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Old September 11th, 2010, 16:29   #1
BKmetz
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Join Date: Sep 1997
Location: Illinois
Fuel Economy: 50 MPG
Default A3/B4 Ignition Switch Replacement Procedures

As all the A3/B4 TDIs are up in years now, the ignition switches are wearing out. I'm talking about the electrical switch, not the column-lock key-tumbler assembly.

If you need to replace the key tumbler assembly, you will have to order a new ignition key lock-set from VW. VW will NOT match your original keys. If you want your new ignition key to match your car, you will have to go to a locksmith and have him change the tumblers. This will take a few extra days as the locksmith has to order a new bezel ring. The black metal bezel ring around the key slot is a press fit and has to be destroyed to remove the tumblers.

Usual ignition switch failure symptoms: lights, wipers, HVAC, and engine randomly quitting for no reason. The brass contacts in the switch are wore out and cannot maintain contact. Fix ASAP. It will just get worse and leave you stranded.

Someone was nice enough to do a detailed write up with photos. The procedure is almost exactly the same whether you own an A3 or B4 car. This is a DIY job if you have all the tools. Allow your self an hour if you read through the tutorial first and get familiar with all the steps.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=105906


One caveat with using drop the steering column method: Dropping the steering column is one way, not the only way. MAKE DAMN SURE the column is tightened back up correctly when putting everything back together. One guy had his steering column come loose after.

The preferred VW way is to pull the collar. This is easier if you have a puller and can rig up something behind the collar to help pull it.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=640724


When I changed my switch I cut the collar off as I couldn't find a puller that would work and a new collar is about $10. In my case it was cheaper to buy a collar than a puller. I already have a Dremel Tool.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=677529


I just replaced the ignition switch on my 96 Passat yesterday. I used the gear puller method this time. I have a generic gear puller which by itself will not work. Here is what I did to get the collar off the steering column. For lots of detailed photos, refer to the first link in this post.

The problem: the ignition switch is held to the inside of the aluminum steering lock assembly by a tiny #1 Phillips screw:



To get the lock assembly off you have to remove a collar which has splines and is a press fit onto the steering column. Most guys who use a gear puller have ground down the fingers to grip the spring behind the collar, or use a gear splitter clamped behind the collar. There is a tiny ridge (around ~1/16"?) on the collar. I was able to come up with a cheap solution to use my generic gear puller to grip that ridge.

I went snooping in my local hardware store and found these large clips for around ~$1/each. The outside diameter is 1.25"(~3.25cm).



I snapped 2 clips onto the collar and it was enough for the puller to get a good grip.



I then used a large C-clamp to hold the puller on and slowly pulled the collar off. It was very easy once I got the C-clamp to stay in place.



The collar got some scars when it was all over but it was a lot less work then dropping the steering column or cutting off the collar like I did the first time. I hope this saves some time for the next guy and avoid taking the car to the dealer for what is really an easy job.


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Brian, 2015 Passat SE TDI 6MT, 2014 Passat SE TDI 6MT sold back to VW on 1-3-18
Wifey, 2014 Passat SE 2.5

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Last edited by BKmetz; September 14th, 2010 at 03:47.
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