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Old 01-08-2018, 07:55 PM   #1
xlcooplx
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Question 79 C10 Starting Problem

Guys, have a question regarding my 79 but should apply to any GM vehicle with a Saginaw steering column. When I bought the truck, I was able to start it with the column and steering wheel in any position. Over the past 8 months, this has progressively changed. Initially, I started having to tilt the column all of the way down for the truck to start. As the condition got worse, I would have to have the column tilted all of the way down and the wheel would have to be turned either left or right in order for the starter to turn over. Over the last few days, the "sweet spot" has gotten even harder to engage. I am still able to turn the ignition cylinder forward but when I do, the starter no longer turns over.

I imagine its one of two causes. Ignition switch at the base of the column versus the actuator rack/sector gear. Im sure some of you have dealt with this before. I have my suspicion its the rack but Id rather have additional input prior to spending an entire day tearing down the column only to find out I was wrong. Thanks for the help!

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Old 01-08-2018, 11:53 PM   #2
4x4k30
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

if you have the tilt steering wheel and ifs its loose and sloopy in will make it hard to start and even will let it cut its self off there are 3 screws that will need to be tightened up pia to do but is doable with the correct tools and patiance
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:32 AM   #3
Dead Parrot
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

Sounds like the last tooth on the sector gear(plastic) broke off. When my actuator rack broke, nothing moved when I turned the key. You can wire around the start part of the ignition switch with a push button.

I have had all three fail at different times during the years. Ignition switch was the last. Never replaced as I had installed the push button as a temp measure when the sector gear broke and the rest of the ignition switch works fine.

2nd on 4x4k30's suggestion on the 3 screws. Also does a lot to tighten sloppy steering. Bad news is they are behind all the other guts.

From a simplicity point, test/replace the ignition switch first.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:56 PM   #4
xlcooplx
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

I climbed under the dash the other night and could see the ignition rod moving when I turned the key. I've ordered an ignition switch. I'm hoping to replace it this weekend and have the truck up and running again.
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:14 AM   #5
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by xlcooplx View Post
I climbed under the dash the other night and could see the ignition rod moving when I turned the key. I've ordered an ignition switch. I'm hoping to replace it this weekend and have the truck up and running again.
Had the same issue on my '74 Project. It was the "new" ignition switch.

Bought a replacement and it took some very slight, back and forth tweaking of the replacement ignition switch, to find the sweet spot, then tighten the mounting screws. Has worked great ever since.

Good luck!
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:38 PM   #6
xlcooplx
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super_Dave View Post
Had the same issue on my '74 Project. It was the "new" ignition switch.

Bought a replacement and it took some very slight, back and forth tweaking of the replacement ignition switch, to find the sweet spot, then tighten the mounting screws. Has worked great ever since.

Good luck!
I'm hoping thats going to be the case with mine. I made the mistake of ordering the replacement ACDelco piece through amazon and it didn't arrive today. Hoping to have it tomorrow and be able to throw it in the truck and get it going again.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:30 PM   #7
xlcooplx
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

Well, the ignition switch did solve my starting problem. Once i replaced it, I was able to start the truck. Unfortunately, in the process of swapping the switch, the ignition actuator rod fell out of the upper housing. I'm assuming it has been loose for a while and it is likely why the truck would only start with the steering wheel in certain positions.


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Last edited by xlcooplx; 01-14-2018 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:04 AM   #8
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Re: 79 C10 Starting Problem

Just to update the thread in case someone stumbles across it in the future, I completely disassembled the column, replaced all serviceable parts including the bearings and rebuilt it. Along with the ignition rod falling out, the ignition actuator rack was broken on the top corner. This was what only allowed the truck to start with the column in the down position. My sector gear was fine and none of the teeth were broken.



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