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kalamykid, Shop Owner/ Tech
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1990 GMC: S10..turn signal..steering column..the steering wheel

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I have a 1990 GMC Sierra S15 (like an S10)....yesterday I changed the round plastic turn signal piece inside the steering column....but since i have put the steering wheel back on, the engine will not turn over.....When i turn the key in ignition the dash lights come on fine and the audible sound is strong......the battery checks @ 12.4 volts.....but it will not turn over at all.....All fuses check good, and i even rolled the truck back about 3 feet to test for flat spot on starter.....until yesterday i have had no problems starting the truck - not even once.......any suggestion(s) would be much appreciated!
Thank you -
Mark Johnston
Kannapolis, NC
Did you make sure to reconnect all the wires under the column? Does your key have a little silver chip in it ?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Connect Wires --- Yes, it was a wiring harness and it only connects one way, so i know i don't have it backwards.


Key --- i don't see any's just an old GMC key.....all silver


Thanks -


Is this an automatic trans truck or a manual?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I should mention that i did remove the ignition switch (even though i found i didn't need to)'s the kind where it's just "remove bolt/screw turn key to run position and pull ignition switch out...then the same for putting back in" ).....
Can you give me the 8th and 10th vin digit please? I need to look up the wire harness and need this info to make sure I look up the correct diagram. Thank you.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

here's the whole VIN#



Thank you. I will be right back with you.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks for your help...........i have a Ohm/Volt meter, so i will be happy to check any of the wire readings if needed.


Did you unplug the electrical ignition switch under the dash on top of the column? Please double check to make sure it is seated good as it may have come loose when you unpluged the turn signal switch.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

10-4...will check that right now

(the connection under the dash - is it a wiring harness or just a single wire connection?)

There will be about 15-20 wires to the connector. I have one more question for you. When you pull the key out of the switch does the steering wheel lock? If you turn the key one click does it unlock?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
when key is out yes wheel locks...and one click of key unlocks........but i just noticed that, when i turned my wheel from left to right, something is touching against the turn signal/wiper on off handle and making it move a little and a popping noise.......evidentally this wheel is not on that i look closer at the wheel, there is a small gap on one side and not the other where it meets the steering must not be in straight possibly due to something not in it's correct position when i used compression tool.........maybe the ignition switch isn't turning as far as it needs to, or maybe i've pinched a wire...
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
also -- i did not see a connector with 15-20 wires as you told me.
Pinching a wire at the top of the column will not keep it from starting as the only wires that far up are for the turn sign switch. Does your column have tilt wheel? The connector is just behind the mount that holds the column up half way down the column shaft.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

no it does not have tilt wheel.


i am going back out to look for connector again where you just told me.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
every harness is connected, none loose.........i checked every wire in every harness and found none to be pushed out etc..
I hate to say it but you will have to start back at the beginning and pull the turn signal switch back out, and pull the ignition lock back out. As you are taking it back apart see if you see anything out of place. Let me know when you get it apart and I will walk you though reseting the lock so it is in time with the rest of the system.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

lol....I was just typing this to you when i got your message:


i'm tempted to take the wheel back off, decompress the spring and remove round turn signal part that i put in............then try to crank it.

The ignition switch isn't dependant on any of those parts i just mentioned - right?


If it cranks, then maybe something was "bound up" inside column.....possibly.

I'm just guessing now.........all i know is that is cranked just fine until i opened the steering column.


it's gonna take me a while to get tools out of building and get that column torn back it's supposed to start raining soon.

What kind of hours do you work online?

maybe i can get it taken back apart tonight, and hit you back online tomorrow?

Just let me know what works for you.


Thanks for your time with this!

- Mark Johnston


I am online almost all the time, but have to go in and out to work in my shop. If you drop me a line I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Sounds great!

I'll shoot you a message after i get it back off.

Then we can go from there.


- Mark

Sounds good to me.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Good Saturday Morning -


I took it back apart and found that the 4 bolts that hold the steering column tight (under the round turn signal part) were not tight....i tightened them down good and it cranks......but the key doesn't turn easy in ignition switch appears to be dependant upon how tight i tighten those 4 bolts.....gonna back them out a couple more turns and see if ignition switch feels easier to turn.

then i'm going to put it back together 1 step at a time......and keep checking to make sure it cranks as i go along.

any suggestions this morning?


Thanks -


Do you mean the screws that hold the turn switch in or the bolts that hold the collar on that is under the switch?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

the bolts that hold the collar under the turn switch.


also -

after i put the turn switch back in, a round green part (for the horn) will go in next....but i'm not exactly sure which way you turn it.......i am assuming that the tube on the green part (that the horn cable goes into) should be at approx 11 o'clock......i just can't any picture in my Haynes manual to show me for sure.

Can I ask a stupid question with out you getting mad at me?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

of course! Laughing


btw - i backed those bolts out a few turns (still tight , just not cranked down hard) and the ignition switch feels right again.

Why did you pull the collar bolts? The wire harness for the turn switch will come up and through the column with out pulling these bolts.

Now to correct the problem, You will need to pull each one of the bolts out and put some loc tight on the threads to make sure the bolts do not back out. I will look up the correct torque specs for the collar bolts so you can get it back the way it should be. DO you have a torque wrench?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

i pulled the bolts out before i realized i didn't need to.

i definitely made alot more work for myself.


No i do not have a torque wrench....i will call my roommate and ask if he has one.

Can i get away without using the loc tite and torque wrench for now?

now that i know how to do it, i could take it back off another day and loc tite the bolts.

What do you think?

