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Steering Column Repair/key lock cylinder /actuator rod issue


Hello I have a 1972 oldsmobile cutlass s and have a tilt steering colum. The issue started a few weeks ago when I'd start my car. The key would sometimes get stuck when cranking and keep turning the starter. So I did research and thought that it might be the ignition switch. The switch was the original one and looked tired but once I got the new one I then ran into another problem.  On the instructions for installing new switch I was to have the key lock cylinder turned to accessory. Well when I tried to turn the key back it would not budge. It only moves forward. Normally you turn the key forward and it hits the detents (car power, car running) but now it turns freely with out detent. The rod actuator still moves with the key when I turn forward and holds position. It is not loose and has not fallen out of place. My thought is that the lock cylinder is bad and needs replacing but just am not sure if that is the only issue to cause my problem or if I have a combination of things going on. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hello William:
The instructions for installing the switch are wrong.  You can install it in any position as long as you adjust it properly when done.  Installing it in ACC accomplishes that adjustment during an install, but it's not the only way to do it.
Once you take the switch off the column, the linkage will move freely without detents because those detent positions are all inside the switch.
If the lock cylinder does not rotate to the ACC position then it too is bad, but it's only necessary to replace if you want that position.  Most of the time, you can make it go to ACC if you push it in while rotating it back.  There is a small shelf built into the lock cylinder to prevent you from accidentally putting it in ACC when you shut off the car.  Over time, that small shelf becomes a large edge that makes it difficult to overcome, but you could work the lock back and forth so that ACC is once again obtainable.
I hope that addresses all your questions.
Put your new switch in, adjust it and then work the key should be fine


Steering Column Repair

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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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