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Old 12-06-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
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Ignition switch replacement

My 98 Boxster, as usual is stored away now during the Chicago winters but in the Spring I plan on replacing the ignition switch (electrical portion only, not the entire tumbler and lock set). Have symptoms of a switch going bad: takes longer for radio to turn off after the key is pulled out and sometimes, especially when it's cold out the key doesn't want to turn very easily.

I've learned the part is no longer sold separately from Porsche but Pelican has it and so do Audi dealers and it's only about $100. I've looked at the step by step instructions for a DIY project and from what I can see it's not all that difficult except for loosening the set screws that hold it in place because those are difficult to get to and can have some sort of factory "loc-tite" on the threads.....but do-able...they say.

So as part of doing my do-diligence I stopped at my area Porsche dealer to get a price on the labor charge IF I wanted them to do it.......ready for it?......they told me 2.5 hrs of labor for a total of $875. My "indi" Porsche shop says they will charge me $175 to $225 for the same.

My thinking is that for what my "indi" is quoting (max $225) it might not make sense for me to struggle, scrape a few knuckles, swear a lot, and lay in a contorted position for hours under my dash.

Any thoughts from those that have done it before would be appreciated....Thx.

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Old 12-06-2019, 01:48 PM   #2
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I've had to replace mine twice. If you have the right kind of screwdriver and are comfortable getting under the dash (i.e. put your legs on the seat back and stuff your head and shoulders in the footwell) it isn't too difficult. It is a little easier if you remove the left HVAC vent. If you need a little more room you could remove the driver's seat.

I consider this a personal decision based on your level of health and fitness. If you already have a back or neck problem, it is probably going to be less expensive to pay your independent mechanic than to shell out for a visit to your orthopedist. If you are still relatively limber, do it yourself.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:01 PM   #3
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$100 for an ignition switch is nuts. I don’t recall the OEM manufacturer, but good quality switches are only about $20.

You may be overthinking. $20 and 20 minutes and you’d be all set.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:38 PM   #4
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Actually the OEM replacement is only $40..... so I went ahead and ordered it. When the car comes out of storage Iíll try tackling it myself. At 5í8Ē and 175 lbs Iím still sized and limber enough to contort myself under the dash.

I did watch a YouTube video where the guy showed himself going through the left side vent section removal because he had too much difficulty in working from underneath. I plan on going that route IF the set screws prove to be too difficult to get to. Sometimes taking a break during this type of work and having a beer diminishes my frustration...... lol.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:29 AM   #5
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Figured out how to do it w/o getting under the dashboard...
http://986forum.com/forums/boxster-general-discussions/75214-possible-ignition-switch-issue.html
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob175 View Post
At 5í8Ē and 175 lbs Iím still sized and limber enough to contort myself under the dash.
I'm not saying you will find it the most enjoyable experience of your life, but you should be fine.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:10 AM   #7
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In preparation....I bought a couple of small screwdivers that are about 2.5" to 3" in overall length with thicker handles than the thin precision jewlers ones I have. Hopefully they will give me a better grip.

I'm not too keen on removing the left side vent since it seems everyone has a lot of trouble re-connecting the plastic vent tubes together. That is unless I hit a "brick wall" in working from under the dash.

BUT....IF I DID go the route of removing the left side vent does that allow me easy access to both of the set screws, or just one of them?? If just one, then I'd have to go under the dash anyway to get the other one loosened.

Also....does the switch have to be rotated or postioned a specific way?...there are two tabs and two sets screws...does it matter which tab is with each set screw or it doesn't matter as long as it's seated properly? (in other words is there a specific orientation required?

Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob175 View Post
Actually the OEM replacement is only $40..... so I went ahead and ordered it. When the car comes out of storage Iíll try tackling it myself. At 5í8Ē and 175 lbs Iím still sized and limber enough to contort myself under the dash.

I did watch a YouTube video where the guy showed himself going through the left side vent section removal because he had too much difficulty in working from underneath. I plan on going that route IF the set screws prove to be too difficult to get to. Sometimes taking a break during this type of work and having a beer diminishes my frustration...... lol.
Don't confuse the "OEM" brand with Original Equipment Manufacturer.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:56 AM   #9
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For me it was a total PITA, but I am not very flexable at all. In the end my son finally did the job, and now for me just connecting the air vent back is another total PITA. Crazy that this part is so problematic.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:04 AM   #10
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Crazy that this part is so problematic.
Itís really not. I donít get it...it just slides right in. Iíve had both sides in and out more times than I can remember and have never once had even the slightest issue.

You guys need practice
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:20 PM   #11
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You guys need practice
That is a very good point and reminds me of a time I was studying Calculus in college. One of my room mates walked in and asked me why I was taking so much time to complete my work. I told him, "Calculus is hard." He picked up the book I was using and looked at if for a few seconds and said, "This isn't hard, you're just stupid."

I've used that incident as motivation to this day particularly with car repairs and upgrades. Rather than admit I'm stupid, I'll search the forums and YouTube to find other peoples techniques. It's usually a matter of being persistent and making sure you have the right tools and enough time to complete the job.

