Tech Article Title Author Date
Changing the Steering Column Headlight Switch Ray Calvo 2004

This is a brief summary description on replacing the steering column headlight/turn signal/cruise control switch. This was on a '98.5 Audi A4 Quattro with the Sport 3-spoke steering wheel, but other years with this steering column light switch will probably be similar. There wasn't a clear description in the shop manual, so I decided to write this up.

- Write down the preset stations on your stereo radio

- Disconnect the battery ground connection

- Turn the steering wheel 90 degrees so the bottom-facing spoke is facing left or right.

- Feel around behind the wheel; you should find two screws on the back cross-spoke. Remove them with a T30 Torx driver.

- Remove the center horn/airbag unit (pull out the power connector.). Put it aside where it won't be damaged.

- Adjust the steering wheel so it is fully extended and raised. Leave the steering positioner lock open.

- Unbolt the center bolt on the steering wheel (this is a T55 Torx driver). I used the ignition lock to help hold the wheel stationary. Remove the bolt.

- Note the mounting marks on the steering wheel and column; you'll realign these when you install the wheel. Once you're sure these are marked, then remove the wheel.

- Remove the screws in the lower steering cover holding it in place. There are two Phillips head just behind the wheel and two at the bottom of the cover facing up into the upper cover. There is another 4 mm Allen head bolt towards the bottom front of the lower cover (I don't know if this has to be removed, but it can't hurt).

- Pull off the upper cover, then the lower cover (lower cover is still connected via wires).

- Loosen the 4mm (?) allen head bolt facing up at an angle at the back-side of the switch assembly; this tightens a steering column clamp. You should now be able to move the steering column left (lights) and right (washer/wiper) switch assembly.

- Unclip the plastic horn contact/turn signal unit (I think that's what it is) in the center of the column.

- Disconnect all the harnesses at the back of both steering column switches. This might take some efforts because there are some grab catches at the sides of some of them to prevent them from wiggling loose.

- Remove the left and right steering column switch unit. There are two screws that hold both switches together - one faces forward, one faces rearward.

- Now, replace the bad switch and install the whole switch unit. When tightening the steering wheel in place, tighten to 44 ft-lbs.

Easy, isn't it? And all it took me was 2 hours.