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Discussion Starter #1
Well my ignition switch is becoming more and more difficult to turn.
Want to take care of it before it freezes up completely.
After doing a brief research of the topic on the forums, it looks like it could be anything from the lock needing lubrication, a lock cylinder replacement, or the key wearing out. I have a spare key at home and will try that later. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

Bret
 

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Try using some of this first:


Amazon.com: Lock-Ease Graphite Lock Fluid (3.4 oz.): Everything Else



If it's still difficult to turn, you may have to take apart your ignition housing and clean and lubricate the parts inside. There's some gears that operate the ignition lock feature that is supposed to require the gear lever to be in reverse before the key can be taken out. These parts might need to be taken out and lubricated. Actually, I did all of this last night, and mine works like new. I even took apart the ignition switch itself and cleaned/ lubricated it. If you've never done this before, you'll see how the parts fit together, but give yourself a weekend.

You'll need to remove the passenger seat (for left hand drive cars) at minimum. If it were me, I would take out the carpet and under-carpet-padding on the passenger side, otherwise this makes removal of the parts much more difficult.
 

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Removal of the passenger seat and most of the parts requires a set of torx bits, including the large one to remove the seats.


The metal plate on top can only be removed when the three screws on the bottom of the unit are removed. The three nuts on top cannot be turned. So you'll need to remove the whole unit to get to those three screws (they are phillips screws).

My photos show the shifter/ignition housing installed in the car. I made a simple modification that allows for servicing the components without having to remove the housing in the future for repairs. I put washers on these nuts so they can be unscrewed with vicegrips. The washers keep the nuts elevated so the ridges don't prevent them from turning. The photo shows one of the nuts without an added washer. You can see how they would otherwise lock themselves in place.





Remove the shift lever. There are three screws holding it to the housing.

Then remove the three triangular shaped nuts holding the entire shifter/ignition housing to the car. I use a nail set and a hammer to spin those off. Also unplug the ignition switch wires(on top) and the two reverse wire connectors (on the driver side). Then rotate the housing so the large white plastic piece is on the passenger side. Remove the two torx screws and that large white plastic piece. Then you will have the housing removed from the car.



Now you need to remove the three screws on the bottom of the housing. A plate on the top (around the ignition switch) and a plate on the bottom will be removed.


Because of my modification, I no longer have to remove the housing from the car anymore to service the components. This is a big deal because the interior such as the seats and carpet make removal of the shifter/ignition housing nearly impossible.


Unscrew the two phillips screws holding down the ignition switch. There are three gears which operate the ignition switch and reverse lock. Two of these gears can be removed for cleaning: the ignition switch gear and the reverse lock gear. Don't try to remove the ignition barrel gear.

I don't like reverse lock (which requires you to put the shifter in reverse before removing the key...unless it's worn out like on many cars). So I removed the reverse lock gear and obviously its attached lever and spring. It's all very simple how it works. To get the gears out, use a screw driver to lever out the small ring (like a circlip). They're located on the bottom of the housing. There was old sticky grease on the gears and the shaft on which the gears turn. I used moly grease for all moving parts upon reassembly.

The reverse lock gear laying in its approximate position:



The reverse lock gear removed:




(optional) I also took apart the ignition switch, but I don't have any photos of that. Mine moves more smoothly now.

When reassembling, I used hot glue for the bottom plate and those long screws of the housing. Then finished it with washers on the nuts on top. Actually, I left out one of those long screws. It was interfering with the part of the shifter rod that extends towards the reverse lock switch. There was extensive evidence that it was grinding down that one screw.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, thanks 900 for the extensive and detailed write up. I applied a little graphite powder and that helped significantly but movement is still not %100. I will get some lock ease and try that as I imagine the liquid agent allows it to penetrate deeper. If I still need to get in there and clean it up I now have the road map to do it so big thanks for that.

Travis thanks for the suggestion on the custom driver for the tri nuts and good to know you have spare parts, ill keep that in mind but hopefully I won't need it.

Thanks everybody,

Bret
 

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You can throw away the stupid triangular nuts and replace them with standard 1/4" USS nuts from your hardware store. You can leave the top cover off too.
 

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900Power said: "I don't like reverse lock (which requires you to put the shifter in reverse before removing the key...unless it's worn out like on many cars). So I removed the reverse lock gear and obviously its attached lever and spring. It's all very simple how it works. To get the gears out, use a screw driver to lever out the small ring (like a circlip). They're located on the bottom of the housing."

Always wondered why mine doesn't care whether it's in reverse or not. Locks in any gear or neutral. I've never opened it up. It's either worn out, or some PO disabled it like 900Power did. My ignition switch is worn, but working.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok so even after graphite powder and some silicone spray the switch is still getting harder to turn. It's time to get in there and lubricate the gears. After reviewing the procedure it looks like removing the carpet will be the most time consuming step. Is it at all possible to get to the triangular nuts and remove the gear lever housing without removing the carpet?
 

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You have the exact same car as me.

You shouldn't have to remove the carpet. On my car there is a big enough cutaway to remove it. You have to remove the black plastic thing. Two screws in the back under the rear ashtray is all that is securing that piece. Plus two screws under the shift boot.

You could always make a few cuts if you have to, they will be hidden under the plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Jim - thanks for your reply. Good news about not having to remove seat and carpet, but as for fixing the problem - is there more to it than 900power describes?

I'm expecting to have to remove the gears from the shift lever housing (probably do away with the reverse lock gear), clean and grease everything, remove the ignition lock barrel - clean & lubricate, then reassemble everything.

are there more steps to it than that, or did you typically find that parts were worn out and needed to be replaced?

Thanks
Bret
 

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It would be unusual if it didn't need at least one new part.
Most people don't know how to disassemble and reassemble the ignition lock cylinder, and they do wear out. Maybe you can fix a balky ignition switch, I've always replaced them. If you find a broken hairspring, that's your problem.

The gears have to mesh exactly right (in time). There's an illustration in the Service Manual in the stickies; section 4; Transmission Control. Make sure the switch is on the 'On' position when you reassemble or you could find you're locked out of reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow Ok, sounds a little more treacherous than I originally thought. I see that eEuroparts sells replacement lock cylinders (back-ordered at the moment) and ignition lock gear sets. I don't mind buying replacement parts and it would be good to have parts on hand in case anything is broken/worn-out. That said, it does appear that there are some pit-falls in the process if you're not careful (meshing gears, switch in 'on' position). I'll definitely study the service manual. Thanks for the tips. If you have any more advice or suggestions, I'm all ears.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm in the process of removing the shift lever housing. Have the rear and front center consoles off. Carpet on passenger side pulled back. Having trouble removing the ventilation air duct. Service manual on p432-2 says to simply remove the duct after folding back carpet. But after removing the torx screws, it seems like the piece the duct fastens to needs to be removed first as the duct can't simply be pulled down and then lifted off. Is it necessary to remove the knee bolster in order to remove the duct?
 

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Don't remove the knee bolster for this.

On later cars, such as yours, there are two duct extensions that plug into that large ventilation duct. The extensions are located under the front seats. The large ventilation duct probably can't be removed without removing the extensions. Look under the front seats and you will see the extensions peeking through the carpet.

I think you'll have to remove the front seats, then slide the extensions back. Without removal of the carpet under the seats, the extensions won't be able to slide back. The extensions are located under a metal bracket thing, so they're really solidly held in place and have to be slid back for removal, which is easy if you have the font seats out. Each seat has 4 bolts, and a large torx bit is needed for their removal. Don't forget to unplug the electrical connectors for the heated seats.
 
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