Tuesday, March 29, 2016

1976 Corvette Steering Column and the "Vega" Wheel
Part Eight

This project has been a challenging and interesting one so far, and one that's getting closer to completion.

I just received the new 1978-on turn signal lever I ordered from an eBay seller, which also incorporates the cruise-control on/off switch.

However, since my car does not have cruise—and I have no plans or desire to install such a device—it shall remain unplugged.

I thought about clipping the wires, but decided instead to run them through the steering column cover and will leave it hidden under the dash, just in case.





At $60, the turn signal lever was an expensive part, but since I really needed one my options were limited. Had I looked hard enough I am sure I could've found a cheaper alternative from a different GM vehicle, but since the bend of the lever seems to be unique to '78-on Vettes, I decided it would be easier to just bite the bullet and buy the correct part.

The ignition switch was a lot cheaper and even though the one that came with the column seemed okay, I thought it would be wiser to go ahead and replace it with a new ACDelco part and not take any chances.



Installing the new Ignition Switch

Since the ignition switch is operated by a rod connected to the ignition switch tumbler, the switch must be positioned in the Off setting. This means that on a 1977-1982 Corvette, the slider must be positioned correctly beforehand.

To do this, Jim Shea provides an excellent tutorial that explains the process in great detail.

I used a thin metal rod to push and pull the slider (red arrow photo below) in order to ensure it was in the Off position by following Jim's instructions...

Key Release Columns (1977-1982). Rotate the lock cylinder all the way counterclockwise until it stops. DO NOT actuate the key release lever. This will place it in the Off/Unlock position. 
You now need to place the ignition switch in that same Off/Unlock position. You do this by moving the slider all the way to the end of travel to the Accessory position. It should detent and stay in that position. If in doubt, the other travel extreme will be the Start position and you should feel a spring return. Now move the slider two detent positions back from the Accessory position, this will be the Off/Unlock position.

I also operated the ignition tumbler to see in which direction the ignition rod moved to ensure the switch would operate correctly. When I had both parts ready, the switch slid into place easily and I secured it with the two bolts. I then tested the ignition tumbler to make sure it was working properly.


If you are installing a new ignition switch, you must remove the lock pin.


And this is my new ignition switch secured in place.

I made this 20-second video that shows how the ignition tumbler operates when the ignition switch is properly installed. It was a bit challenging to hold and point the camera while attempting to turn the ignition key, but I think it turned out okay.



After I was happy with how the ignition cylinder and switch operated, I installed the tilt and turn signal levers. I have to admit that I did not care for the sharp angle of the turn signal lever, but that's the only way it fits so my solution was to straighten the lever a bit, which helped considerably.

I then tested the turn signal lever, and it works just fine.

Before.

After.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Part Nine of this Series.