I will admit that I avoid taking on jobs that, if they go wrong, will result in destroying the car or seriously injuring me. However, looking back at my almost 14-years of Boxster ownership I am pleased with the amount I have learned and been able to do myself. For example, I used a video Particlewave posted to open up a pair of damaged litronic headlights and rehabilitate them for use on my car: http://986forum.com/forums/boxster-general-discussions/54697-advice-used-litronics.html

You are able to do more than you think.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:45 AM   #12
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After getting the labor quote from my local Porsche dealer of 2-1/2 hours to replace the switch, it makes me wonder what the heck process they use to replace the switch!?!?.......are the working from below?, are the working from the left vent area?, are the removing the entire dash and instrument panel?, are they disassembling the ENTIRE CAR? .....or as I suspect "raping me" on the labor charge?

No matter, since IF I run into too much difficulty in accessing from below, I'll probably just bite the bullet and pay my "indy" the $175 to $225 and be done with it.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob175 View Post
After getting the labor quote from my local Porsche dealer of 2-1/2 hours to replace the switch, it makes me wonder what the heck process they use to replace the switch!?!?.......are the working from below?, are the working from the left vent area?, are the removing the entire dash and instrument panel?, are they disassembling the ENTIRE CAR? .....or as I suspect "raping me" on the labor charge?

No matter, since IF I run into too much difficulty in accessing from below, I'll probably just bite the bullet and pay my "indy" the $175 to $225 and be done with it.
**************** the dealer. 2.5 hours to replace a switch? I bet those ****************ers could bang it out in less than half an hour... maybe less. Crooks.

Why would you even go to the dealer in the first place? Yeah. Rape.

Do it yourself. It's not a valve job.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:02 PM   #14
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Why did I go to the dealer to get a quote? Why not? I like the rule of 3....3 quotes that is. I knew the dealer would be the most expensive and just wanted to know how expensive. Once I knew, it made my "indi" seem more reasonable. To that end, there's another "indy" that I know of but have never used but comes recommended so I might get the 3rd quote from them. Always nice to have these in my "pocket" should I need to use them. Never hurts to inquire.
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:59 PM   #15
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I replaced my switch yesterday and I went from under the dash. The repair was made more difficult by a red sealant that was placed on top of the set screws and I had to (painfully) chip it away in dust sized pieces to finally get to the flat head slot.

I originally started out with a jewelers / eye repair flat head screw driver and it was too long. Cut about an inch off and that worked for the unthreading the lower screw. The top screw was locked in and not turning and there was no way to get decent enough torque on the thin jewelers screw driver. Went to the hardware store to find a stubby screwdriver with a small enough flat head to insert into the hole where the set screw was. I picked up the smallest I could find and resigned myself to grinding it down to size. Then... something caught my eye and I went with it. It was a Finger Bit screwdriver and as soon as I tried it on the top set screw it was out in seconds! Perfect for this job.

The job is a pain in the back... it might have taken 1 hour at the most, the red sealant made the job twice as long. After that? For me, The hardest part is getting the plastic vent tube on. I still only have it on one side. Anyone have a trick to getting both sides firmly connected together?

Last edited by Jasper_Boxst; 12-10-2019 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:44 AM   #16
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Best tip I have received in a long time.

Just ordered one!
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:02 AM   #17
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I just saw that same tool at Menards for a few bucks....based on your recomendations I might pick up one.

My replacement switch arrived yesterday (Audio logo and "Made in Spain"stamped on it).......I'll tackle this job when my car comes out of it's winter hybernation. Until then i'll be interested in other suggestions from those who have done this job. THANKS ALL.
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Old 12-13-2019, 11:31 AM   #18
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If I could get my 6'2" 220lb frame under there to do it, you can!

It took me a bit as I had to wear reading glasses that continually fogged up, I used a crappy lighting source because my upper body filled the entire footwell, and I had a few bouts of a claustrophobia while doing it, so had to make as hasty an exit as possible, but it wasn't hideous. Time and patience.

By the way, I've read since that you can get at it from the front of the dash by removing the left a/c vent assembly and light switch. You can Google replacing the light switch, and it's easy and straightforward, as I just did mine a few weeks ago. It's a 10 minute job, unless of course, you're me, in which case a screw dropped on my floor mat, shot over a foot like a bullet into the drivers seat pan, and vanished, clearly defying the laws of physics
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:58 PM   #19
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Your problem may not be the electrical portion of the ignition switch... this is my experience.
http://986forum.com/forums/performance-technical-chat/75336-steering-locking-mechanism-problem-how-i-resolved.html
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:04 AM   #20
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Glad you have decided to tackle it -- You'll find this is very doable. The time I replaced mine, I didn't know about the red thread paint. I also wrote up in a post at the time that a guy suggested wrapping the handle of my small screwdriver with tape so I could get more torque. Simple idea, worked like a charm. Like most projects on the Porsche, they take longer than they should, but when you finish them you are better equipped to handle the next issue. Keep the Indy for the tough jobs, this is a perfect starter job to tackle. Best of luck with it!

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