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This exchange began as a discussion between Forums Administrator Moses Ludel and Moderator snoopy2x [Maury]...Owning a vintage Jeep® or Willys 4x4 vehicle often means running out of replacement parts...Maury is willing to restore his 1967 Jeep® CJ-5 ignition switch if practical...In this exchange, Moses and Maury discuss the restoration process and various ways to proceed:


Original CJ Ignition Switch Rebuild?

Moses, I'm now considering the rebuild of a part I'm having a hard time finding a correct replacement for.....the original ignition switch on my 1967 Jeep CJ-5.  Mine is starting to get a little "iffy" at times, and I want to address the problem before it gets any worse.  NOS ignition Kaiser ignition switches made by Pollak were apparently available until a few years ago...but are unfortunately no more.
After researching the switch itself, I found that while the lock cylinder in my original switch has a keyway designed to fit a Briggs & Stratton key,  the switch itself was made by Pollak.   As you may know, Pollak is still in business, and still produces ignition switches. 
Thinking that I might be able to simply take the original lock cylinder and install it in one of their currently made switches, I contacted them with photos of my original switch just to see if they currently make a switch that would allow me to use that original lock cylinder.  I would very much like to do this, since I have and still use the original 1967 Jeep logo (B&S) keys that came with the jeep when it was new. 
However, it doesn't appear that any of the current ignition switches Pollak makes, though they are externally very similar to mine, will work with my original lock cylinder - as all of the new switches that would fit the CJ appear to have a shorter lock cylinder tube length than mine.  Both the original and currently made switches have diecast housings that are crimped over the thermoplastic(?) end caps securing the threaded copper stud connectors.  
It occurred to me though that I might be able to either 1) disassemble, clean, and reassemble the original switch and thereby improve its performance, or 2) even better, possibly get a new Pollak donor switch that would allow me to re-use the original housing and lock cylinder, but change the "guts" of the switch out from the new one into the old one, so that internally the switch would be as new.  As I say, except for the length of the lock cylinder "tube" portion of the diecast housing, many of the new Pollak switches look almost identical to the 50 year old original one in my jeep.  
What do you think?

snoopy2x, regarding the ignition switch restoration, why not?  If you're willing to take it apart with your usual great step-by photos, we can likely help out others.

These switches and rebuilding one could reach a lot of restorers.  The type of switch and Pollak switches in general are similar to tractor or off-highway equipment applications, and that should be topical.  I can see this switch being used by I-H, Studebaker and other brands outside the Big Three.  In fact, I-H or Studebaker might be identical to Willys/Kaiser in some application(s).

When you're ready to tie up that Jeep CJ for a bit, let's see what's in store.  I'm always glad to make suggestions related to mechanical restoration work.

Footnote: The eBay offerings hint that G.M. may have also outsourced Pollak, I'd be surprised, most G.M. electrical is Delco or Delco-Remy.  Possible that Pollak made replacement parts for G.M. vehicles.  There may be a history here of vehicle "classes" that use these Pollak switches.  They all have an "industrial/truck/equipment" look, suggesting that big rigs, agricultural vehicles and more spartan light trucks shared these common Pollak type switches...Also, it would be my guess that any of these Pollak 4-pole switches have common back-end guts.  The defining feature appears to be the length of the lock cylinder necks.  Your thoughts here?  Maybe there's a simple series crossover that would help locate a replacement switch assembly that would accept your Jeep cylinder.  Can we find a Pollak catalog with descriptions and illustrations of the switch profiles?  I have other ideas for cross referencing...


Moses Ludel

Can we find a Pollak catalog with descriptions and illustrations of the switch profiles?

Yes!....as luck would have it, the Pollak rep sent one to me yesterday!  I will forward to your email momentarily....ignition switch listings start on Page 29. 

You are correct about the wide usage of the Pollak ignition switches....they were/are used in a great number of different vehicles, including older cars & trucks,18-wheelers, forklifts, backhoes, etc.  

Thanks, Moses!  I look forward to working with you on this!!


Am I correct that the late 70's - early 80's AMC jeeps used GM ignition switches and keys (which were stamped AMC or Jeep or whatever)?  If so, I suppose those could be examples of vehicles that might use the switch I sent you the eBay listing for. 

Hi, Maury...Yes, they were remarkably similar because AMC/Jeep outsourced its steering columns.  Many were tilt and similar to G.M. applications.  The keys did look "G.M."-ish...Those columns were also locking type, the key cylinders and mechanisms were different than the ones depicted at eBay.  The eBay/Pollack switches look like older generation types that fit behind a dashboard, mating to a flat surface...


