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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie here! I just purchased my first Bronco. It's an '88 and I am starting to fix things a little at a time. It is not yet a DD but I am looking for help to fix this small issue.

I have to push very hard on the steering wheel in the 'up' direction to get the engine to turn. I wonder if anyone has any experience with this and where I can start to trouble shoot it.

Thanks.
 

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The upper ignition actuator inside BOTH Tilt and Non-Tilt steering wheels slides in a track and may binding short of lubrication maybe why you need to push up, same goes for wiggling the column shifter to start but in that case it could be the shift linakge is out of sync with the transmission. Haynes Repair Manual. ref.Illus."Point A".

Another indication the upper ignition is ready to break is when you turn the key to RUN/START it's hard to turn, you have to rotate the key all the way over and there is little left to START. When the actuator breaks inside when you turn the key nothing happens like having a dead battery, not even a click and now you either have to jump start off the "starter relay" fender mounted right side or remove the plastic cosmetic collar exposing the ROD which is attached to the actuator at the top and hooks in a slot in the ignition switch lower down on the column. Turn the key to RUN and with a set of pliers drive the ROD downward/forwards and it will start, easier then going under the hood to the starter relay.

In order to replace an actuator you need to tear down the steering wheel to the knuckle in order to get to it. Part only costs $10.00

The steering column itself may need rebuilding from worn out bushings internally over time which is why most of them have that "lift" play.

There's a thread by broncoboy - ignition actuator replacment on an 85 w/tilt so "search" for it, it's a picture step by step How To.

Good Luck ~ :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. I searched the forums and looked at the tutorial from broncoboy. I decided to take it apart and figure it out. As i was taking the main section of the column of the gear section that attaches to the actuartor, which is a tiny little pin with a geared end and smooth on the other, was completely out of the actuator. I pushed it back in firmly and played with the gear timing a few times before getting it right but it worked! Once I got it back together it turns on and off without issues.

I do have a bit too much play between the aux, on, run/start points. I think that changing out the cylinder should fix this?? Can anyone confirm this?
 

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Good job Brother, yes there is a lower actuator with teeth inside the metal column collar in it's own little comparment and only comes out one way, mating with the "brass drive gear". You'll notice in the center of the washer and drive gear is an odd shaped hole which is where the end of the "key cylinder" design fits in and directly below where the key cylinder is in the metal collar there's a tiny "slot" and with key turned to RUN using a sharp pointed tool, push up and the key cylinder should pop out, looking inside there you'll see a snap ring, washer with that odd hole and when removed exposes the "brass drive gear".

The upper ignition actuator has a tiny pin/nipple for the "loop" on the lower actuator which goes over it so when you turn the key to RUN/START all parts must rotate forward including the ROD so it travels the correct distance downward to trigger the ignition switch below on the column so perhaps that's what was binding, the upper ignition actuator wasn't sliding in the track not being attached to the lower actuator....ARE WE HAVING FUN YET.....IMO it's a real stupid design to mfg something integral that is prone to breaking... (pot metal)

Too much play in the key functions probably means:
(A). the "timing" with the drive grear is incorrect...remember in order to get the key cylinder out it needs to be in the RUN position first especially when timing the drive gear so look at the first few pictures in the 85 actuator thread and you'll notice when the only thing left inside there is the drive gear without the washer and snap ring, look where the top of the drive gear is positioned, counting teeth on top right to left the 3rd tooth of the drive gear is directly in the middle of the top track where the key cylinder slides in and thats where it needs to be positioned while in RUN and once assembled it should all work properly.

I used a small screw driver for the odd hole in the center to lift, turn and position the drive gear exactly that way that way, you can carefully turn the drive gear and make sure all key functions are correct by simply starting the vehicle or turning the key to the OFF/LOCK position and see if the dash clock display is off otherwise retime or you'll run the battery down.......lol lol

B. The key cylinder is either bent or damaged and may need to be replaced but they're not expensive and you'll just wind up with a different ignition key NBD.....

One last thing, there is additional "timing" with the ignition switch lower down on the column where you'll notice the switch has 2 elongated slots where it can be moved UP or DOWN so the ROD is timed in corelation with the drive gear timing above, so it's a fine tuning process and may take several trys to get it dailed in right.....PITA...

Best I can offer, once you replace an upper ignition actuator yourself, you will NEVER FORGET HOW....lol lol...

Good Luck ~ :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JK. Definetly an education not easy to forget! I appreciate all the info and I do think that the timing may be off a bit which is why the key cylinder is not returning to the run position. I have to manually pull it back a bit to get back to run however once I let it go from start it doesnt continue to push the starter motor onto the flywheel. If that makes sense. I'm gonna play with this some more after TGiving and report back.

I bought this truck to restore it to original but I can already tell that I'm going to be adding a little bit of extra rough neck to it. Damn this site!:doh0715::toothless
 
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