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Ignition Switch getting Hard to turn.


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Dinky26

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

Doesn't want to turn back to run position after starting.
Never really dd since I've been driving it for the past two Weeks.

Now on top of that it is getting more more difficult to switch off.

Should I just replace the switch?

#2 nipper

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 07:14 PM

Have you tired using some graphite (lock ease) in the cylinder? Should do it to all the key l;ocks once a year anyway.

#3 ferox

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

You can also use silicon spray lubricant. Just make sure you spray the key and work it back and forth in the switch rather than spraying directly into the switch or door locks.

#4 Dinky26

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

You can also use silicon spray lubricant. Just make sure you spray the key and work it back and forth in the switch rather than spraying directly into the switch or door locks.


Won't silicone collect more dust though?
Causing more sticky issues.:eek:

#5 nipper

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

Thats why you ONLY use a graphite lube in locks, it is made for it. WD40 isnt really a true lubricant

#6 coxy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

Graphite is Carbon and hence electrically conductive I prefer Teflon lube spray sometimes known as dry lube in Locks especially Ignition.

#7 Dave Fox

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:49 PM

Should I just replace the switch?


The spring inside is likely broken; that happened in my '86 GL.
Either buy a switch for ~$60 +/- and spend the hour to replace it or manually twist the key to the ON position each time manually.

#8 Dinky26

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:22 AM

The spring inside is likely broken; that happened in my '86 GL.
Either buy a switch for ~$60 +/- and spend the hour to replace it or manually twist the key to the ON position each time manually.


After I put the liquid graphite in it did turn easier, only thing is when I turn it all the way it ceases to make contact and acts like a dead battery so I have to bring it back 1/2 a dogs hair and it starts right up.

At least now it is not lagging in the start position and grinding the starter:eek::eek::eek:

#9 987687

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

It's probably the tumbler dying. And putting graphite in it isn't bad, there's nothing electrical in the keyhole. If you take the steering column plastics off, you'll see the actual switch is screwed to the back of the tumbler. You can take it off and use a screwdriver in it if the tumbler binds up.
I've had two cars get stuck in run.

#10 Dinky26

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

It's probably the tumbler dying. And putting graphite in it isn't bad, there's nothing electrical in the keyhole. If you take the steering column plastics off, you'll see the actual switch is screwed to the back of the tumbler. You can take it off and use a screwdriver in it if the tumbler binds up.
I've had two cars get stuck in run.


So if the tumbler does die then I should go ahead and replace just the tumbler our or do the switch and tumbler come as one?

#11 987687

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

So if the tumbler does die then I should go ahead and replace just the tumbler our or do the switch and tumbler come as one?


You don't have to change the switch. I'm assuming here you have an ea82. If it's an ea81 disregard.
But the switch is bolted to the back of the tumbler, so unless that's the problem, it can stay.
I've only ever seen one switch go bad, and it wasn't binding. It just blatantly stopped working. You can put a screwdriver in the switch and start the car.

#12 Dinky26

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

Actually it is an EA81, unless a PO. changed the engine.

#13 987687

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:14 AM

Well the engine doesn't matter it's the body style. I have no idea about ea81 cars, it wasn't listed in the post what year it was. So I assumed. Oh well.

#14 Dinky26

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

Well the engine doesn't matter it's the body style. I have no idea about ea81 cars, it wasn't listed in the post what year it was. So I assumed. Oh well.


Well, apparently I am the one that is uneducated here. I didn't realize that the EA81 to EA82 and probably the EA71 are tags for both the engine and body style:banghead::banghead::dead: I guess that is what I get for coming in only half educated.

This Brat was manufactured in 12/85 labeled a 1986

I will look for a chart that designates the tags accordinly.

My bad, I do appologize. Of course it is a Gen2, othewise IDK

Edited by Dinky26, 15 January 2013 - 02:04 PM.


#15 Dinky26

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

Okay, so I've searched for the designated year or years that fall into the EA81 or the EA82 category for body style.

