2005 Dodge Caravan Stuck Ignition

Tiny
AMYK97229
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 92,000 MILES
The ignition is totally stuck on my minivan. It will not turn at all. We also can not get it out of gear. We are guessing we need to have it towed, but will not being able to take it out of gear do any damage as they try to load it on a tow truck? Any suggestions on how to get it unstuck?+
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 7:52 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Caravans seem to do that a lot.
pay attention to section 2-A

There are 4 things that I see over and over again, that keep an ignition lock cylinder from turning.

1.
The steering wheel lock is under pressure.

When you turn off your car and remove your key.
A spring loaded post sticks up in to one of many holes in the steering wheel.
This locks the steering wheel in place, making your car harder to steal, because a bad guy cant turn the steering wheel if they somehow get your car started without the key.

But this can also keep you from turning the ignition lock.
If the steering wheel is under pressure because your front wheels are against a curb, or you have the wheel cranked all the way to one side or the other. The pressure from the steering wheel on the spring loaded post keeps you from being able to turn the key.

So while trying to pull the steering wheel one direction or the other, try to turn the key, this may solve your problem.

2-A.
The pins are not falling into place.

You kinda need to know how a lock works for this part.
Look at a key and you will see there are different depth cuts in it.
Those different cuts correspond with different length pins in the lock cylinder.
See how the red pins are of different length?
But with the key inserted, they are all even with the blue pins.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/281878_Pin_tumbler_with_key1_1.jpg



When the red pins are held in the correct position by the correct key, the spring loaded blue pins are flush with the outer housing of the lock, and the red pins are flush with the inner cylinder of the lock
And thus the inner cylinder can be rotated.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/281878_250pxPin_tumbler_unlocked1_1.png



If debris such as pocket lint, ear wax, or just plain old dirt gets into the pins and causes enough friction for the spring loaded blue pins to not be able to push the red pins back in place.
Then the red pins will be partially stuck in the hole for the blue pins and the cylinder can not turn.

Putting the key in the lock and then tapping on it with a small hammer may help until you have the chance to have the lock cleaned.

Do a search for the word "bump key" if you want to know more about how a lock cylinder works.

2-B.
The same goes for if a key is worn out.
If a key is badly worn, then it will not put the red pins in the correct spot and some of the pins will keep the cylinder from turning.

If your key is worn out, try a spare if you have one.
Or put the key in and "Jiggle" it while trying to turn the lock.

3.
A problem with the interlock cable from the gear selector to the lock cylinder. Make sure you are completely in park.
You pretty much have to take things apart and visually inspect it to verify this problem.

4.
A mechanical problem with the linkage from the lock cylinder to the electrical part of the ignition switch.

and pulling the van up on a flatbed for just a few feet shouldn't hurt anything.
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 9:17 PM
Tiny
AMYK97229
  • MEMBER
So after doing some more research I tried taking a mallet to the key in teh ignition and it worked, so that problem is solved. But I am arfaid it will happen again. So my husband wants to take in in on Mon or Tues, but what should we ask them to replace? Or do we need to have it looked at all? Right now we are not planning on driving it this weekend on the off chance it happens again. Thanks!
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Try cleaning it first by spraying brake cleaner in it. Using the little red tube that is taped onto the side of the can.
And then slide the key in and out many times.
Then follow up with a small amount of light weight oil.
Like sewing machine oil. Or gun oil.

But if you need to replace it. You want to ask for a new ignition lock cylinder.

Most auto parts store can sell it to you.
But now you will have to have 2 keys.

And if you have a transponder key, you will have to have the van reprogrammed to accept the new key.
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 9:53 PM
Tiny
AMYK97229
  • MEMBER
Thank you. Reprogramming would require going to a dealer wouldn't it :( (I dislike dodge dealers with a passion) I will tell my husband what your suggestions are and hopefully it will work for us. Thanks!
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Friday, February 12th, 2010 AT 10:09 PM
Tiny
2CARPROS LINSEY
  • MEMBER
We appreciate your donation and look forward to helping you in the future.
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Monday, March 1st, 2010 AT 2:47 PM

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