The ignition switch (pin style) on my 24 Coupe started acting goofy two weekends ago. At one point, we couldn't switch to mag without it immediately shutting down the car. We fiddled with it enough to rule out a mag problem and narrowed the problem down to the ignition switch.
I've tried to order one of the Ignition Switch Rebuild Kits from Langs, Mac's/Ecklers, Vintageford.com, but everyone says it is back ordered and not expected to be available until the early party of January.
First, does anyone have any idea why these ignition switch parts are not readily available?
Second, does anyone have any alternatives that may be a good option?
Take the switch apart, clean the contacts and bend the spring tabs to add pressure. If you have no luck, I do have several used switches.
A three-way toggle switch will work until you can repair the stock switch. My personal experience, some years ago, with the rebuild kits, involved considerable profanity. Just mine.
Jim's advice is right on the money.
I meant Jim Sims, switches are simple and easily fixed.
Your ignition switch actually has 2 switches, one operated by the key used for the ignition and a second switch operated with the lever for the lights. In a pinch out on the road, you can disconnect the wire for the lights and connect the ignition wire to the switch for the lights. Then the lever operates the ignition. Trace out the circuit when you have the switch apart. The switch for the lights gets less use and may be in better shape.
Bravo Don. That's what I call a period appropriate fix. I love it!
When you get your new switch kit plan on a lot of sanding to get it to fit. The kit I received was both to thick and to large in diameter. I spent hours sanding getting it to fit in the case.
Most of the time disassembling the switch, cleaning up the contact areas and carefully bending the switch plate tabs will fix the switch.
Pull it down Eric. The guys are right. The chances of repairing what's there are darn near as good as fiddeling with the mostly poor fitting replacement parts available. Just keep that mag. wire off until you're 110% sure switch & wiring are OK. Experience talkin' here.
The repro switch contact parts are made out of the incorrect soft copper and are not springy enough to work properly for any amount of time. If you re-build the switch with repro parts it will work okay for a couple weeks or maybe a couple months before it starts giving you the same trouble again. They have been that way for decades. You can use the repro back (with some re-fitting) but the contacts are generally a disappointment. Used, original, FORD contacts are the only thing that will provide satisfactory service and they are plentiful.
Maybe the rebuild kits are on backorder everywhere because they are "getting improved" by the supplier?
Thanks for the great advice. I went out tonight and took the ignition switch apart, checked out the metal prongs, lifted two of them a tiny bit, and reassembled things. The coils didn't buzz.
I took it apart and repeated things. Put it back together and still no buzz.
Frustrated, I pulled the switch a bit further out of the dash which extended the wires a teeny bit and the coils started buzzing like a bee hive. I fired it up with no problem. I switched it to mag and it kept running great. Stopped it, started it, switched to mag, and all was fine.
I took it for a nighttime spin around the block with the headlights and taillights on. It ran great and the intermittent stuttering we experienced a couple of weeks ago was gone. Got home and turned it off, I started it and switched to mag, turned it off, and repeated several times. No problems (and even got one start by simply turning the key).
So, the problem may have been remedied by lifting those metal tabs to improve contact inside the switch, or there may have been a wire that decided to behave when I pulled the switch a bit further out of the dash.
Thanks again for the advice, especially Don's cool quick fix by using the light switch and Jim's option of a toggle switch if the thing poops out entirely. I will keep those tips handy for an emergency.
I would call Ben Martin at 404 789-6350
He rebuilt the switch assembly in my 24, and it works absolutely perfect
For future reference: Sometimes the backing plate becomes warped with age, causing the tabs to lose contact. Flatten it on a piece of coarse sandpaper and pull the tabs out a little. This is often all a switch needs.
Check the screws on the terminal block under the hood. Snug them up, but don't strip them out. When you pulled on the wires and a coil started buzzing, it may be loose connections.
I have experienced this problem in the past.
A cracked terminal block can make those screws loose.
I agree with most everything mentioned above. I'd stick with original parts if possible. If you have a pin back type switch, it can be repaired easily with Crazy Glue. I've done a few this way with good results. You can only do one pin at a time. The first thing to do is determine the original thickness of the switch back. Then, put Crazy Glue in the cracks and clamp it in a vise to the original thickness. I like to leave the switch back in the vise over night, and then move on to the next one until all three are done. I then sand the inside of the switch back on a good flat surface, I use my drill press table, but I don't use a coarse a grit as pictured above. You will not get it perfectly flat, but it will be close enough. The tab types would use the same procedure.
On a tab type switch, be sure to anneal the tabs before trying to bend them. Just get them BARELY red hot. If you don't, they may break off when you bend them back down. I used an oxy/acet. torch with a VERY small tip (000) I think, it doesn't take much heat. Just be very careful and don't burn the cardboard too much. Soaking the cardboard with a bit of water, not too much, will help. Also, don't bend them any more than necessary to get it apart. Works for me. Dave
I fixed my tab type switches without annealing and without any tabs breaking by not bending the tabs where they were originally bent - instead I tried to introduce a new bend below while taking it apart, bending the tabs outwards instead of up with channel lock pliers until the cardboard back and the rest of the innards was free.
After fixing it up, the tabs were bent inwards (towards the center) again without any tendencies to break. Should the need for another repair arise, then I'll have to anneal them.
Those depressions have to be deepened a little, after the switch is sanded smooth, as they hold the desired selection in the ON position.
The two lower right depressions in the above photo are almost completely sanded out.