Key stuck, can't turn it back at all! Help.. - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old May 27th, 04, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys,
Here's my problem. Had to remove the linkage between my steering column and my transmission during the header install. I was told this wouldn't be a problem, but the other day, I got in to the car to start it and it wouldn't start. I turned the key a few times, and after a few tries it started. I thought, hmm, that's wierd.
Well, after I got to my destination, and tried to turn the car off, the key would not budge back at all.

So, I figured if I'd take apart the column I might be able to figure it out. So I removed my steering wheel, and my hub adapter, and can't get to where the key is. What should I do?

Thanks for the help.

Jon

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old May 27th, 04, 04:34 PM
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Grab the outer casing of the steering column with both hands where it goes into the dash (where the column shifter would be if it had one), rotate it counter clockwise till it stops. Turn your key to the off position and take your key out.

Without the interlock rod you won't be able to get the key out if the column rotates while your driving (and it will) and your backup lights wont won't work at all because the B/U light switch is on top of the column.

Mark Canning
1969 Indy Pace Car
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old May 28th, 04, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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Mark,
It's that easy? Just grap column, turn counter-clockwise, and that's it?

I'll give it a shot. Hope that does it.

Thanks,
Jon

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old May 28th, 04, 07:18 AM
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Should be, without the interlock rod the quadrant on the column can rotate. Then the column acts like the car is in gear and won't let you turn the key beyond run and you can't remove the key.

Mark Canning
1969 Indy Pace Car
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old May 28th, 04, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Matt,
Thanks! I'll give it a try tonite when I get off work.

Jon
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old May 28th, 04, 01:34 PM
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That's why most 69's with headers don't have backup lights - they're either disconnected at the column switch or the bulbs have been removed, and the interlock lever at the bottom of the column is wired all the way "up" to the booster bracket so they can get the key out without wrestling with the upper column shroud every time they want to shut the car off.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old May 29th, 04, 02:06 PM
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Just remember that with your shift bowl rotated all the way counterclockwise, you are now able to turn off your engine AND LOCK your steering wheel while you are traveling down the road.

GM devised the transmission/ignition interlock system specifically to prevent people from locking their steering wheel unless they were in PARK (automatic trans) or in REVERSE (manual trans).

Later, GM devised the finger inhibitor lever that demanded that you not only rotate the ignition key to OFF but you then had to use your finger to lift a small lever. Then you were able to rotate the ignition lock cylinder all the way to OFF-LOCK. This double action is also supposed to make it difficult to unintentionally lock the steering wheel
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old May 31st, 04, 04:59 AM
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The steering wheel lock on a 69 is interlocked to the ignition switch (key cylinder assembly) and not the transmission interlock linkage. You have to put the key in the off position for the steering wheel lock to activate. While it would technically be possible to do this with the shifter bowl rotated and tied in the full counter clockwise position while driving down the road (and I did it once at a drag stip in my AAR Cuda when the 6 pack carbs stuck open and I needed to shut the car down) it's not an everyday occurance.

Probably 30 percent of camaros on the road today are missing this linkage because people have added headers. How many people here are missing that linkage and have actually locked their steering wheel by accident while driving?

I would still suggest putting the linkage back on, or modifying it to fit the car with the headers installed, so that it works correctly. If you could design a reworked linkage rod that would clear headers you could probably make a fortune.

Mark Canning
1969 Indy Pace Car
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 04, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Okay all,
Thank you for the education.
Eventually, I might work with someone on modifying the linkage to work with headers.

BUT...

My problem persists. I must have spent a good three hours rotating the base of the steering column counter clockwise, and manually turning the linkage a-arm piece at the base of the column, under the hood, and still can not get my key to turn to the off position so that I can remove my ignition key.

At this point, do I need to remove the ignition switch all together? And if so, how do you do so on a 69. My 68 sure was alot easier to remove, but can't figure it on this car with the switch in the column.

Thanks so much.

Jon

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 04, 05:34 PM
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Jon,
Your problem may be more involved than just the backdrive system. Your ignition lock cylinder in the column head connects to a small plastic gear. That gear engages a small die cast rack that pushes and pulls on a rod that extends down under the dash to the ignition switch mounted on the steering column.

You could drop the steering column and remove the ignition switch from the column. Now you could determine if the key will rotate all the way to LOCK and OFF-LOCK. If it does, the problem was the switch itself. If it still binds, the problem is in the lock cylinder or in the plastic gear and rack.

The plastic gear or the rack could be broken. You didn't mention if you had a standard (non-adjustable) steering column or a tilt. Both columns have plastic gears and racks but they are different from each other.

I have written several papers that walk you through the disassembly and repair of the Saginaw steering columns. The papers can be found at www.corvettefaq.com/A-car.asp

The steering column head and lock cylinders on the GM A-car and F-car steering columns are nearly identical. So the A-car papers (either standard or tilt) should be most helpful. If you need a plastic gear, rack, ignition switch, or lock cylinder, all of these parts are still available from either GM dealers or from the automotive aftermarket.

The 1969 function locking, enerby absorbing steering columns were specifically designed to deter car thieves. By definition, this makes them more difficult to service. So it may take a bit more time and effort to disassemble one of these steering columns, but it is very much within the capabilities of a mechanically inclined owner. If you require additional assistance, help is only an eMail or a posting away.

[ 06-03-2004, 06:09 AM: Message edited by: JIML82 ]
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 3rd, 04, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Jim,
Thanks. I really do appreciate it. It seems like a whole lot of trouble to fix something that should be easy. I printed pages 1,2,and 3, and will take a look into fixing it this weekend. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, so it shouldn't be a problem to do. Parts should be easy to find, I live across the street from Classic Industries.
If it does turn out to be too combersome though, might me more efficient to just purchase an aftermarket column like an ididit.

Thanks again for all your insight and help.

Jon
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 04, 08:48 AM
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Jon,
Here is another thought. With the column still in the car, remove the steering wheel and the locking plate, pull the turn signal switch up and out enough to depress the lock cylinder latch. (Paper #1 is pretty complete on this.) Now, remove the lock cylinder.

With the lock cylinder in your hand, you should be able to smoothly rotate the key from START, RUN, OFF, all the way to OFF-LOCK. You should then be able to depress your key and the chrome ring so that you can continue to rotate to ACCESSORY. This will prove that your lock cylinder and ignition key are not the culprits.

If the key and lock cylinder is sticky, you might try some penetrating oil to loosen things up. Then apply a drop or two of synthetic motor oil to your ignition key to relubricate the lock cylinder. Lock cylinders are readily available from many sources.

Lastly, please refer to my comments at the end of this posting: https://www.camaros.net/forum/ultimat...c;f=7;t=006703
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 04, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by JIML82:

..you might try some penetrating oil to loosen things up.
That just sounds bad... [img]tongue.gif[/img]

Thanks, I'm going to try that first in hopes that will solve my problem.

Jon
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 04, 02:07 PM
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If you haven't figured it out already... that big sleeve you had to turn to get the key out is now your reverse lights switch
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