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cleaning your multi-function switch (LOTSA pics)

06-10-2006, 01:07 PM
Here’s a ‘how-to’ on cleaning your multi-function switch.

Failing multi-function switch symptoms include clicking sounds and flickering instrument-cluster lights—often turn-signals. In my case, the daytime running lamps were flickering and clicking. I initially thought it was a faulty relay. It seems that over time, the dielectric grease inside the switch, thins out and runs, creating false connections between the copper contacts within the switch.

This post will also be helpful for:
a) safely disconnecting your airbag
b) changing your ignition switch (common on ‘97’s)
c) hazard switch
d) removal of the steering column trim
e) removal of instrument cluster bezel
f) removal of sound insulator panels.

Cleaning the contacts is recommended before replacing the switch. Why? The switch is approx $200.

*NOTE: I didn’t take the pics while taking things apart, I took them as I was putting things back together—so, don’t let that confuse you.

*NOTE: this is a good time to take a toothbrush and brush the dust and crud out of all the trim pieces

Here are the tools you’ll need:

ratchet and extension, 7mm and 4mm socket, T25 and T10 torx, T25 torx bit (this is a MUST unless you want to pull your whole steering wheel and airbag), Q-Tip (15mm), piece of wood (yes! a piece of wood--I used an old hammer handle that had been cut off), hammer, 10mm wrench, ¼ inch wrench, Phillips screwdriver

the T25 torx bit is a MUST because it’s length is short and you’ll need it to fit in a very tight space. A ¼ inch wrench fit my bit perfectly to turn it.


a) roll down driver’s side window.
b) disconnect negative battery cable from battery.
c) remove the airbag fuse from the fusebox.

fuse box


Using the 7mm and the T25 torx, begin to remove:

a) both the left and center, black sound-insulator panels
b) the interior-colored knee-bolster under the steering column
c) your interior-colored consumed tobacco-product deposit canister (ashtray)

NOTE: Remember which screws go where. Remember how the trim pieces fit together and overlap.

NOTE: Underneath by the E-brake pedal, you may need to remove screws and pay-attention to your OBD-II socket AND your remote door-lock if applicable (you’ll figure it out when you see it)

NOTE: I never needed to remove the E-brake release handle. I just let it hang there.

left black sound-insulator panel

interior colored knee-bolster

center black plastic sound-insulator panel

once you remove the screws, just let the knee-bolster hang there. There is no need to completely remove it. (This pic shows the knee-bolster hanging. The pic was taken further along in the removal process).


Remove the instrument-cluster bezel with Phillips screwdriver. There are two screws. Disconnect 4WD switch if applicable. Gently tug at it and the bezel will simply pop out. Use your tilt-steering if necessary to pull the bezel out.

note the ‘friction clips’

4WD switch

There’s no need to disconnect any switch on the left-side dash (headlights, defrost, rear-wiper, dimmer, etc. Simply pull the bezel off the steering column and move it out of the way. I used my door to support it while keeping it out of the way.

another angle


Disconnect the airbag. There’s an orange safety and then, the bright-yellow clip. It’s tricky to get to, but, with persistence, it will disconnect.

Here’s the bright-yellow airbag connection

Here it is with the orange safety removed

now pull the connector … (pic shows connector removed)


Remove two screws from the lower steering column plastic cover. The middle hole doesn’t do anything. Use your tilt-steering to give you easier access. (The pic shows knee-bolster still connected. It will be hanging down when you get to this step.)




a) tilt-steering handle (it just pulls rights off!)
b) key-tumbler trim (with screwdriver)
c) rubber trim under key-tumbler

just pull it !

GENTLY pry the key-tumbler trim with a screwdriver. Next, the rubber trim under the tumbler will slide upwards.

another pic after the steering column trim is removed to show the tumbler trim


Remove the lower steering-column trim piece. Note how it connects to the top piece on the backside.

Here’s how the top and bottom fit together on the backside. It’s like a little hinge.

