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Ignition switch replacement

4154 Views 20 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  acipollone
I have a 1994 Saab 900S V6 with just over 109,000 miles. Over the past few months, the car has been acting strange. Intermittantly, the car will not start, the engine cranks and tries to start but ultimately doesn't. After a few tries it will occasionally start but randomly shuts off while driving. Power to the interior lights, dashboard, SID, and power windows and locks all work. I towed it to a local repair shop and they are saying that it is most likely the ignition switch, but it may not be. The price they quoted me to fix it however was absolutely ri****ulous, $250+ for the center console tear down, plus $350+ for the ignition switch. I was able to find multiple sources to order an ignition switch online for around $150-$175 which seems reasonable, but I do not want to pay the 250 for labor if I can do it myself. If anyone has any instructions on how to remove the center console and do the repair myself I would greatly appreciate it.
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Haynes 5A 6,7

No big deal, apparently, maybe an hour or two of honest work.
I removed the ignition switch in the 93 whilst I was driving, one fine day !

eEuroParts 49 46 307

$121 for the switch only.....
Also, the first part of the instructions for the short shifter on the MP Performance web site is useful to remove the center console plastic shroud.
Awesome, thank you guys very much. I really appreciate your fast response. If anyone has any experience with actually replacing the ignition switch, I would greatly appreciate any further help you guys may be able to offer. I'm sure I'll be able to get the center console removed, but from that point forward, I'm at a loss for knowing exactly what to do. Thanks in advance.
To get to the ingition switch you have to remove the shifter housing, and later reinstall it correctly. Before removing the shifter the transmission has to be locked in 4th gear. Dip's web site has a lot of information about the shifter and old style shift linkage, if you need more than the mpperformance directions.

The ignition switch is accessible from the bottom of the shifter housing, held by two screws. The Haynes manual does say that you have to align a plate holding it it correctly on reassembly, and use loctite on the two screws.

None of this is very difficult, just a lot of work to replace a switch. If you are not comfortable with what you see online about removing the shifter, I would get the Haynes manual first.
My car has an automatic transmission however, any specifics I need to know to deal with that?
Ahhh... I assume removing the shifter housing is different. Simpler, with any luck. If nobody else chimes in, I will try to look it up tonight or tomorrow...
Awesome, thank you very much.
BTW, before tearing apart the car and spending hundreds on a part you do not need..., assure that all the relays are good - they are much easier to test (some can simply be switched), and far cheaper to buy..
Also, have the battery/charging system checked..
Always go the cheapest path..
Spend more on the diagnoses, less on the repair..
I know the alternator is working, only a year old with minimal driving since im in college. Battery can't be the cause because even when trying to jump it, the car wouldn't start. I have checked all the fuses and they are in working order. Other than that, what relays could I check, and how would I go about it?
Assuming it turns out to be the ignition switch, it looks like the most important difference is removal of the cable from the automatic.

The Haynes manual is a good buy at around $30... it has diagrams and more detail on related parts, nothing complicated and no special tools, just a lot of work to get access to the switch.

This is the part of the instructions for removal, hopefully someone with an automatic can confirm it.

Ignition Switch, Haynes 5A Section 12
1) On models with manual transmission...
2) On models with automatic transmission, remove the selector lever assembly as described in Chapter 7B.
3) Unplug the wiring from the ignition switch, then remove the switch retaining screws and withdraw the assembly from the base of the ignition lock. If required, remove the securing screw and withdraw the lock from the lever housing.

Selector lever assembly removal, Haynes 7B Section 5
1) Remove the center console and rear compartment air ducts, then position shift lever to "N" (neutral).
2) Release the indicator plate from the lever housing then disconnect the selector cable from the base of the selector lever and the front of the lever housing as described in Section 4.
3) Loosen and remove the mounting bolts, then remove the lever assembly.
4) Unplug the mode switch wiring connectors from the side of the housing. Where applicable, free the bulb holder from the indicator panel.
5) Disconnect the ignition switch/lock cable from the rear of the housing, then remove the housing and lever assembly from the car. Ensure that the selector cable adjuster nut does not fall out.

Selector Cable, Haynes 7B Section 4
1) Remove the center console and rear compartment air ducts, then position shift lever to "N" (neutral).
2) Remove the locking clip from the end of the selector cable and disconnect the selector cable... (continues on to selector cable inspection and removal)
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To check some relays, I just swap and try, as some of the relays are identical.

With simple units ,I bridge 30 and 87 - carefully - I use a length of wire with a 8 amp fuse.
Pays to have the shop manual for all of this..
I have a 95 900 se with a v6, just had to replace my switch last month, had my local saab mech replace for me, he charged 125 for the switch and 75 for labor, wonder why these things want last.??:roll:

I took my centre consul apart as I had an ignition switch problem. It is quite straight forward I would advise getting a couple of trim clips prior to doing this though as I broke mine getting them out.

Also you dont need to wory about putting the selector into N. Just undo the bolts that hold the ignition and selector to the tunnel and rotate them round to access the switch, it is held on by two torx screws - check the swith for contamination first, a quick clean and insert a screwdriver into the barrel sleeve and turn to start. Worked for me, took about 40 mins to fix and another 40 mins to get everything back, trickiest part I found was the heater controls. The long white plastic flexi rod is spring loaded, unclip this and extend it a bit further when putting back, it clicks shut when you push the controls in all the way
And make certain that the battery connections and all the grounds are good (shiny, tight).

I have one ground I must fix in the "bluebird", and now is the time. The use of 12 gage single strand is supposed to be temporary , for the trans earth to body!

A man cannot beat this site for good , detailed info, can he..
Forgot to mention in my previous post that the switch was contaminated with grease, I figure that because the heater channel runs along side the handbrake and auto shifter the heat melted grease that ran down the loom into the switch, I just cleaned it off and sealed in a bag to prevent from happening again. I had the same syptome weak dashlights and turn but not fire

Just wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who responded to my original post. I was able to take the center console apart and replace the ignition switch without any major problems. Biggest pain in the ***** was going to the hardware store to buy a Torx T25 screwdriver, coming back and remove everything with it, just to find that the actual ignition switch is held in place by Torx T20 screws. Minus the 2 trips to the hardware store, it took me about 2 1/2 hours to do, and that is with absolutely no prior vahicle interior work before. After I got everything put back together and wired up correctly, everything works. Car starts just like it should.

Thanks again

i think your post might just be the solution to my problem. I have the exact same model and symptoms are very similar. The mechanic didn't want to just start replacing things, but said it may be an ignition switch. Mine has died while driving several times over the last few months and recently blew an instrument panel fuse in the process. There's no real pattern, it's just random. Current draw, battery, alternator and fuel system all seem to check out fine as well.

So you haven't had any issues so far, after your work? Mine was fine for weeks before failing again, driving through town one day!! Mines got about 90k miles on the clock, so age is pretty similar, too.


Try popping the electric window controls, get your hand in there and head towards the gearshift, you should find a loom on top of the tunnel, push it hard towards the front of the car, this is the ignition loom and sometimes the connections aren't great. Works if all your ingintion live circuits pack up as well.
curtnc said:
I have a 95 900 se with a v6, just had to replace my switch last month, had my local Saab mech replace for me, he charged 125 for the switch and 75 for labor, wonder why these things want last.??:roll:
That is a far more reasonable price, even a bargain in todays overly safe and secure world...
I would publicize and advertise for this gentleman..

One thing about this switch, when it starts to fail, you would think that various functions would become erratic, not just one..

But, when the switch failed in the 93, the return spring in the starter portion broke, this is very hard on the starter motor, trying to spin at 3 grand...
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