Seemingly minute issues with Pontiac ownership often lead to the most frustrating and complex repairs. Case in point: the directionals do not cancel after making a turn. No big deal, right? Well, in actual practice, repairing the cancel function in a Pontiac isn't hard, but as with many things, a lack of familiarity can make the task very challenging.
Interior, and especially steering column work, requires experience that is completely different from building an engine. Any enthusiast with good mechanical ability and the proper hand tools can repair the directional switch in a Pontiac. It's not a task that you should be afraid of, but there are many points that, once mentioned, will make the job easier and less frustrating.
Wanting to provide a step-by-step procedure for the readers, HPP worked with shop foreman Mark Erney at Jim Taylor Engine Service in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. The shop had a customer's '64 GTO that required this exact repair, so the timing was perfect.
Before we present the procedure, a few important facts need to be established. No matter how refined your mechanical skills are, a Pontiac service manual (we used a '66 Tempest manual for the drawings in this article) is an essential element of any task. The book provides drawings, photos, specifications and the factory-desired procedure. A mechanic may choose to modify the procedure slightly to suit his needs, and that's fine, but working blind without a manual for anything more than an oil change or minor tune-up is not a good decision.
For our photo shoot, we used a steering column that Jim had in stock and didn't do the procedure in the car since it would be impossible to photograph all the steps with the column installed in the vehicle. Once the steering wheel was removed, the rest of the images were taken with the subject column in a vice on the workbench. It's important to note that this isn't required to repair/replace the directional switch. The job can be done just as easily in the vehicle, but it will require the column to be dropped down from its attachment to the dashboard. It may also require some bending and contortions that might not be too comfortable.
Some may be wondering why we went to a shop with the words "Engine Service" in its name for a steering column repair. Though the majority of Jim Taylor's business is Pontiac-related engine and driveability, it's a full-service facility where almost every aspect of a vehicle can be expertly repaired. See the photos and captions for the procedure.