Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2002 Ford F-150 stuck in park and will not start

My 4WD 5.4L 2002 F-150 needed its windshield replaced. The Glass techs said they could do it in my driveway if I backed the truck up about 4 feet to give them room to work. I did so, windshield replaced and a couple of hours later went to reposition truck in driveway. Truck now will not start. Key will not move in ignition cylinder. Tried jiggling Gear shift lever to make sure it was in park: lever moves but stays in the park position. Tried moving steering wheel to see if interlock device not connected: wheel will move approximately 2 inches each way but appears to be in lock mode. Tried moving wheel and lever at same time: still key will not turn, remains in lock position. Power appears to be flowing from battery as cab lights, horn, headlights and brake lights work even though ignition is in lock position. Inspected fuse panel in cab and pertinent fuses check OK.( I did not see where relays in cab fuse panel had any bearing on this problem). Tried rocking the truck back and forth (not easy) and the same results: key will not turn ignition cylinder. Went and got the two spare keys for the truck and tried them in the ignition switch; same result, ignition cylinder refuses to budge. Unhooked battery for ten minutes (both positive and negative terminals); restored power: same result. I have not inspected the under the hood fuse panel but I guess that is next, Presently, I have the battery unhooked and will leave it so overnight. This truck does not have a security system beyond that which was basic for a 2002 F-150 and neither the ignition switch, the gearshift lever nor the brake switch have ever given me a problem; as a matter of fact, the truck has never given me a minute of trouble, save for having a windshield replaced. Is it possible/probable for an ignition switch to go without warning, or perhaps it is a combination of problems? Hate to go replacing parts, especially the ignition switch, unless I have confidence that is the problem. I am open to suggestions.

I wonder if it could be a faulty brake switch. This switch often controls both the ability to start and to shift out of Park.

Try stomping on the brake pedal repeatedly to see if anything good happens. If you have a wiring diagram of your F150 you might even try shorting out the switch’s wires to see if this can get results.

I think SteveF is correct about what he stated. There may be a safety solenoid that is controlled by the brake switch which allows the ignition switch to be turned when the brake pedal is depressed.

I assumed that since the brake lights came on when I depressed the brake pedal, the switch was operating normally, but that may not be the case. I’ll add that to the list of things I plan to work on today and keep you posted. Thanks for the input. Any other suggestions from Truck Psychics and Ford Swamis?

I doubt there’s anything wrong with the electrical system, brake switches, or too much of anything apart from the ignition itself. If you can’t get the key to turn, that there is the problem.

I can’t come up with anything the windshield replacement guys might have done that would interfere with it, so I doubt it’s related. Unfortunate timing, but not related.

I’ve heard once about a part that can fail internal to the switch. It’s possible it may turn again for you, but I wouldn’t trust it if it does. You’ll want to replace it. If you can get it to turn the once, you can get the old cylinder out and get a locksmith to key a replacement cylinder for you to the old key. I think that whole process will run about $150 or so.

Good luck,