How to Install a Starter Push Button Switchby K.K. Lowell
If you're a gearhead, then there are only two types of vehicles: those with starter buttons, and those without. Since the earliest days of the automobile, starter buttons have been one of those little details -- like gated manual shifters and stand-alone tachometers -- that separate "real" cars from mere transportation appliances. Whether you're installing a starter button for pure utility, or just because it's awesome, you're still less than an hour from having a proper launch button on your dashboard.
Connect a memory saver device to your 12-volt outlet or battery cables per the manufacturer instructions. Disconnect the vehicle battery negative cable from the battery.
Determine the best location for the push button switch. It should be in an area of the dashboard which can be easily reached by the driver.
Use an electric drill and a drill bit of sufficient size to drill a hole large enough to mount the switch. Check your switch for the size as it can vary from one brand to another.
Locate the starter solenoid. It will be found under the hood and on the inner fender, such as the one in the photo, or it will be built on to the starter.
Strip approximately 1/4 inch of insulation from one end of the 14 gauge wire. Using the crimping tool, crimp a solderless terminal of the type necessary to fit the lugs on the back of your push button switch to the stripped end of this wire. Attach to the switch. Run the wire through the firewall and out to the solenoid.
Install a solderless terminal -- aka "weatherproof quick disconnect" -- which will fit the solenoid terminal to the wire and attach to the solenoid.
Fabricate a second wire and attach it to the switch; cut the wire about two feet longer then needed to reach the battery. Connect the opposite end to a 12 volt power source or directly to the positive terminal of the vehicle battery.
Find a place under your hood where you can mount and easily access a fuse for later service. Zip ties work well here, but many holders have tabs with holes for sheetmetal screws. Mount your inline fuse holder there.
Route your power wire to the fuse holder, cut the wire where need be, strip the ends and splice them to the wires on either side of the fuse holder. Install the appropriate fuse if you haven't already.
Zip tie the excess wire out of sight and away from anything hot or moving. Mount the switch in the dash board by pushing it through the hole from the back, and screwing on the trim bezel from the front. Reconnect the vehicle battery.
Things You'll Need
- Memory saver device
- Push button switch
- Electric drill
- Drill bit
- Solderless terminals
- Crimping tool
- 14 gauge automotive wire
- Inline fuse holder and fuse
- Zip ties
K.K. Lowell is a freelance writer who has been writing professionally since June 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. A mechanic and truck driver for more than 40 years, Lowell is able to write knowledgeably on many automotive and mechanical subjects. He is currently pursuing a degree in English.