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Fiddling with Rambler's since 1995

Rambler American Restoration

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Replacing A Turn Signal Switch

One of the problems my 67 American wagon had when I bought it was you had to hold the turn signal lever to get the right turn signal to flash. Not the end of the world but it was a hassle from a dead stop since this car doesn't have power steering. Normally, something like this doesn't call for replacing the entire switch but AMC used two different switch designs for 1967 and 1968 model years. One design is referred to as a BPM design and the other is non-BPM. The main different between the two is that the BPM switches have the part commonly called the canceling cam riveted to the switch body. When it breaks (which is what happened to mine), you have to replace the switch assembly. What follows is a slightly modified version of the factory procedure.

Before you start this job, you will need several tools:

  • A steering wheel puller.
  • A small terminal pin extractor tool. Summit Racing's SUM-900402 set works perfectly (you want the smaller of the flat blade tools).
  • 5/16", 1/2", 9/16", and 3/4" sockets and drive tools.
  • A 9/16" box wrench.
  • A ft/lbs torque wrench (you want one that tops out around 25-20 ft/lbs).
  • #2 and #3 Philips screw drivers.
  • A normal size flat blade screw driver.
  • Paper and something to write with (or a digital or instant camera).
  • A length of wire or heavy string.

Now for the fun part:

  1. Reach under the dash and disconnect the column wires from the main body harness. The connector has a clip that attached it to the right side column support rod. It's easiest to remove the clip first.
  2. Using the terminal pin extractor tool, remove the terminals from the connector body on the switch side of the wiring only. There is a slot on each side of the terminal. You will need to push the tool all the way through the connector body to get the terminal to release.
  3. Remove the steering wheel. Sport steering wheels have a #2 Philips screw in each spoke holding the horn button assembly in place. For base wheels, pull the button out of the center.
  4. For base steering wheels remove the hold down nut with the 3/4" socket, remove the horn contact plate, and put the nut back on turning it a few threads.
  5. For sport steering wheels, loosen the hold down nut with the 3/4 socket until it is near the end of the steering shaft.
  6. Install the steering wheel puller and tighten it until the wheel pops loose. Remove the steering wheel puller, the retaining nut (there is a spring behind the wheel so push in on it slightly), washer, steering wheel, spring, canceling cam, and fiber insulator (be careful with this, it is very likely brittle).
  7. For column shifted automatics, remove the gear indicator (the TSM calls this a shift quadrant).
  8. Remove the turn signal lever.
  9. Push the hazard warning button in and remove the knob with a #2 Philips screw driver.
  10. Using the #3 Philips screw driver, remove the three signal switch to column screws and remove any broken pieces of the old switch.
  11. Using the 5/16" socket, remove the two sheet metal screws that retain the steering column to dash trim panel and remove the trim panel.
  12. Use the flat blade screwdriver to pop the upper section of conduit off of the steering column.
  13. Using the 1/2" socket, remove the four bracket to steering column bolts.
  14. Using the 9/16" socket and box wrench, remove the rear bolt and nut from the right rear location of the column to dash bracket. There is also a washer underneath the nut that needs to be kept track of. At this point, the wedge is likely to drop out. The wedge fits between the column to dash bracket and the dash.
  15. Using the 9/16" socket, remove the two bracket to dash nuts.
  16. Remove the column to dash bracket. WARNING! At this point, the steering column is very easy to damage. Do not apply excess force to it while the bracket is removed.
  17. Using the flat blade screw driver, remove the lower section of conduit.
  18. Tie a string or wire to the switch wires to assist in reinstalling them (it is possible to get the wires back in place if you forget to do this) and remove the switch and wiring from the steering column (you will need to jiggle the wire some to get them to come out).
  19. Test the new switch by plugging it into the dash harness. Note that it's very easy to honk the horn at this point so unless you like hearing your horn honk (or don't like your neighbors), take care not to honk the horn.
  20. At this point, the hazard lights should be flashing. Temporarily install the hazard light knob to turn them off.
  21. With the hazard lights off, turn the ignition switch to the accessory position and test the turn signals to make sure they work. I initially had a problem with the turn signals on my switch mostly due to the hazard light switch being pushed in for close to 40 years. If the turn signals do not work, try jiggling the hazard light knob.
  22. Turn the ignition switch off when you're finished messing with the turn signals, disconnect the connector, push the hazard light switch back in, and remove the knob.
  23. Make a simple diagram of the wires going into the plug on the replacement switch. The wire colors for the switch changed for 1968 so replacement switches made after that date will have different colors.
  24. Remove the terminals from the connector body of the new switch the same way you did for the old switch. You will need to bend the retaining tabs on each terminal back out slightly so they stay in place when re-inserted.
  25. Tie the string or wire to the wires for the new switch and feed the wire through the column.
  26. Put the terminals back into the connector body. After each one is inserted, gently tug on it to make sure it is seated in the body.
  27. The rest of the installation process is the reverse of the removal process except you don't want to replace the new working parts with the old broken ones. That would just be dumb.
  28. When you reinstall the column to dash bracket, it is important that you torque the fasteners to the proper torque spec so the column collapses properly if you wreck it. The four screws holding the bracket to the column should be torqued first and they get tightened to 12 to 17 ft/lbs. The two nuts for the support rods get torques to 14 to 24 ft/lbs. The bolt (make sure to insert the wedge!) gets torqued to 14 - 21 ft/lbs.

Last Updated 06/07/07 08:32:16 PM