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Old 07-15-2018, 05:07 PM   #1
Renaissance_Man
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My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Greetings all,


I'm having a problem with my '02 Windstar SE. As the title of my post says, the problem is that the ignition key is stuck in the ignition switch. It's a monumental PITA, but I just separated the key from the remote entry fob, so at least I can lock her up when I'm not around.


I finally had some time today to look into what's going on. I removed the bottom section of the steering column cover, but of course I can't do anything much with the upper section unless I remove the ignition switch first and I really don't want to do that presently.


Of course, the switch is old and a little sloppy, but I haven't had any problem like this in the three years I've owned it. I've tried the usual suspects (turning the steering wheel back and forth, moving the shift selector up and down, pushing the shift selector hard up into park) all without any results. Today I sprayed the lock cylinder with some WD-40 per a suggestion that I read elsewhere, but having used WD-40 before, I know it will take a tincture of time before it's had a chance to seep in and do its thing. I also read ion a professional locksmith's blog about something called the "ignition lock override". Although I tried several different searches, I was unable to find any information about any such thing as it relates to a '02 Windstar.


Another oddity I have noticed since this issue began, perhaps a week ago - with the ignition switch in the off position, the shift selector still moves freely from park all the way to low and back. If I am thinking about this correctly, there is supposed to be some sort of interlock that prevent that from happening, right? That being so, then it suggests to me that perhaps this problem is electrical in nature. Given the myriad electro-mechanical components that could be at fault, I decided to follow ol' Occam's razor and try the simplest solution first - to look for a blown fuse. Unfortunately, I have not been able to identify any particular fuse or group of fuses to check. Except for the key being stuck, the vehicle starts and runs OK.


So I have come to The Oracle (this forum) seeking your collective wisdom. And before anybody asks, Yes! I did search this specific forum before doing anything else, all to no avail.


If anyone has some insight into what I should do myself (can't afford a professional mechanic - or even a gifted amateur (if I knew one) I would be most grateful for your help.


Many thanks!


Frank
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:42 PM   #2
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

I've just been stirring through the entrails of a skunk, and I find the following:

You may have a chance to release the key and tumbler by pushing a small pin upward through the access hole provided (on bottom side of column cover). Once removed from the column, hopefully they will separate.

Apollo.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:11 PM   #3
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Thanks for your very speedy reply Apollo. I had no idea the Greeks read the entrails of skunks., Pigs, sheep and chickens, sí, skonks, caramba! Me own ancestors (Celtic druids) had a predilection for the entrails of owls, but I digress...


I removed the bottom half of the column cover, but I don't recall having seen an access hole, Although I did remove a screw for the bottom cover more or less right below where the ignition switch is. In the morning I will go forth and try to discover the mythical port of releasement you have described. The only other option I see at this point is a three pound sledge applied liberally and with complete abandon to the ignition switch and steering column (although that's probably a really bad idea, huh?)


Seriously dude, I appreciate the help. Thanks much!
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

If you google "ford truck lock tumbler", you will see some info offered on subject. (I don't seem to be able to set up a link, however...?)
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:36 PM   #5
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Thanks for the lead Apollo (you know, you're ALWAYS going to be Apollo to me ��


As far as adding a link to a message is concerned, in your profile for the forum, how do you have your posting configuration set-up? If you look in the user CP, on the left are various functions. In the section labeled Settings & Options, you'll find a link labeled Edit Options. Once you're on this page, scroll down to Miscellaneous Options. The first box in the Miscellaneous Options section is labeled Message Editor Interface. From the drop down choices you're presented with, select Enhanced Interface - Full WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editing.


Now, with this Messaging Interface selected, the top of your messaging window will show you many options to choose from. By pausing your mouse on top of the icons and waiting a couple of ticks, a short description of what that icon does will be shown to you. The sixth icon from the left looks like a globe with a tiny link of chain beneath it. Clicking on that icon, a pop-up window appears that asks you to enter the URL (Uniform Resource Locater, a.k.a. Link) that you want to add to your message. Type, or better yet, paste from your computer's clipboard the link you copied previously. 10-4? Hope all this techno-gibberish makes sense the way I've explained it.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:06 PM   #6
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

10-4! Your're betternskunkguts!! Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2018, 11:40 AM   #7
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

The Windstar ignition switch (which is the similar to the other Fords that I've looked at) are designed so that the whole lock mechanism can be removed from the steering column by pressing in a pin that is located inside a hole on the bottom of casting in which the lock mechanism is inserted.

The key is necessary do this, so you need to turn the key to the "Run" position to remove the lock mechanism, then press the pin while pulling the lock assembly from the vehicle.

