Most car thieves use a large screw driver. The ignition lock is made out of pot metal (Zinc mostly alloyed with a little aluminum and copper) it is soft and brittle and breaks easily. Once it is out you will have to disassemble the column to get the remnants of the switch lock mechanism out and replace what broke.
Or take the whole thing down to your local GM dealership (or a competent locksmith) and have them remove it with a paper clip and one of their fifty master keys (they have to try them all sequentially to find a fit so there will be a dealer prep and handling fee I'd imagine). Either way you will have to pay a little more to get it out.
A key is not necesary to remove the lock cylinder, but you will have to disassemble the upper part of the column. You can do it yourself but some special tools are needed; a steering wheel puller and a lock plate compressor. If you can buy or borrow these I can give more detailed instructions on how to get it out. If your in the Tuscon AZ area come by and I'll show you how
remove plastic cover from lock plate (plastic cover may or may not be present. some are held on with screws, others just snap on)
install lock plate tool, depress lock plate and remove the little ring from the groove. It is easiest to put a small pointed pick under it thru one if the grooves in the shaft by the split in the ring, then lift and use a screw driver to start working it up towards the end of the shaft out of the groove.
Once it is out of the groove up on the shaft, release the tool and remove the ring and plate.
Next remove the cancel cam and spring.
At this point the book says to remove the turn signal switch, well I cheat a little. Remove the 3 screws and turn signal lever. Unhook the harness plug from the bracket on the lower column and just pull the switch up far enough to pull it up out of the bucket and out of the way. It saves the hassle of having to thread the harness back down the column.
Next is the warning buzzer contacts, they pull straight out.
Now is the where you have to locate the slot to release the spring loaded retainer. If you have the new switch it makes it real easy, just hold the switch up to the casting and locate the flashing that neds to be removed to gain access. Also notice the little plastic button sticking down where the buzzer contacts were. With a key in the switch this button retacts and it does make it easier to remove the switch. You will have to pull hard to get the cylinder out if you have no key. (Actually any key may work as the cylinder does not need to turn.)
Assembly is the reverse (or so they say )
My best time for doing this in the car from the time I sit down in the seat is 12 minutes. First one took 40 minutes.
Replacing ignition locks and tightening tilt columns bought a lot of parts for my projects over the years. I would never let the customer watch or wait. It was always a drop off and pick up with at least 2 hours in between. My prices were about half of what the dealership charged and made for happy customers. Another money maker was repairing columns from theft attempts for insurance companies. Since moving I have lost all my customers and connections, but the extra time is nice.
I like fishing! I'm just trying to get my garage straightened out from just moving in and selling my 2 chevelles. The pullers will be no problem, time is. I'm not in a real big hurry just yet. This will be a changeover from automatic to 4 speed unless I change my mind. I need to paint my car, build an engine and do the interior too. So I will do this soon cause I want to ride this beauty! Thanks for the info, if I get it straightened out in the next couple days I will put in on the work table and tear into it, it shouldn't take too long I hope. :thumbsup: :beers:
when i changed mine on a 77 nova non tilt i just put a screw in the ignition and used a slide hammer // to get the wheel off you dont need a puller just screw a bolt into the hole the puller would go into and put a wrench on it and push it against the center bar in the column
I can't depress the spring tab to save my life! I have the column apart and can see the top and bottom of the upper part that houses the switch. I dont have the key and I need to get this switch out. I have the thin pot metal out of the slot and have tried to keep to the right side of the slot while depressing (trying to) the retainer. It just doesnt want to happen for me! WHat am I missing?
Hey Phillip does the switch have to be rotated to the "run" or "on" position to allow the retainer to retract? Will be difficult since he doesn't have the key. But I'm thinking the retainer may NOT be able to to move with the key in the "off" position because there may be metal behind it and when you move it to the "on" position there may be an indentation that will allow the retainer to release is that correct???? or NOT??? I'm thinking out loud here.............
Dale, No it will come out without the key.
John, can you feel the tab depressing when you push on it? If so try screwing a sheet metal screw into the key hole so you have something to grab. Depress the retainer and pull the lock cylinder out using pliars. Sometimes they can be a bear to remove.