How to: - Ignition Lock broken, How to fix lock to use original keys | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

How to: Ignition Lock broken, How to fix lock to use original keys

Prefix for threads which are instructional.


DIY stunt double
Staff member
Elite Explorer
June 16, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Humboldt, KS
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Mounty
Well, just when things looked better, My wife went out to start Betty and the key just turns loose feeling. It did turn the truck "on" but fails to engage starter. Will not turn off. I had to disconnect the battery.

It is as if someone had jacked the switch with a screwdriver.

So, which part is it I need to fix this? :D Help???

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

I think this will point me in the right direction. Feels like the "rod" has come undone.

and inside that thread was this link


While this was good information which might help you--it did not help in this case. The push rod is OK.

Read on.

They do have a rod that moves with the key cylinder and moves the ignition switch. Sounds to me ( I may be wrong) that the switch itself is bad ( Have seen that more than the rod itself being the part that failed) or the key cylinder itself is not moving the rod properly. Only way to be able to tell is to disassemble the lower portion of the dash, lower the steering column (4 15mm bolts IIRC) and watch the rod as it moves the ignition switch. Or unbolt the ignition switch (while keeping it plugged in) and physically move the 'switch' to run/start ect. If it works properly, then the ignition switch is probably ok.

Jon, if you PM your vin number, I can look and see if there are any active recalls on the truck

In this picture you can see the slider rod. Greenish color with hole in it for the switch. The switch feels stiff and was in the proper position to the rod.


HOwever, when turning the key I can "feel" something in there doesn't seem to be pushing enough, or pulling back. I think the switch itself is dependent on the rod position, the lock does the pushing and pulling--correct?

In other words, the switch itself is not spring loaded for return. I can push the switch to the "start" position by hand, it does "spring back" from that position.



As far as the ignition lock goes, I will be the first to admit I do not know what I am doing here--how does it come out? I am very intimidated by the stupid PATS ring and stuff there--

I could use a little advice please.

Edit. Turns out, if the lock can be turned to "on" and you press on the silver ball in the above picture, the ignition lock slides out. The trim does not need to be removed. There is a hole in the trim allowing a thin tool such as a phillips screwdriver to release the ball.

Unfortunatly, the internet here at work is preventing me from viewing the pictures you posted, but when I get home tonight, I will look at a spart steering column we have and compare to yours

Thanks Russell
In the meantime, I called Ford for an ignition lock. What they have "includes all parts to rebuild lock and allow use of present key" for $102. It is in stock.

It's about the only option as I can see it, and the girls ( my wife car pools) can pick it up on the way home since the dealer is right up the road from her office.

I called another parts store, however what they have is a new lock which includes new pats keys, so, the truck has to be scanned at the dealer ( or locksmith) to make it work. I am certain the 60.00 part plus extra hassle will be more $$$

quote from that thread

The new ignition cylinder will come with 2 PATS keys. If you have 2 working ignition keys right now then programming the new ones won't be too challenging. First you need to have all the door closed and locked. Then using one of the working keys, turn the truck to run (don't start). Let it sit until the theft light turns off, maybe 30 seconds or so. Then turn back to off, switch to the second working key and repeat turning to run and waiting for theft light to turn off. You are now in programming mode. Pull the ignition cylinder out, swap in the new one with key and turn from lock to run. When theft light turns off the key is recognized. Turn back to lock and swap in second new key. Repeat turning to run and again wait for system to recognize the key. Start truck to end programming mode and verify keys work. Done in about 4-5 minutes.

