How to Remove a 1987 Chevrolet Pickup Ignition Switch

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Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Socket wrench set

A damaged or defective ignition switch in your Chevrolet pickup will prevent the engine from starting. The ignition switch essentially plays a game of three-way tag. When you turn the key forward in your 1987 Pickup, the ignition switch tags the starter relay, which then tags your starter motor. When the ignition switch fails, it will tag neither the relay nor the starter, resulting with your engine not starting. The ignition switch, like other components on your pickup, will fail over time from everyday use. However, damage to the switch most commonly results from electrical failure due to a crossed or loose power wire.

Step 1

Open the driver's door on your pickup, and kneel within the doorway so you can clearly see the bottom of the steering column. Move your truck's seat back if you need to gain additional working space.

Step 2

Remove the Phillips screws holding the trim onto the bottom of the steering column with your screwdriver. Carefully pull the trim away from its mounting position, taking extra care not to damage the wires beneath it, and set it down on the passenger's seat.

Step 3

Pull the steering wheel's positioning lever, and lower the steering wheel as far as it will go. Lift the piece of trim covering the top of your pickup's steering column, and set it down on the passenger's seat with the lower trim. With the top portion of trim removed, you should readily see your pickup's ignition switch. Unlike most cars and trucks, General Motors will have mounted your 1987 pickup's ignition switch atop the steering column instead of its side for security reasons. The switch is square and has a large wiring harness connected to its back.

Step 4

Unplug the wiring harness connected to your pickup's ignition switch. Remove the two bolts holding the switch in place on the steering column with a socket wrench. Lift the ignition switch vertically away from the steering column, and discard it. Install a new ignition switch in your 1987 Chevrolet pickup by reversing the removal process entirely.


Your new ignition switch will come pinned into the locked position. Remove the plastic tab holding the pin in place on the side of the new ignition switch, and discard it. Do not move the metal slider pin next to the plastic tab. If your new ignition switch for some reason does not come pinned down already, move the metal slider pin on the switch all the way to the left. While you're moving it, you should feel it click with every move. Once you have moved the pin completely to the left, move it to the right one click—no more—then install it into your pickup.


If you smell burning plastic or hot metal once you remove the lower steering column trim, disconnect the battery entirely before continuing with the repair. Once you install the new ignition switch, connect and secure the positive cable back to your pickup's battery, followed by the negative cable.

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