The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"

Repairing Ignition Switch Terminals

By Mike Dailey

I recently rebuilt my steering column and while I had it apart, I discovered a loose terminal on the ignition switch and the power lead to the ignition ballast was hanging loose where it connects to the terminal strip above the column.  This area is one of the last remaining areas of the car that I hadnít inspected and rebuilt.  It was a very good thing I took it apart!

My car has the resistive ignition wire used on the early Panteras replaced with a ceramic ballast resister and a stranded copper wire running to the terminal strip above the steering column. When I pulled the column down to disconnect the terminal strip the ignition wire was connected only by two wire strands.  Apparently whoever added the wire didnít realize that trying to put two large wires in the same terminal was not a good idea.  My solution was Y the two wires into one heavy wire using a crimp and solder terminal so the large single wire would fit properly into the terminal strip.  These connectors are a gold plated metal tube and comes with a heavy plastic sleeve that slides over it when you are done soldering.  I always tape over them as well.  While I was working on the terminal I took each wire out, inspected the connector, re-twisted the wire ends and reinstalled them so they had a good mechanical connection.

View of the terminal block with the Y connection before connecting it to the terminal strip.

Mikes Ignition 1.JPG (145236 bytes)

After connecting all the wires in the terminal strip and before bolting the column back in place I did a power test and discovered there was no power when I turned the key on.  The power connections on the switch are soldered to the terminals and have a plastic cover riveted over them.  I found that the power output lead on the ignition switch was unsoldered from the terminal and was being held loosely in place by the cover. 

The switch end of the old wire after removing from the switch.

 Mikes Ignition 2.JPG (160543 bytes)

My solution was to drill out the bottom of the cover, clean the metal terminal and solder in a new wire. Before soldering the wire I heavily tined it with solder and tined the terminal area below the cover.  To solder it, I inserted the wire into the terminal and held it down with the edge of an X-Acto blade while I heated the wire end with a soldering gun.  The heat transferred through the wire to the terminal and I was able to get good solder flow without overheating the terminal board. 

The plastic cover gives the wire good mechanical support to reduce strain on the solder joint.   View of the completed repair.

Mikes Ignition 3.JPG (150176 bytes) Mikes Ignition 4.JPG (123671 bytes) Mikes Ignition 5.JPG (149828 bytes)