Turn Signal Switch Install

Written by Jason Williams, Member 12518
Applies to the following vehicles: 97-04 Regals -- should work for 97-03 GP as well
Created 7/11/2005, Updated 7/12/2005

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This write-up was completed on a 1998 Regal GS but all other 97 W-bodies should be similar.

The turn signal switch on the W-bodies are not serviceable according to GM. So if yours goes bad you have no choice but to replace the entire turn signal switch/stalk assembly. Typically what happens is the several pins inside the turn signal switch get corroded and/or dirty causing a loss of connection on several of the pins. I will describe the symptoms I experienced in order to help you determine whether your turn signal switch is bad.

Rapid turn signal similar to when a bulb burns out. However bulbs were checked and all tested fine. Wiring also tested fine. Initially this only occurred sporadically and only on the passenger side but gradually worsened to the point where it happened continuously on both sides. The rear turn signals both flashed rapidly and the front turn signals either did not flash or they flashed very slowly. Also the turn signal bulbs on the dash did not light up.

Tools Needed:

Screwdrivers Common and Phillips
7mm Nut Driver or Socket with Ratchet and Extension
1/4 Ratchet with 6 Extension
4mm 6-point Socket
Torx T20 and T25 Bits Used either on a Screwdriver or Ratchet.
Needle Nose Pliers useful but not required

Note: Contrary to popular belief and what the manual states you do not need to remove the air bag or steering wheel to replace the switch.

Lets Get Down To Business:

It is a good idea to disconnect your battery during this process since you will be disconnecting a major wire harness block for most interior switches and power.

This picture is from the under side of the steering column. Remove the Torx screws from the holes indicated above. My car had only one screw but yours may have more.
Now you will want to put the key in the ignition and take the ignition out of the Lock position so you can rotate your steering wheel 90. You will now remove the two screws holding the back side of the steering wheel cover onto the wheel. You can see how these are removed in the picture. These are Torx screws.
Now rotate your steering wheel back to the normal position and remove the lower half of the steering column cover. This snaps into the top half so you may have to do some careful prying with a common screwdriver. Once this is out of the way we can remove the two screws holding in the top half of the steering column cover. You can see in the picture the first bolt you need to remove. It is actually a Torx head but you can also remove it using a 4mm 6-point socket. Do not try to remove it with a 12-point socket or you risk rounding the edges of the bolt head.
Here is the other screw holding the top half of the steering column in place. It is a Phillips head screw and a little difficult to get to but manageable. Once you have both screws out you can pull the top half of the cover to the right in order to clear the ignition switch then pull it straight up and off.
Now we can remove the two screws holding the turn signal switch in place. The first is very easy and it is a Torx screw. The second screw is a little more difficult.
You will want to again turn your steering wheel 90 to the left as shown in the picture. You will see the second screw for the turn signal switch. Using a T25 socket 6 extension and 1/4 ratchet I was able to get the bolt out. This is the most difficult bolt but again very manageable.
Now that the turn signal switch/stalk assembly is disconnected you will need to disconnect the wires from the wire harness. This is a picture under the dash of the wire harness block for the two major electrical connectors from the turn signal switch.
Here is another angle of the same wire harness block. You can see that it is below the dash directly under the steering column.
In order to disconnect the turn signal switch connectors you first need to separate the two halves of the wire harness block. The block is connected to the steering column with two clips. You can just pull or pry down on the connector and they will break free from the steering column. Then pull down the block and you will see a bolt head on one side right in the center. Use a 7mm nut driver or socket and ratchet to fully unscrew the bolt. You will then be able to disconnect the two halves of the wire harness block.
The side of the block with the bolt coming through it is the side where the turn signal switch connectors are located. In the picture there are two wide connectors that you need to remove one on each side of the block. In order to remove them insert a small common screwdriver as shown and pull the connected forward and it will slide out of the block. Repeat for the other side. Once you have the connectors removed you can pull the turn signal switch/stalk assembly out of the car and slide the new one in place.

Once you slide the new switch into place you will simply reverse the steps above to install it.

Slide the connectors back into the wire harness block and screw the two halves of the block together. Then push the clips back into place onto the steering column.

Install the two Torx screws holding the turn signal switch/stalk assembly to the steering column.

Slide the upper half of the steering column cover into place.

Be sure that the bottom and top halves connect together as shown in the picture. Also you will see that the left bolt for the top half of the cover is actually a double screw one going into a plastic spacer and another screw coming out of the plastic spacer going into the top cover. You will need to mess around with these covers for a bit to ensure everything is properly aligned before installing all screws.

Once the top and bottom halves of the steering column cover are in place slide the steering column adjustment lever back into place.

Install the two Torx screws holding the back side of the steering wheel cover onto the wheel. Remember that you will have to rotate the steering wheel in order to install these screws.

Reconnect your battery and youre good to go

If you see any errors in the above instructions or you wish to suggest improvements to it please email me.

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