How to Change the Tilt Wheel Ignition Key Switch on a 1989 Ford Ranger XLT

As with most cars, the ignition key switch in a 1989 Ford Ranger allows the driver to start the vehicle. When the key is turned, it turns a switch which allows electrical current to pass through to the starter. The starter will begin to spin and turn the motor which will start the vehicle. When the ignition key switch goes bad, the driver won't be able to start the vehicle properly -- so the switch must be replaced. Replacing the ignition switch on a tilt wheel steering column allows you to move the steering column for easier access to the ignition switch.

Tools Used: Screwdriver, Steering wheel puller tool kit, Torque wrench

Change the Tilt Wheel Ignition Key Switch

Remove the battery cables from the battery by loosening the small nut on the clamp at the end of the battery cables and pulling the battery cables away from the battery terminals. Take off the steering wheel by removing the steering wheel pad. The steering wheel pad screws are located on the back of the steering wheel.

Pull the steering wheel pad away from the steering wheel and unplug the horn wires that are plugged into it. Unscrew the nut that is holding the steering wheel onto the steering wheel shaft and use a steering wheel puller tool to remove the steering wheel from the column. Attach the steering wheel puller to the steering wheel with two of the bolts provided in the kit and turn the long bolt in the center until the steering wheel comes off.

Remove the lower steering column cover by unscrewing the two screws holding it on and the steering column shrouds located around the ignition switch. The screws from the steering column shrouds are located on the bottom side of the steering column. Tilt the steering column downwards so you can access the ignition switch and unplug the wires going into it.

Unscrew the retaining nuts that are holding the ignition in place on the studs and pull it away from the switch's actuating rod and out of the vehicle. Make sure the new ignition is set into the "Lock" position and place it over the actuating rod. Screw the nuts back onto the studs to 3.3 to 5.3 foot-pounds of torque.

Plug the electrical wires into the new ignition switch and reinstall the steering wheel shrouds onto the steering column. Reinstall the lower steering column cover making sure the screws are hand tightened for both the steering wheel column shrouds and the lower steering column cover.

Reinstall the steering wheel by placing it back onto the steering wheel shaft and tightening the nut onto the center bolt. The nut should be tightened to 23 to 33 foot-pounds of torque. Plug the horn wires back into the steering wheel pad and reattach it to the steering wheel by hand-tightening the two screws holding it on.

Reattach the battery cables to the battery by placing the clamps over the battery terminals and tightening the small clamp screw at the end of each cable. Insert the key to the new ignition switch and turn it to test it and see if it works properly.

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