Try to start truck but the key goes past the start position

Tiny
SKK
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 3.9L
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 195,000 MILES
When I turn the key it goes past the start position. When I turn it back I sometimes have trouble getting the key back into the position to get the key back out. I'm wondering what the most probable causes are. I'm figuring the cylinder but not sure if it would be the switch. All electric comes on as if inn the acc position and continues to stay on after the key goes pat the start position.
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 AT 4:34 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm a little unclear what you're describing in the last sentence, but there is a common problem with the cylinder, but it causes the opposite problem. The cam on the end of the cylinder assembly cracks, then due to the play that develops, the cam won't go quite far enough to get the switch to the "crank" position. Everything else turns on at the appropriate times. The dealer's parts department has a repair kit for that. You just pop the new cam on, but then you have to drill a hole and insert a small roll pin to hold it on. The end of the cylinder was peened over to hold the original cam in place.

If you're saying you turn the key further than it normally goes but the starter still doesn't crank the engine, suspect that cam.

The ignition switch itself can't go too far unless something is broken inside. There's a pin on the back side that will come to the end of its travel within a slot in the plastic housing. If you're getting things to turn on in the wrong positions, suspect the switch. These were used in a number of different models so new ones will be readily available from the dealer. If you attempt to use a used switch from a salvage yard, look closely at the seven electrical terminals. If two in the middle are black, dark or light brown, or the plastic housing around them is melted, the contacts have already been overheated. That damage to the terminals will create electrical resistance which will overheat the terminals in the connector in your truck.

You should check your original switch for that overheating too. This is more common for people who use their heater / AC fan on the higher speeds often. If those terminals are overheated or the plug is melted, I have a recommended fix for that.
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 AT 5:28 PM
Tiny
SKK
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Very descriptive response. Thank you so much. To clarify the last sentence, when I turn the key past the crank position, the ignition acts as though it's still in acc position. I was just letting you know that the switch doesn't shut off the electric in the truck when it goes past the crank position.
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 AT 5:41 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
So you never make it to the "crank" position. You can also have a neutral safety switch issue, but those typically cause no backup lights. They rarely cause a no-crank condition.

There's a quick test for this too. The cranking system can be broken down into four circuits, and each one has a convenient test point in the starter relay socket. Pull that relay out, then use a grounded test light, (or voltmeter), to probe the four terminals. Don't poke the probe in so hard as to stretch the terminals. That can cause intermittent connection problems. You will find 12 volts all the time on one of those terminals. Of the other three, you must find 12 volts on one of them when a helper turns the ignition switch to "crank". If you do, the ignition switch is working and we'll have to look at the other two circuits. The nice thing about using a test light is you can see the results from inside the truck, so you don't need a helper to turn the ignition switch.

If you don't have this 12 volts, suspect that cam on the ignition switch cylinder.
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
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Excellent. I will get started on the test tomorrow. I greatly appreciate the help. I will let you know the outcome.
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 AT 5:55 PM

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