Defender Defender ignition switch repair / re-assembly

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Hout Bay
    Thanked: 0

    Default Defender ignition switch repair / re-assembly

    Defender ignition electrical switch repair / re-assembly.
    Done on 1995 Defender 110

    • Ignition switch does not work
    • Ignition / key rotates but no contact is made
    • Ignition key rotates, but does not jump back to “on” position after cranking (no spring push back)

    Disclaimer: this worked for me, may not work for you - use this info at own risk.

    Loosen instrument panel (+/- 4 screws – depending on what is holding it together)
    No need to undo electrical connections on instrument panel
    Unplug speedo cable by squashing raised section on sides of white plastic connector
    (can be tricky as side clips don’t move much – keep trying)

    Remove steering column covers (no need to remove steering wheel)
    5-6 screws from below.

    Ignition lock section should be accessible.

    Unplug connections on switch.

    Don’t worry about marking which one goes where – will show correct positions further down (mine looks slightly different as I have immobilizer installed - the above picture seems correct)

    Apparently it is possible to remove the electrical switch assembly from the ignition lock body without removing latter from the steering column. I did not even try as it seemed impossible to reach one of the small side screws. It will also be very difficult to replace the electrical switch with correct positioning of the shaft and bush from the key cylinder section.

    Assuming you need to remove the entire section, this is how:
    The ignition lock section is mounted on the steering column with two safety bolts (aka shear bolts – ~R20 each).
    Mine had been replaced with normal bolts so easy to remove.

    For removal of safety bolts see other forum discussions, for example:

    The complete ignition lock/switch assembly looks like this and I believe it costs about R1500,

    With the ignition lock out, the electrical switch portion can be separated by removing the two small screws on either side of the switch:

    Switch is operated by shaft from lock/key section. Remove shaft and end bush that fits into electrical switch.

    Switch out, showing separation problem I had:

    One of the housing clips was loose, allowing the switch to come apart.
    Note alignment markings added to show position of white section to raised key on housing. Two stripes also = spade contact number 2 on switch, with two spades (anti-clockwise numbering on switch in this view 1 2 3 5 – no 4)

    Now you can either replace the switch with a new one (~R200)

    Or proceed with re-assembly instructions below.

    If you switch is not already coming apart like mine, then you may have to bend the three housing clips away from the plastic section so that the switch can be disassembled – use thin-nose pliers. Be careful not to break clips off – just bend bump section away.

    Take care not to lose the loose parts:
    rotating copper contact section,

    three small springs behind it, held in place with spot of grease

    ball bearing

    and main spring section in lower part of switch

    This is what had come loose in my switch.

    Re-assemble the switch as follows:
    One side of main spring latches onto plastic just next to ball bearing spring

    Other side hooks onto plastic tab about 90 degrees to the right

    Main spring is now in correct position

    Place ball bearing in place on its spring

    Align metal switch housing so that two round cavities are opposite the ball bearing.

    Lower the metal housing onto the plastic section and rotate so that plastic centre potion protrudes very slightly from the metal housing:

    Apply continuous pressure to keep the parts in this position, else you will have to start over.

    Insert the three springs on the other side of the plastic body (note screwdriver holding body in housing)

    Place copper contact section over these springs (maintain pressure on body – you will figure it out)

    Now for the trickiest part.
    While maintaining pressure on the main assembly as shown above, align the remaining white section with spade/blade contacts so that number 2 spade contact is closest to the key on outside of the metal housing:

    Lower section onto each other while maintaining pressure on the assembly within the housing. This can be done using a thin jewellers screwdriver through one of the two small holes in the centre of the section with spade contacts:

    With all in place, keep pressure on full assembly until the housing catches have been bent into locking positions.

    This can be done by clamping with a small G-clamp or in a small bench vice.

    Bend/punch clips on housing to catch plastic sections

    Switch assembly complete.

    This is how switch works:

    See very small numbers on plastic body: Contact numbers 1 2 3 5 (no 4) – (anti-clockwise)
    Contact 1 = starter motor trigger (usually white/red)
    Contact 2 = double spade: this is where the brown wire from battery+ goes
    Contact 3 = ignition on (usually white), everything on
    Contact 5 = “Auxillary on” (usually white/orange) This is disconnected from battery when key is in crank position.
    Roman numerals indicate key positions and which contacts are connected to Contact 2/battery+ at those key positions. Check with continuity meter when switch has been re-assembled into ignition lock section.

    That’s it – now reassemble switch into ignition lock section. I will leave you to figure out the shaft and bush, two small screws).
    Ignition assembly back onto steering column, best to do it with mechanical lock in extended position to assist with alignment.

    Replace two safety bolts.
    Attach correct wires to spades as shown above.

    This is a good time to test if ignition switch is working.

    Reassemble steering column covers, attach speedo cable, instrument panel in place with appropriate number of screws.

    All done, have a beer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    De Wildt
    Thanked: 10126


    This is as far as I will get:

    "Now you can either replace the switch with a new one (~R200)"
    2012 Jeep Sahara Unlimited 3.6 V6

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Thanked: 109


    This is now a detailed diy tip
    Four wheels move the body,
    Landys move the soul.
    Current: Discovery 1 V8i
    Next landy, D3 V8 HSE Previous one.D1 300 TDi donkey, D1 V8 Fuel THIEF!!! freelander 1, biggest pos known to man,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Fourways Gardens
    Thanked: 587


    What a 'first post'!

    Thanks for the contribution, keep them coming

    Defender Puma Raw Limited Edition
    Series III 88"
    Scout Nomad

    Chop your own firewood and it will warm you twice

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