Dual Ignition Switch Special Configurations for 122 and 1800 Models

First Published Sept 2020  R. Kwas  [Comments/Additional Information added]


This configuration occurs in the last 122s and change-over years of the 1800S to 1800E ('68).  It occurs because of the continued use of the (older) Armored Ignition System, being fitted in conjunction with the (later) Steering Column Ign Sw.  Owners which have such a configuration might find the wiring difficult to deal with (and it is unusual!), but there is NO MAGIC, I guarantee it!

It is considered in detail for the 122 Model...
...it has also been noted on the 1800 Model 

Reference Information

    Ignition Switch / Armored Cable / Ignition Coil Assembly
    Ignition Switch 140 Notes
    Installation Instructions for late Steering Column, with Ign Sw, into the 122 Model, by Volvo, for Swedish qualified readers.


The unusual configuration of Steering Column mounted PLUS Dashboard mounted Ignition Switches has been noted as a variation on late production European delivered Amazons (121, 122, 123 models).  This configuration has been observed on as early as 1967 in the European market, but never in the American market.  Since the Dashboard Ign Sw is a one-piece assembly with the Ign Coil, the two being connected by the Armored Cable, with the Primary Ign Power node being completely inaccessible, this begs the question of how the two Ign Switches play together to power the Ign Coil.  

Pictures by Aidan C. and Simon are used with permission and thanks.

Later Steering Column mounted 140 style Ignition Switch and key, and this assembly is not overly
susceptible to key Breakage, as the Dashboard mounted Ign Sw is.  This weakness is covered separately here
Dashboard location has a plug blocking off access to the old Ignition Switch (which is actually still present,
as can be seen in the following picture!).


Rearview of Dashboard mounted Ignition Switch.  It looks no different than the standard Ign Sw,
however, there are wiring differences, and if one were to demount switch and look under that plug,
there would be no Lock Cylinder, and switch would actually be in Position 3 ...and the question of
how the Ign Coil is powered is answered! 


View of the connector end of Steering Column mounted Ignition Switch.

A better view of the 140 style Ignition Switch on Steering Column Ign Sw on a 122:

Switch side view of Steering Column mounted Ignition Switch with cowl, and wires removed. 

Composite Wiring Diagram of the configuration: 

Combined wiring of both Steering Column and Dashboard mounted Ignition Switches. Wire gauge in mm2 and colors are included.  
Shown are both A - early Armored Ign System, and B - later non-armored standard Ign Coil configurations, which may also be fitted.


This configuration encountered, by Aidan C., a member of the British Volvo Owner's Club Forum, and considered in detail, in thread:  Electronic ignition with original coil ...which initially started out as a question about how to supply Ign Power to an Elec Ign, and developed into understanding the interaction of the Armored Ign Assy and the Steering Column Ign Sw. https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?t=310293 

Excerpts of Aidan's posting from the thread with results of inspection: 

..."the general consensus with the Swedish Amazon Club is that it was an aftermarket dealer fit accessory and not a factory option.   [...with a possible reason that an insurance discount may have been allowed for the dual anti-theft provisions.]


9 o' clock [Terminal 30, normally the incoming Battery Power connection, here a node for Ignition Power. ] has one heavy cable which goes to 15 (red switched positive on the ignition switch).

12 o' clock [Terminal 50, normally the Solenoid control (Start) wire, here unused.  The new Ign Sw or a separate Start Switch does this function. ]  has one connection which has been cut off, leaving a small stump of black wire.  [..actually, it would be the standard Green Solenoid control wire within a black sleeving.]

3 o' clock [Terminal 54, normally the Ignition Power output, here, it is the Ignition Power input for Ignition Coil.] has two wires, one heavy red that goes into the loom and disappears and one black wire which feeds the cigarette lighter. Do you need any more info on the heavy red wire? "


This configuration was also noted on the Volvoniacs Forum (German) under:  K(r)ampf mit dem Schaltplan und der Verkabelung


1800 Model:  

Dual Ignition Switches (with Steering Column Lock, AND Armored Ign Coil)

The configuration of dual Ign Switches has also been noted on also a Swedish 1800S from '68.  This was the changeover year from Dashboard Ign Switches and still retaining the early Armored Ignition System to Ignition Sw but adding the Steering Column locking...later (maybe when all the Armored Ignition Systems were used up), more standard Ignition Coils with an open Positive terminal, as were also fitted on the 140 Model, were also used in the production of the injected 1800s. 

