Odyssey Ignition Switch Replacement

2013-07-20 Ignition is still working like normal.

Our friend’s 97 Honda Odyssey (300k+ miles) dies while driving, starts right up, drive again and dies any time it wants to. By Googling on the net, everything points to the ignition switch. He took it to the shops and some say it’s the fuel pump (yes possible), some say it’s the distributor (this is not likely), whatever it is, they will charge $70 for diagnostic of the problem up front. I looked at the car, the first thing is he has lots of weight on the key chain, this is not good for the ignition lock, he will remove the key chain and leave a single key to start the car. I starts the car, wiggle the key, a little left, a little right and the car dies, the contacts must be loose in the ignition switch. To be sure, we took out the ignition switch (behind the ignition lock). We took off everything cover the steering column, it wasn’t necessary, we only need to remove the knee bolster part and not the steering column.

Remove the negative cable from the battery first.

There are 3 screws that hold the knee bolster in place and a few clips on the panel, 2 on the right and 1 inside the coins pocket.

2 screws to the right     1 screw in the coin box

Carefully to unsnap these clips on the panel to the body and remove the knee bolster.

disconnect the dimmer     the knee bolster below

Crawl under the steering column, we should see the ignition switch behind the ignition lock cylinder.

ignition switch     ignition switch

Remove the screws and slide it out to test.

remove the screws     ignition switch

ignition cylinder     ignition switch

We can reconnect the battery, stick a slot screw driver in the old ignition switch and turn clock-wise 3 steps and it should crank and start the car. Wiggle the screw driver, we can feel it’s loose (springs are weak internally) and dies intermittently. Autozone happens to have one in stock, we bought a new one and replace it for $61.

Remove the battery cable again to install new ignition switch.

life time warrantee     new ignition switch

Unplug the connector from the side fuse box on the bottom left and cut these tight wraps holding the cable in place.

unplug the connector     remove the connector

Plug the new ignition switch in and test with the screw driver first to make sure it works before putting in the lock cylinder (plug in then reconnect battery), it’s very tiring lying down under the steering column. If it works, disconnect the battery then run the cable the same way as it was and install the tie-wraps to the same locations. Put back the 2 golden screws, make sure don’t strip them with wrong size Philips screw driver.

ignition screw     put new igntion sw

Now, re-connect battery ground cable and starts the car, it should starts right up, solidly and you can feel the key too.



  • Thanks for a great post – saved a lot of $$ doing the repair myself on our “stuff-and canoe-hauler” ’96 Isuzu Oasis (1:1 first gen Odyssey), thanks to your brilliant diagnosis. And the pictures were a big help, too.

    Interesting thing is, the replacement switch at Autozone is an exact OE part, identical in every way to the factory original – wire markings, part numbers on switch body, nice solder work, same material wire bundle sheath – all identical. So, should last another 20 years, and much cheaper than at Honda dealer.

    Thanks again!!

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