Oh, okay....I was thinking that at least some of the AMC CJ ignition switches were the dash-mounted, rather than column-mounted type.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts / ideas once you've had a chance to look through that Pollak catalog I emailed to you.  Unless you think there's a different model I should purchase, I'm considering buying one of the GM-type switches I sent you the link to, and using that as the "donor switch".  This assumes of course that this idea plays out as I anticipate it might, and the new internal parts are indeed usable in the 50-year old original housing.  That would just be too cool.....

However, if that doesn't work out, i.e. it turns out that I can't use the innards from the new switch in the old original switch's housing, then at least I haven't wasted a great deal of money.  Speaking of which, I want to be as ready as possible for any eventuality.  Especially if I can't use the internal parts from a new switch, I need to be ready to clean and re-use the electrical contacts of the old switch, and in either case, I will need to lubricate the moving parts.   Toward those ends, what type of 1) electrical cleaner; 2) lubricant(s); and 3) anything else I might need would you recommend that I pick up so that I'm as prepared as possible once I get the new parts in hand and am ready to begin surgery?

My guess is that I may be able to do it all in a single day, and maybe even just a few hours, assuming that I don't need to find any more parts, etc. once I start work on it.   I'm taking a couple of weeks off of work for the Holidays starting next weekend, and though visiting family, etc will occupy some of those days, I am thinking that it would also be an ideal time frame during which to rebuild the switch.

BTW, I found this link to a thread that goes into some detail about rebuilding a vintage (Cadillac) ignition switch.  Some of the techniques described could possibly be helpful/applicable:    



Maury...I looked through the Pollack catalog.  On P. 30 is the 31-180 switch image that resembles your switch.  Since you have the old switch out and can take measurements, I would contact Pollack and ask if your key cylinder will fit this new switch or another in their inventory.  It would be much easier to swap cylinders than rebuild a switch.

Another option would be Pollack's ability to match/key a new switch and cylinder to accept your OE key(s).  That way you would have your OE key and a brand new switch.

If that fails, we're back to rebuilding or repair of your OE switch, which is always an option.


I had exactly the same thought about the possibility of simply inserting the existing lock cylinder into a new housing.  I emailed Pollak a few days ago with the same photos of the original switch I sent to you, and asked that very question.....below is a copy of that (very short) email string, in which the Pollak rep sent me the catalog I sent you.

(It did not occur to me to ask them about creating a new lock cylinder with the old B&S keyway.....I would be very surprised though if that could be done cost-effectively, if it could be done at all.) 

My note to Jerry at Pollak:


Hi Jerry,


I found your email on the Pollak website, and am hoping you or someone else there might be able to help me identify a part number for an older Pollak ignition switch.  


The switch is original to a 1967 jeep.  I'm hoping to be able to keep and re-use the original lock cylinder (which has a Briggs & Stratton keyway), as it still has the original Jeep keys and is in good shape.  In order to do that, I would need to be able to find a new (or NOS) Pollak housing that would be a correct replacement for the original, be able to re-use the original lock cylinder in that new housing.  


Photos of the existing switch are attached.  The distance from the face of top of the large switch base to the face of the chrome nut at the end of the lock cylinder is slightly over 1.25".  The only lettering on the switch housing says POLLAK U.S.A.


Is there any chance you could tell me a part number for this particular unit?  Also, could you possibly tell me what other vehicles besides Jeeps this model was used on?  (The latter piece of info would simply help me locate one if Pollak no longer has a model my lock cylinder would work in.)


Thanks very much, Jerry, and I hope to hear back from you.

Reply from Jerry:
Unfortunately all I can tell from the pictures is that it has base type 1 with stud terminals.

Please refer to pages 29-34 to see if you can select a similar switch


Thank you for sending this.  It looks like I probably need a "stretched" version of the 31-180, i.e. with a longer shaft for the lock cylinder.  I suspect that longer version is no longer made (not too surprising after 50 years).  
I appreciate your help!



PS - I will email the Pollak rep again tomorrow, and ask if they could provide or create a lock cylinder that would have the 1940s-60s B&S keyway used in jeeps. I would be pretty surprised if they would or could, as I say - but it would not be the first time that has happened! 

Well, he was quick to respond, Maury.  You're somewhat on your own, though. Let's see what Pollak says about either creating or coming up with a lock cylinder and matching body for the 1940s to '60s B&S keyway switches.  This can't be rocket science.  Pollak made thousands of switches for Willys and Kaiser, likely did so as simply as possible.  Would be ideal if all parts were new, otherwise, a switch restoration is the option!


I may have figured out a way to find an nos switch body that will work, though....check this out:

First, I found this closed listing from April that shows an NOS International Harvester ignition switch with the exact same Briggs & Stratton keyway as the 60's jeeps used. 


