504 ignition switch
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default 504 ignition switch

    I think I've really done it this time. My problem is that my '74 504 GL (US model) will crank and almost start when key is turned to START but will stall out when key is released to ON position. Car will actually run fine if key is held slightly short of the START position. The back story here is that while successfully changing my water pump, a wire from the coil to the relay on the firewall (not the voltage regulator) got loose and while the car was running, melted on the engine block. This caused a short that also melted the wire that runs from the relay to the wire harness that in turn connects to the ignition switch. Replaced the wire from the coil to the relay and the relay to the harness- the wires from the harness to the ignition looked fine. After this the car started and ran fine for about 20 miles before the apparent ignition switch problem. Three questions 1) is my diagnosis of ignition switch problem on target? 2) was this co-incidental or did i fry my switch when I fried the wires and 3) having a devil of a time removing the ignition switch. Have removed the little bolt that holds it in and have aligned the key with the little dot on the face of the switch, depressed the pin, barrel still seems to be stuck on something. Not to mention that I'm not sure where a new switch with key will come from. Any advice would be helpful

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Your diagnosis could be correct, you might have fried more of the loom than first apparent and maybe the ignition switch as well.

    The barrels are usually easy to take out providing you have the key in the correct position (if it's not the pin won't press in), take the small bolt out, and press and hold the pin in. Also, make sure the cables have lots of slack in them, you may have to feed them through while gently pulling the barrel out.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Push in the pin first, then turn the key. That way you can feel the pin go in further. A little gentle persuasion (levering between switch and housing) may also be necessary.

  4. #4
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    Well things went from bad to worse. In wiggling the ignition switch with the key while pushing hard on the brass locking pin, the switch stiffened to the point that i broke the key off in the switch I suppose I can get the broken key out but since I have managed to locate a new ignition switch (with key), all I really need to do is get the old switch out, intact or in pieces. At this point from what I've read i can either drill into the lock or drill out the brass retaining pin. Any thoughts as to which route might be easier or more effective? Alternatively i can try to pull out the broken key and retry the standard "key in ACC position/push in lock pin" approach although I could not find a key position at which the pin depressed enough to allow cylinder removal.
    Last edited by rpieper; 7th September 2013 at 03:26 PM. Reason: misspelling

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger!
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    If you're able to drill out the pin, then that's the way to go, although, if you're able to remove the broken bit of the key and have a spare key I'd do that first - and then try again to remove the whole lock as per normal.

    In the past I've ended up getting out the cold chisel and hammer to remove that part of the casing (that surrounds the lock assembly) in line with the pin. In other words, there's then nothing to stop the assembly from sliding out with the pin still projecting. Brutal but efffective.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Peter and Beano. Did manage to fish the broken key out with the blade of a coping saw. Then tried the spare key and to my surprise it was very easy to get the locking pin to fully depress and to remove the ignition cylinder! The original key must have been worn just enough to not allow the locking pin to fully depress- I think I would have been at it forever using that key. And while I was typing this I was thinking "I wonder if the spare key will solve the other problem?" -went out, connected the battery, and with the spare key the car now starts and runs no problems?!. I have no idea what's going on and I may still need a new ignition switch but for now it's all good. Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger!
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    That's great news! A good result without mutilation.

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    GREAT !!!
    Whichever way you go, don't forget to get another spare key cut.....

    A bit odd though...the electrical part of the switch is completely separate from the lock part. My guess is that it will play up again.

    BTW, a locksmith once told me to not use those Neimann brand ignition switches (if that is what it is) too much when they are out of the car. There is part of the lock wall which is thin, and when they are installed it is prevented from bulging out by the shroud. It is that close a fit.
    Uninstalled, that part will bulge out and crack when you turn the switch. I've seen the results a few times. A sliver of metal cracks off.

  9. #9
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    Ah well it was a short lived victory. The car started and ran a few times with the spare key but then went back to the same previous problem (only runs with key held in no mans land between START and ON). With the cylinder out I removed the entire switch and wiring to have a look. It is a Neimann switch, nothing remarkable or melted/burnt looking. I removed the two screws and separated the electrical part from the mechanical part and also took out the rotating plastic cylinder in the electrical part just to clean all the contacts. Put it back together, put it in, and no change, same problem. Beano from your comments I gather you think it's a problem with the electrical part of the switch? As I see it I have two options 1) buy a whole new ignition switch, about $175 and that's assuming its got the same wiring as I need or 2) salvage a switch off a nearby '79 GL. No key for the latter so I'd have to use Peter's chisel approach to get it out, then re-use the electrical part assuming it works and matches my mechanical part. Just in typing this I think I've answered my question - I think I need the new switch.

  10. #10
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    These lock assemblies are good for a very long time but, with wear and tear, eventually start playing up. I'd try using the plastic switch from the other 504 before spending $175.00, it may just be the switch.

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    I agree.
    BTW, the electrical part of the switch is held in (from memory) by two screws, and you need to have the key in a certain position to take out the electrical section. Can't remember which position, but you'll find out

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