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Key cylinder problem on 1994 Ford Ranger

Key or cylinder problem on 1994 Ford Ranger, 4 cylinder, 2.3 engine, straight shift.

The key cylinder is loose. Sometimes when I turn the key on, nothing happens. No clicking, nothing.

Other times, the engine cranks, but doesn?t turn on.

Sometimes I can?t get the key out. Sometimes when I take the key out the door chimes when I open the door. It is as if I left the key in.

Everything works fine when I make sure the key and the chrome turner is aligned perfectly. When it gets stubborn and doesn?t kick in, I remove the key and turn it over (Ford has a two-sided key) and it may work or I use a different key. I carry two keys with me now incase one doesn?t work.

The battery is four years old. I had it checked and it tested like a new one. The original one lasted 11 years.

What is the cheapest way to fix the problem? Is there a danger of catching fire?

How long should a timing belt last? I keep cars about 13 years and 130,000 miles. I never had one go bad. The car dealer says to change it every 2 or 3 years. Why if I never had a problem. The 94 Ranger has 95,000 miles and is 15 years old. It is parked outside in North Carolina.

The serpentine belt looks new. No cracks or missing pieces. How long should it last? The truck works great. No repairs, just change the oil

Changing the lock cylinder is a very simple 10 minute job. Or if you wait till it breaks & the key wont turn it’s a major PITA to change.

Turn the key to run & insert a small screwdriver in the hole under the steering column to push a spring loaded pin out of the way & pull the lock cylinder out.

I think you’re on borrowed time with the timing belt, but i’m pretty sure the 2.3 is a non interference engine so no damage will be done when the belt breaks.

There are two parts to the ignition switch, the mechanical lock cylinder and the electric switch behind it. Sounds like the connection between the two parts is not always working the way it should.

I don’t have any first hand experience with the lock cylinder, but according to 87 Ranger’s post it’s fairly simple to remove.

A timing belt every two to three years? I’d stay FAR away from whoever told you that.

The maintenance schedule that came with the truck will tell you when to change the timing belt. It’s long overdue, and I’d suggest having it replaced.

The serpentine belt has already lasted much longer than you should expect, especially under the conditions you describe. When the timing belt is replaced it’s normal to install a new serpentine belt, too.