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seedpress

Key won't turn ignition switch -- help!

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My '90 Eddie Bauer Bronco is stuck way back in the woods. Neither of of my keys will turn the ignition switch, and of course it is stuck in park. Neither the key nor the ignition lock have ever caused me any problem before now. We had been stopping and starting on the road several times while removing fallen tree limbs. Suddenly the key wouldn't turn in the ignition switch. My backup key wouldn't work either. We had to hike out and leave the truck. Funds being low, I would like to be able to fix it myself.

 

I can't rotate the key in any direction at all, so I can't access the retaining ring to pull out the lock cylinder. What I'd really like to do is put a push button ignition switch and completely defeat the column lock. If I could do that I'd feel more secure in the future -- I'm not worried about anyone then being able to steal this old bucket of bolts. But in the meantime, I do need to move it and get it back home.

 

I've been on the net for several hours looking for a solution, but am getting buzzed and not finding anything useful. My Haynes manual says I need to turn it over to a pro. Unfortunately, if can't fix it myself, I'll have to junk it! Even having it towed out of the forest would be a hardship. Desperate for a how to. :(

Edited by seedpress

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Also, as the truck is on a slight incline, I was able to put the Bronco in neutral on the floor and push it backwards while I trying to turn the wheels. They didn't turn. Still no luck with the key either.

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put the key in, and while trying to turn it with one hand, tap on the key with some type of blunt object. (ie: screwdriver, flashlight, sledgehammer...lol). Sometimes the wafers in the lock cylinder get caught. This only works about half the time, but its worth a shot.

Edited by 50joe

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put the key in, and while trying to turn it with one hand, tap on the key with some type of blunt object. (ie: screwdriver, flashlight, sledgehammer...lol). Sometimes the wafers in the lock cylinder get caught. This only works about half the time, but its worth a shot.

 

Okay. I'm gonna try your suggestion before anything more radical. Thanks.

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After searching a while on the net I discovered the following from:

 

http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/...p/t-90742.html

Dave's Bronc 90

03-19-2007, 05:51 AM

"Okay, I know some of this has been said before, but I'll put my two cents worth in here too. My cousin had a Ranger that the lock cylinder failed in, and it's ignition switch is identical to ours. The cylinder just wouldn't turn. Because it wouldn't turn you couldn't put it into the run position, meaning that you couldn't remove the cylinder the proper way per the tech manual, giving him essentially the same problem you have. A new cylinder with new keys is cheap, like $10 or so. Drilling out your old one is also easy. The manual tells you to turn the key to run and then push a paper clip up into this small hole in the column to move a small rod upward. Once you've pushed up that rod you can just pull the whole cylinder assembly right out of the column. Well, if you can't do that find a drill bit that will just fit inside of that small hole, IIRC it'll be 1/8" or smaller. Drill up into that hole until the little rod mechanism is obliterated, maybe 1/4" to 3/8" or so of drilling. Don't worry, the rod you just destroyed is part of the new cylinder and is being replaced anyway. When that rod is gone you can just pull the cylinder right out. Very easy. New one slides right in and your done."

 

If Dave's Bronco 90 is reading this -- or anyone else with some inside knowledge -- what I'm wondering is can I do Dave's procedure on my '90 Bronco? It does have the hole to drill in. If I do this, and can then remove the lock, will I be able to start the truck and unlock it from park, or will I first have to install a new lock cylinder? I just want to do what I need to get it home where I can work on it without time pressures.

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After searching a while on the net I discovered the following from:

 

http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/...p/t-90742.html

Dave's Bronc 90

03-19-2007, 05:51 AM

"Okay, I know some of this has been said before, but I'll put my two cents worth in here too. My cousin had a Ranger that the lock cylinder failed in, and it's ignition switch is identical to ours. The cylinder just wouldn't turn. Because it wouldn't turn you couldn't put it into the run position, meaning that you couldn't remove the cylinder the proper way per the tech manual, giving him essentially the same problem you have. A new cylinder with new keys is cheap, like $10 or so. Drilling out your old one is also easy. The manual tells you to turn the key to run and then push a paper clip up into this small hole in the column to move a small rod upward. Once you've pushed up that rod you can just pull the whole cylinder assembly right out of the column. Well, if you can't do that find a drill bit that will just fit inside of that small hole, IIRC it'll be 1/8" or smaller. Drill up into that hole until the little rod mechanism is obliterated, maybe 1/4" to 3/8" or so of drilling. Don't worry, the rod you just destroyed is part of the new cylinder and is being replaced anyway. When that rod is gone you can just pull the cylinder right out. Very easy. New one slides right in and your done."

 

If Dave's Bronco 90 is reading this -- or anyone else with some inside knowledge -- what I'm wondering is can I do Dave's procedure on my '90 Bronco? It does have the hole to drill in. If I do this, and can then remove the lock, will I be able to start the truck and unlock it from park, or will I first have to install a new lock cylinder? I just want to do what I need to get it home where I can work on it without time pressures.

Yup, yours should be the exact same setup.

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Once you get the cylinder out a flat screw driver will work but the cylinder has a piece on the end of it kindof like a "t" that will have to be broken to get the cylinder out a 1/4" screw on the end of a slide hammer will snatch it right out

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DON'T DO THAT. It doesn't work. That pin isn't the ONLY thing holding the lock cylinder in place. The tip of the cylinder that actually works the gear is also keyed, and fits thru a slot in a retaining washer (3E700). If the cylinder isn't in the RUN position, the keyed end is captive in the washer and won't pull out because of the snap ring (3C610).

