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Old 08-11-2013, 06:40 PM   #1
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Bad Ignition Switch???

2001 Winnebago Brave 32' WH Chasis

When I turn key to ON position, the radio works, headlights, heater and Ac fans work, BUT, I have no instrumentation panel power. Chassis and coach batteries appear to be good. All fuses are good. My starter solenoid has 3 terminals. On the first terminal, a heavy gauge wire from the chassis battery isolating stud
And a smaller gauge wire is landed. On the second terminal, another smaller gauge wire is landed. Both small gauge wires appear to be running up to the front, I assume to the ignition switch. The third terminal on the starter solenoid appears to be connected to the starter itself. I measure 12 volts from the 1st terminal to ground. 0 volts from the second terminal to ground. When someone turns the key to start the engine, nothing changes at the starter solenoid, plus there is no clicking sounds, no nothing. Does this mean the ignition switch is bad?

Does anyone have detailed information on how to replace the switch?
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
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I want to watch this post may help me.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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Sure sounds like a bad switch. The two smaller wires, on the small posts, on the solenoid/relay, one would be the feed from the ignition , start position, the second would be grounded through the neutral safety switch.

Is your ignition switch in the dash or on the column ?
Can you post a picture of the switch ?
If I can see it maybe I can tell you how to get it out.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:14 PM   #4
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The key is in the column. I am not sure what it looks like, so I can't take a pic. I just assumed that the steering column needs to be lowered to access the switch, but who knows. I removed a metal bracket surrounding the steering column by removing 4 half inch bolts. There are 2 remaining bolts that are mostly hidden behind the lower dash. If I remove them, I think the column will drop. I can get to them, barely, with a flat open ended wrench, but if I remove them, not sure I could reinstall. Should I have to drop the steering column?

To answer the initial question you had, the key cylinder has 2 "rods" and 1 thing kind of like a bycycle cable going down the column under the dash. This is where the ignition switch is located.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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No dropping the column should not be necessary
Three possibilities, 1, The ignition lock is in the column, the switch may be controlled by a rod from the lock down to the switch , that is mounted, on the top of the column under the dash. If there is no switch visible there, then . 2. There are two plastic " clam shell " bezels covering the turn signal and ignition switches, should be a separation line visible , and 3 or 4 screws holding the halves together from the bottom. and finally 3 if there is no switch under the dash and the housing around the turn signal and ignition switches doesn't come apart, & you have a complete metal tube surrounding both switches, then the steering wheel has to come off to replace the switch. I hope that #3 is not the case, last time I saw that used in automotive was 1984.

Can you post a picture of the column ?
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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I can't tonight...the rv is at a storage facility. I will take a pic tomorrow and post. Thanks for your help!

Pretty sure it is not number 3.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:07 PM   #7
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I was called away to BBQ dinner, look forward to a picture.
1 rod would be for the ignition switch.
2nd would be for the dimmer switch.
and the cable thingy would be the brake to gear shift interlock; to stop you shifting out of park till you put your foot on the brake.
Talk tomorrow.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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More then likely it is the solenoid. It would be easier and cheaper to replace it. If that does not fix the problem, then it may well be the switch. However, since you have no instrument lights, it may be a fuse.
When my dash lite, spedo, etc went out it was a fuse. I had to lift up the dash. There is a fuse box, with one fuse blown. Replaced that fuse, everything worked. The tow bar pinched the wire to the toad, and I had left it plugged in, so the wire was hot.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:59 AM   #9
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I pulled every fuse I saw under the dash, twice. All was fine. What would the fuse for the instrumentation be labeled? I will check a third time.

I will also try to post some pictures later this evening of the steering column area.

If the solenoid was bad, wouldn't I get something at the solenoid when the key is turned? I see no difference. The only 1 of the 3 terminals with voltage is the one connected directly to the battery.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #10
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OK, I reread your original post, and then slapped myself for not asking this.
Are you doing you voltage tests at the starter ?
Reason being there is a relay between the ignition switch and the solenoid on the starter. It is the relay that is grounded out by the neutral safety switch; and won't power up the solenoid if the neutral safety fails.
This would not explain the lack of power at the gauges though.
Fuse would either be labeled " gauges or ignition " are you checking fuses with your volt meter ? With fuses a visual check isn't good enough.
If you find fuses marked ignition and have no voltage , with the key on , you definitely have an ignition switch problem. Power path would be , battery- ignition switch , then fuse panel. For the gauges.
For the starter solenoid. battery-ignition switch- starter relay- starter solenoid.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:41 AM   #11
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I get a little confused , because over the years the use of the term solenoid , has taken over from the term relay for some reason.
When I started in automotive, if a device used low amp power to switch high amp power , it was called a relay.
When the device used low amp power to control high amp power AND perform another function , it's called a solenoid.
The device on the starter, because it supplies power to the brushes and has an electromagnet to move the starter drive into the ring gear is to me a true solenoid.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:55 AM   #12
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So assuming the fuses are good (I will double check with a voltmeter) the only thing that is part of both paths is the ignition switch.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
I get a little confused , because over the years the use of the term solenoid , has taken over from the term relay for some reason.
When I started in automotive, if a device used low amp power to switch high amp power , it was called a relay.
When the device used low amp power to control high amp power AND perform another function , it's called a solenoid.
The device on the starter, because it supplies power to the brushes and has an electromagnet to move the starter drive into the ring gear is to me a true solenoid.

A Solenoid is the means, in a liner movement device or a relay switch, that creates the magnetic field that moves something. It is an integral part of a relay, not the electrical contacts for controlling current flow. The proper term, if solenoid is used in an electrical reference, is "Solenoid Switch" which is a specific type of relay.

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Old 08-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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Not to butt in but have you checked the neutral safety switch, it has to go through that before going to the starter. You could run your shifter back and forth a couple of times it could be stuck even try starting in neutral. Just my 2 cents worth. Jim
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