This may be something that will come up on your truck at some time, so I wanted to share this with the forum. I had the pleasure of replacing my steering column ignition actuator this Friday. So you know what I'm talking about, its a metal part in the steering column that moves a rod that moves the ignition switch to start your motor. I worked in the MS Gulf Coast Jr. College Vo Tech auto shop and had the guidance of the instructor, so it was a pleasure (as opposed to working on it in the Walmart Parking lot.) It's not a tough job. Here's the process in a nutshell: remove the steering wheel, don't take off any of the plastic shrouding around the column. unscrew the turn signal arm, unscrew the 2 screws that hold the turn signal switch on and the small bolt that holds the key chime and remove that unit. Don't take off the snap ring on the steering shaft or mess with the tilt steering wheel bail. Insert the key in the ignition switch, turn it to "on" and push the small pin in that's located underneath the steering column, that releases the key tumbler and pull it straight out. Then remove the 3 screws holding the steering column metal shroud and gently pull it out. You'll then see the gear and the actuator. There's a small gear at the bottom of the ignition switch housing, don't mess with it, its "timed" to interface with the gear and if you move it, the teeth won't mesh right. You can then replacer actuator and use a small screw driver to hold the gear and actuator togehter while you gentle work the metal shroud back in place. The rest is just working in reverse to assemble. I just wanted to share this, I learned most of this the hard way. The Ford parts man said the actuator is used in a lot of Ford vehicles and they sell at least one ever other day. I spent about 8 hrs working on mine, but I could now do it in about 30 minutes. You'll one day encounter this. Sorry for such a long message.
I paid ~$150 for mine to be swapped out, after I took as much of the plastic off, dropped the column, played underhood, played under-dash.... Of course I still drove it daily, just grab the rod and push the ignition switch by hand and you're all set.
P.S. I know all about the Walmart parking lot... Had to run some new ground wires there (little 12ga wires on the EFI models, from negative to (i'm guessing) ignition/computer). In the rain. Yum yum.
$10.23 for the actuator. I made all of the mistakes and ended up doing the job at least 3 times. I took off the plastic, messed with the little gear at the bottom of the keyed switch, took apart the tilt steering bracket, forgot how the clips go on and managed to put my steering wheel on crooked. In reassembly, pay attention to the plastic turn signal indicator shaft to be sure it lines up in its slot and there's an alignment pin just below the steering wheel shaft. The plastic shroud just below the column with the key switch won't go back on if its taken off. It has 4 philps screws that hold it on and are accessed from the rear.
Its really an easy job and doesn't require a special tool, like the GMs (except for a steering wheel puller--don't even try without it). I did the same for 3 days,i.e. moving the switch by hand, only I shoved a hex wrench in the slot.
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