Note, that the lock cylinder shaft length on this switch housing is quite short compared to that on my original switch, even though the IH and Jeep keys were identical in length.  Here's a listing for an original Kaiser Jeep key blank for comparison to the above IH keys...I believe the keyways of the two keys are identical:


This makes me wonder if the original lock cylinder from my switch would in fact fit in a shorter switch as well (i.e. maybe there is a spacer of some kind in mine?)

Okay.....now compare the IH ignition switch above to this one:


...and this one:


Looks to be the same switch body, doesn't it? 

I think I need to figure out how to get the lock cylinder out of mine, and determine if it looks like it would fit in a shorter switch housing like the ones above....if so, the solution to my problem may be simple (and inexpensive) to solve. 

Even if this works, I may still try to rebuild my old one once it's "retired", as if I can get it back in shape, it would give me a nice reserve back-up part. 

What do you think?


Maury...Try for the switch closest to your OEM's length and configuration.  Find out how to release the lock cylinder without damaging anything...For example, is the key cylinder installed from the backside during the switch assembly at the factory?  Know what you're doing here.  Pollak should at least be able to explain how the cylinder goes into the switch body...The catalog cutaway drawings help some but are not detailed around this issue.

The more new parts you can use, the better.  How about a new or NOS switch with a B&S type key application, the complete switch with key.  Get a new/NOS Jeep key blank and cut it to match the B&S key that comes with the new or NOS complete switch. 

Bobcat may be the simplest approach if the dimensions are correct.  Buy a Bobcat switch if it takes a B&S blank similar to Jeep.  Cut a new key from an NOS Jeep blank...Easier?


It doesn't sound like it's too difficult to remove the lock cylinder from the Pollak ignition switches, assuming the key is in the lock: http://www.binderplanet.com/forums/index.php?threads/removing-the-lock-cylinder-from-the-ignition-switch.109020/

I will try that today and see if I can remove it easily, and take some photos.  The only way I'll know for sure if it fits another model of Pollak switch will be to try it, of course - but your point is well taken re. trying to find a new switch that's as close to the original configuration as possible.

The same thought had occurred to me re. finding another NOS IH switch that shares the same B&S keyway with the Kaiser jeeps, and using that intact....but I suspect that will be easier said than done, and may take years to find.   I'll put it on my eBay search list, though, and we'll see if one pops up.  Alternatively, maybe I'll get lucky and find another new or NOS Pollak switch that will accept my lock cylinder.

I bought an old used, cheap ($10) Pollak switch on eBay that looks pretty similar to mine, just to experiment a bit and see how hard it would be to disassemble.  That way if I end up breaking it beyond repair, it won't matter, and if I'm able to disassemble, clean, and reassemble it, it will give me good practice if it comes to trying to rebuild mine.  I will take pictures once I actually have the old switch in hand, and hopefully get it apart successfully, and if you think it is worthwhile, I will start a thread as you described (either on rebuilding the practice switch, and/or the original switch from my CJ). 

Toward that end, do you have any thoughts about what chemical(s) I should use to clean the electrical contacts, and also what lubrication (PTFE lube, dielectric grease, or something else?) would be best?


At lunch time I removed the lock cylinder without any problem (see photos below)...

The lock cylinder is a single piece about 1-1/2" long, so I will definitely not be able to use it in one of the shorter switch housings.  That means I'll either have to find an NOS switch to match the original, or rebuild my existing one if I want to be able to continue to be able to use the original lock cylinder long-term.

Also, I wrote the Pollak rep and asked about the possibility of getting new lock cylinders to accommodate the B&S keyways used in the 60's by jeep and international harvester which could work in one of their current switches.  I sent him the link to that NOS IH switch as an example of a shorter switch with such a keyway.  Will let you know when I hear back from him.

Thanks again, Moses, and please let me know what you think would be the best electrical cleaners, switch lubes, etc. for the upcoming ignition switch disassembly / reassembly described in my last message.






Maury, on the electrical end of the switch I would use a professional-grade electrical contact cleaner that will evaporate completely after performing its solvent and grease dispersal action.  As for grease, I use dielectric grease despite the controversy many try to stir up about it.

I've talked about dielectric grease at the forums and magazine site, you can look it up in both search boxes under "dielectric".  Here is a useful exchange at the forums:

Permatex dielectric grease has been my mainstay here, they recommend it for lamps and connections, plugs and wire prongs on marine and truck applications.  Here is the product you will find in my tool box electrical drawer.  It's available from a variety of sources:  https://www.summitracing.com/parts/ptx-22058?seid=srese1&cm_mmc=pla-google-_-shopping-_-srese1-_-permatex&gclid=Cj0KEQiA-MPCBRCZ0q23tPGm6_8BEiQAgw_bAp-e04gpm8G3mDfnAA7wC_HG1MqusUjpCnv1SP7g2h4aAjyl8P8HAQ

