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I did some searching and still confused. My 69 camaro was a basic 6cyl. auto powerglide. Now has a 350/turbo350. When I got the car there was a factory console installed but I also remember seeing a mechanical rod to change the gears so I think at some point the car had the auto shifter on the column. Well after a 10+ years I went to put a new battery in only to get a few sparks and the car tried to start without a key in. I pulled steer whell off removed the tumbler and saw the white gear sector looked a little worn out. I installed a new tumbler from auto zone (the old was not GM original either) this one doesn't seem to grab the sector feels like its a little short same size as the old one. I then went to Pep boys they had same tumbler. I researched this a bit only to get more confused. Everything says make sure car is in park... My car has a B+M shifter console is gone. Any ideas or pics to show what I need to find on the steering column to move the selector to park? I will attach some pics. If I push hard I can get the tumbler to get to start and go back to run. The tumbler doesn't engage correctly though.
 

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The rod you think was the gear selector to change gears might be the lock-out rod assembly. Not gear selector. Was is at the base of the column near the steering box?

It sounds like the sector gear and rack gear are mis-adjusted. The sector gear moves the rack gear and rod down the column to engage the ignition switch (it's near your feet on top of the column). If they're not aligned properly, it will make it difficult to rotate the key.
The ignition switch also has adjustment up and down the column.

If you had to force the key, it's also possible the rack gear (forget the name) is bent. I had the exact same problem. It's aluminum or brass so it can be carefully straightened out if that's the case.

Here are Jim Shea's Steering Papers for the F Body: http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?cat=4
 

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x2 on the rod being the reverse lock out. 69 was the first year to incorporate this feature that the vehicle had to be in reverse in order to remove the key. The rods connected to original Muncie shift levers and the Factory Hurst units. Lots of folks disabled them and left the steering collar int he correct location. If those folks did not reroute the backup lights to a aftermarket switch off the base of the steering column the lights were on until the bulbs died.
 
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