Here’s the bottom piece by itself.


Remove top steering-column plastic piece. There are two screws that hold the top piece in place and come up through the bottom-side. They are a “male torx” and need a torx socket. I didn’t have this type of socket but a 4mm socket worked perfect.

The one on the left is easy.

The one on the right is extremely hard to see, but not too difficult to reach with an extension. You can see it by looking through the plastic around the tumbler. Watch that you don’t drop it inside the steering wheel like I did! Had to retrieve it with a magnet.


Remove the two T25 torx screws that attach the multi-function switch to the steering-column.

The top one is easy.

Here’s how I got to the bottom one. Use the ¼ wrench on the T25 torx bit.

STEP 10:

Your multi-function switch will now come off the steering-column. There is no need to disconnect the electrical connections to the harness.


Here’s the cover removed. Note the button with the spring coming out. Note how the ‘Y’ plastic fits in and moves within the slot.

STEP 11:

With the cover off you’ll be able to clean the copper contacts underneath the white plastic piece. THE WHITE PLASTIC PIECE DOES NOT COME OUT. Simply reach behind it with a Q-Tip and clean the grease. Mine need about 10 Q-Tips! I didn’t re-grease because it wasn’t possible to apply the grease exactly where it should be. Rather, I cleaned with the Q-Tip but tried not to completely remove the grease.

STEP 12:

Re-install multi-function switch cover.

You’ll need to work the handle and the switch and make sure it’s working the way it should. When it is apart, the gears at the base of the handle get misaligned. The wipers and mist functions should all move and click appropriately. You’ll understand this when you see it. It takes some patience to make it all fit together while re-installing the T10 torx screws.


STEP 13:

Your switch is now clean. Installation is the reverse of removal.

You may want to re-connect your negative battery wire and test. I’d still recommend staying clear of the air bag. If all works well, disconnect that battery to finish re-installing all the trim just to be sure.

Here’s how I used a piece of wood and hammer to persuade the key-tumbler trim to go back on. Just a couple of light taps was all that was needed. It was kind of like pressing a seal.


After all that time under the dash, you’ll need to install many capsules of ibuprofen into your back and neck.

06-10-2006, 01:27 PM
Added to the FAQ.

06-10-2006, 01:27 PM
very excellent tutorial. i hear "lots of pics" and im there! lol again good job!!!

06-10-2006, 02:13 PM
Great Job on this post drdd...

Also this would be an Excellent time to change out that nasty old 1997 Blazer IGNITION SWITCH that will cause a million electrical problems for $100.....

:evillol: :evillol: :evillol:

06-10-2006, 03:39 PM
Great Job on this post drdd...

Also this would be an Excellent time to change out that nasty old 1997 Blazer IGNITION SWITCH that will cause a million electrical problems for $100.....

:evillol: :evillol: :evillol:

Yes it would. I did mine about 2 years ago.

06-11-2006, 10:30 AM
Will changing/cleaing the multi switch stop a delayad turn signal. On my 97 blazer everything works i have no problems, but when my signal its delayed. I will hit the turn signal and it will take about 1-2 sec for the lights to blink. by that time i already changed lanes. Also my curise button some times doesnt work. Ill have to hit it about 5-10 for the curise to come on. Any one think its all related to a dirty multi switch?

06-11-2006, 10:45 PM
possibly ... have you replaced your ignition switch yet ?

Will changing/cleaing the multi switch stop a delayad turn signal. On my 97 blazer everything works i have no problems, but when my signal its delayed. I will hit the turn signal and it will take about 1-2 sec for the lights to blink. by that time i already changed lanes. Also my curise button some times doesnt work. Ill have to hit it about 5-10 for the curise to come on. Any one think its all related to a dirty multi switch?

06-12-2006, 05:34 AM
no i havent, but like u and dino said if i go as far as cleaning the multi switch, the ignition switch it right there, so i would hit to birds with one stone

06-12-2006, 02:45 PM
NICE! Lots of work there, we all appreciate it.

