1997 Ford Explorer

Interior problem
1997 Ford Explorer V8 All Wheel Drive Automatic

Key will go into ignition lock, but won't turn. After setting in a high-humidity area for three months, fungus or mold is preventing the lock tumblers from responding to the key. If I insert a paperclip leg into the 1/8" diameter hole what happens? Can the entire key/lock assy be released for cleaning?

email update 1/16/09
Thanks for your suggestions. However the problem was found to be in the steering wheel interlock mechanism. Insertion of the key did not cause the locking pin to withdraw. Repeated hard-torquing of the steering wheel (first left & then right) several times finally caused the pin to release.
Now I'm trying to figure how to get to the pin mechanism to either grease it

or spray it with WD-40.
January 10, 2009.

Try spraying some lock lubricant into the lock and letting it soak for an hour or so. WD-40 can also be used. This should free up the tumblers with a little patience. Unfortunately, the 1/8 inck pin needs the lock to be in the RUN position to release the lock.

Jan 11, 2009.
To get at the lock pin, you need to remove the steering wheel in most cases. If you have air bags, you need to remove the battery cables before servicing any parts related to the air bags. This would include removing the steering wheel. On some models, you can expose some of the mechanical parts of the steering column by removing the plastic shrouding between the steering wheel and the instrument panel. But be advised, these parts were designed to prevent theft, and are accordingly protected from easy access by removing a plastic cover.

Jan 16, 2009.