 

steering-column.jpg . columntilt-exploded.jpg

 

The correct way (and I've done this a few times) is to drill out the key SLOT with a ~5/16" bit; once at each side of the slot so you destroy both sets of wafers & springs. (It helps to break off the chromed bezel first). After they're gone, the cylinder will turn to RUN, and you can press the little button (like normal), releasing the cylinder from the column without ever drilling near something you're NOT gonna replace anyway.

 

Elmo's suggestion assumes you break the keyed end of the cylinder off (not easy or likely) and then rip out the washer & snap ring. There's no need for that kind of destruction. You might as well just replace the column now & save yourself the drilling & fighting.

Okay, I'm going to try this drilling approach tomorrow. (I need to move the truck soon; had most of the windows in another vehicle smashed out near there several months ago.) After I get the cylinder out, I presume I can use a flat bladed screwdriver (as suggested in Elmo's post) to start my Bronco and drive it with the park unlocked? Can't afford to tow it and get a salvaged column now.

 

Any hints on a good way to pop off the chrome bezel?

 

You guys are great! Thanks. . .

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Well, I got the lock out. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.

 

Though I was fully prepared to drill out the lock, I decided to first try one last time to free it up with some graphite and banging on the cylinder with a rubber hammer. Took about 10 or 15 minutes. I finally was just about to spin up the drill, when suddenly the key turned. So I drove it back home to safety. Then I put the key in run, inserted a drill bit into the collar release hole, extracted the lock, took off the tumbler cover and dropped the pins out. Put the cylinder back in, and now it can be turned without a key. A new lock is only about $11 at O'Reilly's, but it's temptng to just leave it as it is!

 

Anyway, folks, thanks again for all the help.

:D

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"....took off the tumbler cover and dropped the pins out. Put the cylinder back in, and now it can be turned without a key...A new lock is only about $11 at O'Reilly's."

 

I'm having the same issues. I got the lock out after some drilling and pulling and now I'd like to take the tumblers out so I get turn the key. Or do I have more of an issue since I still can't turn the key? I did get the lock out, but the wheel still won't turn. Thanks for your help.

 

k

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"....took off the tumbler cover and dropped the pins out. Put the cylinder back in, and now it can be turned without a key...A new lock is only about $11 at O'Reilly's."

 

I'm having the same issues. I got the lock out after some drilling and pulling and now I'd like to take the tumblers out so I get turn the key. Or do I have more of an issue since I still can't turn the key? I did get the lock out, but the wheel still won't turn. Thanks for your help.

 

k

 

 

OK. I answered my own question: After I was able to extract the entire lock (as I stated above), I placed it back in column and hit it gently (LOL) with a hammer and turned the wheel at the same time. Eventually it unlocked twice until I was able to center the wheel. Then I took the entire key mechanism thingy out again. Then I made sure the "Drive Gear" (3E717)was set properly at the bottom of the ignition tunnel. I then got a big flathead screwdriver and turned the gear manually--and it turned over.

 

I admit, it took a a few times to get the gear to make sure it was lined up right. My first few tries i was only getting power--no turn over. But I could feel that the gear/screwdriver needs to fully turn, so the teeth have to match accordingly.

 

Hopefully all of this can work for anyone in a similar situation. My issue was that my key would not go all the way in. So I had to get the whole ignition out. Now I will get the replacement ignition from Kragen for $10.

Edited by kendread

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apparently, this happens a lot to broncos. i would be curious to know what year your bronco is... maybe i should pre-emptively fix mine. i would hate to get stranded!

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Thanks guys!!! I know this is an older thread but still found it very helpful! I was able to change out my lock--only a small issue and maybe this is why you guys have had to drill---no drill needed here BUT the key couldn't be entirely in the on position...I jiggled it back and fourth towards the on position as my husband tried pushing in on the release and it came right out...also noticed when I put the new one in it was the same way...kept pressure on the button while turning the key its almost in the on position but not quite----yeah!!! (be very careful when installing new one turn slowly and hold firm you don't want to drop any pins) Proud new owner of 1994 Eddie Bauer :)

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Here is a post that was emailed to me by a gentleman who wanted to help out but not register...

 

Try (lubrication) before you pry.

Pull out the dipstick and turn it so you don't lose the drip of oil that comes with it out of the crankcase. Open the passenger door and carefully reach with the dipstick – still turning it so the drip doesn't fall and being careful not to get the dipstick over the upholstery.  Place the oily end of the dipstick directly into the key slot (a second person might be handy to help with the aiming here) allowing the drip of oil that came from the crank case to go into the key slot. You can also transfer oil from the dipstick directly to the key. Return the dipstick to the engine compartment.

Take your key and repeatedly insert it into the key slot, flipping it over and pushing it in and out about 100 times.  Give the oil a few minutes to work its way into the cylinder.

Try to start the vehicle. If your truck is like the Bronco I was trying to start, this is where the ignition lock behavior returns to normal.

EXCEPT: after this procedure the key will be covered with oil and dirt every time you remove it from the cylinder. You're going to want to repeatedly put it in and take it out and clean it off as much as you can or the ignition key will spread motor oil everywhere.

Cheers!

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