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  #1  
Old 03-25-2004, 01:33 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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ignition switch key linkage broken

I have a 1995 Ranger XLT 3.0 with a tilt steering column and AT. Yesterday I went to shut off my truck and the lock cylinder turned freely in the barrel but the truck did not turn off.

I have been investigating and I haven't yet dropped the steering column. I have learned that the lock cylinder moves a rod in the tiltable part of the column. That rod has a touch fit with another bigger rod in the main column. I think that the lower rod locks the wheel. I know that it manipulates the ignition switch.

Both rods slide freely when the lock cylinder is removed. The upper rod pushes the lower rod to move the switch to the start position and the spring in the switch returns out of start when released. The lower rod, however, does not spring back up out of run when the lock cylinder moves the upper rod forward.

I am wondering if anybody knows how the lower rod is supposed to move back forward and what might be broken in there. No doubt I will have to drop the steering column to fix this, but I am hopping for some advice before I start. It would be nice to pre-order any parts that I am going to need.

Right now, I just start and stop the engine by manipulating the ignition switch by hand. Hotwirer's dream!
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2004, 09:12 PM
hreed hreed is offline
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It sounds more like a switch failure, but as I have stated on this forum too many times, "I could be wrong". I would drop the covers on the steering column and pull the switch to see what is going on. Good idea to disconnect the battery (neg first, then pos) and wait a few minutes for the airbag system to discharge. If it is the switch, you should be able to remove the tumbler assembly and put it in the new switch so you won't need to change keys. Keep us posted. I am interested to see what you find out. Thanks.
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2004, 09:47 PM
el conquistador el conquistador is offline
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I believe I have the same problem with my ignition but I am not familiar with the steering column. To put it simply, I can turn my truck on and off WITHOUT the key in the ignition. Is that what your talking about, softshoes?
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2004, 09:54 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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The ignition switch is electrically sound. I have pulled it off of its mount and I am actuating it by hand to start the car. The switch is hanging under the dash by its wire gang. There is a spring in the switch that provides the push-back from the start position. This also works fine. The key cylinder and tumber work in that when the key is turned, the upper (in the tilt section of the column) actuator rod moves forward and back as intended. The problem is somewhere in the workings of the lower (in the stationary section of the column) actuator rod. That rod should have some means to move towards the back of the truck when the upper rod is pulled backward by the key.

I don't know if there is a spring missing or if the lower rod is broken. I have a parts breakaway that the dealer faxed to me, but it's hard to tell. Turns out all of the parts are cheap. It's just a question of figuring out what is broken and how to get at it.

I am very open to any suggestions and I will keep posting as I work on it. Does anybody know if the spring in the actual ignition switch (the switch mounted under the column) is supposed to return the switch to the off position? Right now the spring in the ignition switch returns the switch from the start position to the run position.

Has anybody out there torn down the column to the point that I am going to have to tear this one down? Any gotchas?

Hreed, thanks for the post. Especially advice on the airbag. I read that in my Haynes, but ignored it. I will heed your advice and pull both cables when I start working on Saturday. Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2004, 09:57 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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el conquistador,

Not quite. I think that you just need a new lock cyclinder. In my truck, turning the key does not actuate the ignition switch which is mounted under the column above my shins. There are two rods connecting the switch to the key cylinder. The lower one is not working right as far as I can tell.

It appears that the lower rod is completely encased in a metal housing. I really won't know for sure until I get it apart. Nothing about it in the Haynes or Chiltons.

Last edited by softshoes; 03-25-2004 at 09:59 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-25-2004, 10:05 PM
el conquistador el conquistador is offline
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can i get the lock cylinder by itself?
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Old 03-25-2004, 10:11 PM
hreed hreed is offline
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I will guess again that it is the ignition switch. It is really easy to remove the plastic covers; a couple of screws. Take them off and see what those rods are doing. And let me know. That is something you don't need to worry about the airbags, but if you have any doubts, it is worth it to disable the system. Keep me posted please. I am really interested to see what you find out.
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  #8  
Old 03-25-2004, 10:22 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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el conquistador,

Yep. You can get an aftermarket cylinder for about twenty bucks or so. I think that you can get an ignition lock cylinder and two same keyed door cylinders at the dealer for fifty bucks or so.
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  #9  
Old 03-25-2004, 10:26 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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hread,

I'm not sure what you mean. I have taken the top and bottom plastic covers off of the steering column. I have also removed the plastic facia below the dash (above my shin area) and the steel plate that lies under the plastic facia (I think the plate is to slow down those that would hotwire). The ignition switch is found after taking off the steel plate. I removed the ignition switch and it seems to work just fine. The rods run from the key down to the switch.
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  #10  
Old 03-25-2004, 10:32 PM
el conquistador el conquistador is offline
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what are the "two same keyed door cylinders"?
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  #11  
Old 03-25-2004, 11:30 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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door locks with the same key pattern as the the ignition key
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2004, 11:26 PM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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Well. Long day. Finished up fixing this problem about three hours ago. The problem turned out to be a connector pin between to the two linkage rods. The fix took a long time, but wasn't too hard. Could have been worse if either of the rods were broken, but they weren't.

I drilled out the ignition switch rivets and took it apart before I started pulling the column just to make sure that the switch was not broken in some way. It is fine. I put it back together with 8-32 machine screws.

