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problem with key switch

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dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
My Midget has always had a little problem with key turning the ignition. It's never been smooth, can be hard to get out, etc. Now tonight the key moves smooth as silk - as in there is no resistance forward or backward, and the car won't turn over. It gets to a point where there seems to be a spring like resistance, but there is no "grab" before that - like the key isn't really doing anything. Like the key isn't engaging anything. What do you think I need to do? I did finally get it running this week so it figures it's out of commission again...sad smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-16 08:36 PM by dogeddie.

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ice Avatar
ice Gold Member Larry Ice
Lawrenceville, GA, USA   USA
Can you jump start the starter with cables and get the engine running? Take off the pos cable from the batt to stop it. You might also have to disconnect a ground wire to the switch, check your wiring diagram in your manual or get one from the site library.



Iceman

Atlanta GA

60 AH MK1
62 AH MKII
67 Midget
71 Midget

dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
To clarify - Do you mean apply jumper cables to the starter to start it? Sorry - not really electrical savvy. I am not sure how to do that .



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-16 09:57 PM by dogeddie.

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oleanderjoe Avatar
oleanderjoe Gold Member Joseph Baba
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
ANDY? Could be the electrical part of the ignition. There is a small Phillips screw on the bottom of the ignition Assembly where the wires go into the mechanism. Remove the screw and the switch part will come out. There is a rectangular slot in the switch that mates with the key part. You can use a screwdriver to turn the switch and see if it FEELS normal. If not, the switch is bad. Check for a replacement switch. Cheers smileys with beer


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dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
Thanks Joe! In order to pull the ignition assembly the plastic steering cowl has to come off. I've had it off a few times while messing with the electrics on the steering column, and did not realize you are supposed to pull the steering column to remove the cowl. Needless to say it was a bitch to get on and off and probably was not a smart way to do it as I put alot of strain on both the cowl and the tree components. Rather than pulling the whole steering column, has anyone just removed the few bolts up under your knees for the steering column rather than pulling the whole works? Will that give enough room to remove/reinstall the cowl?

rsvmgb1974 Avatar
rsvmgb1974 Silver Member Robert Vining
Capon Bridge, Capon Bridge, USA   USA
Yes, just ensure you replace the spacer washers as they were removed.

I have done three of these, if I remember correctly I found a way to remove the cowls without dropping the column.

Edit add: Ignition key modules are available and fairly cheap, but you can repair your existing module quite easily, just don't lose any of the small parts.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-17 08:51 AM by rsvmgb1974.


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Steering column Nikon 003.JPG

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dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
Thanks - did you also remove the bolts through the firewall? I am trying to verify from your photo. I was thinking of just removing the bolts up under the area right behind the dash - right above my knees.

rsvmgb1974 Avatar
rsvmgb1974 Silver Member Robert Vining
Capon Bridge, Capon Bridge, USA   USA
Yes, but I think you can get enough play to remove the enclosures by just dropping the steering column slightly.

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ice Avatar
ice Gold Member Larry Ice
Lawrenceville, GA, USA   USA
Andy, yes, I meant to attach jumper cables to the starter so it would turn the motor over. However, that would only be a temp solution.The other guys have good ideas on how to remove/repair the switch. Most difficult thing about a repair like this is working on your back!



Iceman

Atlanta GA

60 AH MK1
62 AH MKII
67 Midget
71 Midget

dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
At least the steering wheel will be off. Thanks guys. I'll see what I can break.

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rsvmgb1974 Avatar
rsvmgb1974 Silver Member Robert Vining
Capon Bridge, Capon Bridge, USA   USA
If you remove the steering wheel watch out for the horn plunger and contacts. I had to use a puller on mine.


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dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
I made a puller with a hunk of plate and 2 C clamps - crude, but effective

Kerr Avatar
Kerr Platinum Member Norm Kerr
Ann Arbor, MI, USA   USA
on my car, I've found the extra 15 minutes it takes to fully remove the entire steering column saves me so much time and hassle that its worth it

With the column on the workbench any wiring, or switch, the cowling, or what have you, is super easy to access. Likewise for everything around it (engine mount, gauges or wiring in the dash, etc.).


For those who prefer to drop the column for a little bit of clearance, take note that any load you put on the steering rack pinion could possibly lead to a crack (minis, which use the same rack, and the same column attachment) have been known to fracture the pinion while driving (total loss of steering control = bad), due to people dropping the column for various reasons, without loosening the rack clamps first!).
Granted, our firewall hole won't allow it to drop much, but just saying.


N

dogeddie Avatar
dogeddie Silver Member Andy L
Kaukauna, WI, USA   USA
are the spacer washers on the connection to the firewall or the 3 bolt connection under the knees? I thought I read something about shims but want to be clear. Thanks

Sarge101st Avatar
Sarge101st Silver Member Brian S
Carlisle, PA, USA   USA
1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Biggles"
1979 MG Midget 1500 "Grrr"
1980 MG MGB "Piddles"
I do not know why (and I don't know if it changed by then or someone before me modified them for the purpose) but the cowling on my '79 comes apart and off nicely with the column in place. Who am I to question serendipity? Grin!

Anyway, I did this job last year and found the switch easily pulled as Joe describes. Importantly, though, compare the wiring between your old one as it comes out and the replacement before you slip it in. There are some replacements out there that have the wire colours in the wrong positions on the switch, mixed up in relation to the positions in the plug. Check them before merely installing and confidently plugging it into the harness.

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