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Steering Column Repair/key switch removal


1983 F350 diesel, 4x4 Manual transmission.Not tilt steering, no air bag. Key is in switch, cannot turn key, steering wheel is off. I have dropped the column & disconnected the rod from key switch to the switch under dash on steering column. I still cannot get key to turn. How do I remove the key switch so that I can replace it?

Hi Dug:
If the lock cylinder will not turn or you have lost the key you will have to force and break the lock out without damaging the housing.  Once this is done you will need a new lock cylinder & keys to install because we are going to break the old lock into 2 pieces. This takes a lot of effort but can be done.   
With the wheel removed, you should be able to see the small 3/16 hole on the bottom side of the lock cylinder housing.  Inside that hole is the release pin for the lock cylinder. The problem is that the release pin will only go in once the key is in the "on" position. You will have to take a 1/8 punch and drive that pin into the lock cylinder, breaking both the lock cylinder and a locking tab deeper inside the lock (one you can't see yet).  When you do this correctly and successfully, the head of the lock will fly off first and then the lock itself will actually pop out about 1/2-3/4 inch. You can then slide the rest of it all the way out (sometimes you need to help pry it out). Now, looking inside the hole you will see the tip of the lock cylinder still stuck inside the gear. Once again, this little piece and the ignition gears have to be turned to the "on" position before it will come out.

I hope that helps

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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