Replacement cylinders with new keys are available from most autoparts stores, or you might find that a generous application of WD-40 or some other light weight oil will improve the movement of the key.
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Old 07-24-2018, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Thank you for your reply Tom.


Another member had already mentioned the 'trick' to removing the key and lock cylinder. In case you, or any other member is curious as to why the key must be in the run position to press the pin, it is because there is a cam of some sort the prevents the pin from being depressed otherwise - an anti-theft measure, I would venture to say.


I was pretty lucky. I pulled the key and lock cylinder out of the column of my Windstar using the trick that you and Apollo (a.k.a., 12pack) suggested. Once out of the column, it was easy to remove my key. I then sprayed the lock cylinder down with copious amounts of brake cleaner, and not having any graphite spray or liquid lubricant on hand, I opted to use a silicone based spay lubricant rather than good, ol' reliable WD-40 because I have found the lubricating properties of the silicone based lubes seem to last much longer than WD-40. Also, I used compressed air in a can to blow out the opening the lock cylinder fits in and I lubricated it also (though not as much as the lock cylinder itself). I then put the cylinder back in (this also requires the key to turn the cylinder to the run position). HOWEVER, THIS TIME when I rotated the key back to the off position, the key slipped right out! SCORE!!


I haven't posted this information until now, because I didn't want to tempt Fate and cause the issue to repeat, but so far, so good. I think its time to stick a fork in this turkey and call it done!


Thanks again Tom for your excellent advice. And thank you too, Apollo, god of the Windstar, for getting me started down the right path to solve this problem, and for helping me to remember not to take sh*t like this too seriously.


Until the next crisis, er time.


Frank
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:46 AM   #9
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

BTW, I have the "opposite" problem with my key. I can take the key out before the mechanism is turned far enough "off" to lock the cylinder on the off position. Consequently I can turn off the engine, take out the key, then restart the engine without re-inserting the key.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:24 PM   #10
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

While I am far from a subject matter expert on the topic of lock cylinders for Ford Windstars (or any other sort of lock cylinder you'd care to name), I will offer a Scientifically Educated, Wild A** guess and say that the lock cylinder in the ignition of your Windstar is so severely worn that it no longer has the integrity to function correctly (sort of like.....Oh, I don't know...Could it be perhaps, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT!?!?)



As an aside, for those of you not fortunate enough to have seen Dana Carvey as "The Church Lady" on SNL, you won't get the humor (although I hope you can perceive the truth).


Back on topic now, Tom. If I were you and had a friend who was super sharp as an amateur mechanic, you might ask them about the issue you've described. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to learn the process for replacing the ignition lock cylinder in a Windstar ( there are an abundance of resources to direct you). The cost of the part itself varies widely from less than 50.00 to more than 250.00. If you decide to go this way, carefully shop on E-Bay because I have picked up some unbelievable bargains there (in the interest of full disclosure, I have ended up with a 'clinker' or two as well)


Best of luck, my friend!
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Agreed! Reads like a well-worn lock tumbler.

I've replaced mine, years back. Don't remember many details, ...but remember that I did get replacement through Ford. Some how they made the tumbler match the shape of my existing (4) programmed keys ... so no work was required at doors or lift-gate,
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:17 AM   #12
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

Try holding the shift lever up (or generally moving it around) a little while removing the key. Sometimes when that locking pin hole wears, you get slop, and it doesn't release the cylinder because it doesn't end up in quite the right position.
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Old 08-31-2018, 01:18 PM   #13
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

And now for the rest of the story...

The cylinder is actually a new-ish one, I put in a few years ago because the OEM was in bad condtion. The outer "wingnut" that you put the key into and turn with your hand was loose from the actual cylinder, so it was getting misaligned without the key in it.

I bought a new key cylinder but I didn't want a different key for the ignition and the doors, so I took it apart and put in the "tumblers" from the OEM key cylinder.

When the key is in and turn to the on position, it is locked into the cylinder. However, if you turn the key to the OFF-OFF position, it comes out, but the cylinder isn't necessarily "locked" into the off position. If you remove the key then you can turn it back on, but you can also turn it a bit further to make it lock.

So, you're probably right that something is worn enough that it is allowing this to happen. I SHOULD fix it, but it's one of those things that is easy to put on the back burner. Obviously a security and possibly safety issue, but that goes with the territory when you're talking about a 22 yr old car...
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Old 09-02-2018, 12:27 PM   #14
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Re: My Key Is Stuck in the Ignition Switch

All True, that tomj. Or as my ol' pappy would've said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it and if'n it IS broke, but still works, there ere other chores need tendin' first".


Ol' pappy was a wise (and kinda lazy) bird!
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