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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old April 25th, 2005, 12:37   #1
grocery getter
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pomona, Southern California
Default A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

I wanted to contribute somehow, and even though I didn't do the write up, I wanted to give y'all some pictures. I say again, I didnít create this, Iím just giving sight to whatís been said.

Stig got this from Vortex

This is the write up for fixing the ignition switch by removing the whole steering column, very simple. No need for a gear puller or cutting of the collar. Hope this helps everyone looking to fix their ignition problems

Here is some symptoms of why you need your ignition switch changed.

Here is what you need to buy, cheapest place I know of, www.rockauto.com Here is a picture of the item. 10 dollars with shipping. PN# 6N0905865

<font color="blue"> Here is what you will need
New Ignition switch PN# 6N0905865
10mm socket or wrench
5mm allen wrench
24mm socket
13mm socket and wrench
normal size and thing long Phillips screwdriver
normal flat head screwdriver </font>

Ok let's get started.

First get your wheels straight, steering wheel straight

Now, let's remove the ground from your battery. 10mm nut. (Get your radio code now if you want to be ready to turn it back on when you are done).

Here is your steering wheel!

Here is the steering wheel plastic cover . Man I don't know what to call these things! Two screws one on each side, then pull the two pieces apart.

Here is a picture of the underside of the knee protecting dash section (yeah that's the technical name). I believe there are 5 or 6 phillips screws, take em out and yank this part downwards.

Time to remove the airbag, now remember, you did take the ground off, thereís no power going to your bag right? Take these two allen bolts out (you donít have to pull them all the way out). Then you will pull the air bag out slowly. (There is a wire you need to unplug to take it out fully).

Now I know what he meant when he was being extra careful, youíre holding your airbag in your hand! Itís not complicated, just pull it straight out, and you will be fine. Place the airbag somewhere to the side, looks sexy!

here is bag with plug off.

here is where I made my mark with my permanent marker. When you put your column back in, this will be a good place to guide yourself to where it should be. (your hands will start getting greased up with all the work you will be doing to get it in place, well that was me, so this mark may get rubbed out hehe)

Remove the second plug to the airbag, here behind the wheel (yellow and white). The other connectors will be taken off later.

Here is where you will remove your steering wheel. 24mm bolt, pretty shallow so be careful not to strip it. Pretty tight, and deep in so you will probably need an extension. Do what you need to break it loose. After this bolt is off, slowly with your hand holding the back of the wheel (to keep the clockspring intact and not falling out) pull the wheel off. The spring isnít trying to bounce out, but just donít let it fall out. Keeping the wheel horn side down is fine.

Wheel hornside down, chillin.

Here is your column with the turn signal, lights, wipers, etc etc. A couple screws to take out, and connectors. Right there in the middle is your adapter collar that everyone does the cut or pull to. We get to leave it alone.

Here are the connectors for your light stalk. Remove them with a pinch and pull.

Here are the connectors for your wiper stalk. Do the same. Remove all your connectors you can see.

Here are the three flat head screws and a Phillips to remove.

Here is the stalk being removed. The torx screw on the wiper stalk you wonít have to worry about. Nothing is holding it in, just pull it off also. Iíd do a little wipey wipey on these things.

Here are all connectors off. Donít worry, they are pretty straight forward of where they will go into again. The bend stays pretty well so they line up where they should.

There is your ignition, and behind the key, look. There is the ignition switch! If only that switch we could remove from here, but nope that screw is in an awkward position.
Letís remove that connector, See that pale yella thing, thatís your switch!

Now itís time to get this steering column out. We need to go under and pull some of the plastic covers so we have better access. Most of them come out with your fingers, youíll see.

Here are the two I took off.

There is your nut and bolt you need to remove (bronze). Taking all the plastic covers off is good now because you are gonna have some weird angles to get the bolt off and back in.

13mm bolt and nut. Top of bolt I used my wrench to hold it, then I used my ratchet on the bottom, Then I popped the bolt out.

Shear bolt on column, he said it was hand tight, but I had to get a little grunt on it. Then it came out easily. I used my vise to put a grip on it. Putting it back in, I didnít tighten it much.

Give it a nice tug, donít worry, itís gotta get off the teeth. steering column out. Should be a spring that was on the bottom of the column that hooked up where that bolt was. Youíll see it.

There is the freakin enemy! Look! See that screw, bad access, use your thin thin Phillips to get at this. You will be bending the column back and reaching in. Donít worry so much about how you get at it, just get that screw out and pull that switch! I held it between my legs, upside down, pulling it up and me upside down screwing it out. It was a sight to behold

Replaced ignition switch, oh its so sweet. Get that screw in. If you compare the prongs, the old one had one missing? Not sure if it broke off and was the culprit, or it just wasnít there. Eh What ever.

Ok now is the fun stuff. Getting it back in is what took me some time. It was getting dark too. I eventually started working in the dark, with a flash light. Most of the time youíre just going to feel it place itself back in.

You will be putting your replaced switch and shaft back in. To turn the shaft, you can put your key in the ignition and turn it.

Ok so put the shaft in, line it up to where you replace your shear bolt, slide it half way in. Look at the bottom, and if you see where you had your 13mm bolt lock the shaft in, you gotta do it again.

Now My shaft had a bit of a groove where the bolt was holding it, not sure if thatís for everyone but that was my guide to where it should line up again. If that isnít lined up when you put it back in, you wonít be able to get that bolt back in.

This is where the frustration started. I couldnít line it up correctly and had to keep pulling it out, then starting over. The teeth have to line up correctly, and there isnít much space down there for you to get it in easily. Remember to place that spring back on the shaft too. Thatís what makes it wiggle out and then start yourself over.

Get that bolt in, get that shear bolt back to where it was. Tighten that up. Boom now reinstall everything in reverse order. Do your diligence, make sure everything is hooked up correctly etc etc, then you wonít have to open it up again.
-put the connectors back in
-put the stalks back in
-screws back in
-steering wheel back in
-airbag back in

<font color="blue">
Steering wheel time. Hold the clock spring together, and keep that airbag connector at 0700 so it will fit in the plastic cover. I messed up here, and couldnít remember where to put it in the teeth for the straight wheels (When taking the bolt off, I turned the wheel a bit, so it was offcenter) So just get it back where it should be, Iím maybe a couple teeth off, an my wheel just looks like its crooked. Doesnít bother me so much.

Hook that airbag back up, put it in. close up your plastic covers, dash guards etc etc.

-Place your key in the ignition, on ON. THEN go to the battery and hook up your ground to your battery again. Yeah this is the paranoid you may get hit in the face with your airbag that worried me the whole time, but I made it with some prayer and laying on hands on the car. Hahaha

-Ok Turn the car on. Woo headlights working. No brakelight/headlight confusion.
The ignition now seems to have a stiffer turn to it? Is that because the switch? Who knows. But itís not as loose as it used to be.

-Radio goes to safe, install your radio code. Check your papers call the dealer.
Once you turn the power back on afterward, the radio will display SAFE for a few moments and then show four zeros. Press the station preset button 1 to set the first digit. Press station preset 2 to set the second digit, etc. Once the code is correct, press and hold the right Seek button &gt;&gt; to enter.

Or For the 97 ("Deluxe" and "Premium"), 93-97:

1) Turn on the radio and press the MODE and SCAN button simultaneously and hold them down until "1000" appears in the display. Release the buttons!

CAUTION-Do not continue to hold the MODE &amp; safe buttons after "1000" appears or press them again. This would enter the number "1000" as the input code number.

2) Use station buttons 1 to 4 to input the correct anti-theft code number. Use button 1 to input the first digit, button 2 for the second, and so on.

3) Once the anti-theft code is shown in the display, hold the MODE and SCAN buttons down until the word "safe" appears in the display. Release buttons! Soon afterward, a radio frequency will be displayed and the radio will be operational.

The 98 &amp; 99 will display "safe" when turned on, then after about 3 seconds "1000" will be displayed.

This is per the Bentley Service Manual.

There you go guys. This is in accordance to all the posts I read, and help from Stig, Toronto Vento, Bookerdog, Rdkern, turbotone. Woo woo.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 15:23   #2
Herm TDI
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Richmond, Maine...The far side of Witsend
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

Nice wright-up. I added this to my favorite How-to list.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 06:02   #3
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Location: Richmond Hill, ON
Fuel Economy: 50/48/44
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

Wow...I now wish that i never have to replace that darn thing! ha ha. But it also showed me how to take off the steering wheel, which is something I have been curious about.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 10:44   #4
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Location: Kentucky, USA
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

That's a great write up but I don't see the advantage of pulling the column over pulling the adapter sleeve. To each his own.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 10:48   #5
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Location: Pomona, Southern California
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

if you don't have the gear puller, want to make a quasi-puller I guess. That lip that you have to grip isn't that big, I'm glad I went for it this way. That's why I opted for it. Don't have a dremel either. Those were my main reasons for doing so.
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Old April 26th, 2005, 13:58   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: St. Louis, MO
Fuel Economy: Not known yet
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

Nice Work, and a great write-up! To anyone else who reads this and didn't follow the links, you don't have to necessarily remove the steering wheel column, but instead find way to remove the splined adapter collar (That'd be the thing with the knurled edge in the picture below)

You can try and find a puller or you can use a dremel to cut off the old one. Both of these ways require tools that you generally can't rent, but must buy instead. Kooya's write-up above can generally be described as the absolute budget method of replacing the ignition switch.

