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Boxer Ignition Switch

Discussion in 'Boxers/TR/M' started by AHudson, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

    Jul 7, 2005
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    My last few trips in the Boxer has come with a 'minor' delay in the time between twisting the key and engaging the starter. I mean, like less than a second, but noticable. After that, all's well. Today it, didn't engage on the first try, then next twist it did. I think my ignition switch is going out, but will take other input/experience here too of course.

    In other searches, it says "Bosch" unit (one thread says the BMW 2002 is the same unit), yet T Rutlands has "Niehoff" originals for the Boxer. I'd like to replace it before it strands me - anyone know the definitive part info? Or source?

    Thanks in advance, as always.
     
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  3. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    Thats possible but a simple test light attached to the trigger wire on the starter solenoid, visible from the cockpit will tell you if the starter is actually the problem or the power getting to it. My money is on the starter solenoid.
     
  4. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
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    And had one go up in smoke!

    It is a Neiman switch, identical to the one used in a BMW 2002. They are available at Bavarian Auto in Portsmouth, NH for less than $100. It's a bit of a challlenge changing the electrical portion without pulling the column lock assembly from the steering column....but it can be done.

    Then again, the starter solenoid isn't much to right home about either....

    Regards,
    David
     
  5. Drew Altemara

    Drew Altemara Formula 3

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    Just to be sure, make sure it is not the starter solenoid. If you do not hear anything in the back it is probably not the starter solenoid.

    Mine went out several years ago. You turn the key and hear a click but no start. Keep on doing it until the points arc then it starts. If you observe this then starter solenoid, but probably not your case.
     
  6. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    maybe its the muffler bearing
     
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  8. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    Oh right Mr. Smarty Pants, I already checked that! You taught me to check that first to rule out the caliper magneto. Thanks guys, am on a path to determine which is the culprit this morning.
     
  9. Murph

    Murph Formula 3
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    Have you checked your wrist?
    Could be you're just losing the "old" snap.
     
  10. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    You mean from lack-o-whackin? So THAT'S why Newman's wrists are so pliable and Gumby-like.

    The tech determined ignition switch fault. Getting the BMW 2002 unit for $86. I just want it because it may be the only Boxer part under $100 left in the world. I may get 12.
     
  11. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    No, its called YOUTH! lol.
     
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  13. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    #10 AHudson, Feb 22, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  14. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
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    but that sure looks like the switch....

    Regards,
    David
     
  15. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    David, thank you for that info PLUS the tip on the RP gear oil. Got it back yesterday, BIG improvement.

    Now, can a normal human change that switch out without 25 years of Fcar experience and the Facom tool showroom to go with it? I'm over average handy on home repairs; under average on car repairs, but can 'think' through a parts swap. Guess I'm asking, can I get to it and 'figure it out'?
     
  16. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
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    It's just plain lack of clear access....

    The first step, often overlooked by over-exuberant pros (that's me) is to disconnect the battery. Next, either put the driver's seat all the way back, or simply remove it, as you'll likely be laying on your back looking up. Yes, this is more pain than you might think! Make sure the ignition switch, the key part, is in the "off" position, as once you get the electrical part off, you'll see that it's keyed....and really will only go in one way, once you get the notches lined up.

    OK....so you're in the most uncomfortable position imagineable; now look up at you'll see the switch. It is usually held in place with two small "flat-blade" type screws. It's a bit of a tight space, but with a small screwdriver, you should be able to remove the two screws and remove the electrical part of the ignition switch. Sometimes, a little wiggle...and a gentle pry, and the switch will "pop out". Rest assured, there are no other parts than can "fall out" while you're in there.

    As you will find, those "crafty Italians" did not leave much "extra wire", so you'll be swaping wires in a confined area. Swap away...and then look at the "male" notch in the remaining part of the column switch...and adjust (if necessary) the female part of the switch to align. This may not be necessary, as usually everything is already in the proper positions.

    Here's the potential problem...as I haven't done this in a long time on a BB. You can see the switch, but you can't get a clear shot on those screws. Well...the fun begins as the lower trim panel (which surrounds the column and ignition switch ) needs to come off. The two rivets which hold this piece of trim in place are hidden from view by your speedometer and tachometer. So...either pull the wheel, or remove the 6/8 allen screws...or try to fanagle the gauges out without touching the steering wheel. Then the rivets can be drilled out...

    Between the offset driving poition of the BB and past years with my Ducati, my back is so toasted that I'd pull the driver seat, just to get a decent view of how much, if any, disassembly really needs to be done.

