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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well the car is stuck in the driveway, good thing it turned and got me home from work. So suddenly my key will not turn at all. I tried lube in the cylindar and then cleaing it out with carb spray, but nothing. Will I be able to get the tumbler assembley out of there with it stuck in far left position? Is it possible to take it apart and find the problem once its out? Anyone actually fix one of these before? I really cant afford a new one, what are my chances?

Thanks as always,
Mike
 

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Try the other key.

Something else you can also do is just take it out, and insert it again with a little more downward force (not force to turn it, just a little more to push it in).

I think you may have to take it out, and to a locksmith though. I don't know of anyone who has actually fixed it if it will not turn.

Using a product like Lock-Ease, with graphite can improve it for a while, but in the end, you replace it or have it fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks, I tried all that and more with no luck. Looks like its coming out one way or another this weekend. Think ill blast it clean with brake cleaner, then look into how it all works. Time to become a locksmith! This otta be interesting.
 

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I had the similar when I when to use the second key - I had to fiddle with it some some time.

This is the downside of having the key lock mechanism located where it is - too much dirt, lint, old oil, new oil, graphite, Coca-Cola, key fragments and debris find their way into the lock, and never leave.....

Man should study the properties and dynamics of dirt !

Maybe an ultra powerful vacuum could be employed, in conjunction with powerful solvents(carb cleaner is too weak)....
I'd use the services of an experienced locksmith.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ill get it out this weekend and go at with some more powerful stuff, maybe even a soaking if need be. If that doesnt work, then Ill try finding a locksmith. Something is definetely not springing back like it used to when i take the key out. It definetely slides in and out much easier than before, of course it is filled with oil now. I'll let you know if I am victorious.
 

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Saab should use an iron key and a push button start function. This is old, very old technology..

I wonder if they have any voice in this ? or anything???

A GM design is probably good for an "industry standard" of 100K , but they should realize that this no longer cuts it .. GM's troubles are that their decision makers (the powers that are) live in an ivory tower, their chauffeurs and minions handle the "lowly tasks"...
And GMs problems are America's problems...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Designed obselescence is truly a terrible policy for the consumer. Unless you just don't pay attention to anything around you these days, its pretty obvious that things can be built to last much longer and on a predictable and repeatable basis.

I would certainly figure out how to install a button myself if I can't fix this, but Im hoping to sell the car and move fairly soon, so a working key is kinda important...unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Has anyone ever actually gotten the tumbler of of its housing? I have the whole thing out, but I think the tumbler will not slide out because i cannot turn the key...nice huh. I was thinking I could pull the whole assembly out of a junk with a key, then cut my housing off, find what is wrong, fix it if possible and then place it back in the new housing. Hopefully if a spring or something is broken, i can get it off the used one. Anyone know if this is possible?
 

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mferioli said:
...I think the tumbler will not slide out because i cannot turn the key...
I believe that is correct. There is an old thread here somewhere, describing how to take it apart without destroying the whole thing. Aside from that one person, I believe a locksmith or a dealer are the main options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Im back with the problem solved, here is the deal.

Remeber the symptoms were that one morning the key got a little stuck when trying to start the car, then that evening it would not turn at all. There was no gooey/slugish feel to the mechanism, only a sudden locked feeling.

Ok so I removed then entire ignition assembly from the console, this is not hard to do at all, it only requires puilling apart the dash and console and unbolting the gear selector. I'd say it takes about half an hour or so to get the mechanism out.

The actual pin/tumbler assembly is encased in a aluminum housing and can only be removed but turning the key to a specific spot and then depressing a little spring loaded button on the side of the case. If the key turns this is easy. My key was not wanting to turn at all.....until suddenly after lots of random banging and turning of the key...it turns!! :cheesy: Find the right spot, depress the little button thing and the tumbler pulls right out.

The tumbler itself is then inside another housing which has to be taken apart to fix this problem. There is a white plastic cap with a spring below it of course, remove this cap and spring to get to the end tumbler shaft. There is a spring loaded pin in the end of the shaft, depress the pin and turn the shaft until you can access the pin and pull it out (remember, spring loaded). At this point the internals should come out. Keep the key in while doing this, otherwise you the little pins and their tiny springs could fall out.

Now that its out I see the problem, worn pins! The pins are just not depressing enough anymore and are essentially keeping the tumbler in the locked mode. They should be flush with the tumbler barrel when the key is in, they all were sticking up at least a little. My solution was to grind the down the tops of these pins so that the tumbler can freely turn again when the key is in. This of course will not last forever as the pins will continue to wear, and they won't expand as much as they used to (reducing security, but not by much). The pins are coded and could theoretically be replaced if you could get new ones (doubtful).

Everything works great now, lets hope the wearing goes at same pace as before, if so I should get anothet 150,000 before the pins stick up again. I hope this helps someone in the future, I surely will not be the only one that this happens too. Also I have read that a factory matched replacement can be 270$ :eek: , ouch I'm not going that route.

Later,
Mike
 

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Congratulations!

This is the first time I remember anyone posting a DIY fix for this, without taking the lock to a locksmith!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got lucky that my key turned one more time. If it didn't I would have then had two options, one was a locksmith (this would be difficult for an ametuer lock picker) and two the junk yard. I was going to find a used one with a key, pull it apart, then cut the housings off my tumbler, fix it and use the used housing so that I could keep my key and not have two keys. Or you could just have two keys, which would be fine since you could just use the keyless entry for the doors.
 

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Thanks, Mike

This is now a favorite, a man never knows ,not if but when, this will happen to another....
And think of those with a 300,000 mile 20 year old 900- IMO, this is guaranteed..to occur.

To me, twice, the Mercedes and the VW.

The VW hatch lock tumbler housing becomes clogged with exhaust soot; to remove and clean is rather intricate, as you know, but its far easier than disassembling half the cars interior to access the key switch..
I think a locksmith would charge $100 to do the tumblers AFTER the unit is removed, this task would be another 1 to 2 hours at the dealer, or a shop.

DIY is a wonderful concept...

As PM(preventitive maintenance), another good concept, I use a little Lock-Ease on occasion.
 

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I had a similar problem with the lock cylinder. I too had to take apart the dash and console area. You made it sound too easy to take out all that stuff! I had a hell of a time. Mine works now also, but it was a pain in the butt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sorry I made it sound too easy. Maybe i have just taken the console apart too many times and it just seems easy. Not sure if thats a good thing or not. Glad you got yours working too.
 

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it only requires puilling apart the dash and console and unbolting the gear selector.
Car: 1997 Saab 900SE Turbo

After the 4 bolts are removed from the gear selector, how does one disengage the selector box from the rod/pipe that goes off to the gearing? I've done this 5 years ago on a 1987 Saab 900 and at this point I recall turning the gear selector to the side and disengaging the connection. I cannot seem to do this with this box. As shown in the picture below, I have made it down to the selector box fairly easily and am now faced with removing the box... trying not to force anything.



I've been taking pictures while I disassemble the parts and I have the posted on my Flickr account for reference if anyone else might find them helpful:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rabbibob/sets/72157617047086636/
 

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I've had this problem for years in my 280zx. Spray it with PB Blasted and then just mess with the key pulling it in and out and turning it. Always works on my old Z. Doesn't mean it will work on our "advanced" technology. At least compared to a Datsun anyway.
 

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That was it. Took about 10 minutes tops to pop the plastic plug, insert the l-wrench, loosen the 13mm bolt approx 4 turns and then remove the entire assembly.

Thanks EW.
 
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