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Steering Column Repair/'92 Ford Explorer XLT starts and runs great UNTIL YOU RELEASE THE KEY


QUESTION: My 1992 Ford Explorer XLT (4.0L V6, automatic, tilt wheel) starts and runs, but when the key is released and springs back to "run" position, the engine dies.

While holding the key between "start" and "run", the engine runs but the electrics (blower motor, wipers) don't work.

I replaced the IGNITION SWITCH, but that changed nothing.

Could it be the IGNITION ACTUATOR ROD? I tried several times to adjust the switch position before tightening it down, but nothing made a difference. Once the key is released, the engine dies...but the electrics come on.

What might cause this, what might fix it?

ANSWER: Hi Michael:

It certainly sounds like an ignition switch problem.  The rod or the adjustment will not cause this problem. It's electrical.  I attempted to research your vehicle to see if it has an antitheft system but was unable to confirm or deny it.  If you do, that would cause it also.  Finally, I believe you have a fuel cutoff inertia switch in the right front passenger area, on the passenger side of the transmission hump, on the toeboard (firewall) under the edge of the carpet.  If that has tripped, then it will prevent the vehicle from running as you describe.  To remedy that , simply push the reset button on the cutoff and you should be fine.

I hope all this helps

Good luck

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QUESTION: THANKS, Douglas, for your response.

I found the fuel cutoff inertia switch, as you described, and it was in operating position. Just to be sure, I popped it and then tried to start the vehicle. It did not start. When I pushed the button back into position, the engine again started ... but, again, when the key is released, the engine dies.

I do not know if the Explorer has an antitheft system and don't know how to find out or what to do to disable it, but will look into that.

Check your fuses under the hood.  Maybe the old switch popped an ignition circuit fuse.
That's about all we can do over the internet.  I wish you well.
Please let me know if that is the problem or you do find another solution so I can pass that on to others in the future

Good luck

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Douglas Gan


My specialties are stolen vehicles, steering column and ignition locks repair, airbag service and installation and diagnosis. My work includes both domestic (USA) vehicles and foreign designs.


30 years owning a company that specializes in steering columns, ignition & airbag related problems

GM certified, ASE certified, 4 yrs college, Mech Tech degree
I own multiple auto repair companies and can help you professionally through any of our websites at: ---- we stock many older steering column parts and can rebuild your column if you ship it to us --- we sell airbag replacement information (no parts) -- we perform investigations for many types of vehicle claims
Please feel free to contact us through any of our websites for more information or help

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