Question about 1990 Chevrolet Suburban

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I need to replace the turn signal switch in the steering column of my 1990 suburban. i have the part that goes in the steering column but cant find a step by step guide to ensure i do it right.

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Well this is a long process but ive done quite a few of them. The first thing is to remove the airbag if your suv has one. Im pretty sure that in 1990 they didnt use them in this vehicle.The first step without an airbag is to remove the steering wheel. You will need to remove the horn cover to access the 21/22mm nut holding the steering wheel on. Be sure to not break the wire going to lthe horn switch inside the cover. push in and turn left on the plastic locker that holds the wire into the column and remove it. Then, after removing the nut holding the horn on, u must use a steering wheel puller to remove the steering wheel from the shaft.[normally auto zone will rent these pullers].read the directions of the puller to remove.then there will be what is called a clock spring assy if you have steering controls for the radio. If not the steering lock mechanism will be next. This requires a 90degree angled pick and another special tool to press the lock mechanism down off of the hog nose ring holding the steering lock ring in place.[possibly at auto zone again]. Once again read the direction of use for that special tool. Now you are almost there.Remove the hazard switch phillips head screw.Remove the phillips head screws holding the turn signal assembly onto the steering column[should be four]] and the two holding the lever onto the switch.Remove the drivers side lower dash panel to access the wiring block that has the rectangler conector end of the turn signal assembly attached to it. normally you can use a small screw driver to pry it out of the wiring block. To remove the old turn signal assembly just cut the wires from it at the top near the working part of the assembly .The next step is the hardest because you have to route the new turn signal wiring down through the steering column like the old one was.Tke some electrical tape and attach the new turn signal wiring to the old wiring and guide it down the column as your removing the old at the same time. Make sure to have the rectangler portion of the new wiring at the right angle when taping so theat it fits going through the steering column....Now just reverse this procedure to finish the install....Note that if you are not careful, the loose turn signal lever will allow the high/low beam switch mechanism to fall out of the actual high/low beam switch attached to the steering colmn.there are a couple more things like a flex type washer and the white horn mechanism to remove suring this removal process. Just keep all your parts in the order removed and all should be well....told ya it was long!!! If you have any questions, just e-mail me and i will help more if i can....Hope you have much luck with this job,

Posted on Oct 08, 2010

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You Will NeedSpecial Tools Required
Steering Wheel Puller $10.00, but a harmonic balancer puller will also work
Don't attempt to pound the wheel off, you could damage the steering column.
Locking Plate Remover $15.00, available from autoparts store.

Pivot Pin Removal Tool GM part J21854-01 (not sure about availability from autoparts store)
1.Remove steering wheel, this would be a good time to disconnect the battery as well.

2.Pry off plastic cover

3.Remove lock plate. With the tool this is easy. The tool compresses the lock plate against it's spring so that you can get the retaining ring off. It is possible to take this off with C-Clamps, Large Channel locks, etc. Can be very difficult to put back together with these tools. (I did it both without and with the tool, trust me it is $15 well spent)

4.Remove philips screw that holds small piece of metal that connects to turn signal stalk.

5.Remove 3 screws that hold turn signal switch assembly in place.

6.Unhook wiring harness to turn signals. This is located under the dash attached to the base of the steering column.

7.Next you will need to loosen the mounting bracket that holds the steering column to the dash and then remove at least two of the bolts that hold the bracket to the column so that you can thread the wiring harness up to allow the housing to be removed latter.

8.You will see a switch with two long copper pieces coming over the top of the ignition lock. Put the key in and turn to the on position. Pull the switch out with a pair of pliers. A small clip should also come out. Note the way all of this is oriented so that you can put it back later.

9.Remove small torx screw to release lock cylinder, pull the lock out.

10.Remove three large torx bolts (#30 I believe)

11.At this point you are ready to pull the housing off. As you pull it out a small plastic piece will fall out on the left (driver's) side. This is for the dimmer switch.
believe that they must have meant 3/16".

Posted on Oct 08, 2010

  • deprave666
    deprave666 Oct 08, 2010

    12.Also some of the parts for the upper bearing will come out. Note the orientation for later assembly.

    13.Below the shaft you will see a retainer for a large spring that is inside the tilt assembly. (About 1/2" in diameter with a large square hole) Use a large screwdriver to depress this enough to turn 1/4 turn counter clockwise. Remove spring assembly.

