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How Do I Remove and Replace the Ignition Switch on a 2001 Chrysler?

by Marion Cobretti

The ignition switch on your Chrysler not only powers the accessories within the vehicle; it also controls the starter motor. Every time you turn the ignition key forward to start the vehicle, the switch sends a small current to the starter relay, which then sends current to the starter motor. A defective ignition switch will not perform this task, and will prevent your engine from starting. With a few tools, you can install a new ignition switch in your 2001 Chrysler, right at home. From start to finish, the job should take you 35 minutes to complete.

1

Raise the hood of your Chrysler and remove the black cable from the battery, using a socket wrench. Wait 10 minutes before you proceed with the repair, giving time to the capacitors connected to the SIR system (airbags) to fully discharge.

2

Remove the ignition key from your key chain. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it forward into the “RUN” position.

3

Move the entire driver’s seat as far back as it will go. Kneel down so that you’re able to see the lower steering column trim. Remove the screws that hold the trim in place, using the Phillips screwdriver. Pull the trim away from the steering column and place it on the floor, together with its screws.

4

Locate the ignition switch: If you follow the ignition key down the key lock cylinder, the ignition switch connects to the bottom of it. Unplug the large wiring harness plug from the bottom of the ignition switch.

5

Attach a T10 Torx socket to your socket wrench and remove the little Torx screw on the side of the ignition switch. Do not discard the screw; save it in a safe location--such as your pocket.

6

Press down on the two little retaining tabs on the top of the ignition switch--where they connect, at the bottom of the key lock cylinder. Pull the ignition switch away from its connection on the key lock cylinder.

7

Install the new ignition switch in the opposite way of the removal procedure of the old switch. Push the switch onto the base of the cylinder until you hear the two retaining tabs engage. They will click--audibly--into position.

8

Reinstall the ignition switch’s Torx mounting screw. Tighten the screw with your socket wrench, only until snug. Plug the wiring harness back onto the ignition switch.

9

Place the lower steering column trim back into position for mounting. Return each of its screws with the Phillips screwdriver. Tighten the screws a quarter turn past hand-tight. Do not over-tighten them, as you will crack the column trim.

10

Turn the ignition off and remove the key. Reconnect and secure the black cable to the battery, using the socket wrench. Shut the hood on your Chrysler.

Items you will need

About the Author

Marion Cobretti began working as a freelance writer in 2006. His work appears on Newsvine and other websites. Cobretti completed a three-year course in automotive technology and is currently seeking an Associate of Applied Science at Macomb Community College.

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