How to Remove the Ignition Switch in a 1999 Pontiac Cars

by Contributing Writer

The ignition switch on a Pontiac car Am is responsible for signaling the starter to turn over, which in turn starts the engine. If your Pontiac car Am's ignition switch goes out, the starter doesn't know when to engage and the Pontiac car Am will not start. To fix the problem, you'll have to replace the ignition switch with a new one. First though, the old switch has to come out.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch in a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery terminal with the appropriate sized socket and ratchet.

Remove the trim piece surrounding the steering column. Unscrew the three Torx screws on the bottom of the piece and unhook the lower piece of trim from the upper piece. These are hooked together at the rear of the steering column, closest to the instrument cluster.

Unscrew the two screws on the top of the trim piece surrounding the instrument cluster and pull it forward to remove it.

Remove the instrument cluster by unscrewing the six screws securing the cluster, two on the top, two on the sides and two on the bottom. Pull the cluster forward, remove the electrical connections and completely remove the cluster.

Pry out the small trim piece around the ignition by placing a small, flat head screwdriver behind the piece and applying pressure.

Insert a small screwdriver behind the radio trim piece and pry it forward, repeating at different points around the piece until it comes off.

Remove the four screws securing the radio in place, disconnect the antenna and stereo connections then pull the radio completely out.

Unscrew the two bolts holding the ignition in place with the appropriate sized socket and ratchet.

Disconnect the electrical connectors from the ignition.

Depress the small tab in the middle of the ignition to disconnect the interlock cable.

Items you will need

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Torx screwdriver set

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch on a Trans Am

Pop the hood. Remove the negative and then the positive terminal connections with an open-end wrench. Allow the Trans Am to sit for 30 minutes. Lock the steering wheel by pushing it from side to side, then make sure the ignition switch is locked in place as well.

Remove the panel below the steering column using the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket. Unbolt the steering column cover using the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket as well. Unbolt the steering column from the dashboard framework with the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket, then lower the column down slightly to gain access to the top of the column.

Unplug the yellow wiring harness on the steering column with your hands, then unplug the remaining wiring on the column. Remove the ignition switch actuator rod from the ignition switch using the Phillips-head screwdriver. Remove the ignition switch from the car.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set

  • 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch in a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville

Removing the Wheel

Disconnect the car's negative battery cable. If your Bonneville is equipped with air bags, disconnect the positive cable afterward, then wait 2 minutes. Skip to Step 3 if there are no air bags.

Twist a flat screwdriver clockwise in each of the two openings in the back of the steering wheel until the air bag module pops loose. Lift the module up and off the steering wheel, then press the electrical connector's clip to disconnect it.

Grasp and remove the steering wheel nut's retainer in the center using locking pliers, then remove the nut with a wrench and deep socket.

Mark the wheel's relationship to the steering shaft, marking a line down the top end of the wheel and shaft with a dark marker.

Turn the steering wheel's center bolt with a steering wheel puller clockwise to tighten the bolt until it pops the wheel loose and free, then remove the puller from the wheel. Disconnect the horn's and other electrical connectors by pressing their tabs, then remove the wheel.

Changing the Switch

Remove the steering column trim covers by unscrewing the two screws from the lower column with a Phillips screwdriver, and separating the two column halves by hand.

Insert the key in the lock cylinder and turn it to the Start position. Insert a size 3/16 Allen wrench into the small hole in the top of the lock cylinder casing; the cylinder's release pin is in that hole.

Turn the key to the Run position while pressing down on the release pin with the Allen wrench, and pull the lock cylinder/switch out.

Insert the key for the new lock cylinder in the cylinder, then slide the cylinder and ignition switch into the hole. Be sure the key is lined up with the "Run" position that is marked on the cylinder casing.

Reconnect the steering column covers to the column, pushing them together on the column so their clips engage, then screw the lower column in place with its screws and your screwdriver.

Reconnecting the Wheel

Slide and push the steering wheel onto the steering shaft, using your tape/paint marks to properly align the shaft and wheel. Install and tighten the steering wheel nut as tightly as possible; tighten it to 30 foot-lbs. if you have a torque wrench.

Connect the electrical connector for the air bag, horn and other components using their quick-connect fittings you disconnected previously. Gently slide the air bag module onto the steering wheel; the retaining pins should engage and lock the module in place.

Reconnect the car battery, starting with the positive cable before the negative one if you had completely disconnected the battery.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Flat screwdriver

  • Marker

  • Locking pliers

  • Deep socket

  • Steering wheel puller

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • 3/16 Allen wrench

  • Torque wrench (optional but recommended)

 How to Remove the Ignition Switch in a Pontiac Sunfire

Pop the hood. Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then disconnect the positive terminal. Remove the steering column covers from the steering column using the Phillips head screwdriver.

Put the key in the ignition. Turn it to the "Run" position, but do not start the Sunfire. Locate the locking button located on the backside of the ignition cylinder housing. Push the button and then pull the lock cylinder away from the column.

Unscrew the ignition switch from the steering column using the Phillips head screwdriver. Unplug the wiring to the switch by hand, then take the switch up and off of the steering column and away from the Sunfire.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Phillips head screwdriver