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'97-'04 Buick Regal LS/GS Ignition Switch Replacement

11-13-2010, 09:02 PM
Ignition switch replacement for '97 - '04 Buick Regal LS/GS models:


Look inside the slot where the tilt steering knob is located. There is a black metal piece where the knob inserts into the tilt mechanism. Pry it back (to the right) slightly with a small screwdriver. While you have it pried, pull the knob out and it should release.

Remove the two Torx T20 screws from the bottom of the steering column cover and remove the bottom cover. For tool use a Torx T20 male bit, 1/4" drive. You'll have to grasp and pull firmly to separate the bottom half from the top.

Remove the one screw (E5 Star type) that holds the top steering column cover in place. It is located on the right side of the cover next to the ignition key cylinder. Look and work from from underneath the top cover. For tool use an E5 Star female socket. Available either through Lisle Tools or Harbor Freight Tools (Pittsburgh brand).

Insert the ignition key into the key cylinder and turn the key clockwise to the start position. Nothing will happen because you have disconnected the battery prior to starting this project. Lift the top steering column cover being careful not to break it because it is still held in place by the ignition key cylinder. Carefully wiggle the top cover over the ignition key cylinder housing and with patience the top cover should be free for removal. Note: It is not necessary to remove the ignition key cylinder to do this job. Some people do but I didn't have to. Also, it may help to turn the steering wheel to the 3 o'clock position before removing the ignition switch and proceeding with the steps below.

The black box (module) below the key cylinder with all of the wires coming out of it is the ignition switch that you are changing. I recommend using the AC Delco ignition switch and harness assembly only. Delco part number D1491D. In any case make sure you have the two extra wiring leads and connectors on the ignition switch and harness assembly. One is for key present and the other for the key release solenoid. Look at the switch you have purchased for this repair. Notice that the small white plug with two wires attached has a tab on the side that can be pushed down, this is the release for the plug-in. Using a mirror (woman's compact works nicely) you will see that plug-in against the ignition switch housing where it plugs in. Using a small screw driver press the release tab in against the plug and rotate the plug 90 degrees to the right to remove it. To do otherwise may break the plug.

Next remove the plug from the white key release solenoid by inserting a small screw driver and pressing the release tab on it. Pull downward carefully and it will come off.

Undo the two E4 Star screws holding the ignition switch to the metal housing. The tool needed is an E4 Star type extended female socket, 1/4" drive. Available either through Lisle Tools or Harbor Freight Tools (Pittsburgh brand).

Remove the kick panel under the driver's side of the dash. There should be at least two plastic push pin fasteners that need to be removed. On your back and from underneath undo the plug at the opposite end of the ignition switch by unscrewing counterclockwise the 7mm head bolt in the center of the plug and unplugging it. (Use a 7mm socket and driver). After bolt is loose carefully pull the connector stack from the main connector in the dash.

There is a black wiring connector plug on top and a gray one on the bottom of the ignition switch connector plug that needs to be removed. This is done by prying the center of the plug case where it meets the ignition harness plug while sliding it forward. Note: Black and gray plugs sandwich the ignition switch plug. They are the connector plugs for the multifunction switch. Be sure to note the position of these two connectors relative to the ignition switch connector for reassembly.

Cut any tie wraps holding the wire harness in place and carefully feed it out of the dash towards the steering column.

To install do the reverse of the above. Tie wrap the new harness into place. When replacing the ignition switch make sure that the slot in the switch is properly aligned with the corresponding part (paddle) on the steering column. You can move the key to get it aligned properly or insert a small flat blade screwdriver into ignition switch module female slot. Also, make sure the right side E4 Star screw for the ignition switch module is inserted into the white key release solenoid slot/hole first before tightening the screw to the ignition switch module and then to the metal housing. Do not over tighten the two E4 star screws.

The key can be released from the key cylinder by pressing the button on the bottom of the key release solenoid since battery power is disconnected.

After complete assembly reconnect the battery negative cable and test ignition switch operation. Check all functions possible especially all the accessories.

Pics for reference:
Tools needed. Torx T20 bit, E4 and E5 Star sockets, 7mm socket 1/4" drive
Ignition Switch and Harness Assembly, Delco PN: D1491D
Ignition Switch Module Being Removed
Ignition Switch Module Removed
Other end of ignition switch and harness under dash

If you have any questions feel free to send me a PM.

12-29-2015, 05:25 AM
Many thanks to AB Naylor for posting this replacement procedure for the Buick Regal ignition switch. I was hesitant to tackle this job thinking that the steering wheel and air bag would have to come out. Your instructions and pictures were detailed enough to get me through the the tough removals of those ignition plugs and covers. I still am in the process of the lower plug removal under the dash, Hope to have it done this morning. Hopefully this will cure the problem of my car stalling out when the turn signals are engaged and the newest related problem of not being able to start it with all the dash lights flashing when turning the key. I am not sure if this will help the key being stuck in the ignition cylinder. It is the latest problem which is might be coincidentally related to his repair. That might be a loose wire in the shift interlock harness connector if I am lucky. I will let you know the results.

thanks again!

11-03-2016, 06:09 PM
I have a 2001 buick regal l.s and it wont start or crank ..i already check the starter is good the battery too what can it be ?? It all started when i changed a turn signal bolb and after that it didnt work no start no crank

Tech II
11-05-2016, 01:55 PM
First, insert key, and just turn to the "on" position, not the crank position......look at your cluster, for the SECURITY/THEFT light.......when the key is just turned to "on", it should come on for 3-5 seconds and then go out, if you have PassKey I, II, or III.....if you have PassLock, it will stay look at your owner's manual to see what kind of Security system you have....sometimes you can tell by the key....if it has a black resistor pellet in the shaft of the key, it's I or II.....if it has PK3 stamped on it, it is III.....if there is no pellet or marking on the metal shaft of the key, it is PassLock....

So find out what Security system you have(by owner's manual or key), and report back what the SECURITY light is doing....if you have I, II, or III and the light stays on for more than 3 seconds, then that is your problem....

If you have PassLock, the light always stays on, until the car attempt to start and then release the key....if the Security light now flashes, again you have a problem with the Security system.......

For a Security light that stays on or flashes, a code is set, and you would need a scan tool capable of reading "B" codes....most code readers/scan tools only read "P" codes.....

Basically what the security system is doing, is, trying to read the "code" of the key(a resistance for I and II, a resistance from PassLock sensor for PassLock, and a radio code transmission for III)....if that signal is not received by the theft deterrent module, then the starter relay is not grounded and the injectors will not fire.....

11-10-2016, 07:04 PM
Hey tec2 I tried what you told me but I notice that when I put on the ke . Ones its On ..on no lights on the dashboard turn on but ones I put it on crank ..all the lights come on but as soon as I tried to turn on the car all the lights go off on the dash and still no crank or start

11-11-2016, 05:30 PM
I found out that this car has a II Security code

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