Question about Oldsmobile 98

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Switch rotates freely, unlocks Steering but doesnt initiate RUN nor allow shifter to br moved. Does this suggest just the key lock or other failure? rR 336 270-9812 NC

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  • Rron Redcar Dot WS
    Rron Redcar Dot WS Nov 18, 2011

    1985 Oldsmobile98 3.8 4dr FWD

    Found Problem to be in the Steering Column.... A Linkage part inside the column broke which allowed the key to simply rotate freely.. The part looks like a loop of ribbon that is narrow at the top and wider at the bottom... At the bottom wider part, a rod fits into the loop that when not broken activates the slide switch that is located near the bottom of the steering column under the dash.

    Repair is extensive since the steering column has to be dismantled.... An Interim solution is to remove the panel at the bottom of the dash by the steering column and then remove the slide switch (the mounting also holds the Headlight Dimmer switch)... Once the slide switch is removed (leave wiring connected to the slide switch) then I reinstalled the bracket with Dimmer switch so it continues to work...

    Then I mounted the slide switch (with wiring still attached) to the bottom of the dash to the right of the steering column (as sitting in drivers seat) with Tie-Wraps at bottom and a "J" hook with two threaded nuts at the top to give dash stable mounting...

    Then I use a "Pointed Awl" to insert into the slide switch slot to Activate the switch to Start vehicle etc. (that is simulating the key rotation etc.)

    This is not a fix for the loop breakage but is a Low Cost Interim solution so the vehicle can be used... As said, the actual repair will be Labor costly.... (The part only costs $17 but the Labor gets you.... ) 336-270-9812

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  • Master
  • 594 Answers

Check fuses ign fuse could be burnt

Posted on Apr 02, 2011

  • DON MAJOR Apr 02, 2011

    also on bottom of sterring there is sevral conectors one may be pulled apart

  • DON MAJOR Apr 03, 2011

    also ther is an acticating starter rod to starter switch inside the steering colun
    that also locks and onlocks steering it may have brocken or came apart

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To install:

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I know this is an old question but I'll answer for the sake of the other 3 bad answers you got. What you describe (Shifter locked until brake applied with key on) is normal and part of the BTSI (Brake Transmission Shifter Interlock) system. It consists of a solenoid and an arm that attaches to the shift selector assembly and operates as you described until you press the brake. It's a safety feature. The other problem, however, is caused by a disconnected cable that runs from the back of the ignition switch on the top of the steering column (under the dash) down to the shifter. In the old days there was a lock ring that connected to a lever and tab that a rod would hook to to prevent the shifter from moving (column shift) similar on console shifters. On the 95 firebird this is replaced by the cable and if it's disconnected it will allow the shifter to move freely whether or not the ignition is locked, It's mechanical and not a solenoid like the BTSI system. So you'll have to figure out whether the cable is disconnected at the shifter (easy) or the ignition switch on the column (hard). Also note that if you don't get the cable seated all the way into the ignition switch the shifter still won't lock and you may find you can't get your ignition key out of the lock. That's because the cable can interfere with the movement of the ignition switch slider. Hopefully it's just the connection on your shifter which sounds possible since that's where you said you were working. Good Luck!

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CAUTION Disconnect and isolate the negative (ground) battery cable. This will disable the air bag system. Failure to disconnect the battery could result in accidental deployment and possible personal injury. Allow the system capacitor to discharge for two minutes then begin air bag system component removal. To install:
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