Key wont turn in ignition - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Cherokee & Comanche Forums > XJ Cherokee Technical Forum > Key wont turn in ignition

Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed LineRockridge 4WD IS Taking Zone Offroad Suspension Lift Kits Rough Country Jeep Suspension Deals at Rockridge 4WD!

Reply
Unread 08-24-2007, 10:09 AM   #1
tangofox007
Web Wheeler
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 5,911
Key wont turn in ignition

I had a couple of random episodes of the ignition key getting stuck in the "off" position. (Meaning that the lock cylinder would not rotate from the off position.) I replaced the lock cylinder, but the problem has occurred again. I suspect that the transmission interlock is at fault, but it is difficult to troubleshoot because the problem occurs so infrequently. So far, I have been able to get the key to rotate eventually, then it will work fine for a week or so. Moving the transmission shifter has had no apparent affect. I am afraid that the problem will eventually leave me stranded.

Any insight? The steering column is a "tilt" version.

tangofox007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 11:00 AM   #2
mecompco
www.midcoastjeep.com
 
mecompco's Avatar
1994 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Fairfield, Maine
Posts: 4,253
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007
I had a couple of random episodes of the ignition key getting stuck in the "off" position. (Meaning that the lock cylinder would not rotate from the off position.) I replaced the lock cylinder, but the problem has occurred again. I suspect that the transmission interlock is at fault, but it is difficult to troubleshoot because the problem occurs so infrequently. So far, I have been able to get the key to rotate eventually, then it will work fine for a week or so. Moving the transmission shifter has had no apparent affect. I am afraid that the problem will eventually leave me stranded.

Any insight? The steering column is a "tilt" version.
The problem is in the ignition switch. There have been at least three threads about this in the last few weeks. The switch is on the column, up under the dash. It is a PITA to change, as you can't really see what you are doing. Here is what a defective switch looks like:





The red arrow points to the overheated terminal on one side that caused a "detent" to be melted in the plastic track on which the contacts slide on the other side, thereby preventing the key to turn properly. Forcing the key managed to dislodge the linkage, which must also be properly fastened and adjusted.

Good luck!

PS A FSM, flashlight and mirror will be a big help in doing this replacement. It took us a good five hours, and we had a spare column to look at to see how everything lined up.
__________________
'94 Cherokee Country
Engine: 4.0 HO, Sealed canister filter, 3 core CSF steel radiator, CatCo cat, Dynomax Turbo Flow muffler.
Electronics: Remote start/locks, Pioneer DEH-P7800MP w/XM, Polk Audio speakers, Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS, Cobra 148 GTL P&T w/Wilson 1000.
Suspension: Old Man Emu 3" lift+OME AAL, JKS adjustable trackbar, QDs, LCAs UCAs, A.C.O.S., DPG Offroad adjustable bumpstop plate, Daystar poly bumpstops.
Steering: Currie HD steering, C-ROK steering box reinforcement, OME stabilizer.
Armor/Recovery: T&T Custom belly skid, Mopar gas tank skid, JKS LCA mini skids, Rock Lizard Super Skink Sliders, Mopar 2" receiver, ARB Bull Bar/Ramsey REP 8.5 winch.
Drive train: D30 front axle w/Superior Chromo D30 axles & outter seals, D/S 4.56 R&P, ARB locker, Ruff Stuff cover. Ford 8.8 rear axle w/Superior Super 88 kit, Ford Motor Sports 4.56 R&P, ARB locker, SOLID cover, Russell stainless lines. Front and rear Tom Woods HD drive shafts, 242 x-fer case w/Tom Woods SYE.
Tires/Wheels: 33x10.5x15 BFG Mud Terrains on Alcoas.
Misc: Garvin Wilderness rack, Safari Snorkel, Redline Tuning hood lifts.
Awaiting installation: Autometer A pillar gauge pod, oil, water, & tranny temp guages, PIAA driving lights, Goferit tie-rod flip bushing, '95 Brake booster and M/C, M.O.R.E. Motor mounts, TnT Custom 1.5" Shackle.
Stroker Project: HO Block, '99 intake manifold, bored TB, 1" TB spacer, Dynomax Blackjack Header, Permacool electric fan.
mecompco is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 11:32 AM   #3
tangofox007
Web Wheeler
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 5,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by mecompco
The problem is in the ignition switch.
There are a few other moving parts in between the lock cylinder and switch. It feels like the resistance is in the column near the lock cylinder. I can't rule the switch out. But I doubt that the problem would be so intermittent if the switch was bad.
tangofox007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 12:05 PM   #4
mecompco
www.midcoastjeep.com
 
