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Old 03-09-2006, 06:20 AM   #1
purewatersmith
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1999 SL2
Default 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

I've had my SL2 for 5 years, never gave me trouble until about four months ago when the starter went out. Took it to my Dad's mechanic, who put in a new starter&solenoid. He also replaced my leaking water pump, worn serpentine belt and noisy belt pulley. This was at about 60k miles. Three days ago the Saturn would not start.

For about a week prior I had noticed a progressively weaker cranking of the starter during ignition. I assumed it was the battery failing, as I have had the same symptoms 2x before, both times ending in a dead battery.

So I go to Autozone and get a new battery, pull the old one, clean up the corrosion, poke around to make sure all wires are connected, install the new battery, turn the key and...nothing. NOTHING! I think I can maybe hear the starter clicking a little.

So I go to Autozone, test my old battery, which is fine. I describe my situation to the guy at Autozone, who suggests an ignition switch problem. they don't have the one I need in stock, so I return the new battery and get the Haynes manual. Per diagnostic instructions I jump the + terminal of the battery to the S-terminal of the stater solenoid.

The SL2 started right up. So, I now know I've got a wiring problem somewhere, or a bad ignition switch. I just purchased the ignition switch tonight and have been studying the manual.

I have two questions-
1. Will I need to take the steering wheel off to access the ignition switch in a '99 SL2? (not the key cylinder)
2. According to Haynes, the steering wheel retaining nut must be discarded after pulling the wheel, "as a new one must be installed." Is this really the case, and if so- where do I get a new steering wheel retaining nut?

I asked the guy at Autozone, who said I'd have to call the dealer. That sounds expensive. Any info will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks to anybody who made it through this novel!
PWS
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

If you are not in a HUGE hurry, I should be able to provide you with a step by step and maybe an exploded diagram. Check back around 10 am or so.
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

In the mean time, I'll say that if you do have to pull the steering wheel, you'll need to replace the retaining nut. Also, '99 was a transition year for the steering wheel. You may not have threaded holes in the wheel to pull it. This thread has a fair amount of info on pulling the wheel.
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Old 03-09-2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

Sorry I cannot locate the exploded diagram, however from what I can gather/remember, you DO NOT need to pull the steering wheel to replace either the ignition switch or lockcylinder. (You must remove teh lock cylinder FIRST before removing the igntion switch.) Just DISABLE THE AIRBAGS FIRST by pulling the fuse and WAITING 30 MINUTES, then remove the upper and lower plastic covers. Turn the key to the ACC position and depress the rectangular metal tab to release the cylinder, it will pull out. Unplug the electrical harness from the switch and remove the bolts. Compare the new switch to the old one and adjust the turn hub so that it will be in the same (acc) position when you install it. Install the switch, tightening the bolts to 24 Ft pds. Then reinsert the lock cylinder until it bottoms in the housing/switch, THEN and ONLY THEN, turn the key back to LOCK. Then plug the wiring harness back into the new switch.

IMPORTANT! DO NOT turn the steering wheel OR the KEY in the lock cylinder with the ignition switch removed!
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Old 03-09-2006, 02:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

Thanks both Wolfman and BarnOwl for taking the time to respond. The link you included was one of the first threads I read when I suspected I might have to remove the steering wheel. But, from what Wolfman says I might not have to pull the wheel. My question now is, where can I get a retaining nut for the thing? Also, any idea how much the nut might cost? I ws also thinking there might be a steering wheel kit I could get, but it seems like a waste if I just need one part...
Thanks again for the info, I will be working on it this afternoon. Now to get a thin walled 5.5 mm socket...

PWS
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

The steering wheel does not need to be removed to replace the ignition switch. The switch is located on the base area of the ignition cylinder. should be held in with a couple of bolt screws.
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: 99 SL2- Need to pull steering wheel to R&R ignition switch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by purewatersmith
My question now is, where can I get a retaining nut for the thing? Also, any idea how much the nut might cost?
I got the nut from the dealer. I think it was between 3 and 4 dollars. I suspect a locknut (The kind with the plastic ring at the end of the threads.) the same size from a hardware store would work, but I don't want to risk my life on that suspicion.
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