View of Dashboard Ignition Switch in double Ign Sw configuration in a '68 1800.  This unusual cross-over year configuration is simply identifiable in that it has a Dashboard located Ign Sw (with later 140 style Ign Sw and Key), but also an armored Ign Coil with only two terminals visible in the engine compartment.

Mikael Bratt pix, permission requested.

Dashboard Ign Sw with Steering Column lock, but no armored cable...so what powers Armored Ign Coil?  Notice the heavy gauge Red Cable on Terminal 15 (Ign Power), and the St Col Lock departing to the right.  [To help with orientation of the viewer, this picture is from above the Dashboard (upper Dashboard removed!) of a LHD vehicle!]  

Armored Ign Sw (...permanently set to Position 3, and with NO evidence of its presence in the Dashboard as in the 122 installation!) is discretely located under Dashboard.  Notice again, the aforementioned heavy gauge Red wire bringing in Ign Power from the "new" Ign Sw into Term 30 of the "old" Ign Sw.  New Ign Sw controls power with Ign Key (anti-theft requirement is satisfied with Steering Column lock!), and sends it also to supply Fuse 2, plus Armored Ign Sys!  Slightly complicated, but not for those of us paying full attention!  [To help with orientation of the viewer, this picture is from below the Dashboard (upper Dashboard still removed, so ceiling is visible!)]   


Wiring Diagram excerpt for this configuration in an 1800.  Notice that Battery Power for both Ignition switches is fused here (it is not in the 122 implementation!)...this is a philosophical design difference in the two models!  [...and the fact that Ign Pwr is routed by way of that miserable, and susceptible Lucas Fuseblock, certainly goes a long way toward explaining "Inexplicable Lucas Incidents".]   





Reference information:

The Ignition Switch / Armored Cable / Ignition Coil Assembly: 


Ignition Switch 140 Notes

This switch is a of a completely different design from that of the earlier Ign Sw of the 544/122/1800s!  Where the earlier switch went through a total of 120 Degrees of rotation with a total Ign Key angular travel of 90Deg, (Ref:  The Lock Cylinder is a Gearbox!), the later Ign Sw goes through a total of 210Deg and there is no gearing or difference to the Ign Key rotation.  With this much more angular travel between stations, there is certainly a Return Spring present for the momentary Start position, but no need for a Gorilla Spring, as on the earlier switches, so these switches are immune from the fatigued Ign Key syndrome! 

Volvo 140 Ignition Switch Key Position/Contact Detail

Notice Terminal 57a is powered when the Ign Key is removed, and so essentially when car is static (there is no such terminal present on the earlier Ign Sw).  This terminal was used in the German markets to power the "Parklicht" (Ref:  https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parklicht  ), but could possibly be used by a clever and industrious owner to power an anti-theft system...just a thought!


Installation Instructions for late Steering Column, with Ign Sw, into the 122 Model, by Volvo, for Swedish qualified readers.


Externally sourced materials are attributed.  Otherwise, this article is Copyright © 2022.  Ronald Kwas.   The terms Volvo and Bosch are used for reference only.  I have no affiliation with either company other than to keep their products working for me, help other enthusiasts do the same, and also present my highly opinionated results of the use of their products here.  The information presented comes from my own experience and carefully considered opinion, and can be used (or not!), or ridiculed and laughed at, or worshipped, at the readers discretion.  As with any recipe, your results may vary, and you are, and will always be, in charge of your own knuckles, and future! 

You are welcome to use the information here in good health, and for your own non-commercial purposes, but if you reprint or otherwise republish this article, you must give credit to the author or link back to the SwEm site as the source.  If you donít, youíre just a lazy, scum sucking plagiarist, and the Boston Globe wants you!  As always, if you can supply corrections, or additional objective information or experience, I will always consider it, and consider working it into the next revision of this article...along with likely the unique metaphor and probably (likely) wise-a** comment. 


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