1996 Mercury Tracer Key won't turn

Tiny
KEITH H
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 MERCURY TRACER
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 90,000 MILES
I hadn't driven the car in awhile. When I tried to start it, it turned over slowly but wouldn't catch. The radiator fan kicked in & ran until the battery was dead. I was unsuccessful at jumping it with a battery charger/starter unit so I disconnected the battery & charged it for several hours. My load tester indicates it has a good charge. Now the key will not turn. Assuming my failed jump didn't fry anything I am guessing there is a reset that must be performed. I don't have the manual to look through so I need some help.

Thanks for your help.
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Sunday, September 26th, 2010 AT 9:07 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
BLACKOP555
  • EXPERT
Did you see any sparks or hook up the cables backwards?

Batery shouldnt prevent the key from being able to be turned. Should still turn just may not do anything.

Is it for sure not turning? Try turning the wheel hard lock to the left and right while trying to turn key. Try a different key also.
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Monday, September 27th, 2010 AT 9:36 PM
Tiny
KEITH H
  • MEMBER
I am careful about the polarity & it was conencted correctly. No sparks. The wheel turns freely, which I can't recall if that is normal on here. Pressed the brake; confirmed it was in Park. This is the key I use normally; I have only copies, but will try just in case. Tried wiggling it to see if it needed encouragement to seat. I know there are a lot elctrical interlocks & suspected one tripped at the total loss of battery.
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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 AT 11:32 AM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
  • EXPERT
So the key wont turn? The electrical things prevent fuel and ignition or sometimes starter engagement. Shouldnt prevent key from turning.

Once again try holding wheel hard when turning key and wiggling shifter while trying it. Sometimes it takes alot of force to get steering wheel lock to disengage on the key.

Try some graphite lock lube in the cylinder and try hitting on it to get it to loosen up.

Will your key unlock and lock the doors several times?
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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 AT 10:38 PM
Tiny
KEITH H
  • MEMBER
So, I went out this morning to try again. Opened the door & no interrior light. The battery is dead again. I plainly have a bigger problem. I think the car knew I was getting ready to get rid of it:-) Be back after I try charging again this weekend.
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Friday, October 1st, 2010 AT 8:11 AM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
  • EXPERT
Keep me posted.
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Friday, October 1st, 2010 AT 12:34 PM
Tiny
KEITH H
  • MEMBER
I disconnected the battery & trickle charged it most of the day. My battery load tester showed it had a good charge. I connected the battery; no apparent spark. When I got in the radio was on, the wheel truned freely (I tired most of a turn each CW & CCW). As I spun the wheel I hoped I might hit an interlock & lock the wheel & maybe everythign would release, but no. Inserted & tried the key but it would not move more than < 1/8 of a turn. It doesn't feel like it is binding, but rather like something is holding it much like a mecahnical interlock. Tried pressing/releasing the brake, parking brake up. Down all while trying the key. Fastened/released the seatbelt. Of course transmission shifter won't. Checked all fuses under the hood & inside. All OK. I have left the battery loose since the radio is on & must be what ran it down last time. More ideas?

Thanks
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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 1:27 PM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
  • EXPERT
There is no interlock for that. Only for the steering column lock and thats mechanical and will not prevent the key from turning. The key must be faulty or the key tumbler itself is faulty. There isnt anything electrical that would stop it.
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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 10:23 PM

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