    14.Now you are ready to pull the pivot pins out. There are two of them going in the sides at about the 3:00 and 9:00 positions. They are about 3/8" in diameter and have a small hole threaded in the middle (#10-32 I believe) I managed to break off a bolt in one of these which required that I pull the entire steering column out to get the bolt drilled out so be careful. The GM tool looks like this:

    | | | |<-----------threaded rod
    |====|" <------- nut
    | | | |<------ semi circle housing
    | || | | || | || ||<--------threads into pivot pin

    To use this you thread it into the pivot pin. Make sure that the housing is solidly against the column, not interfering with the pivot pin. Tighten the nut down while holding the threaded rod still to pull the pivot pin out.
    The tool that I first tried to make was similar to the above using a bolt and a socket. I do not know what went wrong exactly but I broke the bolt off inside the pivot pin.
    The guy that drilled out the bolt said that you can pull the pins by threading a bolt in and prying up with a pair of pliers.
    For what it is worth the guy I borrowed the GM tool from said that sometimes that tool breaks as well.

    15.Pull the tilt adjust arm back and tilt the column up as far as it will go.

    16.Examine the mechanism that is used to activate the ignition switch. Study all of the parts carefully because if the next step doesn't go just right you will need to reassemble this.

    17.Tilt column housing up and then to the right. What you are trying to do by rotating to the right is to get the rod that come up from the ignition switch (located on the side of the column) to the actuator rack that move back and forth when the key is turned.

    18.Pull the housing off. If you were successful in getting the switch to release from the rod above great! If not you will need to reassemble the switch mechanism - No big deal There is a metal spring clip about 3/4" long that applies pressure to the piece that slides back and forth. It goes in with the flatter part at the top. Turn the gear as far clockwise as possible. Thread the actuator rack in from the bottom until it engages the gear.

    19.Now you can see the four bolts that you are after! They look like torx bits. I was able to get on them using a 6 point 1/4" socket. Someone else had said that they used a 5/16" 12 point although I believe that they must have meant 3/16".

    20.Reassembly is pretty much the reverse of the disassembly process. A few tips: To get tilt hosing back on pull back on tilt lever to release the locking shoes. Place over the shaft and tilt to the left to try to engage the rod to the ignition switch. Then pivot downward until holes line up for the pivot pins. Verify that the switch is working. Don't forget that the transmission has to be in park to have the full range of motion.
    Drive the pivot pins in with a hammer.
    The plastic piece for the headlight dimmer pushes down on a rod. Only one way it will fit.



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  1. Remove the knee bolster.
  2. Remove the steering column trim covers from the steering column.
  3. Disconnect the steering column electrical connectors.
  4. Remove the wire harness assembly from the steering column and the wire harness strap.
  5. Slide the 2 connectors of the turn signal and multifunction switch assembly out of the bulkhead connector.
  6. Remove the key alarm connector from the lock module assembly in the following way:
  7. Rotate the key alarm connector 90 degrees.
  8. Pull the key alarm connector out of the lock module assembly.
  9. Remove the passkey connector from the lock module assembly.
  10. Remove the connector from the electric park lock, for vehicles equipped with floor shifters.
  11. Remove the ignition switch from the lock module using tool J42759 or equivalent.
To install:
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  2. Install the key alarm connector into the lock module assembly.
  3. Push the key alarm connector into the lock module assembly.
  4. Rotate the key alarm connector 90 degrees so that the key alarm connector locks into place.
  5. Install the passkey connector into the lock module assembly.
  6. Install the connector to the electric park lock, for vehicles equipped with floor shifters.
  7. Slide the 2 connectors of the turn signal and multifunction switch into the bulkhead connector.
  8. Attach the wire harness assembly to the steering column wire harness strap.
  9. Connect the steering column electrical connectors to the vehicle.
  10. Install the trim covers to the column.
  11. Install the knee bolster.
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Good luck, let me know how it goes.

Many vehicles use a turn signal switch that is separate from the multifunction switch. The steering wheel will have to be removed to gain access to the turn signal switch on these vehicles. The following procedure is a common method of turn signal switch replacement:
  • Place the fender covers on the fenders.
  • Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  • Remove the steering column trim.
  • Remove the horn pad from the steering wheel.
f_aee_cc14.28.jpg Steering wheel attachment. Courtesy of General Motors Corporation, Service Technology Group.
  • Remove the steering wheel and horn collar.
  • Use a suitable puller to remove the steering wheel.
  • With a suitable compressor, compress the preload spring to the lock plate. Compress the spring only enough to remove the snap ring.
f_aee_cc14.29.jpg To remove the snap ring, use the compressing tool to relieve the pressure against the snap ring. Courtesy of General Motors Corporation, Service Technology Group.
  • Use a pick and a small flat blade screwdriver to remove the snap ring.
  • Remove the lock plate, horn contact carrier, and spring.
  • Remove the bolts at the upper steering column support and the upper mounting bracket from the column.
  • Disconnect the turn signal wiring connector.
  • Wrap tape around the wire and connector.
  • Remove the hazard warning knob from the column.
  • Remove the switch retaining screws and remove the switch.
f_aee_cc14.30.jpg Remove the turn signal switch from the column. Courtesy of Chrysler Corporation.
  • Replace the switch and reverse these procedures for reinstallation.

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