others have switched to involves wiring in a relay that bears the current load of the fog lights. The existing wiring for them—through the switch—is nominal, and now powers the relay, which in turn now powers the fog lamps. It’s an easy fix, no matter your skill level.

You can add a relay that does the same with the headlamp current, but this fixed the problem for me.

Every year or two I was burning through these switches and connectors, so much so that I finally bought a half dozen of each as spares. Since I made that conversion—in 2014—I have had zero issues, and no more burned components.

You can find Jeff Korn’s How-to writeup here.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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