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'97 S10 Blazer no dash lights sometimes starts

01-17-2004, 10:51 PM
Great Forum. My son told me about this forum. Looking at the previous threads, sounds like my problem is the ignition switch. '97 S10 Blazer, 98,000 miles. I guess I have been fortunate that it still starts. It seems it starts first time more often in colder weather (expanding metal contacts?). I turn the key and if I don't see dash lights I know it's not going to start. I get radio and it will crank over but no fire. Sometimes I have to turn the key on and off 10 times to start. With the info I have learned here I'm replacing the ignition switch next Saturday and I'm going to try the route of not removing the steering wheel. Air bag worries me but, I'll remove all the power sources first.
I'll let you know the price I rec'd and how the replacement went.

01-22-2004, 12:00 PM
Ok, I've got the same problem on my 96 Blazer and about to venture into replacing the switch; bought a Haynes manual; is there an easier way to replace it? How much did you have to spend?

01-22-2004, 11:01 PM
Ok, I've got the same problem on my 96 Blazer and about to venture into replacing the switch; bought a Haynes manual; is there an easier way to replace it? How much did you have to spend?

I'm going to find our Saturday. I'll let you know as soon I finish, probably be Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. I hope I can remove all the covers/panels, I would dread to try to remove the steering wheel with the airbag assembly. Also I plan to find out more about these two "reverse torque fasteners" on the switch. I may try to take photos and try to share those as well. CCCD :smile:

01-24-2004, 05:13 PM
DONE! Sorry for the long dissertation, but maybe this might help another person with the same symptoms. I took a little extra time (about 2 hrs.) and I took photos along the way. I wasn’t trying to set a world record for quickest replacement time. I had one good friend assisting. The R&R of the ignition switch wasn't too tough. First it took about 30 mins, to disconnect both neg. and pos. battery and I removed the Air Bag fuse (good advise from other members) remove all the access panels and assess the situation. We went to Auto Zone, local parts store, and Car Quest. No joy. Car Quest wholesale in Houston, 4000 Leland had two parts left. Part No. US295 stand switch List $149.77 cost $76.41. Auto Zone listed a “WELLS” brand at $39, but several people recommended the standard part in lieu of the WELLS brand. I can’t believe as big as Houston, TX. is it was so hard to find the part, I bought this one. I’m not sure I got a good deal or not, but at least it was exactly list the factory unit. Locating the part took almost as long as the R&R. :smile:
OK, first remove the lower panel, (mine was black) 3/32 Hex HD fasteners, then loosen the upper panel with 3/32 Hex HD fasteners and torque drive (T25 size). Now remove the lower steering wheel column cover, has two T25 torque fasteners into alum. part of the steering column. Note the two hooks on the forward side of the cover. Now remove the top steering wheel cover. Two E6 series torque fasteners (I used a std ¼ drive socket, I think 3/32) are visible (see explanation below). Note one on the driver’s side has a lock nut to keep from falling out. In an earlier string someone mentioned cutting the upper cover underneath the centerline of the key assy. Great idea! We just took some wire snips and made a small cut in the plastic cover centered in the key switch. I was able to spread the plastic enough to come around the approx. 0.75” Dia. key housing and off. It’s easier with the tilt down all the way. One person was right, rubber cover hides the cut. In fact leave the rubber cover on the bottom cover, its easier to put on with the cover off.
Next remove the small white connector from the top of the metal, key “tumbler”. Rotated clock wise to remove. This gets the small wires out of the way so you can get to the upper left fastener.
Now you’re ready to remove the switch. I could not think what people were calling “reverse Torque fasteners. But I do now. They require an “E” series socket. Basically the fastener looks just like the business end of a torque screw driver. It is a T15 size which converts to a E3 socket. No one had one, parts stores and Sears. Sears had E4 (T20). I just used a std. 3/32-1/4/ drive socket. With some down pressure and slight side pressure they were removed. BE CAREFULL. Note the white plastic parts toward the front of the car. For the lower right fastener the white part goes on the outside of the black plastic switch, when things go back together.
Now go back underneath and remove the harness at the main block. Use a 9/32 socket to loosen center fastener. There are basically three harnesses in one. The two outside ones (one is for turn signals). Remember orientation of the harness block, relieves worry when you go back to install the new harness. These two out side harnesses come out the bottom/back side of the ignition switch harness.
Now just put everything back in reverse order. We connected the battery and tested the switch before I put in the Airbag fuse and put all those panels back up.
Success! I could feel a small difference in the movement of the switch. Indicator lights came on at the first position of the key, I new it was right before even turning the key further to actually start.
Two additional comments. Apparently the orientation of the switch slot automatically matches, because the new switch housing went right in. Second there was an extra small connector about half way on the harness that was tied back and not used in my case for the old or the new harness.
Again apologize for the long message, but maybe some of it will help someone else. Thanks to all the other related threads they really help get me started.
Double check all my sizes just in case my memory was wrong.
Background on my experience level. I use to do some drag racing back in the '70's and helped crew some bracket cars and PRO MODS in the '95-2002. Hope to build a street rod in the next couple of years.

