Nissan Sentra Lock Cylinder Removal


The Nissan Sentra shares a platform with the Pulsar and NX. The ignition switch on Nissan Sentra is mounted on the steering column. It is held on with special bolts called "shear bolts" which can only be used once because when they are installed they are tightened until the heads "shear" off. Because of this the bolts must be drilled out in order to remove the ignition switch. The ignition switch and block assembly must be replaced as a unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • White out
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Hammer
  • Punch
  • 5/16 inch drill bit
  • Drill
  • Park the Sentra on a paved, level surface and set the parking brake. Use a wrench to disconnect the negative battery cable.

  • Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on the bottom of the steering column cover. Remove the upper and lower covers.

  • Position the steering wheel straight ahead. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on the back side of the steering wheel, behind the center horn pad. Lift off the horn pad. Disconnect the horn wire from the horn pad.

  • Use a ratchet and socket to remove the nut from the steering column shaft in the center of the steering wheel. Use some white-out to paint a line from the shaft to the steering wheel. When you replace the steering wheel you will line up these marks.

  • Attach a steering wheel puller to the steering wheel. The puller has four arms with slots in them and a threaded shaft in the center. Line up the slots in the arms with the threaded holes in the steering wheel which are there to accommodate the puller. Install bolts -- they come with the puller -- into the slots and threaded holes on the steering wheel. The threaded rod sits on top of the steering column shaft. Use a ratchet socket to turn the threaded shaft. This will pull the steering wheel off of the steering column shaft. Note: Before using the puller, try grabbing the steering wheel and just giving it a good tug. Sometimes it will just come off.

  • Place a punch in the center of the shear bolt and It with a hammer to put a dimple in the center of the head of the bolt. The head of the bolt looks like the head of a screw without any slots. Repeat this process for the other bolt.

  • Disconnect the electrical connector from the ignition switch. Mount a 5/16-inch drill bit in a drill. Place the tip of the drillbit in the temple you made with the punch and drill the head of the bolt until it comes off. Lift off the mounting bracket and remove the ignition-lock assembly.

  • Position the new ignition switch on the steering column. Now the bracket and install the shear bolts. Note that the new bolts have a hex head on top of them with a thin stem connecting them to the rest of the bolt. Use a ratchet socket to tighten the bolts until you twist off the heads.

  • Plug the electrical connector into the ignition switch. Line up the marks on the steering wheel and steering column shaft and push the steering wheel onto the shaft. Install and tighten the nut. Mount the center horn pad and install the screws. Install the upper and lower steering column covers and install the screws. Reconnect the negative battery cable.

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  • "Chilton's Nissan Sentra 1982 through 1996 Repair Manual"; Chilton Book Company; 1996
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