How to Change the Ignition Switch on a 1984 Ford Pickup

by Dan Ferrell
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antique steering image by John Sfondilias from

The ignition switch on your 1984 Ford pickup is relatively easy to replace. The switch is mounted on the steering column, and you can gain access to it by lowering the column. However, once you remove the old switch, compare it with the new unit and make sure they both have the same configuration. Also, pay special attention to the new switch adjustment so the starting system of your Ford truck operates properly. This procedure applies to Ford pickups with steering-column mounted lock cylinders.


Step 1

Open the hood and disconnect the ground (black) battery cable, using a wrench.

Step 2

Make sure the ignition key is in the "Lock" position and the shift lever is in "Park" (automatic transmission) or "Reverse" (manual transmission).

Step 3

Remove the upper and lower steering column covers, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 4

Detach the steering column from the instrument panel, using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket, and carefully lower the column.

Step 6

Unscrew the ignition switch by unscrewing the two retaining nuts. Use the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Step 7

Lift the switch upward from the steering column to disengage the switch from the actuator rod and remove the switch from the steering column.


Step 1

Locate the metal pin installed on a small hole through the side of the new ignition switch. This pin secures the switch in the "Lock" position for installation.

Step 2

Engage the new switch on the actuator rod on the steering column.

Step 3

Screw the switch's two retaining nuts finger-tight, using the ratchet extension and socket, but do not tighten the nuts yet.

Step 4

Move the switch up and down, and notice the switch's amount of free travel on the actuator rod. Now position the switch so that there is the same amount of free play in both directions.

Step 5

Tighten the switch retaining nuts, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Step 6

Remove the metal pin that secures the switch in the "Lock" position, using a pair of nose pliers.

Step 7

Plug the switch electrical connector.

Step 8

Connect the ground (black) battery cable, using the wrench.

Step 9

Test the ignition switch and make sure it starts the engine only in "Park" or "Neutral." Try to start the engine in "Drive" and "Reverse." If necessary, readjust the switch by finding the middle point of free play as you did in Step 4.

Step 10

Attach the steering column to the instrument panel, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Step 11

Install the upper and lower steering column covers, using the Phillips screwdriver.

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