You could get away with out the torque wrench for now but I would at least put some loctight on just to make sure the bolts do not back out. But you will also need to make sure the bolts are evenly tightened down so the collar is not sitting sideways. You will need an inch pound torque wrench to tighten the bolts with. The proper torque for the 4 bolts is 80 in lbs.
kalamykid and 3 other GM Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for all of your help Sir!!


I will recommend you to anyone i hear having vehicle issues!


I am "accepting answer" now.


Thanks again-

Mark Johnston

Thank you for the kind words. If you need anything more just drop me a new message to this string and I will be right with you.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

you did get the $10 tip i added - correct?

just wanted to make sure it went to you.


talk to you later -


Yes i did get the tip, Thank you very much.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

i'm probably going to open another ticket with you on Monday.

it will be for my windshield wipers.

i have changed the wiper motor mounted on firewall......the wipers are getting power, for they move just barely when i turn it to Low or High....and the windshield washer shoots out water......i'm thinking the issue is under the cowl where the metal arms are that move the wiper , maybe, they are bound up......maybe the motor wasn't mounted back correctly etc..


i will remove hood, and cowl and then open ticket with you.

i will respond to this string first and you can tell me if i need to open a ticket from main website page etc.


- Mark

That sounds good to me. Just let me know when you get the cowl cover off and we can go from there.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The windshield wiper arms will have to wait until tomorrow (Tuesday)......Pouring down rain here today.

I'll try again tomorrow -


Thank you for the update.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hello again -


I am going to work on my wipers tomorrow........will you be available tomorrow?

And if so, what time of day would be best for you?

I would prefer morning (to beat the heat), but anytime tomorrow is fine for me.


Thanks -


Say around 9am easter time?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

That sounds great!
no chance of rain it's a perfect time.

Talk to you @ 9:00am

(i'll have the hood, wiper arms, and cowl off before i call)

Thanks -

Talk you in the morning.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
updated info for tomorrow;

I have the hood & wiper arms off now.
with the wipers turned on --- the cams that rotate the wiper arms are turning left to right.....they look to be turning normal.

it appears to, maybe, be something to do with the way the wiper arms were put back on the cams last time i had them off.

anyway, i wanted to update you.

just tell me what to do tomorrow about starting a service ticket with you.
Talk to you tomorrow.

- Mark
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Good morning -

here's the latest:

wiper cams are turning the wrong direction.
first rotation is turning down towards the opposed to turning towards middle of windshield.

**cams will continue turning until they gets to reset position, regardless of when you turn off key.

(reminder - the wiper arms were previously removed/and put back on when i replaced the wiper motor with a new one)

talk to you @ 9:00
- Mark

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
so basically, the cams look to be turning correctly....and in-sync with each other.
and the cams will go to rest position after turning off key.

--the cams are simply turning in the wrong direction on first turn, trying to force wiperarms down instead of up across windshield.
it's kinda like the wiper motor is turning backwards etc....?.....

Good morning. Sorry I am late I oversleep.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
lol...No Problem
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Do i start a new service request this morning?
just let me know how i need to do it.

The first question I have for you is Are you willing to pay the same for a second question or do you want to change the amount? If you want to pay the same as you did for the first question then we can continue here with out opening a new question, and if you are happy with my help with your wipers all you would have to do is hit the accept button when you are happy with my help.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok...let's continue here.
i was going to pay the same amount again anyway.

have you removed the wiper motor, or just the cowling?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i have not removed wiper motor since it was installed about a month ago.

Wiper motor is not removed.

Please refresh my memory as to what the wipers are doing that is incorrect please.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i had typed it in the messages above:

so basically, the cams (that the wiper arms sit on) look to be turning correctly....and in-sync with each other.
and the cams will go to rest position after turning off key.

--the cams are simply turning in the wrong direction on first turn, trying to force wiperarms down instead of up across windshield.
it's kinda like the wiper motor is turning backwards etc....?.....
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Year: 1990
Make: GMC
Model: Sierra S15
Engine: 2.5 4-cylinder
DOes your wiper motor connect directly to the drivers side wiper arm and have a link rod to the passenger side or does your wiper motor connect to a link rod that connects to the two wiper arms?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
wiper motor connects to a small metal plate that attaches to a link rod >>> this rod goes straight to driverside cam>>>>>another link rod goes from driverside to passenger side cam.
When the wipers "park" are they in the correct place? not to low nor to high?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
when i turn off wipers, they make a final turn to the left and park.
that would be the equivalent of the wipers parking while laying across windshield.

it's like the rest position is backwards.

it appears to me that it should make a final turn to the right instead when parking. (to push wipers back down to bottom of windshield)
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
when i say "they make a final turn to the left" --- i mean the cams that turn the wiper arms
So the drivers side is running parallel to the windshield post next to the drivers door?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i don't understand your question.
When the wiper "park" the drivers side wiper is vertical not horizontal?
Is it in the full up position?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i don't have wiper arms on at this time, but yes they would be parked with wipers in vertical position ...parrallel to windshield post next to the drivers door.

ever since that wiper motor was installed, and we put the wiper arms back in proper position it hasn't appeared to work....are there 2 different wiper motors for this model for the link rod that goes straight to passenger side & vice versus?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ever since the new wiper motor was installed, the rest position etc has changed
The two motors are not interchangeable, so if the one you have fits then you have the right one. Is there an arm the attach's to the wiper motor that could be on upside down? If not then the wiper motor was not put together correctly and you need to take the one you have back for another one.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
here's my VIN if you need it:

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok......that's what i was thinking too.

I'm gonna call Advance Auto and try to return this one.
because we did not change anything on the link rods or take them off etc...

Thank you for your help again.
You are very welcome.
When you replace the motor remember that the arms are in the up position and need to be moved to the down position before you put the new motor in.
kalamykid and 3 other GM Specialists are ready to help you