0) Disconnect negative battery cable and positive cable and wait two minutes for the air bag (advice from the Haynes manual and hread above).
1) Remove plastic panel below steering column.
2) Remove metal plate below steering column (hidden under the panel).
3) Remove plastic housing around the steering column (top and bottom sections). You have to remove the tilt level first by just unscrewing it with a wrench. There are flat spots on the post just for that purpose.
4) Remove air bag and horn using two covered screws. I put the airbag under the truck in case it decided to go off (not near the tank).
5) Unplug cruise control.
6) Pull steering wheel (after driving wife's van to the auto store to get some claws for my wheel puller.) I didn't mark the wheel position, but I parked with the wheels straight. Got lucky.
7) Crawl under dash and loosen the four nuts holding the column housing to the dash.
8) Wiggle the column and figure out what all is attached to it.
9) Unplug all of the wiring harness and disconnect the shift cable and unhook the gear indicator. About seven things all told. All fairly easy to disconnect if you go slowly.
10) Take the bolt out of the steering bar coupling. This is a coupling between the steering bar in the column and the one that goes through the firewall. The bolt has to pulled all the way out because there is a detent in the steering bar.
11) Remove the front (nearest the firewall) bolts on the column housing. The rod coupler holds the front up for now.
12) Crawl out from under the dash and remove the back (nearest the seat) bolts on the column housing while holding the column up with free hand.
13) Carefully pull the housing out of the dash. You have to move it around a bit to clear all of the mounts. The shift lever and multi-function switch come out with the column.
14) Move column housing to bench (for me this is the tailgate of my truck).
15) Remove the shift lever and the shift level lock solenoid (seven torx screws).
16) Remove the multi-function switch and its wiring harness so I don't break it while working.
17) Undo the wiring harness for the airbag because I will need to split the column at the tilt hinge. I just pulled the wire from the holders so that the wire was only connected to the tilt side.
18) Use flash light to investigate the ignition switch linkage rods where I can see them where the two sections of column come together. AH-HA! I spot a small metal pin stuck in the grease. That must be the pin that holds the two rods together and allows them to tilt with the wheel. It has either fallen out or one of the plastic rods has broken. At this point I am hoping for the fallen out option.
18.5) Now it gets tough. I don't have the right tools or a vise. There is a strong, small spring that assists in tilting the wheel up. There are two stronger, smaller springs that push the tilt locks into place. I don't have any spring compressor tools. But I have come this far so I press on.
19) Remove two torx bolts that provide the hinge for the column tilt. Easy enough.
20) Wiggle the two halves of the column to see what moves.
21) Remove the locking spring on the steering rod at the front (firewall end) of the housing.
22) Use a plier to remove the tilt assist spring.
23) Lift the two tilt locks with my finger and bingo the column comes apart in two pieces.
24) The plastic ignition linkage rods are not broken. Very good. The dealer is closed and I bet they are order parts anyway. Retreive the tiny metal pin from the grease and VERY carefully re-install it so that the two linkage rods move as one.
24.5) Cool! The problem is fixed. No broken parts. Now just have to put it all back together again. Stop for lunch.
25) It was very hard to get the two halves of the column back together. That spring was just too hard to compress by hand. I could compress it by putting in place and then leaning on the column to get the holes to line up, but that left me without a free hand to thread in the hinge bolt. Hmmm. Eventually after a trip to the hardware store to try to rig a spring compressor, I ended up using a giant C-clamp to pull the two halves back together. It was hard and don't ever want to repeat. It took the better part of two hours. The spring mount has a big hole that for sure is used for the special spring compressor tool that I don't have. In after thought, if I have to ever do this again, I can make a compressor with a long 1/4in bolt a washer a nut and a small piece of flat stock with a 1/4-20 tapped hole in it. Next time.
25.5) Eat lunch again.
26) Reinstall multi-function switch and shift lever and shift lock solenoid.
27) Reinstall the steering rod locking spring.
28) Follow the instructions on the plastic wire spool to center the spool. (Turn all the way counter clockwise and then back three turns).
29) Reinstall the column housing in the dash.
30) Reinstall all the rest of the stuff.
31) Start and idle until warm so the computer can start figuring out how to run the engine again.
32) Drive the OBD-II drive cycle.

It's all back to normal again. Overall this repair was not THAT hard. It took a long time and the only real trouble was putting the two halves of the column back together. The right tool. Or even a proper home made tool would have done the trick there as well.

It's amazing how much extra breakable stuff is installed on the steering column just to get an ignition key with a locking steering wheel and locking shift lever. None of which are features that I would really miss. If this happens again, I will just install a key switch and a push button in the dash!
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2004, 03:48 PM
ephillippi ephillippi is offline
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Had same problem. Too hard for me to fix.

I had the same problem. I bought the two plastic actuator rods at the Ford dealer and also a new ignition swith. I took the ignition switch off, replaced it with the new one, and used it manually (with a **** from an old radio attached to make it easier to start). I pulled the steering wheel and looked at some repair data from AllData. I decided that I didn't want to mess with the tilt mechanism and its springs. So I put it all back together. I am going to have the Ford dealer install the new actuator rods.
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  #14  
Old 06-29-2004, 09:58 PM
ideaman ideaman is offline
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I am having this problem now, I pulled the lock cylinder and can see the gear engage the slide rod. It moves back and forth ok. I can start it with a screw driver but can not turn it off, I have to pull the coil fuse. the cylinder seems ok, Is the fix to replace the switch, the rod slides into ?????
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  #15  
Old 06-30-2004, 10:11 AM
softshoes softshoes is offline
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Sounds like the same problem. If you remove the plastic facade and the metal plate at the driver's knees you can drop the actual ignition switch. You can start and stop the truck using the actual switch until you fix the linkage.

Read the postings in this thread about how a fixed the linkage and of course price it out at the dealer or your mechanic.
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Old 06-30-2004, 10:11 AM
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1995, assist, broke, broken, button, ford, ignition, linkage, parts, push, ranger, rod, spring, switch, tilt, truckignition

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