1988 Ford Bronco fullsize tilt steering not working


New member
Aug 3, 2021
Reaction score
New Mexico
Tilt not working after replacing ignition switch actuator. The short actuator from ignition key to the long actuator in the steering column was replaced and after assembly the tilt steering mechanism no longer work. It seems the turn signal assembly shifted upwards and the turn signal lever does not have enough range to activate the tilt mechanism.


96 Bronco 5.0
Staff member
Oct 18, 2005
Reaction score
Floating in the Pacific
Yo tagabukid,
To start this discussion off:
Turn Signal Switch Replacement & Repair Info w/Tilt Wheel in an 89; similar to 80-91
"...The white plastic that takes up half the column is the turn signal switch. The red box in the top right is the steering wheel lock. When you turn the key, it goes down. The switch is only held down by two screws. One where my ***** driver is, and another, same spot, on the bottom. When I removed by wheel, I saw my top ***** sitting at the bottom of the column. Once I put the ***** back in and tightened them both up, everything was fine. The switch now stays in place, and the lever is now able to push the tilt bar backwards, releasing the wheel. I didn't have to replace my switch, but you see how easy it is now if you must do it. I thought about it - everything's off right now...spend 30 bucks and never think about this again... But then again it took me 10 minutes to get to the switch - I'll save my 30 and go drop it at poker. Check out last photo... If your turn signal does not snap back after turning, read on. Wanted to quickly explain how that works. When you lit the lever, the switch locks in place (green box in pic). There is a little ring around the steering shaft. As you turn, that ring rotates around the shaft until a little block on the ring hits an arm (red box) and the arm releases the lock. When my whole switch was loose, it moved the ring up the shaft a bit, and the little block wasn't hitting the arm. If your lever doesn't snap back after a turn, either the ring moved up, or the plastic lever and/or arm on the switch broke..."

Source: by Brahma502 at SuperMotors.net

Turn Signal Switch Repair; similar to 80-91

"...On the pre-1992, you also have the option of replacing the broken piece separately for about $9.99with a Dorman 49301. I wouldn't do it, but, I broke mine the last time I put it back together and failed to align the alignment pin which cocked the switch and broke the cancel function..."

Source: by j. r. Nice (J. R. N)

Actuator Rod & Switch Operation Overvew; "...The actuator rod on tilt columns is a culprit. The key turns a rod via a rack. The rod goes over the pin sticking out of the rod pictured above. That part wraps up over the column where yet another rod goes into it that travels down the top of the column to a remote mounted switch block. This block actually makes contact. The Aluminum piece above breaks and you no longer can push that rod. The longer straight section going to the top right of that picture is there only for the ignition lock (that little lever under the column you need to use to get your key back)... read more
Source: by shift1313 (Matt) at Ford Bronco Zone Forums

"...Find the ignition rod (on top of the column, running from the steering wheel down to the ignition switch at the base of the column) and make sure it's moving back and forth when you turn the key, through all positions. If it is, your upper actuator is probably not the problem. Lastly, check your ignition switch (again, at the base of the column). Manually push the switch back and forth through the different positions. Push it all the way forward (or down) and see if it will engage the starter. If it does, then your ignition rod is probably bent, which can be remedied quite easily.
If it's an auto, try starting in neutral or while pulling up on the lever while it's in park. If that works, look to a park/neutral safety switch. If it's a stick, check the clutch switch. You could try jumping from hot to the small terminal on the solenoid to test it's operation. Sometimes new ones are bad out of the box. "

Replacement in an 89; "...Set the parking brake. Disconnect the battery ground cable. Unbolt the intermediate shaft from the steering column. Disconnect the shift linkage rod(s) from the column. Remove the steering wheel. If you have a tilt column, the steering wheel MUST be in the full UP position when it is removed. Remove the floor cover screws at the base of the column. Remove the steering column shroud by placing the bottom ***** in the No.1 position and pulling the shroud up and away from the column. On automatics, remove the shift indicator cable. Remove the instrument panel column opening cover. Remove the bolts securing the column support bracket to the pedal support bracket. Disconnect the turn signal/hazard warning harness and the ignition switch harness. Lift the column from the truck. Remove the column support bracket To install: Install the column support bracket making sure that the wiring is outboard of the column. Tighten the nuts to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm). Start the floor cover clamp bolt and press the plate until the clamp flats touch the stops on the column outer tube. Install the column through the floor opening. Connect the turn signal/hazard warning and ignition harnesses. Raise the column and install the 2 support bolts. Tighten the floor cover bolts to 10 ft. lbs. (13 Nm). Tighten the support bracket bolts to 25 ft. lbs. (34 Nm). Tighten the cover plate clamp bolt to 18 ft. lbs. (24 Nm). Install and adjust the shift indicator cable, on automatics. Install the instrument panel column opening cover. Install the column shroud. Tighten the shroud bottom ***** to 15 inch lbs. (1.7 Nm). Connect the shifter rod(s). Connect the intermediate shaft. Tighten the bolt to 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm)..."
Source: by Ford via the "Good" Chilton

Here are the 1989 Ford Bronco EVTM, Emissions (yellowish/red book cover) & Pre-Delivery Manuals, Partial via mrnewland1 in Google Drive @
1989 Service manual - Google Drive
Slow scrolling, so download for faster viewing and to see the table of contents, the search feature, etc.

Haynes Red Manual for 80-95 Bronco & F Series @ Hanes guide 80-96 bko f series.pdf found by BroncMom

1989 Ford Bronco Dealer Brochure

1989 Bronco Lubricant Specifications by Ford via Gary

Members online

No members online now.

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member