06-12-2006, 03:58 PM
Awesome post!

11-03-2006, 08:02 AM
Hey that was a great post. I loved the pics. I didn't service my switch I was putting in a new one because I was told by an "expert" that it would solve my " no headlight" problem. Well, it didn't, but I got the new switch in there and am now going to sell the old one, (which is obviously fully functional), on ebay. I have a couple of additional pics that I took. If you want to add them, let me know. The switch on the dash, (which I got at the junkyard), fixed my problem.

06-15-2007, 01:12 PM
I did this yesterday to my 96 blazer. My hazard melted so after proving to the dealer that i DIDNT have to buy the whole multi switch I bought the same part number as the 00 and 01 recall for hazard and it works great. I took apart the multi switch just to make sure there wasnt a problem. Cleaned it just because i was there... easy to do really ... great post ..thanks.

03-13-2008, 12:15 PM
hi i wanted to know i have a 1998 and when i press the door locks the dash and raido will go off and on? now what happend no raido no gas gadge no spedo ,tack,inside lights,temp?

03-13-2008, 01:20 PM
sounds like you blew a fuse or two...check all fuses and relays.. are your door locks after market or factory?? if after market check the install and trace the wiring ..if factory locks you prob have a short some where do the same thing trace the wiring from the switch and make sure you dont have a pinched wire anywhere... your door locks should have nothing to do with your gages....but i would start there... im no expert..but electrical is always a process of elimination..

03-13-2008, 02:13 PM
ITS factory windows all fuses good how do you know if you have a bad relay? the relay that it has on it says nothing about the problem im haveing? now the funny part is that the oil psi working?

03-15-2008, 03:17 AM
Hello all,Very nice post man,Wish i had it a year ago.Well i have two comments on all thats been said here.
(1)I have a 2000 blazer,2door,2 wheel drive,etc;,.88K on it and have done more fixes then any other chevy me or my pops have ever done on 1 chevy in all the chevys he or me have ever owened(and he had`em since the 50`s),anyways:My multi switch went out around 60K(all sudden no wipers,turn sig`s,cruise,etc,)New 1 at dealer was 638.00,couldnt find a used one under 400.00 no where,so bought a whole columme for 100.00 and swapped the switches and resold the colume and bezals for 125.00 on ebay(YAY!)So i highley recomend this post and cleaning procedure becuase no 1 wants this stupid switch gm uses to burn out.For so many things to run on such a small copper plate is a setup for total failure,especialy when you add that grease that melts and runs and bridges it all.
(2)As for the no tach and gauges comment:I lost rear running lights and tach and gauges as well at 65K and two fuses in the underhood box kept blowen,I traced it down to the park nuetral switch on the tranny,I gues when i changed the tranny filter at 50K or just from me running it like hell off road(no idea how)it just wasnt getting a connection,or as the"master mechanic wanna be`s kept telling me,it was bad and replace it",nope not me!Unplugged it,blasted it with air,Hit it a few not hard but light taps with a mallet,Filled it with electrode grease and pluged it back in,Smackked it a few more times,And everything works again and hasnt messed up again yet,even after 20+K miles.
these blazers are possesed in my opion when it comes to there electrical setups.to many things run together.and i`ve found that the least obvious is usualy the problem,anything a so called master tech tells you?Use your commen sense and simplify what you hear and your fix/repair wont cost so much and will be much eaier.
Hope this helps,Thanx all for this site,best on the web!thanx and god bless.

03-22-2008, 05:30 PM
Added to the FAQ.

I don't know if I've gone stupid,:confused: but I can not find this tutorial. When I use FAQ, it comes back "not found"

Can you post a link or PM me. Thanks

03-22-2008, 05:35 PM
DUH, found it on the next page, but it's not on the FAQ

10-11-2008, 07:24 PM
Great post, good directions, pictures ... thank you. I have been suffering from blinker clicking noise syndrome for nearly two years now. I cannot take it anymore and I pray that is this works with all my heart and soul.

