In a recent Instructable I discussed problems with the instrument cluster on my 1999 Oldsmobile Alero. In that previous Instructable I had believed my ignition switch tested good and I soldered some metal-on-metal connections to by-pass oxidation that may have added a critical amount of resistance to the circuit. Still, the same difficulties returned a few days later. I read articles like this one to see if my 12 year old car with 110,000 miles could be suffering from an ignition switch in the early stages of failure. I decided I wanted to remove the ignition switch from my car for examination and possible replacement, but do it without removing the dashboard.
The Oldsmobile Alero has some "cousins," like the Chevrolet Malibu. But, the dashboard trim in the Malibu is different from that in the Alero. In the Malibu the bezel around the radio simply pries off, and when it is removed the two bolts that hold the ignition switch in place are fully accessible. The Alero is different, though. The same two bolts are hidden behind the dashboard.
For this Instructable I needed:
A 10mm open end and box end combination wrench that I could sacrifice.
A couple of screwdrivers.
A nut driver with a 7mm wrench socket attached.
A torch for heating and bending the wrench as needed (I used a carbon arc torch on an electric welder.).
A vise (for holding the wrench while heating it for bending).
A hammer for making the bend in the wrench as sharp as possible.
A Dremel tool with a cylindrical grinding bit and a burr bit.
A mechanic's inspection mirror.
Auxiliary lighing (flashlight or a mechanic's trouble light)
A Haynes manual for my car.
A new ignition switch.
Step 1: Ignition switch bezel
The ignition switch bezel lifts off when pried around its perimeter with a common screwdriver. I will trim away some of the dashboard behind the ignition switch bezel and use the extra space to access the bolts.