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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a '97 LX with a 4.6 a couple of weeks ago. The key has been stuck in the ignition since I bought it. To the best of my ability from within the car I have made sure that it's in park, I've tried turning the steering wheel to different positions, and even disconnected the battery to see if there was some safety feature keeping the key locked in it. No dice. This is a project car, but I've driven it several times and it just wont give.

I've posted my question on a few different sites, but haven't gotten any real advice yet. Has anyone here had this happen? What is the most appropriate thing for me to try at this point?
 

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this may be a stupid suggestion, and it may have already been tried, but have you messed w/ the tilt steering? as in putting it in diff. positions and messing w/ the key then.

that used to happen on my 96 lx, and i had to start the car back up, put it in gear, put it back in park, shut it down again and the key would come out. just simply turning the key to the on position and movin the steering wheel wouldnt do it, i had to actually start the car, put it in gear and then mess w/ the steering wheel.
 

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So you can turn the key to accessory (back one notch from where it should be removable), and to run and start and where it should come out, but it won't come out?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
this may be a stupid suggestion, and it may have already been tried, but have you messed w/ the tilt steering? as in putting it in diff. positions and messing w/ the key then.

that used to happen on my 96 lx, and i had to start the car back up, put it in gear, put it back in park, shut it down again and the key would come out. just simply turning the key to the on position and movin the steering wheel wouldnt do it, i had to actually start the car, put it in gear and then mess w/ the steering wheel.
That's a good suggestion - but I've tried it already.

So you can turn the key to accessory (back one notch from where it should be removable), and to run and start and where it should come out, but it won't come out?
No... I forgot to mention that it won't go into accessory either.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Also, of potential interest - the horn does not work. Are they on a similar circuit? Would there be a fuse or some safety feature common between the ignition switch and the horn button?

I realize that it's improbable and that the fact that I disconnected the battery should rule out an electrical issue... but I wanted to include all of the details that I can.
 

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Have you tried removing the cylinder lock altogether? If you can get the key to the "ON" position you should be able to remove the entire cylinder: once it's in "ON" or "RUN" there's a small hole directly underneath that you can push a pin or small screwdriver inside to unlock it and pull it out. If need be, I think you can buy a whole new unit with matching keys. Make sure you disconnect the battery and wait a few minutes before you attempt this though, air bag might deploy on you otherwise.

Do you know the last time the key was out? It's possible that the tumblers inside the cylinder are locked up...

As far as the horn goes, there is a high current fuse box under the hood just above the wheel well on the driver's side. Try checking the fuses and relays there.
 

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The lock cylinder itself could be bad. I see it much more commonly on GM products, but the key can get stuck in the ignition, and no matter what you do, it isn't letting go. You will have to replace the lock cylinder in this scenario.

The other possibility is that some aftermarket alarms are set up to keep the key from turning, especially if the battery is dead. If the battery has been dead the whole time you have had the vehicle, you may want to try replacing it or sticking a jump box on the car, and see if it will release.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Have you tried removing the cylinder lock altogether? If you can get the key to the "ON" position you should be able to remove the entire cylinder: once it's in "ON" or "RUN" there's a small hole directly underneath that you can push a pin or small screwdriver inside to unlock it and pull it out. If need be, I think you can buy a whole new unit with matching keys. Make sure you disconnect the battery and wait a few minutes before you attempt this though, air bag might deploy on you otherwise.

Do you know the last time the key was out? It's possible that the tumblers inside the cylinder are locked up...

As far as the horn goes, there is a high current fuse box under the hood just above the wheel well on the driver's side. Try checking the fuses and relays there.
Thanks - I will give that a shot tonight probably...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The lock cylinder itself could be bad. I see it much more commonly on GM products, but the key can get stuck in the ignition, and no matter what you do, it isn't letting go. You will have to replace the lock cylinder in this scenario.

The other possibility is that some aftermarket alarms are set up to keep the key from turning, especially if the battery is dead. If the battery has been dead the whole time you have had the vehicle, you may want to try replacing it or sticking a jump box on the car, and see if it will release.

