1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks
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As many many ford truck owners have experienced before me, I was hit with the "my key turns but doesn't start the truck" syndrome. The symptoms are usually: key powers up the accessories, can turn all the way forward, but wont initiate the starter, and wont spring back the the "run" position.
After much fear inducing research, leading me to believe I needed to do a frame off resto just to replace a 14 dollar part, I came across this video of an alternate way to do it. And thank my lucky stars I did, because I did it in about 1.5 hours in 11 degree weather.
Anyway, I hope this helps anyone that is plagued with having to start their truck from under the hood.
watch parts 1 & 2. I just did this yesterday to mine and the method this guy does it is, by far and long, way easier than doing it the "propper" way.
The key cylinder engages the arm at the lowest point in the picture and "pushes" the arm down the column. this causes stress on the area I labeled "breaks here", and if its cold, it seems the stress is too much, so it breaks.
The piece is about 1/4 inch too long to get into the guide hole without taking the column apart, so if you break off the block at the end that i marked in blue it will fit with some minor finesse. However, as far as I can tell, the only thing the block at the end of the rod does is engage the interlock so you have to hit the button under the column to get the key out.
Phillips screwdriver, 15/16" socket, Steering wheel puller (can loan from parts store), Ford ignition actuator ($14+/-), needle nose pliers, regular pliers, and plenty of patients. (i broke one of the ears off to get the teeny tiny pin out instead of using a punch)
Watch the video and you should be able to get it no problem if you are at all mechanically inclined.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a mechanic. This may not be the BEST way to do it, and there may be a better alternative. This is just the way that I did it, and my truck is perfectly operational (also, I prefer not having to hit the switch to get the key out).
Here are the steps to do it the proper way, posted by another member of this fine Ford community:
Originally Posted by jas88
This is my personal write-up from the last time I did mine:
Steps for Replacing Steering Column Actuator 1987-91
1) Remove steering wheel.
2) Remove the turn signal lever.
3) Remove two-piece plastic column cover that hides column where it meets dash.
4) Drop column down and remove ignition switch. Put column back up but do not tighten bolts.
5) Remove ignition lock cylinder.
6) Remove lock cylinder gear (snap ring pliers required). It is down in the hole that you took the lock cylinder out of.
7) Disconnect turn signal switch harness and then pull turn signal switch out and let it hang by wires.
8) Remove ignition lock cylinder collar (slide it over the turn signal switch).
9) Press actuator and rod towards dash so you can remove the actuator gear (the thing with the gear teeth on it that is linked to the actuator and rod).
10) Remove the snap ring on steering shaft.
11) Remove the little round metal bar (multiple bends in it) and two clips that operates the tilt. PAY ATTENTION HERE - there is a little spring like out of pen that is behind it with a metal cap on it. Remove that so you don’t lose it.
12) Drive the pin out of the tilt lock lever on the underside of the column. There is a spring underneath it with a plastic pad so pull those out too so you don’t lose them.
13) Thread a bolt or screw into the inside threaded pins that hold the tilt together and pull them out. You should put the tilt all the way up before you do this so you unload the spring.
14) Slide the tilt collar towards you on the shaft enough to get the actuator and rod out.
15) Pull the actuator and rod out. Put in vise and drive the little pin out to separate rod and actuator. Reassemble with new actuator. TIP – use a pair of pliers to press the pin back in so you don’t have to hit on it with a hammer.
16) Put a light coat of grease on the slides where the actuator goes and put the assembled actuator and rod back into column.
17) Put a light coat of grease on the swivel where the tilt collar goes and press the pins back in. TIP – You will be fighting the spring to do this so it helps to stick a screw in one side to hold it in place, then line up the other side and put a pin in. Once you have the pin in on one side, replace the screw on the first side with the other pin.
18) Reassemble starting with step #12 and go in reverse. TIP – Put a light coating of grease in the lock cylinder collar where the actuator gear and cylinder gear go.
The way I did it replaces steps 10-18 with "break of that chincey little block at the end of the thingy and put it all back the way you found it.
i would never ever ever cut the actuator to save 4 minutes of disassembly time.
that would be about the same as peeing without unzipping your pants.
it just don't make any sense.
Its hardly like peeing without unzipping your pants. I prefer not having to unlock the key to get it out, and even though I didn't do the extended version, judging by how powerful my spring in the tilt mechanism is, I bet it is a lot more than ten minutes worth of extra work.
Its on the individual as to how they want to do it, but to me, its less work with no negative side effects, but your opinion is yours and you are entitled to it.
the thing is, you cut and weakened the part that breaks in the first place.
to do it properly, you pull the two tilt pins and the snap ring, and pull the tilt mechanism out about 1 inch. it takes all of about 4 minutes longer.
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owner of almost too many fords.
Its not weakened. Just shorter. However, since I didn't do it, I don't know how much longer it takes. Next time it breaks (and it will because the switch needs cleaned or replaced. Its very stiff) hopefully will be warmer than 11 degrees so I can do a more thorough job. I thank you for you input. Like I said in the op. Im not a mechanic by any stretch, and don't claim to know everything.
the stiffness is more likely due to old hardened lube on the gears behind the key cylinder and old hardened lube in the key cylinder.
when i do it i take the whole shebang apart, clean it real good and re-lube everything with white lithium grease.
when it is apart is also a good time to give the upper column bearing a good shot of lithium since it is rite there.
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owner of almost too many fords.
im almost positive the stiffness is in the switch. Its hard to push the rod in when everything is apart. Id like to have been able to drop the whole column and take it all apart to clean and lube everything, but like I said, it was really REALLY cold.
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