NISSAN Pictures of how I replaced the Ignition Switch in my 87-95 Nissan Pathfinder.


Ignition SWITCH:
The slot in the steering column in which you turn the key to start the vehicle.
My Theory:
There is some wiring in the ignition switch on the key side. I guess it is worn and doesn't contact any more.
Maybe it's a kill switch? So the key has to fit well.
The ignition switch is old and the contacts are worn out.  The key is loose.  The contacts don't "contact."
So I THINK that replacing just the "switch" part ($45) won't work - that only requires that the key turn, and I THINK that having it re-keyed won't help (re-key $100 at the locksmith) - it turns fine. So I decided to replace the whole assembly - over $100 for the new OE Beck Arnley assembly.  I think I could have ordered the ignition switch to match the old key.  I make a mistake, I learn.
Pathfinder Ignition Switch Assembly

But first, lets pay some bills:

  1. According to Chilton, I should remove the steering wheel.  I did it with the steering wheel on, and had no problems.

  2. I disconnected the negative battery wire.  I don't know why, but Chilton said to do it.  There's no airbag.  Email me if you know the answer to that.

  3. I removed the steering column cover:
    1. GENTLY unscrew 6 screws under the cover.
    2. GENTLY catch bottom half as it falls.
    3. GENTLY remove top half.

    I was too rough and broke a lot of places where the wood screws fit into the 15 year old brittle plastic.  I used a bunch of washers and bolts etc to put it back together.  Unless you might want to buy her, then nothing broke just kidding.

  4. Remove turn signal assembly:
    Remove 2 screws on side of assembly.  Otherwise I could end up drilling up the signal wiring connector (theoretically, I didn't of course).
    Pathfinder Ignition Switch Lock and Key Remove Side Steering Column

  5. Remove all the wiring and tuck it out of the way.

  6. Drill out the old ignition switch:
    Two screws with heads sheared off must be drilled out.   I read somewhere that I can use a 1/8" bit then a broken screw remover.   I didn't have a remover, so I used a BIG bit and broke my back and it was ugly and messy.   It turns out the screws were fairly loose - I should have gone to buy the broken screw remover.
    Pathfinder Ignition Wiring in Steering Column

  7. Put in new assembly and put it all back together.
    Now it starts perfectly on the first time - every time.  The key fits smooth and tight (smooth and tight). No key jiggling.  No praying.  No sacrificing chickens.
    I was running out of chickens

  8. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.

    But no minivans!

  9. Then I finished my beer.

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Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy.   Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives.   If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities.   If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic.   The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle.   For all you know I made this up.   Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.

Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost.   All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place.   Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling.   The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site.   By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf.   The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.

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Last modified: 11/22/2014