I've furnished a Permatex PDF on the product at the forum exchange above, plenty to consider.  See what's inside these two switches, we can go from there.  If they use a "grease" but not dielectric, and if this is more a mechanical lube than an electrical parts grease, there is the option of Bosch distributor and bearing grease, which is also a mainstay in my tool box:

  Image result for bosch distributor bearing grease

This is Bosch part # 5700002005, which has been used on ignition breaker point cams and mechanical parts for decades.  I had a tube in the early 1970s that lasted until I bought a newer tube within the last few years.  This is not for electrical contacts but rather for an anti-friction barrier on moving parts (centrifugal weights, remote gear mechanisms, etc.).  I use this on mechanisms where a true grease is needed that won't create too much drag or suffer from wide temperature swings.  Bosch wiper motors and similar mechanisms would be examples.

Let's see what's inside these switches...




Hi Moses,

Before I started thinking about trying to rebuild the switch myself, I looked around to see if I could find a professional restorer who had experience with ignition switches.  I largely struck out, but one of them finally wrote me back this week, a guy named Joe Dickhudt who is also a professor at McPherson College in their Automotive Restoration degree program.  I had no idea prior to contacting him that such a program even existed.  Joe referred me to one of his former students named Scott Versaw, who evidently has done a good deal of electrical restoration work. 

Below is a greatly abbreviated out-take from my fairly lengthy communication with Scott, who is at least somewhat interested in trying to rebuild the switch, though he freely admits that he has no experience doing so on ignition switches per se.  In fact, he was quick to encourage me, just as you did, to consider finding an NOS switch or a new switch that I could transfer the original lock cylinder into, rather than to attempt restoring my original switch.

In the course of our conversation, I asked him about the cleaners and lubes he uses in his switch and other electrical restoration efforts, and that exchange raised another possibility that I think may just be worth a try....have you ever heard of a product line called Deoxit? (see the part I underlined below):


Maury, I do not have experience disassembling or rebuilding Pollack switches, or any ignition switches. I've taken apart and rebuilt radio switches that integrate volume and tone control, and also windshield wiper switches, both of which were never intended to be taken apart. Like Joe Dickhudt, I'm merely interested in making old things new again (especially electrical items),  somewhat adept at working with small items, solving problems, and have above-average patience.....

By the way, I graduated from McPherson College in 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Auto Restoration. Joe was one of my professors. I was what was considered a "non-traditional" student, and in fact I think I was the most non-traditional student in the Auto restoration program. Hint: I started collecting Social Security before I graduated.

If you find someone who is experienced with rebuilding Pollak switches, or any ignition switches, I would not be disappointed at all if you used them as your vendor. As long as you let me know if it was successful!


Scott, thinking about all of this has me wondering....what cleaners would be the best to use on electrical contacts in old switches? 

Just as importantly, what lubes have you found do the best job in old switches?.....dielectric grease, PTFE spray, graphite, or something else?



Maury, Isopropyl alchohol ([preferrably at least 90% alcohol), available in drug stores,  is the best general cleaner for switches. If you need to clean inside of a closed switch through tiny holes, though, you'll need a spray can of electronic cleaner. Spray cans of electronic cleaner are available -- and cheapest -- at auto parts stores.

I use acid brushes, available at Amazon, and alcohol (not acid!) for most of the cleaning I do on radios.

Dieletric grease will both lubricate and seal out oxygen, so I like it best. You can't really get it inside a closed switch without taking it apart, though.   The real secret sauce for cleaning and lubricating closed switches is DeoxIt. Just search for it on Amazon. Available in spray cans or tubes or bottles.   You can even buy DeoxIt Gold. It has to be better than plain ol' red, otherwise they wouldn't charge more for it...right?...
Scott, Thank you.....you are a true fount of great information!  
It occurs to me that before I further consider rebuilding the switch, I should probably try spraying Deoxit into the housing through the lock cylinder tube (with the cyl removed) while working the switch back and forth.  
Apparently, the copper alloy studs in the Pollak switch bases are actually carriage bolts. the heads of which serve as the main contacts.  These tend to arc over time, and gradually lose their conductivity as a result.  Maybe Deoxit would help clean them off, and lube the switch as well. 
Getting back to our conversation, Moses....I looked it up on Amazon, and learned that the Deoxit products have been around for nearly 30 years, and evidently have quite a stellar reputation.  They make separate (evaporating) cleaners and heavy duty lubricants specifically designed for electronics which are intended to be used in sequence.  The reviews of their products are really pretty astounding....relating specifically, among other things, to restoring ignition switch function (particularly in motorcycles, which I'm sure must be eternally problematic, given the environmental conditions they have to endure). 
I think it would be worthwhile to try their heavy-duty cleaner and lubricant formulas in spray form on my original 1967 ignition switch, just to see what happens, before I try actually disassembllng it (and potentially messing it up somehow beyond my ability to successfully reassemble it).  If the Deoxit treatment succeeds in "fixing" the somewhat intermittent contact problems the switch has for the time being, that would buy me some time to find an NOS Kaiser Jeep or International ignition switch that I could eventually replace the original with altogether.   If it doesn't work, I can always resort to Plan A, and attempt a rebuild of the original switch, possibly using some or all of the parts from a new Pollak switch.
In any case, an inexpensive new Pollak ignition switch I found on eBay is on the way.  No matter what happens with the Deoxit treatment on my original switch, I still plan to take the one I bought on eBay apart, just to see how it works, and to evaluate the difficulty of disassembly and reassembly.  It could also possibly supply some parts if Plan A is ultimately implemented. 
I would be glad to photograph everything, and start a new thread covering all the above.  What would you think about this approach?

