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55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
#1361910 Mon May 25 2020 07:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 26
P
PanchoV Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
Question. I noticed that ignition to my 55’ first time series Chevy truck has 3 positions when turning the key. I wanted to make sure I am tracking the positions. I first believed that from left to right 11’ o’clock was acc, 12 o’clock is off and 1 o’clock was on. But looking all over the web, I couldn’t find anything for a 54/55 first series ignition. From what i have seen for older cars is the following positions:

11 o'clock position: ignition is off and locked when key is removed.
12 o'clock position: ignition on and key can be removed. Ignition can also be turned to the 1 o'clock off position without key.
1 o'clock position: ignition off, no key required to turn ignition back to 12 o'clock on position.
The key is required to turn to the 11 o'clock to turn ignition off and lock the ignition. People were apparently more trusting back then and only locked the ignition if they felt a need too.

Is this accurate for a 54/55 first series. I placed the power in wire on the middle ignition terminal. Thanks in advance for your help

Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361932 Mon May 25 2020 10:33 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 7,448
B
General Purpose
Sounds like you have an earlier switch or a car switch or ? Click [oldchevytrucks.com]


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.


Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361933 Mon May 25 2020 10:48 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 2,750
Housekeeping (Moderator) Making a Stovebolt Bed & Paint and Body Shop Forums
To add to the info from Jim Carter's site that bartamos linked to, Chevy cars in 1954 (and I believe 1953) had the "keyless" feature, with lock, off, on, start positions. The only one that required a key was to get it to lock. The key could be removed in the on or off position. A '54 Chevy station wagon was one of the family cars I learned to drive in.


Kevin
First car '29 Ford Special Coupe
#2 - '29 Ford pickup restored from the ground up.
Newest Project - 51 Chevy 3100 work truck. Photos [flickr.com]
Busting rust since the mid-60's
Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361934 Mon May 25 2020 10:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,034
G
Shop Clutterist
Yes, your stock ignition switch should only have 2 positions: On and Off.

See section 12, sheet 4.02 of the factory assembly manual.


Gord
----
1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361949 Tue May 26 2020 12:05 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 794
F
Shop Shark
My 49 3100 has the same ignition switch. I have read that the 1 o'clock position was used on the farm so the boss could take the key with him when he left the work site and the workers could still move the truck if necessary by turning it back to 12 o'clock. They could then turn it to 1 o'clock to save the battery. Sounded reasonable to me! bartamos link was very informative.

Last edited by Forty9; Tue May 26 2020 12:08 AM. Reason: More info

Ed
Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361950 Tue May 26 2020 12:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,505
J
Shop Shark
The original 55 1st ignition switch is a OFF/ON switch.
It has three terminals on the back side.
One terminal is for power from the ammeter.
The other two terminals receive power when the key is switched ON.

Original 55 1st ignition switch
https://www.classicparts.com/1954-55-1st-Ignition-Switch-Original-Style/productinfo/53%2D407/

Lock Cylinder
https://www.classicparts.com/1947-66-Ignition-Switch-Cylinder-w_Key/productinfo/53%2D475/

More info in this THREAD

If you could provide some picture of the switch, front side and back side and how its mounted in the dash.
Would be helpful.

Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361973 Tue May 26 2020 03:22 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 26
P
PanchoV Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
Jorb. My ignition looks just like the one in your link. The area that I believe a light goes to, sits about 11 o’clock if you are looking at straight at the ignition when attached to the dash.

I have another question in regards to the Ammeter. I been reading some posts that you can still leave with 12v system. Others recommend not to use with 100 amp alternator, which I have, because it’s known to cause the ammeter to burn up. What are your recommendations? I would like to keep the original look as much as possible and not have aftermarket gauges hanging from my dash. Thanks again

Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361979 Tue May 26 2020 04:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,505
J
Shop Shark
If you are talking about this LINK
I then think the switch you have is a car 3 position switch housing, with a non-teardrop lever lock cylinder.
How is the switch mounted in the dash?
Can you take some pictures of the switch?

I'm not to sure about the ammeter question, maybe someone else will chime in.

Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1361988 Tue May 26 2020 10:14 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 7,448
B
General Purpose
Originally Posted by PanchoV
Jorb. My ignition looks just like the one in your link. The area that I believe a light goes to, sits about 11 o’clock if you are looking at straight at the ignition when attached to the dash.

I have another question in regards to the Ammeter. I been reading some posts that you can still leave with 12v system. Others recommend not to use with 100 amp alternator, which I have, because it’s known to cause the ammeter to burn up. What are your recommendations? I would like to keep the original look as much as possible and not have aftermarket gauges hanging from my dash. Thanks again

If the ammeter has a shunt, you can use it. It may "peg" and you won't know what it reads past "peg", but that won't hurt the meter. Why a 100 amp alternator on a 55.1?
Think about a simple voltmeter. You are already past original with the 12V and alternator. But who cares? Who needs a meter? Who looks at a meter. If your battery/lights start to go down, you check the system. If battery goes bad quick, the ammeter won't catch that anyway. If you want to keep the "ammeter look", leave it in there unconnected and wire up your alternator to a tell tale somewhere. Some people call that an idiot light. Pilots call them annunciators. GM calls them indicators. They get your attention better than a meter needle.


Watch out for careful drivers!!!
I'm away on an ego trip. Will be back on Feb 30.
I'm not an Auto Mechanic, but I play one on TV.
I charge $0.02 for every opinion and I take Paypal.
Plan B is always better than plan A, by definition.


Re: 55’ First Series Chevy Truck Ignition
PanchoV #1362038 Tue May 26 2020 04:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 26
P
PanchoV Offline OP
Wrench Fetcher
Jorb, here is a picture of my ignition installed in the dash.

Bartamos, I went with a 100 amp alternator so I could add more accessories if needed such as an air ride system down the road. I didn’t see a shunt with my ammeter maybe because it was initially a 6v system and didn’t need it. Putting an idiot light might just have to work. Thanks for the rapid responses.

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Last edited by PanchoV; Tue May 26 2020 04:46 PM.
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