01-27-2004, 12:49 AM
can you email me the pics you have?

01-27-2004, 09:55 PM
Let me know how this works out.
Now I have to figure out how to put the alarm system back in,so my remote key will work.

01-30-2004, 11:15 AM
Sorry to bother you again CCCD but I didn't get the pics. Can you try emailing them to me again at

So far the dealership is making me angry. I told the guy in charge about the problems and he comes back with "we replaced a sensor". So I'm thinking about doing the switch myself.

01-30-2004, 10:13 PM
Hopefully they will come through this time.
Is your problem the same as mine, no dash indicator lights and no ignition fire/spark?
Is it intermittent? i.e., sometimes turn the key once or other times turn the key multiple times?
I have driven my '97 a week now, with no problems.

02-20-2004, 05:50 PM
Many thanks CCCD your info was invaluable when I replaced my ignition switch.
If I may add a couple of tips: disconnect the parking brake release lever way back near the firewall. there's a lever back there that the cable snugs into, and it pops right out. That will let you lower the panel a little more to get some clearance. The haynes and chiltons manuals simply say 'disconnect the parking brake lever' with no explanation of how to do it. It drove me nuts for a while.
Those torx head screws holding the ignition module on were a nightmare. I got the forward one no problem but for the rear one I took a small slightly oversized socket and put two small pieces of electrical tape over the end. I pressed the head of the screw that I successfully removed into the end to get it started and then used it to remove the other screw. It added just the right amount of friction. I also had a couple of wires spliced into my main harness, so i had to cut the new harness and add crimped fasteners.
That small connector on the front of the ignition lock cylinder was a pain, too. If you're sitting in the driver's seat, you want to turn the wires coming out of the bottom of it counter-clockwise and it will pop out. If you were facing the front of the truck then you'd be turning it clockwise.
I'm new to the forum but it seems like this bad ignition switch is the cause of many, many problems.

thanks again,


02-21-2004, 07:31 PM
Sounds like the swap out went well. I know what you mean about the small white connector on top, it took me a while to figure out which direction to turn it. I've never participated in a forum before. This one is really cool. Glad I was able to help.

10-11-2004, 09:51 PM
How big are the images? Is it possible that you can Email me at

I'll put them on the web and link them back here on the forum. I'm about to go through this procedure on my '97 Blazer and I think it'd be helpful.

I couldn't find the $39 deal from AutoZone - they now sell it for $70-something. I purchased mine through Advance Auto Parts as the "GP Sorensen*S193" - If you do it online and use the rebate code "rebate" you'll save $8. With tax and ground shipping the total price is around $70.

-- recurve

10-16-2004, 04:59 PM
Ignition switch - white connector - how to remove?

Hi, I'm working on replacing the ignition switch in our '97 Blazer. I have the steering wheel column covers off. Above the key tumbler there is a white connector that must be removed. It is small and has two wires that go to the ignition switch. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to pull out this white connector. I've tugged on it from different angles.

I looked at the replacement switch and notice that the bottom of its white connector is a button that can be depressed. I guess this is what signals the ignition switch to work when you turn the key tumbler. I hope this helps describe this connector that I need to remove.

Any and all advice appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
-- recurve

10-17-2004, 08:54 AM
I got the white connector off. Here is the deal. When looking above the steering wheel (from the ceiling looking down) you will see two small pieces of aluminum holding the white connector from above. Between these two small pieces of aluminum is an open space. You will discover that there is a small plastic lever attached to the white connector. You will need a jeweler's screw driver (or something thin and strong) to stick in that cavity and push on the plastic lever.

I pushed with the screw driver on the side of the cavity closest to the engine block (instead of the side close to my stomach) and the white connector started to rotate and popped out quite easily. Not much force was needed at all. When looking from above, the white connector rotated out with a clockwise motion on a plane parallel to road.

-- recurve

10-19-2004, 05:26 PM
I would be ever so greatful if you could send me the pictures also. I have to perform this exact task this weekend, and I could use all the help I can get!

bandit99 NOSPAM (replace NOSPAM with @)


10-19-2004, 06:18 PM
Hi NovaBandit, don't hold your breath - I think that CCCD is on vacation.

-- recurve

12-27-2005, 09:57 PM
CCCD- Thanks from another happy customer. Followed your lead and everything went well. You've made alot of Blazer owners smile. The infamous ignition switch is just a memory.....( hopefully )

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