I migrated this repair guide over to iFixit, where I've re-written it with a bit more detail and uploaded higher resolution pictures (click on each picture to view it at 1600x1200). I left the original post as-is.
Check it out here: http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repair/I...-Switch/3285/1
Thank you to all who posted kind words in this thread. I'm very glad I was able to help you out!
This is my first post. I definitely utilized this forum as a source of information (and inspiration) in the past, and so I wanted to contribute to the general collective knowledge contained over here.
In the past couple of months my 1998 Honda Accord Dx started shutting itself off at random times -- on freeway onramps, while parked and idling, etc. -- so I did some research and found that the electrical portion of the ignition switch had been recalled. I called up Honda of America and found that my car had already been serviced for this recall, meaning I was on my own to fix this problem.
So I did some more research on the internet to verify that the ignition switch was indeed the problem. At that point I had two choices: I could pay the dealer $100 for them to figure out the problem, and *possibly* honor the recall a second time(provided they found the problem in the first place). Or I could buy the part for $61 and do the repair myself. I chose the latter since I really want to learn about cars as much as possible, and I will be assured that the job was done properly (or at least learn from my mistakes
So without further ado, here's how to fix the ignition switch on a '98-'02 Accord...
DISCLAIMER: This posting is for educational purposes only, and I take no responsibility for your actions. You can't blame me if your car blows up or if your airbag deploys, or for any other reason whatsoever. Perform this repair at your own risk
The tools and materials you will need:
1. 10mm wrench
2. Phillips head screwdriver
3. Flat-blade screwdriver
4. Electrical tape
5. Honda Accord electrical portion of the ignition switch
6. Multimeter for continuity testing (not pictured)
1. Disconnect the battery. This is especially important because you're going to be working near the airbag. Do not touch any yellow wires under the dash -- they're for the airbag (or so I've heard). As you can see, I keep my battery in tip-top shape. The grime acts as a blanket layer of protection against the elements
2. Remove the driver's side fuse panel cover.
3. Remove the two retaining screws that hold the driver's side lower panel.
4. Remove the last retaining screw that's located under the radio.
5. Now the driver's side lower panel can be removed. Begin on the left side and gently pull it off, so that all of the retaining clips are released.
6. The ignition switch can now be unplugged for testing. The switch connects to the rear of the driver's side fuse panel. Shine a flashlight and find the following connector:
7. Now it's testing time. Use the pictures below as guidance to see if the switch is defective. The key should be placed into the ignition switch and turned to the appropriate position; then continuity should be tested between each of the points as outlined in the guide. I posted a few sample readings for general guidance.
I do want to mention that this testing should be performed as thoroughly as possible, since the switch may appear to be fine at first. I got lucky in the sense that the switch immediately failed one of the tests. The best way to test the switch is to plug in the multimeter leads into the 1 and 4 terminals, and then to cycle between "On" and "Start". Eventually the multimeter should read "no continuity" in the "On" position, indicating that the switch is bad.
8. Of course proceed at this point only if the switch failed one of the continuity tests. Also make sure that the ignition switch is in the "Lock" position before proceeding any further.
Lower the steering wheel adjustment lever all the way down, and then remove the three screws on the lower steering rack cover. Pop the lower cover off the top cover, giving you access to the electrical portion of the ignition switch.
9. The electrical portion of the ignition switch can now be removed. Unscrew the two screws that hold the ignition switch cover (and switch itself) in place. The cover should be loose on the swtich, however there is another screw holding it in place behind the steering wheel. I found this screw by feeling around for it after realizing the cover is still being held in place by something. It was not necessary to remove this screw to replace the switch, so I'll leave it up to you whether or not you want to remove it. The screw is in such a pain in the *** place that I figured it would be harder to screw it back in place after removing it than just bending the ignition switch cover backwards and removing the switch.
While in at general area, make sure not to touch the steering column adjustment grease. I found it to be very greasy, as grease should be
10. At this point you can test the new switch for continuity, just to make sure it's 100% functional before putting it into the car. Follow the same steps outlined in step #7 except use the flat blade screwdriver to switch between ignition positions. You'll notice that the switch clicks just like it does when you insert your key into the steering column ignition. If the continuity tests pass, you can proceed with installing it into your car.
Once you remove the old switch from its cover, plug in the new switch connector into the rear of the fuse panel and connect the other side to the steering column.
*Make sure* that the new switch is in the "Lock" position. To make sure it is in the "Lock" position, use the flat blade screwdriver to gently twist the switch counter-clockwise until it will twist no more, ensuring that the switch is in the "Lock" position.
Route the wiring in the same manner the old switch wiring was routed, insert the switch into the steering column, and put back the ignition switch cover and screws.
11. Use the electrical tape to corral any of the loose wiring. Put all paneling back the way it was by following the above directions in reverse. Make sure that the rubber O-ring around the ignition switch is properly seated against the switch when putting back the lower steering wheel cover.
The whole ordeal took me about 2 hours, start to finish. I had the most trouble with the third ignition switch screw and the ignition switch cover. The cover was a pain in the *** to displace enough to remove the old ignition switch. Aside from that, everything else was pretty straightforward, even though I didn't have directions like these to guide me. Hopefully some of you guys can save some cash by doing this yourselves instead of playing the guessing game with what's going to happen with the dealer. Of course you can go through all this trouble and find out it's not the switch causing you troubles.
I've been driving the car for about 3-4 days without a single mishap. Usually the car would turn off at least once a day so I'm giving it a clean bill of health as of today. I'll update this posting should any future mishaps develop.
It was a really great learning experience, especially because I also came to the startling realization of how easy it is to "hot-wire" a Honda.
Modified by Mad Medicine at 12:05 AM 7/28/2008
Modified by Mad Medicine at 12:13 AM 7/28/2008
Modified by Mad Medicine at 10:36 PM 8/18/2008