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Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 97
Exclamation What Is the Deal With these Stupid Shear Bolts on the Ignition Switch?

I just pulled the ignition switch on my 914-6. It's a 911 part that attaches to the dash using "shear bolts." The 911 used this system at least until the late eighties and maybe even later.

Shear bolts are bolts that when you torque them down properly, the heads shear off leaving a smooth, round head behind. It is supposed to make removing the ignition switch a hassle for would-be theives because there is no slot for your screw driver and no hex edges for your wrenches to grab ahold of the bolt.

To remove these stupid things you have to drill out the center and use a screw extractor bit (its a bit that is designed to dig into the bolt when run counterclockwise). So, do we really need these things? Here's my argument for why we do not.

First, these shear bolts are a hassle to remove. Between the steering wheel and the turn signal you can barely fit a drill in there and you make a mess of metal shavings everywhere eventually when you do drill them out. Hopefully you will have no reason to remove the ignition switch more than once on any given car, but you know, stuff happens.

Second, these bolts hardly deter theives. If I were to steal a 914-6 or a 911 I would not drill the shear bolts out. Instead you just remove the fuse box (on the 914-6 it is held in place with two philips screws) and then you reach under the dash and unplug the harness that connects to the ignition switch. With the harness unplugged you replug the harness into your own ignition switch (a part you can buy from Pelican or your Porsche dealer for probably under $50) and you turn the switch with a big philips screwdriver. Drilling out the bolts took me about a half hour (probably 5-10 min. if you know what you are doing), but the procedure I just described could probably be performed, with some practice, in under 30 seconds.

And third, the procedure I just described is no secret. Any car thief with even one-day's experience with the 914-6 or the 911 could figure out what I just described. I thought of it yesterday while trying to remove the stupid shear bolts. I think it's pretty obvious.

Now, some people are going to say that even if the shear bolts don't deter sophisticated and experienced car theves, at least they stop the unsophisticated and unexperienced ones. Well, not really. Because to remove the ignition, not only do you need to drill out the shear bolts you also need to remove a screw (in some cases a bolt) that connects the ignition to the steering collumn, and knowing where that screw is and getting to it is harder than removing those stupid shear bolts in the first place. In other words, the inexpericneced car thief will be deterred not by the sheer bolts but by the steering collumn screw.

So the question I put to the BBS: is there any real point to reinstalling sheer bolts?

Old 11-25-2002, 11:12 AM
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dave blackburn's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 203
Um...yeah...uh does pelican sell 911 ignition switches? there's a nice blue one down the...I mean mine needs replacment.
75 1.8L
Old 11-25-2002, 04:58 PM
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