Ignition lock and key froze in on position

Chassis, Suspension and wheels

  1. 4speedjim

    4speedjim Well-Known Member

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    Last night while in town my ignition lock seized, solid in the run position. '81 Cordoba with tilt and floor shift auto. Key wouldn't wiggle, lock wouldn't budge. I moved, slammed and jammed the floor shift lever which is independent of the key and column, tilted the wheel up and down, tapped and slammed the column attempting to jar something free. So where do I start? The column intimidates me. Anyone have some advise or experience they care to share on this?
     
  2. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    It's already in position to remove the lock cylinder (much harder if you've lost the key).
    If the steering wheel won't budge, remove it to get to the locking plate. If you still can't wiggle it free you're going to have to go deeper. Get a lock-plate compressor to help w the snap-ring (the "wings" will probably break, but you can use pliers or Vice-grips). Turn signal cancel lever, then you should be able to get to the tab to release the lock cyl. Obviously, take note of where the screws and various connectors go... they'll fall out and you'll want them back in the right place for horn and stuff.
    You won't even get near the tilt mechanism, unless...
    ...the rod is bound-up somewhere. That's a different thing, but unlikely.
     
  3. 4speedjim

    4speedjim Well-Known Member

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    Steering wheel is free. Lock is in run position. Key is in lock, and neither budge. Almost like wrong key. Lock was a bit loose in column from wear. Not falling out loose, but had clearance. Do I Start by removing wheel and work my way down to the lock? I couldn't feel any rods or anything last night in the dark. Are they inserted inside the column tube?
     
  4. 4speedjim

    4speedjim Well-Known Member

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    The key is in the ignition, in the run position. The key wont wiggle in the lock, lock wont wiggle in the column, like its wedged. The steering wheel is free. Nothing will wiggle, its wedged against something it feels like. So where should I start? Pull the wheel and start disassembling the column and work my way down?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  5. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Not my video. Not a tilt column but this should give you a idea and how to get it out.



     
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  6. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    You need to pull the steering wheel, compress the lockplate (locks the wheel from turning) and remove its retaining ring, then remove the plate, and cam assembly. Remove the screws holding the turn signal switch and pull it out of the way, you should be able to move it far enough to see where the lock is in the housing. There will be a "button" toward the rear of the lock that you can press in, i remember it as being a rectangle
     
  7. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    I may go look at my spare column and take pics
     
  8. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's pretty much it. The video above isn't fantastic, but it gives you a quick idea of what you're gonna see when the wheel comes off (you'll want a puller for that).
    I did have the order wrong, tho... the first bit you see is the signal-cam, then the lock plate (the notched metal disc w a snap-ring. He didn't use a compressor to get the ring out, you probably wont need to either. But it can be a real bear to get back in without it. It's a cheap tool you can get at a chain store (both are reasons why I say youll probably break the wings off) and it's pretty handy in the toolbox at the junkyard.
     
  9. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    BTW, do not beat or even tap hard on the steering shaft. The plastic pins will break on the the shaft will come apart in two pieces. Ask me how i know. Lol
     
  10. 4speedjim

    4speedjim Well-Known Member

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    I think Ive got a puller in the bottom of my box. If not I'm due. Come to think of it, I may have a new set of door and ignition locks. Wonder if they'll work on this? Or is it not the lock?
     
  11. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Most likely the key cylinder tumbers are jambed or worn out. Match the new cylinder to the old one. If it looks the same you should be good.
     
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  12. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    It does sound like an ignition lock cylinder (came apart internally) problem that does happen from time to time.

    Other possibilities would be linkage and/or ignition switch. Generally, if linkage or switch problems, there is a little bit of play when trying to turn the key.

    When purchasing a lock cylinder, the replacement will need to look close to the same. If so, then most likely it will work fine.

    The door lock and trunk* lock cylinders many times easier to recode than the ignition lock cylinder is – so if a new ignition lock cylinder needs to be replaced, I recommend using the new keys that come with it, then remove and recode the doors/trunk* to match.

    The new ignition lock cylinder should come with a metal tag with code number. Give that code number to lock smith and he doesn’t even need to see the keys to get them coded correctly.

    Note: When I say trunk – if you are one of the lucky people that car came from factory with a 1 key system (like police & taxi cars). If you are one of the other 99% of us, the trunk uses the round key, so no need to do anything different with it.

    It takes a puller that looks like this to get the lock plate snap ring off.
    Miller C4156.JPG
    Having a service manual close by, is also helpful.
    BudW
     
  13. 4speedjim

    4speedjim Well-Known Member

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    I do have an '81 FSM, and a Harbor Freight pulley puller. Gallon of gas, book of matches. But nothing that looks like the snap ring puller. Big and small slide hammers if persuasion is called for.
     
  14. lowbudget

    lowbudget Well-Known Member

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    I'm cheap, I'd get some lock lube and squirt away before I pulled the ignition. My Station wagon ignition that I have in my 4 door due to sticking the wrong key in it was feeling tight and didn't want the key to go in or turn once the key went in. I lubed it up and it works great now. It was the first thing the locksmith did when I brought my screwed up ignition switch to him. Thanks Bud for the tip on getting door locks re keyed. I have a new to me switch I picked up for 5 bucks so it looks like I have another project for days off.
     
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  15. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Miller C4156.jpg
    That's the lock plate compressor that Ive been been going on about. On some cheaper models that nut is a cheap cast wing nut, the wings will break but you can still use it w pliers or replace it w a regular nut.

    Short of purposely collapsing a two-piece steering shaft, I'd steer clear of using any kind of hammer on the column.
     
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  16. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    You will need to pull the steering wheel, the nut is usually 13/16". An inexpensive steering wheel puller or vibration damper puller will do the job. 20180512_224000.jpg 20180512_224632.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  17. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    Next is the lock plate, this will require a steering lock plate remover, they are fairly cheap at any auto parts store. I use a prick and a flat screw driver to remove the snap ring. I press the point of the prick behind the ring and pry it up with the screwdriver, working my way around the shaft 20180512_224840.jpg 20180512_225137.jpg 20180512_225413.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  18. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    Next up is the horn contact and spring, they just lift out. 20180512_225914.jpg 20180512_225919.jpg
     
  19. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    Remove the hazard flashers knob by removing the #1 Phillips head screw from the center of it and pull. Then remove the three #2 Phillips head screws (they maybe pozi-drive) that hold the turn signal switch, pushing up on the turn signal stalk will help to expose the 2 partially hidden screws. You may need to unplug the turn signal switch plug under the dash so you can pull the switch out of the way.
    20180512_233950.jpg 20180512_233946.jpg 20180512_230211.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  20. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    More to come, have to find the lock cylinder to this column