1997 OBS Multifunction wiper cruise turn signal switch replacement - photos and steps

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by Jamm3r, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Jamm3r

    Jamm3r Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    So if someone wants to sell you a truck with a broken turn signal switch just keep looking for something with an easier repair like maybe a blown head gasket or something. :grrrrrr: $200 of parts and took all afternoon. Well maybe not as bad as cylinder heads but still.

    On my 1997 there are no air bags so I didn't have to worry about having to buy a new pair of glasses if I screwed up.

    I knew this was going to be a big job so I got an acdelco replacement part because I didn't want to spend all afternoon putting in Chinese junk from ebay and have it break in two weeks.

    I needed a T20 torx driver and a 4mm 6 point socket and other usual tools. The 4mm 6 point socket could be used on the two external torx fasteners so that it was not necessary to get a set of external torx driver$.

    The upper and lower (knee bolster) dash bezel, the steering column clamshell, and the two steel reinforcement panels behind the lower dash all had to come out. The upper bezel just snaps out and can be carefully removed, using a warm shop if it's winter so the plastic isn't brittle. The lower knee bolster plastic thing has snaps at the top and 4 screws at the bottom. You have to undo the parking brake release cable when removing it.

    Here's a photo with the dash out but the reinforcement panels not yet removed:


    The bottom half of the steering column clamshell is held in place by two bolts with a T20 drive accessed from below. The upper half of the steering column clamshell is held in place by E4-drive torx screws, that's where I used the 4mm socket.

    I found that it was sufficient to loosen the upper half of the steering clamshell without removing it. This eliminates the need to remove the ignition cylinder, which is a fiddly job. With care it is possible to bend the upper half of the clamshell enough to put the T20 driver through the 4way flasher hole and remove the bolt that holds the switch in place:


    The other bolt holding the multifunction switch in place, also a t20 drive, is partway under the steering wheel. I was able, barely, to get at it with my cheap torx foldup driver. I used a 5mm allen wrench with a ball end to reinstall it at first since there isn't quite a straight shot at it.

    The next thing that makes this hard is getting all the connectors undone. Some engineer at GM must have needed another patent to get a promotion or something because they used this ridiculous 3-part snap apart jack screw connector that only an engineer could love. You have to undo the bolt all the way and wiggle the whole thing out. I found that it was necessary to unscrew the screw anchoring this whole abomination in place in order to get enough clearance to disconnect it:
    Then the two side pieces of the connector can be removed.


    The next trick is that there's this two-wire piece of the harness that goes up over the column to what I think is the shift position sensor. It's almost impossible to disconnect without further disassembly, but I was able to pull out the "connection assurance device" locking tab with some long needlenose pliers and then pop the latch with a screwdriver. The "connection assurance device" is green in the photo:


    Installation was easier than removal. I followed the original path of the wires. The connectors are easier to connect than disconnect.


    The reason I did this was to fix the 4-way flasher button which, upon teardown of the old part, was jammed because of accumulated dust and grease in the latching mechanism. It's a bad design that isn't well sealed. I don't think there was any way I could have fixed it without replacing the whole thing.

    The wiper switch operates by a plastic gear between the part you turn and the actual switch. The common failure of this piece is for the gear to break so that the wiper thing just turns with no effect or resistance. Nothing to do for it but replace the whole thing.

    Hope someone finds this helpful

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