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Is there any way to free-up an intermittently-stubborn ignition lock cylinder? Steering wheel is not locked, it is in Park, the thing senses that the door is open with a key in the ign., but key will not turn to start engine. Sometimes when it does this I'll jiggle the key &/or jab it in a little harder and it will turn and start. I have used WD-40 and graphite(worked once). Any ideas?


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Location: Oregon
The key has a series of cuts in the key. when you insert the key into the lock, it runs through a bunch of spring loaded tumblers that follow the edge of the key. When the key is all the way in and all the tumblers match the cuts in the key, it allows you to turn the ignition switch. Every time you insert the key it wears a little bit. the Key wears and the tumblers wear. After a while the sharp points on the key are gone. The straight cuts on the tumblers start to get oval. Eventually, the tumblers won't match up to what the lock requires so you can turn the lock.

You could try another key, if you have one, that is not worn down as much. you can have the lock tumblers replaced and a new key cut with the same settings. you can get a new lock and tumbler assembly. ( a new replacement lock and tumbler will come with new keys that probably won't match your doors so you will still need your old key for the doors and the new keys for the ignition)


   
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This is what works for me, I tap the end of the key gently but firmly with my "window breaking safety hammer" or you could use a regular hammer very gently, it works every time. I need a new ignition but the van is old and has well over 200000 on it so...........


   
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93 dodge 1 ton 4wd. after sitting for 8 days unused in rainy weather, it now wont start. The "wait to start" light and others on dash don't come on. with key in run position, the only thing that works is the windows(dome and headlights work, and don't dim when working windows). turn signals don't work(but hazards do). really, nothing happens when key is turned-no clicking. do I change the obvious ignition switch, or is there anything else to check first. never gave hint of a problem before.


   
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Location: Oregon
I would check out the power to your ignition switch.

check for power on the big red wire at the ignition switch. If gets it's power from the orange fusible link under the hood. many times the fusible will burn out and shut down power to the ignition switch. The insulation might still be intact but if you pull on the orange fusible link and stretches then it's burned up inside the insulation. Cut it out and replace with a new piece of fusible link. DON'T USE REGULAR WIRE. USE FUSIBLE LINK TO PREVENT A POSSIBLE FIRE.


   
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Run, don't walk to your nearest O'reilly, Autozone, etc and get a replacement cylinder for that thing! Otherwise it's going to lock up on you one day and then you'll either need a locksmith or to destroy the cylinder to get it out. With it working it's easy. Take the steering column covers off and follow the instructions included with the cylinder. You'll end up with a different key but that much easier that dealing with the high cost of a locksmith. Or you could take the cylinder out and to a locksmith and have him rebuild it to fit the key code your van came with. More expensive that a new lock cylinder but still cheaper than a service call.


   
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