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Steering Column Repair/1977 c10 Ign Actuator/Switch issue


Hello and thank you up front for any help you can offer.  My friend and I are working on a 1977 Chevy C10 project truck that came to us with some pretty serious problems.  The previous owner left a mess.  It came with 2 nearly complete steering columns, neither of which were in the truck.  We have it re-assembled and all is moving along but there is an issue with the ign switch or actuator rod.  what I believe to be happening is this,....When the key is in the off position, the switch is actually in the run position, when the key is turned to the run position, the switch is actually in crank and turns the starter.  When the engine starts, the starter stays engaged unless the key is turned.  If turned tho the off position, the engine continues to run.  Also, I am able to turn the key to the start position after cranking and the engine will keep running as long as I keep the key turned.  When I release it, the spring pushed the key back to the run position and re-engages the starter.  Also, the key tumbler/column only seems to have 3 positions,, run, and start.  No ACC position is visable on the column nor will the key turn backwards any farther.  The switch clearly has 4 positions.  I was thinking that since parts were used from both columns to build the one, could the actuator rod be slightly longer on one column thus causing the switch to be in a wrong position?  Adjustments to the switch haven't helped much and I don't believe there is any room on the gear block at the top of the actuator rod for adjustment on that end.  The only thing left i can think of is that the actuator rod is about one switch position too long.  Any advice is greatly appreciated because I'm about stumped.

Hello Ed:

You never said if your columns were tilt or non-tilt.  Those 2 designs use different switches even though they look similar.
The tilt switch has the spring mechanism closest to the driver and when the ignition is turned on and then to start, you are pulling the rod towards you inside the switch.
The non-tilt column has a rod and mechanism that pushes the switch towards the floor when you go to start it.
So....with that said, you need to make sure you have the correct switch for the column you are working on.  If you think you do, then you need to make sure it is mounted correctly.  Many people have this exact problem because they are mounting the switch upside down or trying to use a non-tilt switch on a tilt column (or vice versa).  Either switch needs to be mounted with the electrical terminals facing the passenger side of the column and the bracket wraps around the left side sitting flush on the column.  The rod one either design sticks straight up at 90 degrees and is NEVER needed to be bent to fit.

If these instruction do not help you then I suggest you call me at my company on Tuesday and we can talk it though  Steering Column Services.  435-319-6011  

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Douglas Gan


My specialties are stolen vehicles, steering column and ignition locks repair, airbag service and installation and diagnosis. My work includes both domestic (USA) vehicles and foreign designs.


30 years owning a company that specializes in steering columns, ignition & airbag related problems

GM certified, ASE certified, 4 yrs college, Mech Tech degree
I own multiple auto repair companies and can help you professionally through any of our websites at: ---- we stock many older steering column parts and can rebuild your column if you ship it to us --- we sell airbag replacement information (no parts) -- we perform investigations for many types of vehicle claims
Please feel free to contact us through any of our websites for more information or help

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