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Old 12-30-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
FordGumby
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Ignition key cylinder losing springiness

Hi,
I could not find a thread that quite addressed my problem.

My ignition key (89 XLT) is losing its springiness & has a good deal of play. I was going to buy a new Key Lock Cylinder to head this off before we get stranded somewhere. Thought maybe would ask just in case it's something else.
Will replacing the cylinder fix the lack of springiness & play?



I have been looking at exploded views for a bit now & can't really tell what is providing the spring tension. Hijacked this from another thread:



This view shows a snap ring part # 3C610 but I found another pic pointing to the same part calling it a spring clip part # 3E701. I don't think this ring/clip is included with the Lock Cylinder.



Feel like I have to crank the cylinder pretty far & hard to engage the starter -perhaps that is what I mean to say by losing its springiness. JKossarides posted in another thread:
Quote:
The "upper ignition actuator" is about to go.... a very common problem with these vehicles and one indication would be that it gets harder to turn the key to "RUN" and requires being rotated all the way over in order to hit that "start spot" where it kicks back a it.
I hope that is not the problem.

But then came across another posting that said replacing the ignition switch may correct the hard to turn cylinder issue. & perhaps some teflon based lube on the tumblers.

I just ordered a cylinder, if that doesn't help guess will go with ignition switch next. Have no idea how I would locate that snap ring, Ford Parts dept?

any suggestions much appreciated.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:36 PM   #2
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You're confusing the ignition lock cylinder & the ignition switch (a common mistake). There are no tumblers in a switch, and you shouldn't grease it. It's mounted on the column inside the dash, and has all the wires. That's where the spring is to push the key back from START. But if the actuators crack & bend, the whole mess will jam up until they actually break.

Go to the Tech Writeups forum, search up the thread about the actuators, read it a few times, and then start inspecting yours. If you don't want to do the work, call your local used car lots to get the name/number of a local mobile steering column repairman who might come to your house or meet you somewhere to do it for you. If he charges less than $150, it's probably worth it.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:56 PM   #3
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Hi Steve83,
I was just reading another thread = Quick Ignition Switch Question
where you posted
Quote:
The only spring is in the ig.sw., and only pushes the key from START to RUN.
Thought maybe I was onto something there. Do you think I have a problem with the actuator? Was kinda hoping it was an easier fix, nothing is actually broken yet.

Earlier I read a thread bronco boy posted back in 2006 - very detailed description on how to replace the actuator with great pictures too. Looks like a real task. I have replaced the turn signal switch, so been into the steering column once before. Made more difficult because tilt.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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There's no point guessing - inspect yours. There are only 2 screws holding the column shroud lower half in place.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:00 PM   #5
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You may actually have a broken actuator. My symptoms of a broken actuator were similar to what you described. Lack of "springiness" and needing to turn it further to start. It's pot metal and is a common failure point.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:06 PM   #6
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I will do that.

thanks Steve83 & kf4amu.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:38 PM   #7
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Can I bother one of you again? If interpreting what I see correctly the ignition lock cylinder drives the actuator which is attached to the ignition switch sitting half way down the column & from the pictures on Amazon I can see the switch is spring loaded.

So the lack of springiness could be because the actuator has been damaged, it's made out of weak pot metal, or the springs in the switch have weakened.

Does it sound like I understand?

and therefore it is more than likely not the cylinder that I just ordered?

thanks again.

Last edited by FordGumby; 12-30-2012 at 11:41 PM. Reason: More info
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:47 PM   #8
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when the ignition actuator breaks, it will bind in the column and cause your very symptoms.

the ignition switch is probably not the problem, nor the cylinder. I've never heard of either of those breaking, however the actuator failing is very common.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:49 PM   #9
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You are correct.

The actuator transfers the rotation of the cylinder to the push/pull of the rod. The rod is on top of the steering column so the actuator needs to transfer that motion around the steering column from the key cylinder to the rod. Kinda poorly designed mechanism for that operation.

You can easily pull the cylinder out and rotate it in your hand if you really want to put that thought to bed. I'm sure the cylinder is fine.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:02 AM   #10
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Turn the key to RUN, press the pin in the triangular recess on the column just behind the lock cylinder, and pull the lock cylinder straight out. To install, put the key back in RUN so that the pin will depress, put it back in the column, and turn the key to any position OTHER than RUN. In that aspect, it's just like this one:



In all OTHER aspects, your column is totally different from that one, so don't confuse yourself by reading that album.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:23 AM   #11
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Well I wasn't really concerned about it until this morning, pretty cold & the ignition key was turning stiff. Not sure if that's a symptom but had to turn the key pretty far before the starter engaged.

So probably the actuator is dinged. Any idea how long I can go like this? Does this look like the part:



Too late to cancel the cylinder, guess I could return it but might as well go ahead & replace the switch too @ this point. Only $30 for all three. Actuator, switch & cylinder.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:39 AM   #12
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That's the part. No clue how long you can keep going like that.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:44 AM   #13
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OK, well they are on their way. Hopefully it will hang in there til next weekend.

Thank you for everyone's help.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve83 View Post
In all OTHER aspects, your column is totally different from that one, so don't confuse yourself by reading that album.
Hi Steve83 - Is this the album you're referring too?
Ignition Actuator Replacement on an '85 w/tilt (not 56k friendly)
by bronco boy
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordGumby View Post
Hi Steve83 - Is this the album you're referring too?
Ignition Actuator Replacement on an '85 w/tilt (not 56k friendly)
by bronco boy
No, `steve is referring to the picture/album HE posted.

Broncoboy IS the write-up that you want to follow.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:19 AM   #16
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Thank you TheUnforgiven,

Don't think I quite have the album thing down yet. Did track an album down earlier thru Steve83's Crown Victoria. That of course did not apply.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:06 AM   #17
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The album that the last pic I posted above is in on SMN. That album doesn't apply to your column; only the pic I posted does because it shows how to R&R the lock cylinder for testing.

No, you SHOULDN'T change parts that are working, regardless if you've already ordered them or their costs. Original parts are typically FAR superior to replacements, especially cheap replacements. Leave as many Ford parts in the truck as possible, and keep the spares on the shelf until you actually need them.

BTW
There are TWO actuators: upper & lower. Either could be cracked/bent/broken. That's the lower, which is USUALLY the one that breaks.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:30 AM   #18
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That's the part, and when mine broke I had just gotten done having some nude and lewd acts with my ex in the back of the truck. Talk about poor timing, 16 year old me had to explain to my parents and her parents why we were broke down on the top of a secluded hill behind a church overlooking the city. Fun times.

16 year old me did it while following that write-up. Take your time and its not too bad.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:02 AM   #19
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...I had just gotten done having some nude and lewd acts with my ex in the back of the truck. ...
16 year old me did it while following that write-up.
There's a writeup for nude & lewd acts with your ex???
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:41 AM   #20
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There's a writeup for nude & lewd acts with your ex???
I either hope so, or I really DONT hope so.


There is only one way to find out...and that is in the members section...
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