Maury...Scott and I are on the same page, and his insight on the use of Deoxit sounds helpful.  I would be concerned about spraying or soaking with Deoxit then trying to fully lubricate a closed switch.  You need to be sure all old grease is washed out with no Deoxit residue remaining...Short of disassembling the switch, you could then pressurize the lube operation with a pinpoint grease gun attachment to assure a full fill of the cavity and reaching all contact points.  

All of this assumes there is an existing opening, or a seal lip at the base of the cylinder that will flatten, to squeeze the grease through—without damaging any seal(s).  Review the cutaway drawings in the catalog to see how the sealing works.

Dielectric grease is thinner and would fill a closed cavity effectively.  We're still not clear whether the OE grease is dielectric or simply a good lubricant.  If the latter, and if conductivity is not an issue with the grease, the Bosch grease would be an alternative to dielectric grease.  Either grease would likely serve here, though dielectric grease is really an insulation barrier and used for better electrical conductivity in oxidative and corrosive environments, not a true anti-friction lubricant.

Knowing whether the grease inside is just a petroleum base, with maybe a moly or lithium additive, would be helpful.  Pollak might be magnanimous enough to share what grease type they use in these switches today. This information shouldn't be "proprietary".


One piece of good news is that I think the base of the Nash switch, and the way the diecast housing is crimped around it, is identical to that of my original (but I won't know with absolute certainty until I can disconnect the wires from my original switch)....so the internal parts of these two switches may likewise be identical. 

The way the bases are attached to the housings in the switches Pollak makes today, which I would describe as a very tight, full-circle crimp, could and probably would make it difficult at best to remove the base from the housing without damaging one or both.  In these older 1960's Pollak switches, though, it appears that there may be some slight, narrow gaps between the housing and base in between the "spot crimps". 

If these are indeed gaps, it looks like lubricant / dielectric grease could possibly be sprayed or injected through them into the internal workings of the switch.  More to the point, it looks to me like it might just be possible to take these old switches apart, i.e. carefully bend the crimped areas back to remove the base from the housing, without damaging either the housing or base beyond repair.....which has been my one big fear about trying that. 

This could allow me (after getting a second NOS Rambler switch) to swap the NOS base and other internal parts, if they are indeed identical, into the my original switch's housing, and use it with my original long lock cylinder.   In that case, I would use the new NOS switch as my ignition switch, and keep the rebuilt original as a backup.

What are your thoughts, Moses?  I look forward to hearing them!


PS - I've been looking for a tube of the Bosch Distributor Grease (5700002005), but it's possible that it is no longer in production, as I can't find it for sale anywhere online.  The last sale of any on eBay was in 2011.  Do you happen to know of a current source for it?

If not....in lieu of the Bosch distributor grease, here are a couple of alternative products possibly worthy of consideration(?):



I'm going to call Pollak tomorrow and see if I can get someone there to tell me what kind of lube they use in their ignition switches.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some info! 

(Update)  I talked with a technical support guy at Pollak, and for whatever reasons, they don't use or recommend dielectric grease in their ignition switches (though they do use it in the connector hardware they make.)  In the ignition switches they manufacture today, they're using Rheolube 363:

RHEOLUBE 363        Temp range -54 to 125 F...Rust inhibited. A lithium soap thickened, light viscosity, synthetic hydrocarbon grease intended for bearings, sliding surfaces, gear trains, and switchgear. Excellent for wide temperature performance.


Hi, Maury...Pollak confirms that they use a bona fide lubricant not an electrical anti-corrosive.  Dielectric grease is not a lubricant for moving parts or friction points.  These switches usually have friction contacts, you mentioned carriage bolt heads, so the RHEOLUBE 363 does make sense...The Bosch grease would also work if available.  See what you turn up with RHEOLUBE 363 first, if you strike out, I'm sure you can get the Bosch grease.  Try a VW or Porsche dealership, or a Bosch distributor warehouse in your area, with the part number.  Very common, though it might be very expensive by now.