Once again, great writeup!
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Old April 26th, 2005, 19:16   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Between Athens and Atlanta
Default Re: A3 Ignition Switch Replacement DIY w/ pictures

Excellent job - I couldn't do better myself!

I have to state up front that I am in no way connected with rockauto, but I have been impressed with their service and prices. Superquick shipping and cheap. Just purchased and installed 2 loaded remanufactured rear calipers for $67 + $50 core charge each. Impex wanted 125+60 each (also remanufactured and loaded).

FWIW, the $5 rockauto aftermarket ignition switch works perfectly so far. Hopefully it'll be the last one.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 16:47   #8
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Silver Spring MD
TDI(s): VW Cabrio
Thumbs up


ty ty ty. Just finished this job on a '98 Cabrio (non TDI, my bad!). Without your pictures, I would have never attempted to do such a job, because I'm completely mechanically disinclined. I also left the steering wheel alone (including not messing with the airbags), and just undid the ujoint bolt at the base of the steering column, and the shearing bolt on the upper column. Pulled out the steering wheel column, and replaced the ignition switch. Brilliant....just simply brilliant. Thank you for mentoring me from afar. Cheers!
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Old December 16th, 2006, 18:58   #9
Join Date: Jun 2005
TDI(s): 96
Default Thanks

for the very helpful write up. i replaced mine in hopes it resolves my multiple starter death syndrome. regardless, i appreciate you taking the time to provide this info. I never did find out what the "clock spring" ???
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Old December 17th, 2006, 17:04   #10
Join Date: Jun 2005
TDI(s): 96
Default stay ain't working after the switch replacement

Not sure if this should be a different thread. I'm guessing, dare I say, hoping, some of you encountered similar issues after replacement.

First time I stuck the key in after installing the switch, all the dashboard lights and dials came on as expected, but, no power to the starter. After that just the clock and odomoter come on with the key in the off position - no power to any other dash items or signal/washer. If I turn to start those go away and no power to the starter. Crap!!! Not looking forward to weeks/months of electrical troubleshooting. Any ideas??
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Old December 18th, 2006, 02:26   #11
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Location: EU

if your switch is not fully seated or you forgot to tighten the switch retaining screw it might explain the behaviour you see. Another option would be a faulty switch.

Last edited by Wypij; December 18th, 2006 at 02:28.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 15:13   #12
Join Date: Jun 2005
TDI(s): 96
Default column popped out

got the electrical part resolved - just a short requiring a better rewire. restarted a few times drove it around a bit before I parked in driveway to put the rest of the interior trim stuff back on. then, while putting the last trim parts back on, I turn the wheel and boom the column popped out of the bottom piece and the wheel spun around. How the hell did it pop out when it was apparently connected properly - spring in, notch in the right place and steering wheel operating properly????
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Old December 28th, 2006, 01:14   #13
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pomona, Southern California

Wow! Thankfully it didn't happen on the road. Wonder why it would fall out. hope someone can get to this.

That bolt didn't fall out? From what I can remember, that might have been loose?
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Old February 19th, 2007, 10:14   #14
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indianapolis
TDI(s): Jetta
Talking steering column was too short

This DIY worked great until I went to hook back up the universal to the bottom of the steering shaft. Evidently, I had shortened it somehow.
After I had lengthened it, it fit it nice and easy.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 19:28   #15
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Location: Boone, NC
TDI(s): 99.5 Jetta

This is actually a variation I found on the Vortex that took out the dissasembly of the steering wheel. It was easy and took ~ an hour. Thanks for all the pics and directions as it made life a lot easier!

99.5 Jetta TDI, 95 S6 , 90 Coupe quattro, 83 ur quattro, 70 MGB, 96 Ford PSD 4x4 Gone and missed: 96 Passat TDI sedan, 96 Passat TDI wagon, 01 Beetle TDI, 95.5 S6 avant
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