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Unread 11-13-2012, 08:07 PM   #1
ROTTEN
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Ignition lock cylinder hard to turn

My lock cylinder gets really hard to turn when it gets cold out. Sometimes I feel like its just going to break. It makes it really hard to make the actuating rod go all the way down so it can start. I don't want to jump a tooth or something so its not lined up.

Is there a way to lube the lock cylinder? My xj had the same issue until one day It rotated 360 degrees and nothing happened....

Its like this all year. There's really no spring back after it starts.

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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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We had a locksmith on here awhile back answering one of these. Yes you can lube it but he suggested to use something silicone based. NO WD-40 it will just get worse he says. So go to the parts house read a few labels and squirt away and see what happens.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
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Bleh. It seems like I gotta give it an extra push to get it to make contact .
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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:40 PM   #4
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At 18 years old you wonder how many times it has been turned. Mine is worn and I am just hoping for a few more years. I shot some motorcycle chain libe in and she has been a lot smother it silicone based. Best I got hope you find something to smooth it out.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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Ah true. My old xj starts by switches now. He turns the key to run. Flips the old "trans power" switch to power the starter and then hits the rear wiper washer switch to engage the starter. Starts then turns the starter power off. Genius. My father in law... also he boxed the frame and rebuilt all the flooring. Not bad for a free jeep. I scored a few points...I gave it to him
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Unread 11-14-2012, 04:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokerchief462 View Post
We had a locksmith on here awhile back answering one of these. Yes you can lube it but he suggested to use something silicone based. NO WD-40 it will just get worse he says. So go to the parts house read a few labels and squirt away and see what happens.
That was my thread about my key no longer working at all.... stupid solution but here is the reply from an expereinced liocksmith that might help (my problem was stupid, not the answer below):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rproject View Post
As a former locksmith for over 15 years, please allow me to shed some light here. Since you tried to turn the wheel to free up the locking pin inside the column and that did not allow the key to turn, it's probably not "steering wheel wrap up". Steering wheel wrap up is a common situation where the pin that prevents the steering wheel from turning without the ignition turned on, binds on the plate inside the column. Pulling the steering wheel one direction or the other makes this temporary problem disappear. What is more likely your situation is a failed ignition cylinder. Since you can easily pull the key out when the vehicle is running, the small, flat, brass, wafers within the cylinder are worn. Very worn. When they wear past a certain point, they no longer line up with the sidebar that keeps the cylinder locked and the cylinder will not turn. It can happen in an instant.

Luckily, the Jeep steering wheel is one of the easiest wheels to pull. Go to your local parts store and rent, borrow, whatever, a steering wheel puller and lock plate compression tool. Bring your Haynes or Chiltons manual along with you and pull the wheel. It should take under 1/2 hour to get the cylinder out. Take the cylinder to your local locksmith (or auto parts dealer) and buy a new ignition cylinder. Reverse the disassembly instructions from your Haynes/Chiltons and you'll be back up and running within an hour or two.

A word of caution: If you have a tilt wheel style column, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, tilt the column after removing the steering wheel and lock plate.

Oh, and please, PLEASE, PLEASE, NEVER EVER put WD-40 into a lock. It is the WORST thing you can put in a lock cylinder. When you lubricate your locks, please use a silicone or teflon based lubricant such as LPS, Tri-Flow, etc. (personally I swear by Tri-Flow).
Note bolded portion....
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Unread 11-14-2012, 06:04 AM   #7
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I am that locksmith, and to be honest, it warmed my heart a bit this morning as I read this post, that my words did not fall on deaf ears.

ROTTEN: Tell me, can you jiggle the steering wheel back-forth a couple degrees before trying to turn the key? If so, the lock pin is cleanly engaged. If not, the pin in the steering column is bound up on the lock plate. It's a very very common problem, my wife locks up the steering wheel almost every time she gets out of my car (she's not allowed behind the wheel of the Jeep - her choice, not mine). If the wheel will not move freely, it will be dead stopped to one direction and you'll be able to pull it (with a little force) to the other direction. It's called "steering wheel wrap up." The bound pin puts pressure on the lock cylinder. By all means, lubricate the lock with a high quality teflon or silicone spray, but also check if the wheel is bound up.
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Unread 11-14-2012, 08:40 AM   #8
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I have the same problem now that it's 20 degrees in the morning! I do not have the steering wheel wrap as mentioned, it's just very hard to turn the ignition switch. I just got a can of silicone spray for another issue and will use some at lunch time. Thanks Rproject and everyone else!!
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Unread 11-14-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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I never let my wheel lock. But I can jiggle it without locking it. I can turn the key back and turn it forward to run. Problem I'm getting is being able to turn it all the way forward to make contact to start it. It is really tight/hard to turn. Sometimes I really have to push the key to make contact
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:01 AM   #10
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OK, so steering wheel wrap up is not the issue. Good to know. Incidentally, do your turn signals shut off by themselves, or do you have to manually turn off either turn signal? When you say you can get it to turn back/forth, I'm assuming it's from the accessory position to the run position, but going all the way to start is your problem - yes?


Oh, and back on the lubrication topic; remember - less is more. It's not like you're trying to free up a frozen bolt with WD or PB.
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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For me, the turn signals do turn off by themselves so thats OK and the steering wheel locks with the key out so thats OK, it's just hard to turn the ignition switch is all.
I will lube it at lunch and report back. Thanks again!
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_in_rc View Post
For me, the turn signals do turn off by themselves so thats OK and the steering wheel locks with the key out so thats OK, it's just hard to turn the ignition switch is all.
I will lube it at lunch and report back. Thanks again!
The turn signal not turning off by itself is actually a problem. Either the turn signal cancelling cam is broken, or one of the cam springs are broken. If it's a spring, I have seem them slip out of position and get caught on the lock cylinder, or even worse, slip down the column and jam up the column.
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:39 AM   #13
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Yes on the turning question. My turn signals turn off after I turn.
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:42 AM   #14
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Also yes to the key question. Going all the way to start it is the problem. I noticed the turn signal is kinda loose
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Unread 11-14-2012, 10:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROTTEN View Post
Also yes to the key question.
OK, if your key turns freely back to accessory and forward to run, but has bind to the start position, the cylinder is not your problem. The issue is in the column.

Here's the page from the factory shop manual describing potential problems and solutions CLOSE to your issue.


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