I'm not completely confident about the crimping outcomes if you decide to rebuild the OE switch.  Make sure you have a backup plan before disassembling your OE switch.  Re-crimping without the right tools may not be advisable.  Straightening out the crimps during disassembly could also weaken the metal...




Your quote from above, "I'm not completely confident about the crimping outcomes if you decide to rebuild the OE switch.  Make sure you have a backup plan before disassembling your OE switch.  Re-crimping without the right tools may not be advisable.  Straightening out the crimps during disassembly could also weaken the metal... "  really gives me pause in terms of determining the wisest course of action here. 

If you are even somewhat iffy about the wisdom of taking these switches apart and trying to reassemble them, given the metal crimping issues that could present themselves on the old die cast switch housings.....then to say the least, I definitely need to pay attention to that.  

I believe I could get the switches apart....but the question, as you imply, is whether or not I could reassemble them in such a way that they would stay permanently back together, and would not fail in the near future because I lacked the correct tools and/or techniques to disassemble and reassemble them. 

So....how about this for a plan in terms of a 4WD Mechanix Forums thread on the subject?:

Rather than trying to disassemble either switch per se (and possibly lead myself or others down a bad path), I could instead clean and lubricate the internal parts of the original switch as best I can in its closed, assembled state, probably using the Deoxit products that Scott mentioned.  I could check that original switch for continuity, but would keep that one as my spare / backup ignition switch moving forward.

I realize that this is clearly not as adventurous as my original idea of actually disassembling and rebuilding at least one of the switches, but it sounds like it may be a wiser course of action, all things considered.  I should have that NOS Nash switch in hand by the end of this week.


PS - BTW....I'm also thinking I may rebuild my original single-speed Bosch wiper motors and gearboxes this winter.   Both motors and gearboxes still work, but I'm 99% sure they have never been significantly maintained, and possibly not maintained at all, in the 50 years they have been on my jeep....so I'm sure a bit of TLC, if done properly, could not hurt. 


Maury...You're on the right track, a much safer approach and example for others. The topic will be helpful, suggesting creative ways to make parts work if you cannot find the complete NOS Jeep switch body...Go for it.

The Bosch wiper motors and gearboxes should also be topical when you're ready.  Here is a contemporary Bosch grease that might be suitable, "purple gear grease" part number:  BOSCH POWER TOOLS Replacement Part 1615430005 Grease.  It's available at Amazon, Walmart and many other places that carry Bosch power tools.

Do some research on actual usage for the purple gear grease, its temperature range, etc.  Likely this would work nicely in the wiper motors if unaffected by the temperature range.




I have had no luck locating any of the Bosch Distributor Lube anywhere.  It is apparently no longer available, nor is the Mallory brand equivalent.  One of the VW forums recommended the two ignition greases I sent you the links to earlier as alternatives, Standard Motor Products' Lubricam, and Super Lube 2 Distributor Cam Grease, both of which I gather are silicone-based and also contain PTFE. 

I tried to look up data on the Bosch purple gear grease, but beyond the fact that it is recommended for many Bosch power tools, I've been able to find almost no other info on it.  Bosch apparently does not publish info about their greases online for some reason.  However, one would think, given that this grease is for power tools which must operate in a fairly wide temperature range, it would likewise have such properties.

Also recommended in lieu of the Bosch Distributor Grease in another VW forum was NAPA Sil-Glyde ( https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0054DWS1W/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A265YV82RH5PT ).  Do you have any thoughts about that product?





Hi, Maury...We talked about Pollak's use of RHEOLUBE 363.  Is this available?  It would work for your ignition switch project.  Rheolube website: http://www.nyelubricants.com/rheolube

Details on Rheolube 363.  Doesn't sound exotic, should be similar to a variety of greases in the market:

RHEOLUBE 363 -54 to 125 Rust inhibited. A lithium soap thickened, light viscosity, synthetic hydrocarbon grease intended for bearings, sliding surfaces, gear trains, and switchgear. Excellent for wide temperature performance.

The Bosch POWER TOOL LUBRICANT Part 1615430005 Grease would likely work well on the Bosch wiper motor rebuild.  We can address that later...

In answer to your questions about Syl-Glide, I'm not a user of silicone greases unless they are specified for a given application.  One example, I do use silicone grease on urethane aftermarket suspension bushings.


I forgot to mention that I researched the Rheolube 363 some as well, and apparently it is not available as a retail product.  (I did find a small tube available from somewhere England, but it was something like $60 plus shipping!) 

I would think that the challenge with using a grease like that, though, in a closed-switch vs a disassembled one, would be getting the grease down into the operable parts of the switch effectively. Am I wrong about that?

