When it comes to getting your car up and running again, having a 5-pole ignition switch wiring diagram handy can be the difference between spending all one afternoon fixing your car and spending an entire weekend chasing down 1 or 2 wires.
The main wire for a 5-pole ignition switch goes to the battery. This is labeled either ‘BAT’ or ‘30’. After that you have the ignition wire, which goes to ‘IGN’ or ‘87a’. This wire is absolutely critical as it powers the car’s ignition, windshield wipers, and several other components. This is the ‘running’ position of the switch. After that there is the starter line.
This wire hooks up to the pole marked as either ‘ST’ or ‘87’. The pole labeled ‘ACC’ or ’85’ is for accessories that are OK to be on without the engine running. labeled ‘ACC’ or ’85’ is for accessories that are OK to be on without the engine running. While it is true that a ground connection is not required for an ignition switch to work, there is usually a ground pole as well.
In this article, we will explain the 5-pole ignition switch in great detail. We will also go over how to replace a 5-pole ignition switch. Finally, we will provide a handy 5-pole ignition switch diagram that you can use for easy reference.
Table of Contents
5-Pole Ignition Switch Diagram
How to Wire a 5-Pole Ignition Switch
In most cases, OEM 5-pole ignition switches are not clearly labeled. This can lead to a lot of confusion when trying to repair or replace a 5-pole ignition switch. Also, it’s important to take into consideration that 5 pole ignition switches are wired by a standard industry code and not the vehicle’s own internal wiring system. The good news is that once you learn the code, you will be able to wire a 5-pole ignition switch with ease.
The steps listed below are best to be considered rather generalized. While it is true that most 5-pole ignition switches operate exactly the same, they do not always have the same shape. Also, the poles are not always in the same exact position. So, its important to take that into consideration when following this guide.
Step 1: Disconnect your car negative terminal.
Step 2: Remove the negative cable from the post.
NOTE: Wait around 15 minutes for any residual energy in your car’s electrical system to dissipate.
Step 3: Trace the wires coming from the ignition switch to either the fuse box or whatever its connected to. You will know which one is the starter wire because it will be connected to an inline fuse before it runs to the starter.
Step 4: Remove about a quarter inch of insulation of each wire.
Step 5: Crimp a terminal connector onto the end of each wire. I recommend doing this with a pair of electrical pliers.
NOTE: If the poles on the back of the switch are posts, then you are going to need to use ring-style terminals. If, however, the poles on the switch are male spades, then you have to use female spade terminals.
Step 6: Look at the poles on the back of your ignition switch.
NOTE: While it is true that 5-pole ignition switches have standard markings, the configuration of the poles will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The pole that is labeled either ’30’ or ‘BATT’ is, you guessed it, the connection that goes to the battery. The center pole, which will be labeled either ‘ST’ or ’87’ is for the starter wire. The pole marked ’87a’ or ‘IGN’ is the ignition wire. The pole labeled ‘ACC’ or ’85’ is for accessories that are OK to be on without the engine running. If you have additional poles labeled as ’86,’ ‘X’ or ‘SU’, those are for additional accessories. Consult the diagram that came with your 5-pole ignition switch to verify which key-states these poles have power in.
Step 7: Install the ignition switch by following the instructions that were provided with it by using the wired identified in the above steps.
Step 8: Reattach the negative battery terminal.
When connecting the wires to the poles on the switch, make sure to connect the wire that is at the top of the switch first. Doing this prevents the wires from getting all in the way as you attach each additional one. When you are making the connection to the accessory wires, keep in mind that the headlight wire is generally connected to the pole labeled either X’ or ’85.’ If, however, the 5-pole ignition switch you have makes no distinction between the two poles labeled ‘ACC’, then you can connect your headlights to the pole as long as the headlights are the only thing connected to that pole.
What Wires Go To The Ignition Switch
Cars do not have a standard way of setting up an ignition switch, but there are generally at least 4 terminals. These terminals are usually marked as ‘BATT’, ‘ST’, ‘IGN’, and ‘ACC’ and a ground connection. These are for the battery, start, ignition, and accessory wires, respectively. If you have any doubts at all, it’s highly recommended that you take a look in your car’s repair manual for the exact 5-pole ignition switch wiring diagram.
What Color Do Wires Go To The Ignition Switch?
Generally speaking, the colors of the wires that are routed to the ignition switch are red, black, white with a red stripe, and white with a black stripe. There are other color standard, however, so going on color can lead to a lot of confusion. The best way to wire a 5-pole ignition switch is to look at the marking on the poles and cross-reference those with your vehicles own wiring color scheme.
Another thing you can do is check Forums and other communities related to your specific vehicle. Places like that will have tons of people that have all the specific answers that you need in regards to your 5-pole ignition switch diagram.
Does The Ignition Switch Need To Be Grounded?
Yes. Everything in your car needs to be grounded. That’s why everything in your car has some form of ground terminal or connection. Let’s not look for things we can remove the grounds from and have them still work, ok? With that being said, the ignition switch is, itself, a device that distributes positive electric current to devices and systems that have their own connection to ground.
Can Ignition Switch Cause Car Not To Start?
Yes, of course an ignition switch can cause a car to not start. An ignition switch is, after all, responsible for powering the ignition system that starts the engine. Because of this, a faulty 5-pole ignition switch is one of the most common reasons a car has trouble starting.
Can You Bypass The Ignition Switch?
Yes, any switch can be bypassed. If you are looking for how to bypass an ignition switch, you can also search for how to hotwire a car, as the content will be about the same. Regardless, it will take either training or lots of experience to be able to bypass a 5-pole ignition switch.
Your best bet would be to get professional help to avoid any complications that might arise.
Working on your car can be both frustrating and rewarding. Most of the time, the frustration comes from not being able to find the right 5-pole ignition switch diagram.
When wiring a 5-pole ignition switch, the ‘BAT’ or ‘30’ pole goes to the battery. The wire for the ignition system goes to ‘IGN’ or ‘87a’. This wire is particularly important as it powers the car’s entire ignition system, windshield wipers, and other critical components. Then you have the starter line, which hooks up to the pole marked as either ‘ST’ or ‘87’. The starter line provides power to the starter motor to start the engine.
We hope this article helped you learn about ignition systems and we hope our 5-pole ignition switch wiring diagram was helpful. Thanks for reading!
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.