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Ignition switch problem

Hi every one. We have a 93 Grand marquis. For a while now sometimes when you take the key out of the ignition the alarm still goes off as if the key was still in it, but it’s not. A couple of days ago that happened so I jiggled the ignition to get it to turn off the alarm. When we got back in the car I couldn’t get the key all the way in the ignition , I had to keep moving the switch back and forth, finally I got it lined up and could start the car. We took it to the mechanic and he said it needs a cylinder and key. I asked if we could still use our key he said no but maybe. I said ok, can you get us a new key if we need it? He said no. I don’t really need any of this nonsense so I was wondering, the ignition switch is working ok now, it just needs to be lined up at a certain spot to get the key out. I really can’t afford the 200 dollars right now to fix it. My question is , has any one here had this problem and can I wait to get it fixed because the key is working ok for now. Thanks.

You probably need a replacement lock cylinder.

The replacement key may not work for the door locks or trunk lid.

But you keep the old key for those locks, and just use the new key to start and turn off the vehicle.


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I had keys not working quite right, went to the dealer and had a key cut by vin number $10, worked great, got 2 more and tossed the old keys. If It has a chip, you may need to program it, our 03 ford allowed up to 8 keys to be programmed, rt_m


You might well need a new key and lock cylinder, maybe a new ignition switch mechanism too. One thing you could try, you might get lucky, who knows: clean the key w/soap and water. Next take a pencil (I used one of those cheapo short pencils I get from a golf course or library as they have soft lead) and rub it on all the working parts of the key surfaces. That gives it a bit of a graphite lube and can free up sticking mechanisms inside the lock. That method has worked several times in freeing up my Corolla’s sticking ignition key.

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Thanks everyone for your replies, maybe it does just need to be greased. Our turbines on the roof where making a lot of noise so we had a guy spray some wd 40 on the turbines and they stopped making noise. Maybe things are sticking because they need to be greased.

WD 40 is not a lubricant so get ready to get up there again with some actual lube. It is not that big a deal to have a lock smith re-key the new cylinder to fit your existing key. I’ve had it done for house locks a number of times and only takes a few minutes-or you can just use the new key that comes with the lock. Of course re-keying is not free, nor is installing the lock cylinder if you don’t do it yourself.



Myth: WD-40® Multi-Use Product is not really a lubricant.

Fact: While the “W-D” in WD-40® stands for Water Displacement, WD-40® Multi-Use Product is a unique, special blend of lubricants. The product’s formulation also contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement and soil removal.

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I asked the mechanic if the new cylinder comes with a key he said no. I thought that sounded strange.

And here’s the reason why that new lock cylinder does NOT come with a key . . .

That lock cylinder will come with the tumblers, and the mechanic will have to code it to match YOUR key. It’s easier for Ford to stock inventory, and your key doesn’t have to change. In other words, your existing keys will work with the new lock cylinder, after the mechanic has coded it correctly

It’s a little tedious the first time, but it can be done efficiently and in a matter of several minutes. Instructions will come with the new lock cylinder, just in case your mechanic has never done this before. If he’s a halfway decent reader, he’ll get it

My boss, a former Ford master mechanic, showed me the first time. That was very helpful. All the other times, after that, I didn’t have to ask for help, and got it done pretty quickly.

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Thanks, I think I understand now, the mechanic did say he might be able to use the key we have but he wasn’t sure. Our car is a 93 , it doesn’t have a chip so when you say coded does that mean shaping the key to fit the new lock?

No . . . I mean shaping the lock cylinder to fit the existing key

The mechanic must arrange the correct tumblers . . . the new lock cylinder will come with a selection of several different sizes . . . in the correct order, to match your key

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ok thanks for letting me know, I sure hope the mechanic knows how to do it. The key is coming in and out ok now so we might wait until we can’t get the key in and out but I will go out and try our key a few more time to see if we really need it yet, 200 is a lot for us to put on our credit card.

I’d go with @Tester on this one. an independent shop could replace the lock cylinder for considerably less than the dealership’s price and using the old key for the trunk and doors with the new key for the ignition shouldn’t be much of an inconvenience. But then if the shop has a key machine they can cut a new key that is cut with one side to open the doors, etc and the other for the ignition. Most of my customers preferred a seperate key but a few liked the two sided key. I had a few who had me cut the top off their key to leave it in the ignition switch where it was unseen which is what I did on my own vehicles. Then all that is needed is a key to open the door. But that’s here in Mayberry II.

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You may not need a new lock cylinder, so you could use the same key. You may just need the ignition lock mechanism.


Thanks for your reply , I don’t think the mechanic knows for sure what is wrong yet because he didn’t open up anything yet, he just turned the key and said he thinks we need a cylinder and key. I guess he would have to open it up first to be sure. Or can you tell by just turning the key?

The trouble with older ignition locks and keys is they both wear out over time. Matching a new lock to an old key may work for a while but it is best to start with both of them new and not just a copy of the old worn key. Cut a new key using the key code. Just getting a new key cut may solve the issue or see if another spare key works better than the other does.


I guess the reason they supply the new lock cylinder w/a set of general purpose wafers that you configure prior to install is then it’s a universal part. No need to stock a bunch of different part numbers. And no problem to keep using the original key that matches the other locks. If the original key won’t fit the reconfigured lot b/c the original lock and key wore together, then you can always get a new key made to the original lock dimensions provided you have the key- identification numbers,

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You nailed it

Those are the exact reasons


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OP: I’d get it fixed now instead of waiting. There is a good possibility that it will fail such that you need to have the car towed.


yeah, I want to avoid that, as soon as I can afford it i’ll get it done