1990 Tilt Column Actuator failure/replacement
I recently purchased a 1990 Bronco and immediately had to troubleshoot an intermitant start condition. Found that turning the key did not put enough pressure on the the rod that goes to the mechanical ignition switch on top of the column. You may also face a condition where you cannot shift in or out of park once this part fails. The column does not need to be replaced or rebiult and the broken part is $12.00 at NAPA or $21.00 at Ford. There is a aprt called the actuator that is made of pot metal and snaps under the rear most column bowl. The snapped off piece jambs the shift lever from moving.
To repair, you only need a steering wheel puller and a small tool called a tilt pin puller. Remove the headlight and washer knobs, lower knee kick panel and lower dash trim pieces either side of the column. 2 phillips screws remove the horn pad, pull the steering wheel. unbolt column brace from under dash and remove brace/bracket from column and let column hang, will only drop a couple of inches. Unscrew tilt handle/ turn signal stalk. 2 phillips screws and one small bolt hold in, turn signal actuator. there is enough slack in harness to pull forward and let hang. 3 phillips screw hold on upper bowl and then it is free and let hang. Un bolt white plastic PRNDL cable holder from top of column and let hang. Use tilt pin puller one side at a time and remove pins. Not heavily spring loaded and will not come apart and you can now pull this assembly forward enough to remove actuator. This is the piece that the key cylinder actually moves back and forth to move the start rod to the ignition switch. You will have to unbolt the ignition switch from the top of the column in order to remove the start rod with the actuator. Use a drift to remove the pin holding the rod to the actuator. Be sure and press the pin into the new actuator and not hammer in. Pot metal will break an ear off. White lithium grease will lube everything up. You should be able to fish out the broken off piece that prevent the column from shifting. You can photos of the actuator on google or E-bay, so you know what the part looks like that you are after. On reassembly, adjust the position of the ignition switch on top off column, so that spring action of the key is proper. Feel free to ask any questions.