I got it all apart and cleaned it best I could with Q tips and compressed air, but now when I try to re-assemble my turn signals do not work and I am quite sure why.

The cover seems to be tightly fitted, and when I set the arm up or down it seems to click into place. My Hazards function properly. Does the lower of the two little wheels set within white things need to be lined up and in contact with the brass strip? How is that 'Y' supposed to set in there? It does not seem like that complex of a piece.

I enjoy the silence actually, but I am not safe on the street without a signal, please if you can offer any advice or ideas as to the reassembly that might be causing the malfunction of the blinkers ... it would be sincerely appreciated. Please. :uhoh:

10-14-2008, 08:17 AM
I just followed the instructions for my 2000 Jimmy SLE 4-door, and it worked great. The only thing that went wrong is I got antsy when I went to take the steering wheel column cover off, I broke the part where it screws to the column. After everything was put back together, a bit of super glue fixed that problem. (you can't tell that it has been glued) One problem I did come across, is that I couldn't find the damn clip for the airbag. I disconnected the battery, and pulled the fuse, but I didn't unplug the airbag. One of my dads friends broke his nose, and burned his face when he was screwing with a MultiSwitch because they airbag deployed. MAKE SURE YOU DISCONNECT THE BATTERY. If anyone needs help I would be glad to help!

11-17-2008, 08:23 PM
I just replaced the heater core and just disconnected the battery.. no air bag lite off..

Did your airbag blow or was it your dads friend's aor bag on a different vehicle?

I'm getting a clicking flasher sound.. It goes off when you tap on the brake..
Do you think it's in the multi switch?


08-25-2010, 01:45 PM
Great forum, OUTSTANDING post! I wouldn't have had the courage to try without the instructions.

I inherited a 2003 Blazer. All was well at first, then relay started ticking intermittently when turn signal was off. Ticking became more frequent, and then about a week ago became constant.

Using this post as a starting point, I accessed and cleaned the multi-function switch. The procedure was basically the same (pulled steering wheel, dropped knee bolster, removed steering column cover, accessed switch) a few minor differences in number and location of fasteners. Results as follows.

SATURDAY -- accessed, cleaned, reassembled (about 4 hours total). Turned ignition on and ticking was still there. Very disappointing. Took it for a drive and ticking stopped occasionally, leading me to believe I did the right thing, just not thorough enough.

SUNDAY -- ticking is full time.

MONDAY -- experiencing short periods with no ticking.

TUESDAY -- sick, didn't go out all.

WEDNESDAY -- almost no ticking whatsoever.

Is it possible the alcohol I used to clean out the dielectric grease took a while to fully evaporate when mixed with the dielectric? Or perhaps my cleaning removed enough that after a couple of days of use it redistributed itself to a working level?

Anyway... looks good so far. If it returns, I believe I will use a can of contact cleaner after removing the bulk of crud with cotton swabs -- just for a more thorough flush.

I took notes and pics in case anyone thinks the slight differences merit a separate post. The only "major" thing I would add is if you have power windows and seats, lower all the windows and move the seat back as far as possible and recline it before discconecting the battery. It's nice to have the extra room and air circulation.

08-26-2010, 10:40 PM
UPDATE: Now I've noticed my autostart no longer works. Engine will turn over and fire, but not run.

AutoStart tech support thinks it's a data bypass module issue. Said I should disconnect the module, reconnect it, then start with the key. Only problem is the module is CRAMMED way up in the dash and buried behind wires.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?


gm family guy
09-01-2010, 05:43 PM
I cleaned my switch and still heard the ticking sound go on and off. I further inspected it and it looked as though something was blown inside the switch so i bought a used one at the auto junk yard. I pulled it off a 2 door 2000 blazer. I have a 98 Jimmy 4 door, is it still compatible? I know the 00 is compatible with the 98 switch but not sure about if the 4 and 2 door matter or not.

