I recently purchased a 1997 Ford F150 4X4 Flareside in great shape for a great price. However...I'm having issues with the ignition. Most times the keys don't want to turn (I have tried both keys which are both well worn). They will go into the ignition but not turn. Sometimes it might take several minutes of removing and reinserting the key, giggling the shifter lever and/or tilt wheel before the key finally turns.
So yesterday I replaced the ignition cylinder. It started several times perfectly. Key turned flawlessly and smoothly. No issues. So this afternoon I went out to move the truck...and guess what? The key won't turn. Again, a couple of minutes of removing, reinserting and or jiggling the key, column, etc. before the key turns. Both new keys had the same issue. To note, both new keys feel like they have small burrs on them. I don't have access to a wire wheel today so I thought I'd seek advise until I do. But I really don't think they are bad enough to be the issue. And they worked yesterday.
I have a 2005 F150 that experience this problem just last week -- the ignition would accept a key, but would not turn. Wheels were not locked. I thought towing was my only solution. Tow truck driver explained to me that F150 (and another model by GM that I can't remember now) is well known for having "tumblers that fall" in the ignition lock.
Here's the fix that he showed me, and sure enought it worked: insert the key, then lightly but firmly tap it a couple of times as if to push it in further. Then try turning. It worked like a charm!
He explained that when the tumblers fall, they prevent the key from being inserted all they way, and therefore prevents the lock from being unlocked.
He also recommended I carry a small ball peen hammer in my center console should this ever happen again. Not sure why ball peen, but who am I to question the wisdom? So, in my center console box is a small ball peen hammer!