The car did have an aftermarket alarm but I can't find any traces of it other than the light in the dash. The battery isn't dead in the car.... I've driven it several times with the key stuck in the ignition. The common theme seems to be that it's a bad lock cylinder which is good news. I didn't want it to be a neutral safety switch or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yup, I intend to now. I didn't want to start throwing parts at it without being pretty sure that I was taking the right approach. I honestly thought that it was a fuse, safety mechanism (ie, Neutral safety switch) or something like that.
 

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Try this.

Take the top of the center console off. To the right of the shifter you'll see a small wire attached to a clip. Remove the wire from the clip and see if the ignition will turn so you can get the key out.

I had this problem with my car and just happened to fall on this fix. I sprayed some lube into the cable to help loosen it up. Haven't had any further problems.

Joe
 

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Try this.

Take the top of the center console off. To the right of the shifter you'll see a small wire attached to a clip. Remove the wire from the clip and see if the ignition will turn so you can get the key out.

I had this problem with my car and just happened to fall on this fix. I sprayed some lube into the cable to help loosen it up. Haven't had any further problems.

Joe
I had a reverse problem with that cable a while back, the shifter wasn't moving out of park with the brake pedal down so it was disconnected. For this situation though, I would think the position of the lock cylinder would be the only thing the cable could control. I don't quite understand how it could physically keep the key locked in while the position of the cylinder is in "LOCK", which is the only position the key will come out in. Unless the cable is keeping the cylinder from reaching the locked position...? :zdunno:
 

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If he can't get it into ACC, then he can't get it into OFF. OFF is the only position you should be able to remove the key. I agree with Rodeo Joe on this one. If the cable, or rather the clip that holds the cable, for the brake-interlock solenoid is stuck, then you won't be able to turn the lock cylinder back far enough.
 

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Just replace it and be done with it. Then you won't have that problem anymore.
Would you stop giving people unsound advice? This is as bad as you telling the guy in the other thread to replace his cats. You know nothing about what's really going on and are suggesting to just replace something, and someone who doesn't know any better and sees your post count and member since date and mistakes that for wisdom and experience will waste time and money that they shouldn't.
 

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Yup, I intend to now. I didn't want to start throwing parts at it without being pretty sure that I was taking the right approach. I honestly thought that it was a fuse, safety mechanism (ie, Neutral safety switch) or something like that.
There is a boneyard in Franklin, WI...just south of Milwaukee. There are a good amount of MN12s. Call and ask, but they might tell you to come down and look around.

Al's Auto Salvage
10942 S 124th St
Franklin, WI 53132
Phone: (414) 425-1890

Hope this helps,
 

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In our cars isn't there a linkage that connects the shifter to a release peg in the colom that lets the key loose. It has been about 9 years but I think I had to pull the stearing wheel to get to it...Don't laugh but I can remember if it was my wife's old car or the T-bird...The part was like 10 bucks but took hours to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all of the input. I got some time this morning and removed the lock cylinder. It appears to work fine when it's out of the car. I can take the key out fine. When I put it back in the it acts up again. It will not go to acc or the off position.

I'm going to try what Rodeo Joe suggested in a few minutes... just gotta warm up lol.
 

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Just for humors sake...

About a month back I purchased a 5 speed 90 SC (have an auto 89 LX as well), this is my first 5 Speed car. Took for a test drive when originally looked at the vehicle but at that time I left the key in and the dealer took it out after the drive. Get home after purchase, park, can't get out the key. I was shocked, so I'm tryin to pull it out, turn it all around, do anything right. Won't go into acc only 'forward' to start. After like 15 minutes i start reading the manual (like every good owner, drive first read later right) come to the section about the ignition switch. 'Manual Transmisson - Key realease switch under steering wheel' I also fell out the door haha. Apparently this was common for the time, I'm 23 and it's the first time I had ever run into it. Needless to say all is well...
 

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do the brack light work!!!

i had the same problem on a 95 the brake switch at the pedal one wire came losse and it would lock up the key as warning to check out the car go to car repair book on brake light switch ...it was my problem:confused:
 
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