  2 members active in this conversation (including you)
  1. Moses Ludel
    Moses Ludel
    Read: Wednesday at 04:11 PM
  3. snoopy2x
    Read: 42 minutes ago



Maury, this issue would apply with any grease.  Rheolube 363 has somewhat common grease properties and would not be difficult to match up.  I have catalogs from Chevron and Texaco that list many dozens of niche greases available through wholesale/bulk plant distributors.

I would not be concerned about finding a grease that meets these specs if you decide to "rebuild" or refresh a switch assembly.  Better to get something more common.  Rheolube-Nye Lubricants sound like commercial greases for industry and manufacturing.

The consistency of Rheolube 363 grease must be attractive to Pollak; given the application, they would not want it oozing from the cylinder or base of the switch.  That's a consideration.  Would be good to know the viscosity of Rheolube 363...Temperature range is not a major concern for a key switch, and that looks good, anyway.



At this point, I'm actually thinking of going a slightly different way with the cleaning and re-lubrication of these switches, at least to start with.  That said, if it turns out not to work out well, I can always fairly easily re-clean the switches and just start over. 

This would be somewhat akin to using the Penrite lube on the Ross steering gear rebuild as I did....i.e. not going with the original type of lubricant that was used, but trying a more modern alternative lube instead.

I'm basing this approach on what Scott Versaw (the vintage electrical part restorer I sent you some email clips from last week) indicated in his messages.  As you may recall, Scott described the Deoxit products as being the "secret sauce" for closed switches.  I'm also thinking of going this way due to the fairly glowing Amazon and other website reviewers' assessments of these particular products.

Specifically, rather than using a grease per se, I would:

1) Thoroughly clean the switches through the (removed) lock cylinder openings, and any gaps that exist along the outside bottom circumference around the bases, with the Deoxit D Series cleaner spray:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002BBV4G/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2) Wait for the Deoxit cleaner to evaporate, possibly blowing through the switch with compressed air to assist in this (and maybe even waiting a day or so after that, with the switches suspended, lock cylinder neck down, to allow them to fully dry / drain),

3) Lubricate and protect the internal switch mechanisms by spraying through the same openings / gaps with Deoxit Shield S5S: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B003G6SDKO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1, which is designed for use in harsh / outdoor environments.  There are many reviews online where this product was very successfully used to lubricate car, motorcycle, boat, aircraft, etc. switches exposed to the elements.

The fact that both of these products are in spray form may add some advantage, since the switches will be closed.  Again, if this approach failed to yield the desired results, I could simply start over.  But based on others' experiences with them, I'm guessing that this stuff may end up working pretty darn well.

I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this idea.  Do you think it might be worth a try?

I know of course that I'm vacillating here.....but reconsidering the possibility of opening up these switches, I will say that at least the crimps don't appear that they'd be very difficult to "uncrimp"....and looking at it up close, it appears that re-crimping could possibly be accomplished simply using channel-lock pliers spread open a bit. 

Hmmm...do you think epoxy could be used to reinforce the (re-) crimped indented points? 

If so, that could make the possibility of a true rebuild of the original switch more viable.



After writing my long message above detailing "Plan A", I decided to open up one of these switches to see how it works, and what it looks like inside.

I decided to use the NOS Rambler switch I have currently as a sacrificial one, as I can get another NOS one of these on eBay for less than $40 - which I've already ordered - to use with the short NOS lock cylinder. Besides satisfying my curiosity (I had actually started dreaming about taking one of these things apart), I realized that disassembling one would also give me the necessary NOS parts to rebuild my original switch eventually if need be. 

I may or may not actually rebuild that switch in the near future, depending on whether or not the Deoxit cleaning & lubing process fixes the intermittent continuity issues on the "accessory" contact it was experiencing.  But now I have the parts in hand to rebuild it if I ever do need to.  As you can see, except for the lengths of the lock cylinder sockets, the two switches are virtually identical:


I will of course put all of this in the thread so that others can also see how these switches work. 

The switch was, as expected, fairly easy to take apart.  I used a small screwdriver rotating slowly back and forth between the housing and the base, using very light pressure to slowly work each of the six crimps outwards:



I had to work my way around the switch several times in order to open all of them enough, but eventually the base could be lifted out:


The rotating assembly came out as one piece.  I'm sure you can already intuitively understand from the photos exactly how it works:



Keep in mind that I had "cleaned" this switch with Deoxit D5 Cleaner prior to taking it apart.  As you can see, the results were somewhat mixed.  While the copper contacts themselves do appear to be pretty clean - that being Deoxit's primary job - there is still a good deal of old grease inside the switch, which appears to have been partially dissolved by the Deoxit.