mecompco's Avatar
1994 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Fairfield, Maine
Posts: 4,253
Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007
There are a few other moving parts in between the lock cylinder and switch. It feels like the resistance is in the column near the lock cylinder. I can't rule the switch out. But I doubt that the problem would be so intermittent if the switch was bad.
One of the two linkages that the cylinder turns goes to the interlock--it is attached to the cylinder by a flimsy little ball/socket type connector. The other rod goes to the switch. When my switch went bad, I had to force the key to the start position to get home and it popped the rod off this connector. The bottom line is that "something" has to be interferring with that rod--in my case, obviously it was the defective switch. If you remove the metal dash valance, you can see the linkage and up inside (flashlight and mirror helpful) and you should be able to see where it is disconnected and/or binding up.
__________________
'94 Cherokee Country
Engine: 4.0 HO, Sealed canister filter, 3 core CSF steel radiator, CatCo cat, Dynomax Turbo Flow muffler.
Electronics: Remote start/locks, Pioneer DEH-P7800MP w/XM, Polk Audio speakers, Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS, Cobra 148 GTL P&T w/Wilson 1000.
Suspension: Old Man Emu 3" lift+OME AAL, JKS adjustable trackbar, QDs, LCAs UCAs, A.C.O.S., DPG Offroad adjustable bumpstop plate, Daystar poly bumpstops.
Steering: Currie HD steering, C-ROK steering box reinforcement, OME stabilizer.
Armor/Recovery: T&T Custom belly skid, Mopar gas tank skid, JKS LCA mini skids, Rock Lizard Super Skink Sliders, Mopar 2" receiver, ARB Bull Bar/Ramsey REP 8.5 winch.
Drive train: D30 front axle w/Superior Chromo D30 axles & outter seals, D/S 4.56 R&P, ARB locker, Ruff Stuff cover. Ford 8.8 rear axle w/Superior Super 88 kit, Ford Motor Sports 4.56 R&P, ARB locker, SOLID cover, Russell stainless lines. Front and rear Tom Woods HD drive shafts, 242 x-fer case w/Tom Woods SYE.
Tires/Wheels: 33x10.5x15 BFG Mud Terrains on Alcoas.
Misc: Garvin Wilderness rack, Safari Snorkel, Redline Tuning hood lifts.
Awaiting installation: Autometer A pillar gauge pod, oil, water, & tranny temp guages, PIAA driving lights, Goferit tie-rod flip bushing, '95 Brake booster and M/C, M.O.R.E. Motor mounts, TnT Custom 1.5" Shackle.
Stroker Project: HO Block, '99 intake manifold, bored TB, 1" TB spacer, Dynomax Blackjack Header, Permacool electric fan.
mecompco is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 01:55 PM   #5
hennigm4
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: leesburg va
Posts: 95
My problem was intermediate. It was the switch, the plastic thing down the column. 35 $ part from the dealer. I had my wheel off and the column dropped. I removed the plastic switch from the column and replaced. took about 2 hours or so. I should have been clued in by the burning smell of plastic.... Mine was melted really good.
hennigm4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 03:06 PM   #6
tangofox007
Web Wheeler
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 5,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by hennigm4
I should have been clued in by the burning smell of plastic.... Mine was melted really good.
That's another reason I don't think the switch is the problem-no such smell.
tangofox007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-24-2007, 08:47 PM   #7
edzakory
Registered User
2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sedona, AZ
Posts: 341
I am having the exact same problem with my 2000 TJ and did a search on the problem to determine if any others on the Forum had it. The problem was intermittent and the symptom was when I went to turn the key, the key would seem to stick. A couple of tries then the starter engaged.

Today, I tried turning the key in a parking lot in Flagstaff and it would not engage the starter. I was able to push it down a small grade & pop the clutch to get the Jeep started.

After reading the FSM, my first guess was the ignition switch. The TJ has a weird anti-theft torx screw that it appears I will have to drill out to remove the switch.
Since the switch costs $45 at AutoZone and is the least expensive part of the starting circuit, I am going to start there.

Once I remove the switch, I will be able to see if the contacts are melted or bad. I have had similar problems with the Jeeps electrical system, e.g., A/C blower switch melted, so I am hoping this is the issue.

Thanks for the posts and pictures of the bad switch. I have more to go on now.
edzakory is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2007, 06:32 AM   #8
tangofox007
Web Wheeler
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 5,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzakory
The TJ has a weird anti-theft torx screw that it appears I will have to drill out to remove the switch.
If it's a tamper-proof torx, you just need the proper bit to remove it.
tangofox007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2007, 01:16 PM   #9
edzakory
Registered User
2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sedona, AZ
Posts: 341
I was able to remove the ignition switch and determine the problem.

There is a small hex pin with a metal shroud the fits in the slot of the ignition switch; it is activated by the ignition key/cylinder mechanism. It is behind and fits into the ignition switch. The pin is okay but it appears that half of the shroud, which is cast metal broke off. I am able to use a larger allen wrench in the igniton switch to turn it and activate the starter.

The problem, in my case, is the slot in the ignition switch is either worn or the pin/shroud that activates the spring loaded ignition switch is not thick enough to turn it with the key. I do not feel resistance with the key in the ignition cylinder when turning.

I am first going to build up the missing portion of the cast metal shroud with liquid steel. I can not determine the wear on the slot mechanism of the ignition switch but I may have to buy one.
edzakory is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-30-2007, 02:57 PM   #10
tangofox007
Web Wheeler
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 5,911
The problem occurred again. This time, the key would turn but not quite to the "start" position. So I went ahead and replaced the ignition/starter switch.

After disassembling the old switch, it was in about the same shape as the one that mecompco was kind enough to illustrate above. Mine showed symptoms of overheating on the exact same terminal. Any idea what might be causing things to get so hot? Maybe this is just a symptom of a larger electrical problem.

In any case, the switch feels nice and smooth now. The job was pretty simple; I took around two hours, taking my time. Difficult access was the only aggravation.

A special thanks to mecompo for going "above and beyond" in helping me get this problem fixed.
tangofox007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Suggested Threads





Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.