So any input into this would be appreciated. I've looked at various threads here, maybe I've not looked at the right one IDK.

#16 86BRATMAN

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

The gen2 subarus are commonly referred to as ea81 body, gen3 is ea82.

#17 ShawnW

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:54 PM

Its a Gen2 Subaru Brat with ea81 engine. Parts interchange from the "ea81" cars or commonly known as the 80-84 series. As you already know they did the brat and the hatch past 84 to add to the confusion. Up to 89 for Hatch and 87 for Brat. I have been argued with on those years but have owned both of them.

The switch description for the ignition on the back of the lock tumbler is the same design type as described. The lock has the switch screwed to the back of it just like the ea82/leone loyale series too so his information was actually good.

Tri Flow or Graphite only in locks. MANY locksmiths sell Tri Flow as do many bike shops. Its not cheap but it works great. If anything will fix it that will.

#18 Dinky26

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

Thanks guys for catching me up on the terminology here, seems kinda confusing with the engine and bodies overlapping terms.

#19 Indrid cold

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:15 AM

I just replaced the switch end on my 84 Brat ignition switch.

To replace the switch end is easy to do. Once you pull the two screws off the switch you can test it by turning the switch with a slot screw driver and see if that is indeed the issue. To replace the complete unit (key, switch, housing) is a pain and expensive (pull steering wheel etc..) and I am not sure how to replace just the tumbler section? Haven't had to do that yet. But the switch is an easy to do item.

Disconnect Battery... I didn't but probably should have.
Take the bottom trim under the dash where the fuse box area is.

Take a long phillips screw driver or I used a 4" long, #2 phillips drive and unscrew the 6 screws from the bottom of the steering column. (cordless driver worked great.) It's tight to get the drive shank in the holes as they are recessed in deep with small holes to prevent easy removal I guess. Pull the bottom plastic cover from under the steering column.

Disconnect the electrical connector under dash that feeds the switch, pink color I think?. Remove two small screws from the switch, undo the wire retainer clip and there you go. Now, you can use a screw driver and rotate the switch clockwise and feel if that is the issue.

I noticed on Rock Auto web site they carry this part (less the wire leads) so you would have to unsolder, resolder the wires on or find one in the junk yard or possible factory replacement? I had a spare from years ago sitting on the shelf so all I did was put replacement in and put back together. My switch was slowly loosing contact so I would have to twist hard and jiggle the key to make contact. New, used switch works good as new.

good luck. Hope any of this helps.

Edited by Indrid cold, 17 January 2013 - 12:41 AM.


#20 TomRhere

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:02 AM

The switch itself may still be good. It may very well be that the tumbler/housing is way worn allowing the key to be turned to far.

If you took the switch off of the column and turned it with a screwdriver, you can turn it past the contact points for the starter. Thus the reason for the above statement.

Did that with one of my BRATs after the Wife got the wrong key jammed in there.
Pulled the switch, started it with screwdriver until I had time to swap things out. I kept turning it to far until I made note of where it needed to be to start it and marked the switch with a Sharpie for a referance point.

Edited by TomRhere, 17 January 2013 - 05:03 AM.
I can't spel


#21 Dinky26

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

WOW, just got to love the info from the members here. Thanks A whole lot all of this is very good info, GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

I'm thinking for the time being I'll just keep using it like it is, if I turn it slow enough then I don't go to far.

And I keep reminding myself of the parts load that I committed myself to buying, I have no idea how many things like this I will be blessed with.

God is Good, so I'm feeling lots of good treasures to be hauled back to:D my garage.:-)

#22 Dinky26

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:46 AM

One other thing that I did notice, prior to putting graphite in the ingition
(two squirts too much cause it procceded to run out of the steering column on to the mat oops:slobber:)

when I would start it sometimes the key would be in the position that the radio and fan would not come on, then I figured out that the key needed to come back just a bit and I would have power to said items again.

This symptom seems to have ceased now with the propper lube:clap:




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