Thanks all... I've got the lock plate\snap ring figured out. I am now an expert at installing\removing it several times over the period of half an hour.
Here's why.... I think I have something within the lock cylinder and\or ignition switch boogered up.
Is this picture showing the spring that returns the cylinder to RUN after the car starts? Am I correct in assuming it's what pulls the rack back by itself?
I had the whole thing together and was about to put the steering wheel on but remembered I better try the cylinder first. Good thing I did!
When I turned the cylinder to START, I had a hard time. I felt resistance as if I was stressing the ignition switch or something in the rack\sector gear. It didn't want to return by itself either. I had to force it.
That makes me think that either the ignition switch wasn't adjusted right (which is almost impossible to do because there's only 1/4" of play) or the rack\sector are wrong. I took the ignition switch loose from the column and it didn't help anything at all.
I know the rack and sector go together so that the last tooth on the rack and sector are just started. When the sector gear is in the OFF position, the tabs are in the correct orientation for the lock cylinder to engage it. The second picture shows how it sits in the OFF position.
So at that point the cylinder was stuck somewhere around RUN or just before shutting off so the key couldn't be removed. I had to pop it out of the column.
I've got it all apart for the 20th time. I'm stuck as to what could cause the resistance at the START position.
I just noticed that I cannot get the key to the ACC position because the brass rack is too far in. As I try to turn the key back, the top of the rack hits the slot in the collar and blocks it. I had to pry it up with a jewelers screwdriver to get it past the edge of the slot and THEN it goes into the ACC position. Is the rack broken off at the top or do I need to adjust how it and the sector are mated?