Ignition switch

Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 FORD F-150
  • 4.9L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 55,600 MILES
L4.9 inline six. People who owned before me lost the key. Instead of drilling out and replacing the ignition switch, they dropped the ignition actuator module out from under the steering column and left it dangling, but you could manually operate the actuator and the truck would start, run, shift normally. I don't know what else they did to it but I seem to recall the steering lock did not function. No warning light or check engine light. I decided to put in a new ignition switch by drilling out the old one and put the actuator back into place. The truck would start but not shut off. I took the actuator back down. The key now has no detents and will not move past the "on" position. Buzzer will sound when I put key in the ignition with the door open. I let the truck sit all winter. In the spring I replaced the tires and wheels, and put in an aftermarket stereo. The next day I went out to start the truck, which it did, but would not come out of Park. Even reefing on it pretty hard. I tried removing the shift lock actuator on top of the steering column, put it back together, and still won't come out of Park. And now the shift indicator is sitting on "L." But it will start. The dome light and brake lights work normally. The truck has been parked on a slight rear incline for more than a year. If you pull on the shifter you can get it to go into Reverse, but it's not actually "falling into the notch." It won't stay there, it's just slop in the linkage. Non-tilt. Truck listed above is the XL model. Yes, I would like some help/break down information or possible clues to what might be going on. Honestly, if I could just get the shifter problem solved, I don't mind just using the actuator to start it. But I would like to hear what's involved in making the actual keyed ignition working. It sounds pretty involved.
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Thursday, May 21st, 2020 AT 8:41 PM

17 Replies

Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello, I'm Danny.

Yes, I've rebuilt a few Ford columns and it is involved. I've attached 2 pictures below showing all the components involved. Is the actual steering column housing damaged or can replacement parts be fitted? Hope this helps and thanks for using 2CarPros.
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Sunday, May 24th, 2020 AT 2:09 AM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
Honestly, I'm not looking to completely rebuild the steering column. It's an old DOT truck, but I would like to keep it as it only has 55,000 miles. It's possible the ignition key cylinder housing was damaged when I drilled out the old cylinder although I don't know for sure. I didn't see any damage when I removed the cylinder although the lock pin on the bottom does not seem to be functioning properly now - it looks like it's stuck in the "up" position. If I could just find out why the shift lever is now locked in park and get the gear shift working, I would be happy to keep using the ignition actuator to start the truck.

From what I've read, two things need to happen for the shifter to move - foot on brake, and ignition to "on" position (in this case the actuator). Since the brake lights work properly, I'm assuming the brake light switch is working properly. I read a forum which said to make sure there were no blown fuses (like say, the air bag fuse) and said the truck could have a blown fuse and gone into "safety mode" (whatever that means). The other thing is the new key cylinder - even though it's not connected to anything, the key buzzes when it is inserted with the door open. I wonder if it might be causing some kind of shift interlock to engage. I will try to remove the cylinder to see if it has any effect. I will also check the fuses.

One other thing, on the steering column, there is a slot with a Teflon slider where the ignition actuator pin fits into. This slider (as I recall, before putting the new ignition cylinder in) would move freely back and forth (as it should, I assume - it's the mechanism the key cylinder uses to move the actuator pin). Now - the slider won't budge.

I removed the "shift interlock" solenoid and pawl on top of the steering column, but to no effect. I've seen conflicting descriptions of this part online, calling it the "shift interlock" and another that describes it as the "neutral safety switch". Can you identify it properly? I will attach a photo.

One last question - can you tell me if there is some other interlock (other than the one I removed) than this one that would lock the shifter into park? Is there one in the transmission? Or is it somewhere else on the steering column?
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Sunday, May 24th, 2020 AT 12:36 PM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
Well, now I'm reading this interlock is what allows the shifter to come out of Park when the brake is depressed. The shifter worked fine before I replaced the cylinder. I guess I could try replacing the solenoid with a new one, but something tells me it isn't faulty.
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Sunday, May 24th, 2020 AT 12:43 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Do your brake lights come on when you push the brake pedal?

I posted a shift interlock diagram from "Prodemand".

Keep us updated!

The Medic
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Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 AT 12:14 PM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
The brake lights work, so it's not the brake light switch. I checked the fuses for the interlock (actually I checked all the fuses in the fuse box under the dash), they were all good. I'm going to assume the shift interlock is necessary to get the truck out of park. The only explanation I can come up with is somehow the power to the interlock was interrupted for some reason. The only change was trying to replace the key ignition cylinder. A friend suggested the interlock failed, but that seems far fetched to me.

Thank you for the diagram. I'm going to try a few things, maybe install a new shift interlock. I'll let you know how things go.
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Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 AT 12:20 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

Sorry, It's been a few days for response due to holiday weekend. The slider you speak of should be plastic with a key response for your key switch and heavily greased. It should slide up and down the column without hesitation. Can you use your phone to take a picture close up of the ignition switch housing on the steering column and all components for me to inspect damage. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 AT 2:24 AM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
I will get some photos for you as soon as I can. Thank you for your response! And yes the slider will not budge.
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 AT 3:14 PM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
I also ordered new new shift interlock/solenoid and I'm waiting for that to arrive.
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 AT 3:15 PM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
I really need to get this truck going, it's a good truck and I really need to get it going. Thank you for being engaged, it means a lot to me.
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 AT 3:19 PM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
Sorry for the poor quality of the pix/video.
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 AT 4:52 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

If you remove the ignition switch you can take the top plastic cover off exposing the shifter assembly. I've done a bunch of repairs on these. Take a picture of the top column area with the shift assembly with your phone and upload here again and I can highlight a few areas of concern. Also, It looks like the column has been apart before. I've re attached one of your pictures. One of the tilt column levers are missing or not put back in.I circled the area in red. These are hard to install so that is understandable to be missing. Taking the column apart to access that slider is not too hard. It should move freely and you've mentioned it's binding. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros and get back to me as soon as you can.

Danny-
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Friday, May 29th, 2020 AT 11:40 AM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
Truck is an XL, there is no tilt mechanism.
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Friday, May 29th, 2020 AT 11:01 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

Were you able to remove the ignition switch from the column to be able to remove the top plastic cover to gain access to the shifter mechanism? After you do so and take pictures of the top side of column under the removed plastic cover I can give you an idea of whats wrong. I can also explain how to take apart your non tilt column to fix the slider if interested. Thanks again for using 2CarPros and will await your response hopefully with the pictures.

Danny-
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Saturday, May 30th, 2020 AT 1:58 AM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
It might be a couple of days but I will try to remove the ignition switch and the top cover, and send photos of the upper side of the column. Thank you again for your assistance.
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Saturday, May 30th, 2020 AT 7:31 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

To remove the ignition switch use a pointed object like a pick, awl, or small screw driver to depress the release button which I've circled in red and attached below from your pictures above. When you insert the key you will find the position when you cycle the key and it will release. You can then remove the plastic top cover. I've also attached another picture below of what the shifter assembly looks like. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros.
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Sunday, May 31st, 2020 AT 3:48 AM
Tiny
DRAGONAK2020
  • MEMBER
Thank you for this information. I should be able to disassemble soon, will update when I have it apart. Thank you very much.
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Sunday, May 31st, 2020 AT 9:11 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
You're welcome!
Get back to me when you can with the pictures and we'll go from there. Thanks again for using 2CarPros.

Danny-
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Sunday, May 31st, 2020 AT 11:22 PM

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