If you have trouble trying to swap out the cylinders quickly enough for whatever reason, you can go route 2 which needs a little more prep, maybe 10 minutes: Take off the plastic column shroud by removing the 3 phillips screws from the bottom, unscrewing the tilt lever (its actually a steel bolt with knurled handle), and popping the top/bottom apart. Swap the cylinders as noted before leaving 1 new key in place. Now look at the lock cylinder. You will see there is a green or blue plastic "c"-shaped sensor with a wire running to it sitting on the cylinder. This the PATS key reader. You can pull it off the cylinder and hold it against the keys as you go through the off/on sequence. Start with sensor against the old working keys one at a time, then the new loose key and end by puting the sensor back in place and turning with the new key you have in the ignition. Once finished, snap the column covers back on, replace screws and tilt lever.

So, if I have 2 keys now I can make a new lock work with 2 new keys?

Like I said, I don't know what I am doing.

Turn key to on, push tab ( little silver ball in this picture) and voila.


Oh, Houston, we have a problem


If it is the key lock cylinder, I would go with the ford kit because even though you are spending an extra 40 bucks on the set, you A) dont have to re-key all the doors, and B) if the programming doesnt take with the new set of keys, the pats system MIGHT disable all keys, thus you would need the scanner from ford or a locksmith to relearn the keys. Granted, I do work at a dealer, but i've seen the key kits they sale for this exact issue, and its great quality and a genuine ford kinda partial to those lol

Thanks Russell
That works for 2 reasons--
1, I can quit looking, and B, I don't have to call my wife again. :D

Thread moved to stock 2nd gen section.



Nope, it is not just a box. Inside are tumblers-a new lock, a tube of grease and some tiny little balls, even tinier little itty bitty springs. I better read the paper first. I have no flippin clue what to do with this stuff. :eek:


I can see the part to fix the broken one, just can't get my head around how all the little thingys fit inside--

I believe those "tiny little balls" are not yours yet may be after you try this... :) anyways, those balls and springs are part of the tumbler "set", I think, that way you are able to set up ANY combination that your key requires and hence you don't have to "re-key"... if I understood your earlier post. Normally, a locksmith would disassemble the "tumbler" to set it up for an existing key. I had my lift get lock replaced cause of "crud"... the lock body was salvageable but the smith has to used "kit" of "tiny things" to rebuild / make the "key combination". Good luck... they appear to be quite a bit of fun to play with.

Agreed with the top post, when ford techs have to rekey a cylinder, they match the old tumblers with the news ones and rekey the new cylinder to match that of the old one. only takes about thirty minutes, then you have a brand new cylinder for your keys!

Heck, I spent 30 minutes just trying to get the old cylinder apart to do just that--no luck.

So, I measured the cuts, got out my Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and cross referenced the cut depths, matching them to the Ford Code for that depth.

And, whatdoyaknow?


^^tumblers in

Old key in new lock--whoop the friggin hoo haw!!!!!


There are 7 tumblers and springs you have to place, 4 on top 3 on bottom. The spring goes into a round slot, and the tumbler slides down to "lock" into position. The even coded slots are on the top, odds on the bottom. Code slot 1 is ignored.

Then once you slide it all together a spring is dropped into another hole, and the ball is placed onto it. Place the lock tab back on the spring, give the cylinder a twist and the detent ball seats. The instructions say to twist clockwise, but you have to go counterclockwise when seating the ball. There were extra springs and an extra ball in the kit for fumbles.

See? Totally simple :)

Well, nobody told me there would be math involved. That almost put it over the edge.

Actually, it wasn't all that bad, now that it is done. I know a little more than I knew when I woke up.

Nice time now to find out what the 3rd little hole in the lower steering column trim is for. After lowering the column:(:(

Didn't need to go to all that effort.

stick a long skinny something in there and push inward, the ignition lock pops right out without tools.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

I wonder if Rock Auto sells this kit? I know that it wasn't an option since it will take a week for it to come in the mail. I'm just wondering about the price difference.

One time I tried to repair an expensive padlock, and the pins & springs shot all over the place. This was the last time that I've attempted to open a lock cylinder. The basic concept isn't hard, it's just that there are many different length pins that have to be matched to the key. These parts are very small, and hard to grab. Did you take a picture of the process of setting up the pins with the springs?