Buick Ignition Replacement Instructions

by Dan Ferrell

Removing one or more components in the ignition system of your Buick make take a few or several steps, depending on your particular model and the component you need to service. However, regardless of model, if your Buick is equipped with a supplemental restraint system (SRS-or air bag system), make sure to disarm it. Otherwise, you may trigger an impact sensor, accidentally deploy the air bags and seriously injure yourself.

Disable the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)

Position the front wheels so they point straight ahead and turn the ignition key to the Off position but do not remove the key. Then, from the fuse block located under the hood, remove the SRS fuse and wait at least 60 seconds before starting to disassemble the ignition system. Now begin to disconnect the air bags’ yellow connectors. You will find one at the base of the steering column, another one behind the glove box door assembly (if equipped) and two more under the driver’s and passenger’s seats (if equipped).

Remove the Steering Wheel

This step is necessary on many models to gain complete access to the ignition lock cylinder and switch. Position the steering wheel between the upper and lower tilt stops. Remove the steering wheel cover and the inflatable restrain module under the cover. Unplug the electrical connector and remove the wheel-retaining fastener. Look for the marks on the steering shaft and wheel. These marks should align during the re-installation process. Proceed to pull the wheel using a steering wheel puller.

Removing the Ignition Lock Cylinder

To gain access to the lock cylinder, detach the steering column trim covers, the lower instrument trim panel and tilt lever, if necessary. Remove the lower steering wheel trim cover and the upper trim cover fasteners, but do not remove the upper trim. After that, carefully lift the upper steering wheel trim cover, just enough to gain access to the lock cylinder. Now, using a bent tip awl, insert the tip into the ignition lock cylinder hole. Turn the ignition key to the Start position and push the lock-cylinder release pin with the awl. Release the ignition key to the Run position. At this point, you can remove the ignition lock cylinder.

Removing the Ignition Switch

With the ignition lock cylinder removed, break the plastic strap holding the ignition switch wiring harness to the steering column. Break the three plastic straps holding the wiring harness together and the strap at the top of the wiring harness at the upper tilt head assembly. You may replace these straps with plastic ties during re-assembly. After unplugging the ignition switch electrical connector, remove the theft deterrent module from the lock module assembly. This is a thin, small block with a square shape on one end and a circular shape on the other end. To remove the key alarm connector form the lock module assembly, rotate the small connector about 45 degrees clockwise. Now you can remove the two ignition-switch retaining fasteners and pull the switch from the steering column. When you are ready to install the ignition system components, follow the same procedure in reverse order. However, to install the lock cylinder, make sure to align the positioning locking tab slot on the module case to the positioning locking tab on the lock cylinder.

Arming the SRS

After re-installing all the components and steering wheel covers, re-arm the SRS system. Plug all the yellow connectors you unplugged at the beginning, install the SRS fuse and connect the ground battery cable. Position yourself out of the way of any air bag and then turn the ignition key to the Run position. Watch the air bag warning light on the dashboard and make sure it flashes several times and then stays off. If the warning light does not follow this pattern, check for any diagnostic trouble codes stored in the computer memory.

References

About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images