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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about buying a 99 9-5 where the ignition was tampered with and the current owner is unable to start it. From what I have seen here it's basically a mechanical tumbler that accepts the key and it turns the electric switch below it. It possibly has a ring that might read the key ? The owner has two keys . How hard is it to replace the electrical portion of the switch ? Can I just replace all three components from a parts car and fire it up ? I searched but didn't see any results on the electrical switch replacement. Is the key cylinder individually keyed or can I get a used one and swap it out or have a locksmith key it to match existing keys ? I have a 08 so I'm familiar with the 9-5 but not too well versed on the ignition portion.
 

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The key cylinder is relatively easy to extract and replace. A few minutes work. The electric ignition switch unit below is of course made deliberately difficult to get to, the centre console has to come off, and likely one of the seats, to give access below the aluminium casting the switch lives under. A look at the parts diagram


shows the location. Its number 57
 

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What exactly is the problem?

Is the key not turning?

Is the key turning, but SID says KEY NOT ACCEPTED?

Or key turns, no SID message, but engine doesn't crank?

Solution to each of these would be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have not seen the car yet, just going off what I am getting from the owner. I'll be taking a look later this week. I'm aware of the "key not accepted" scenerio, just looking at the solution for a possible key cylinder, transponder ring and ignition switch replacement scenerio due to the information I have from the current owner.
 

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Well, it really depends on how it was "tampered with".

It's fairly tedious to get at the ignition switch itself. The key barrel pops out easily sometimes, and apparently refuses to many another time. Whereas the key RFID antenna is easy to pull off. So what was done?

Without knowing what was tampered with and how, our suggestions are going to be too generic to be any sort of guide.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was more interested in the procedure or a tutorial in ignition switch replacement. IF I pick up the car my plan was to source a transponder ring, cylinder and ignition switch at a junk yard and have it on hand. My understanding is the rfid/transponder ring works with the anti theft and when a matching key is recognized the ignition system is powered and the key rotation in the cylinder and ignition switch closes the contacts to allowing ignition.
 

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Like I said, not knowing what's going on, you are guessing.

A junkyard key/cylinder won't start the car, because the TWICE won't recognize the key. Being a '99, it's likely that it does not have the all-in-one remotes, so you can't transfer the remote module to the junkyard key (assuming the junkyard key has an all-in-one head).

Of course you could always try holding the old key in the transponder ring somewhere off to the side and use the new key/barrel. That might work.....or it might not.

You could also try using the "unlock" remote trick if it's KEY NOT ACCEPTED....assuming there's a remote that works.

As pointed above, if they have buggered up the cylinder, they won't have gotten at the ignition switch. If they got at the ignition switch, then the key cylinder should be out of the way anyway (and working, because you are int a whole world of pain if you can't turn it so as to remove it).

Why don't you ask them what the heck is going on? Get a picture and a better description.
  • Does the key turn in the ignition?
  • If it turns, can it power up the car?
  • Are there any messages on the SID?
And get a picture of the key area.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the information. I haven't received very informative answers from the owner. I will have a better idea after taking a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Went to take a look tonight and after fiddling with the key for awhile I was able to get it to turn and start by jumping it. The owner was a young guy who just wants it gone so I'll be picking up a fairly clean 00 sedan with 168k for $500(he had advertised it for $500 stating it wouldn't start). There was a previous shopper that apparently messed with the key for 20 minutes and couldn't get it to turn. It might need a battery, only a few years old but it's been sitting for 4 months and has virtually no records. From what the kid told me it has a recent fuel pump and serpentine belt. It actually drive pretty well for being 20 years old and 167k.
 

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Sounds like a key cylinder removal and inspection in the near future. Once they start sticking, you can find yourself away from home and the cylinder simply won't turn. Maybe you can't get it started, or maybe you can't get the key out!

If the cylinder has physical wear, then it needs to be replaced, as they are not really fixable. It's possible to rekey a good cylinder to match your old cylinder, but it's not for the fumble-fingered and those prone to lose little springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Is there any way to physically inspect for wear other than the not turning symptom ? My plan is to remove, clean by soaking it down with break cleaner, dry then flood it with wd40, then clean again finishing with a bit of lithium spray. I am trying to avoid pulling the whole cylinder apart initially.
 

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When you have the cylinder out, look at the spring-loaded pin at the bottom of the turning part. It tends to wear a groove in the outer cylinder.

You do have to pull the nylon cap off to take a look. Don't let the spring under the cap vanish into thin air.

Beyond that, the wafers can wear and not allow the cylinder to turn. Removing the offending ones can sometimes be the only option.

I don't know that you can really clean and re-lubricate the cylinder without at least taking the inner cylinder out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
When you have the cylinder out, look at the spring-loaded pin at the bottom of the turning part. It tends to wear a groove in the outer cylinder.

You do have to pull the nylon cap off to take a look. Don't let the spring under the cap vanish into thin air.

Beyond that, the wafers can wear and not allow the cylinder to turn. Removing the offending ones can sometimes be the only option.

I don't know that you can really clean and re-lubricate the cylinder without at least taking the inner cylinder out.
Thanks for the insight on that. I'll take a close look at how it behaves after a thorough cleaning. If I'm understanding correctly the small brass pins wear causing the cylinder to not turn when the key is inserted ? I have seen videos of people rebuilding the cylinders so that fine handed assembly might be in my future. Would this be something a lock smith might do where they have the available new pins or are they a Saab specific item ?
 

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The wafers are only one possibility why the cylinder isn't turning.

If the cylinder is that worn, there are probably other issues. I successfully transplanted my 9-5's wafers into a newer and better working assembly. That's a later design and different cylinder. On my NG900 which has the same cylinder as an early 9-5, I transplanted the wafers but one set of them would not work. I left them out.

If it comes to that, I'd get a new cylinder from Orio rather than seeing what a locksmith might be able to do. The wafers are probably some Saab part made by reindeer herders in northern Finland, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I went to buy the car tonight and it was completely dead, no power, lights, dash, nothing. I hooked up jumper cables as I did last night and let it wait about 15 minutes and nothing. Not even dash lights. Only thing that I saw was a few digits on the dash for about 15 seconds and the head light relay clicking constantly. I didn't buy it , the owner is ready to take $250 but even for that I need to have some direction before I pull the trigger. Could this be a sign of the tumbler sticking draining an already bad battery to death and not able to take a jump ? Is the light relay clicking a sign of the anti theft system being wacko ?
I'm looking for some possible issues and if it's something a shadetree guy can tackle ?
 

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I think you asked this question elsewhere. The key cylinder may be sticking. Combine with an old or abused battery, and this is expected. Considering that you got the car to start and run before, I don't think it's the end of the world.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The car was sold to someone else. The complete loss of electrical tripped me up. I think it was probably just a completely dead battery needing an ignition switch. Still on the hunt for an old 9-5 that needs some minor work as an extra car.
 
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