Seeing this, I am a bit ambivalent as to the best way to move forward.  Should I just use the un-opened NOS Rambler switch that's coming as-is, i.e. without trying to clean it with Deoxit first?  Would that original old grease still be viable after 50+ years?





I looked at the Caig site description of the DeOxit Shield S-series: http://store.caig.com/s.nl/sc.2/category.192/.f

Sounds right in every detail except lubrication, which is generally mentioned as "excellent".  No details on whether it's a lithium or other base nor whether this product is intended for lubricating ignition (i.e., mechanical) switch mechanisms.  Talk of audio/video quality hints that the product is used around switches like faders or electronic controls.  Not specific about its ability to handle an industrial strength Pollak ignition switch mechanism.  Pollak uses a lithium base grease, which is the kind of protection you would use at chassis joints or in higher friction mechanisms.

This doesn't mean that the Shield S stuff is an insufficient lubricant, but you should contact Caig and ask.  Explain the "carriage bolt head" contact points, they're entirely different than a sound system's rotary switch.

Epoxy is always limiting and not the same tensile as metal crimping.  I would use a two-part plastic epoxy to fill gaps in the Bakelite at the edges or possibly to fill a drilled hole in the plastic if you have to create a hole for lubrication.

Glad you have an NOS switch body and lock cylinder as a backup.  This makes a repair of the OEM switch less critical and opens the prospect of experimentation if you're so inclined.

Season's Best to your family, Maury...


Moses, did you see my message above with photos of the opened switch?

Our notes crossed, Maury...Now that you've taken the NOS switch apart, looks like the switch can be put back together after thorough parts cleaning with isopropyl (90% as other pro recommended) or denatured alcohol (Lowe's or Home Depot).  Carefully clean diluted OE grease from all parts, allow alcohol to evaporate before you re-grease.

I researched and found this article on switch grease.  Root information is from Nye Lubricants (i.e., RHEOLUBE-Nye).  Read it thorough and find a suitable grease:


As for crimping back together, after thoroughly greasing the parts, use the original crimp points very carefully.  Then add three new, evenly spaced crimps, 120-degrees apart, for backup.  If you need to make a cosmetic repair of the original crimps, a Dremel tool and carbide bit can remove burrs.

I've cosmetically restored this kind of metal with low melting point silver solder.  Not high tensile, this would be more for looks than reinforcement.  Note that higher melting point silver brazing rod would be wrong, subjecting this pot metal to too much heat.  Higher heat, even 800-1100 degrees F, would turn pot metal into a puddle.  We're talking low melting point silver solder with typically 300 degree F melting point, used for minor jewelry fixes and very light (low-tensile) repairs.

If you don't care about the switch's appearance behind the dash, simply clean, de-burr, grease thoroughly and re-crimp, then add the three new crimps.  (Index the Bakelite end piece at the notch/tang before crimping!)  Epoxy (two-part plastic type) is not strong but would seal the edge if you think there is a gap for grease to ooz out.  Epoxy would not be a crimping alternative.

If you're not satisfied with the results and wind up using another NOS switch, as long as the switch shows no oxidation or signs of storage in a humid or wet environment, I would install the switch as is.


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As you know, the Rheolube 363 has a lithium base, and the Nye website describes it is as:

"Rust inhibited. A lithium soap thickened, light viscosity, synthetic hydrocarbon grease intended for bearings, sliding surfaces, gear trains, and switchgear. Excellent for wide temperature performance."

.....but do you think this Dupont Teflon grease, the description for which ( http://www.performancelubricantsusa.com/product/severe-service-grease.php ) states: 

"Overbased Calcium Sulfonate thickener offers water washout and mechanical stability properties which far surpass lithium complex greases......(applications include) bearings, bushings and gear couplings, etc .... -40°F (-40°C) to 350°F (177°C)..... can be used as an upgrade or replacement for most general purpose greases"

would suffice instead? 

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snoopy2x...Rheolube 363 has properties that Pollak likes, including lithium.  Rheolube 363 is a hydrocarbon lithium product.  I would stick with the lithium in this switch application.

I have begun using Ultra Lube products for both chassis and wheel bearing grease.  My current choice for wheel bearings and chassis use is Ultra Lube 10320 LMX Red Lithium Grease, available through Amazon and elsewhere:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BW1P5O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Significantly less costly than a Dupont Teflon grease, the LMX has a stable bio-base plus good temperature range.  It would be a good match and in my opinion better than a hydrocarbon-base lube.  Here is the Ultra Lube site and more information on LMX Red Grease:


I am using Ultra Lube LMX Red for our Holiday Rambler and other trailer wheel bearings subject to summer heat, braking on 6% grades and general stress.  I like the lube's ability to flow at higher temperatures, which is hardly a concern in your ignition switch mechanisms.  LMX Red also become my choice for chassis joint lubrication.  Better yet, it's readily available.


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