09-02-2010, 08:23 AM

Did a lot of digging under the dash, only to find out the bypass module was tucked up under the steering column, just out of sight on the passenger (right hand) side. Once I found it, problem was obvious -- connector was half out.

Plugged the connector back in, started with the key. Everything is good.

Also, I cleaned the multifunction switch again, this time with lots of contact cleaner. Relay still clicks occasionally on its own, and often a quick double click when releasing the brake pedal, but a HUGE improvement over what it was.

At the very least, I bought some time before having to buy a new switch.

09-02-2010, 08:28 AM
I cleaned my switch and still heard the ticking sound go on and off. I further inspected it and it looked as though something was blown inside the switch so i bought a used one at the auto junk yard. I pulled it off a 2 door 2000 blazer. I have a 98 Jimmy 4 door, is it still compatible? I know the 00 is compatible with the 98 switch but not sure about if the 4 and 2 door matter or not.

I can't give you a definite answer, but how about calling a parts place or dealership parts department and ask them what the part number is for both those years and models. If they're the same, you're definitely okay. You could also try some online parts places and check the part they bring up when you try both.

04-15-2011, 01:10 PM
Here's the final steps to completely removing the multi-function switch, should it need to be replaced:

1. remove everything as described in the earlier steps
2. remove switch from column.
3. there are 2 small connectors on the pass. side of the column. on is green and plugs in towards the ignition switch. the other is black and plugs in near the back of the shifter. unplug these.
4. remove the sleeve from thh wires, cut any cable ties, and reove any tape that is holding the bundle together.
5. unplug the steering column mass connector. if you trace the wires you'll find it, right at the base of the column. A 7mm bolt holds it in. the bolt will back out a good ways, and bring the harnesses with it. a gentle tug will break the whole thing free. note: all of the dash harnesses (4 i believe) are conected together to make this one large harness.
6. the 2 longer harnesses belong to the multi switch. to get them out, look at the bottom of the harness (the side that goes into the mass connector). insert a small screwdriver between harness and the middle piece to push the harness past the retaining notch, then slide down. (do this with both harnesses).
7. remove the multi switch.
8. bolt in the new multi-switch (so it isnt just hanging).
9. install the harnesses into the mass connector thing. seat it, and tighten the 7mm bolt down.
10. install the 2 small harnesses for the ign switch and shifter. be mindful of where you run them, so the don't get pinched.
11. use cable ties, tape, or whatever to secure everything.
12. put everything else back together and test it.

hope this helps!

07-10-2011, 02:07 AM
Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I've dealt with an continuous blinker relay noise for a year and a half. 30 minutes and it's gone. The silence is beautiful!

01-09-2013, 08:18 PM
I also would like to give props to whoever posted this. Less than 2 hours and kinda fun i am done and happy! I would add and maybe someone did but before you reassemble turn the car on to make it is gone. I also used a bit of compressed air to make sure it was dry in there. It is an older suburban (99) so its getting close to the end so i am not worried about grease at this point.

Again thanks!

05-20-2013, 09:55 AM
awesome post. i have a 2000 suburban with the non-stop blinker noise that goes away when I press the brakes. I read your post and followed the easy step by step directions and it worked perfectly! took about 90 minutes and that was with several interruptions. thanks for the great info and pics and for saving me several hundred $$$

10-17-2013, 08:41 AM
Great write up! However, I've cleaned the contacts 4 times now and still the right turn signal will not work. I managed to stop the annoying constant clicking. So right now the contacts have to be as clean as they were when brand new. I guess l throw in some dielectric grease to see if the right turn signal will fire.

No fuses are blown.

Any thoughts?

07-11-2014, 11:42 AM
This is an excellent presentation for those who struggle with what GMC could never get right on the perplexing 2nd generation Blazer. This contributor should have made a DVD for all common Blazer service problems, of which there are many. GMC should then have been required to purchase the rights to this, and then distribute it to all Blazer owners, no charge. Just a thought.

Are there any more presentation similar to this available.

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