Steering wheel locked key will not turn

Tiny
PAULA MICELI
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 FORD ESCORT
  • 1.9L
  • MANUAL
  • 130,000 MILES
Ignition key would not turn. I bought a key-lock cylinder to replace old one. I took cover off got to the cylinder was able to turn key start my car, but could not get the steering wheel to unlock so to replace the cylinder. Do I have to drop the entire column to the ground in order to unlock steering so I can replace the cylinder?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 11:38 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If you are replacing only the lock cylinder. You remove the steering column covers, then the multi-function switch. Then with the key in the off position you remove the three screws that hold the cylinder in place. Put the new cylinder in "off" position and install it. Reinstall the multi-function switch and covers.

If the steering wheel lock is not releasing that is not the cylinder. For that you have to drop the column, chisel the bolts that hold the assembly together and remove/replace it. In many cases it is actually faster and easier to just replace the column with a working used one.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 AT 9:12 AM
Tiny
PAULA MICELI
  • MEMBER
Hey Steve, I have another question. When I replace the cylinder is not the steering wheel going unlock once I am able to turn the key. Steve I do not have a lot of money I am disabled. I really do not trust anyone to work on my car unless there a certified bonafied mechanic so I am having to cut corners. The guy that looked at my car said he could not replace the cylinder without unlocking the steering wheel, according to your reply there two separate issues. I am just praying your going tell me that once I change the cylinder the steering wheel will unlock and this so called backyard mechanic does not know what hes doing. Thanks Steve. Also, I made a donation on your behalf. I am very grateful and I trust your advise.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 AT 8:17 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If the key will turn and start the engine >BUT
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 20th, 2017 AT 12:28 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Okay, that is annoying, wiped out ten minutes of typing. Shorter version-

If they key will turn and start the engine >BUT
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 20th, 2017 AT 1:06 AM
Tiny
PAULA MICELI
  • MEMBER
  • 1993 FORD ESCORT
  • 1.9L
  • MANUAL
  • 160,000 MILES
When I replace the key lock cylinder and I am able to turn the key will my steering wheel unlock. I am thinking you have to turn the key for the steering wheel to unlock. Thank you for your time.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 20th, 2017 AT 5:49 PM (Merged)
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If they key will turn and start the engine, but you cannot unlock the steering wheel to steer you will need to drop the column to replace the lock assembly.

It starts with you inserting the key, than you step on the brake (which moves the orange piece and you rotate the key. As it rotates the cylinder moves the purple piece in the second picture which rotates a cam inside the housing that pulls the green part down and unlocks the steering column and wheel. In your case it seems that part is not moving. Now as you managed to get the vehicle to start it would seem that the ignition switch is okay and the lock cylinder is okay.

Now the book says that to change the actual column lock part you need to remove the steering wheel, remove the covers, remove the multi-function switch. Then drop the column so you can get to the two bolts that actually hold the locking mechanism in place. Which you then use a chisel or Dremel type tool to create slots to turn them out.

However, It may be possible to skip a lot of that mess if you can remove the plastic covers and actually see the two bolts that secure that part to the column. Then it would be much simpler to just remove the column bolts (two or four depending on build date). Drop the column down cut the slots and remove the bolts. There appears to be a screw in the bottom that holds the multi-function switch to the locking assembly so do not forget it.

I will link a video that is for a newer model but shows almost the exact procedure. It is for a 1998 Escort, but when you look at the book it says the same steps of removing all the other parts are needed, and they are still in place in the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIczBa-l46g

As for a good shop, there are still some out there. I do not look for certified or approved, I look for folks who actually care and do good work. I have seen "certified" people I would not trust to check the oil in a lawnmower.

Now that I have made things clear as mud.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, February 20th, 2017 AT 5:49 PM (Merged)
Tiny
PAULA MICELI
  • MEMBER
STEVE I THINK WAT I MEANT TO SAY WAS ON THREE DIFFERENT OCCASSIONS WEN I WENT TO START MY CAR THE KEY WOULDNT TURN I WAITED A DAY GOT BAK IN MY CAR BADABING IT STARTED THAT HAPPENED 2 MORE TIMES ONLY THE LAST TIME KEY WOULDNT GO ALL THE WAY IN OR TURN I WAS TRYING TO TELL U THAT THIS GUY THAT WAS DIAGNOSING MY CAR WAS SAYING HE COULDNY CHANGE THE CYLINDER WITHOUT UNLOCKING THE STEERING WHEEL N HAS TO DROP THE THE COLMN TO GET THE CYLINDER OUT TO REPLACE. MY CAR DOES NOT START CUZ THE KEY WONT TURN. IM SORRY STEVE ITS BEEN LIKE THIS ALL MY LIFE ITS NOT WAT IM SAYING BUT HOW IM SAYING IT. LOL
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 AT 1:41 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
If the key doesn't move the replacement of the entire assembly is a faster and easier repair. Replacement of just the cylinder is possible but it does require that the cylinder move.
Replacement of the entire lock assembly is listed with a book time of 1/2 hour so it's probably cheaper as well.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 AT 6:14 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides