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Old 07-14-2009, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ignition switch failure at 156000 miles / 13 years

I thought I'd share the above data point with you.

I EOC only a little in the Subaru. It amounts to a handful of ignition switch cycles a week. I also kill the engine when I roll into parking spaces. When I kill the engine with the car in motion, I move the switch very tentatively from ON to ACC, because the next switch position locks the steering wheel. Anyway, my ignition switch is dead (the ACC position is shorted out), and I'm exclusively on the bicycle until replacement parts arrive.

Anyway, if you have a manual transmission, build an engine kill switch.

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Old 07-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is the first ignition switch failure I've heard of. Of course a kill switch is a nice feature.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like decent life out of the switch to me. A lot of Ford switches burned up before that. But yeah, a kill switch would be better.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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RobertSmalls -

Thanks for the info. It's on my todo list. I literally have 70% of the wiring "in place" and even a pre-installed switch I can re-use from another project.

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Old 07-15-2009, 07:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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13 years and 156K miles sounds pretty decent for a switch that gets used at least 2 x / day ( assuming drive to work and a drive back) almost 10K cycles

anyone have an idea what a "normal" life of a switch is?
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here's another indication of how rare ignition switch failure is. The parts store called me back a few days after having taken my money, and said "The vendor discontinued the part, and they're out of stock. Sorry." I got my money back, but I didn't get the part.

I was ready to re-route some wires under the steering column so I could get around after dark. But first, I reduced the weight of my keyring from 83g to 13g and tried again. To my surprise, it works fine right now. Maybe I won't have to fix it.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The ignition switch failed on the Clunker right after I got it, but before I started hypermiling. Turned out that it was a dealer-only part. Fortunately, the electronics portion of the switch was separate from the actual keylock part, and it only took about 10 minutes to replace the electronic part. If yours is the same way, but you can't get it from the dealer, you might try to find a younger car in the junkyard. (The 2G Legacy lasted through '99, so maybe one from that year would fit.)
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The ignition switch in my van failed from too much amps, and the one in there right now will need replacing eventually. They used the same switch all the way back into the 70s for a ton of GM and AMC vehicles. Vehicles back then didn't have that much. The van has electronic controlled trans, huge wipers with a large linkage setup, rear wiper, two HVAC units with 2 blowers, plus the radio all through the ignition switch. Thankfully a new one is only about $12 at the parts store.

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