    Operators are standing by, in the event of technical difficulties...


    Regards,
    David
     
  17. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    Wow, thanks David, very much. I'm once again reminded of the value of this board. I appreciate all the input guys... EVEN NEWMAN'S!

    Funny thing here, as I was fiddling with the car yesterday, I thought, "Man, I need to take the seats and carpet out of this beast for a full fledged detail, maybe even re-carpet..." so now that gives me another little 'side project' to do at the same time. Anyone else have that syndrome? Start with project 'a', end up at project 'r' with no earthly idea how they were connected?

    Plus, I'm just 5'6" and call myself limber, so I'll give it a try. Once the chiropractor has released me from treatment, I'll let you know how it turned out.
     
  18. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

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    A Hudson - David's instructions are spot on. You might take a trip to your local Sears. They sell inexpensive "right angle" slotted screw drivers that will make the job much easier. I have changed a few of these switches. They are found on the Dino and the Boxer. The smoke Fastradio speaks of is a rather common failure mode. There is a mica wafer insulation within the switch that can fail, leading to a short circuit.

    If you are interested in another alternative, consider introducing a simple 12-volt relay in the solenoid starter circuit. While the solenoid does not draw a great deal of current, after several failures over the years I chose to modify the switch. When I turn the key to start the car, it now activates a relay, which supplies current to the solenoid. Simple and inexpensive to do.

    For those electrical engineers out there, it is akin to a Darlington pair - after all, the solenoid itself is a relay.

    Jim S.
     
  19. PWehmer

    PWehmer Formula 3

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    Is it a symptom that the switch is bad if your car will only shut off if the brake pedal is pressed in?

    If I don't hold the pedal down I can turn the key and remove it while the car runs.
     
  20. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
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    However, the second symptom is one I've seen on a few occassions that leads to smoke (and ultimately) burned wiring at the ignition switch! The dielectric (mica wafer) piece that Jim refers to above is almost "burned thru."

    Regards,
    David
     
  21. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    Whoa, you're making me A.D.D., ok, MORE so. I had that EXACT problem right after I replaced my Dinoplex with an MSD. After figuring out by accident that the brake pedal would cut the car off - finally - I made a query here and to MSD.

    The issue was resolved with the world-famous 'dual ballast resistor' from some mid 70's Chrysler need apparently, but right off the shelf from AutoZone or O'reilly's or some such for a big $2.70. Problem solved. Others will offer better explanations, but that's what solved mine. Wasn't an ignition switch issue... but maybe it contributed to my "current" need? (HA! "CURRENT" need, get it? Nevermind.)

    Looking forward to other input, even if from NEWMAN.
     
  22. PWehmer

    PWehmer Formula 3

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    My car has an MSD on it. Where did you put the ballast resistor?

    Very familiar with this part from when I was into Mopar muscle. If you didn't have one of these in your glovebox you would get stranded.
     
  23. fastradio

    fastradio F1 Rookie
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    Why are you running a ballast resistor with an MSD?

    If the MSD is wired correctly, there are two "Red" wires. The large diameter one (always hot) picks up its power from the B+ terminal on one of your alternators. The other smaller "Red" wire connects to the original (yellow?) wire that is only powered when the ignition switch is on.

    What am I missing here? MSD user on a BB almost 20 years...Turn key off, car turns off.

    Regarding "current need" faux paux...If your powering a dual ballast resistor to somehow get power back to your MSD, I would suspect far too much current is running through the ignition switch. Tech lines are now open!

    Regards,
    David
     
  24. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    I've a 'larger' red wire that goes right to the starter. Since I couldn't discern which went 'back' to the ignition switch, as I recall at installation, I ran another to the coil (not red, but not 'straight' as in the Tech Forum on the installation diagram either.) Car started great, had the shut off issue mentioned.

    My MSD tech surmised my issue was related to an ancient (or when new) Alarm system, he suggested - then echoed hereon - a ballast resistor. It was not an 'out there' suggestion by him, as this has happened many times before.

    Mine is mounted immediately adjacent to the MSD box, unobtrusively. Simple to hook up. Sure, I'd prefer I did NOT have it, but it has worked well ever since.

    David, does the doctor make house calls? I'm making a list... you can check it twice!
     
  25. AHudson

    AHudson F1 Rookie

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    Thanks Jim! Really appreciate it, the screwdriver from Sears is a nice handy and 'accessible' fix. I do not need a smoking Boxer! I read your "Dino Restoration" input with great interest, by the way. Thanks again,
     

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