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Thread: Key won't turn in ignition

  1. #1
    Kaysboat Kaysboat's Avatar
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    Default Key won't turn in ignition

    This is really weird. My key won't turn in the ignition of my 99 Grand Marquis. I tried jiggling the steering wheel, flipping the key over etc..., but it still won't go. The steering wheel lock works (as it's locked), key is in good shape, the battery is connected, lights come on etc..., key just won't turn.

    I changed the fuel filter today, and the car started up no problem after that, so I`m stumped.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. #2
    "In science it is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford 91grandmarquis's Avatar
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    Hmm my dad had that problem when he parked his truck on a sever incline, but it had something to do with it being in park and the pressure on the pin. Other than that I have no idea besides the unit being bad. I know our town car would start without the keys for a while.
    "Shakedown"- 1991 Grand Marquis GS Dual exhaust, Magnaflow xl turbos, Rear anti sway bar, Outlaw 1 wheels, 43k miles
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    Working with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair Nathan in MI's Avatar
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    It's possible the lock cylinder has failed. I had to replace mine recently for the same reason, and it's loads of fun because the key has to be in the Run/On position for the cylinder to pull out. The procedure is to turn the key on, then reach up into a small hole underneath the cylinder (with the bottom cover off of the steering column) with something small and pointy, like a scratch awl or similar tool, and push a little pin up in there, and then you can pull the cylinder out. I ended up just fiddling around with mine until it eventually turned, and then I could remove it.

    I know you said the key is in good shape, but do you have a spare key you can at least try? I found mine worked fine with my spare key after I had removed it, which made me think that perhaps the original key was just worn out. It's worth trying.

    2001 Ford Crown Victoria P71 - "The Fire Engine"
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    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    sounds like the lock cyl is giving up on you. I'd replace that before it fails totally, otherwise you'll have a hell of a time getting it out.

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    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan in MI View Post
    It's possible the lock cylinder has failed. I had to replace mine recently for the same reason, and it's loads of fun because the key has to be in the Run/On position for the cylinder to pull out.
    How did you end up getting that out of there without chiselling it out like I did mine?
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    Kaysboat Kaysboat's Avatar
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    I thought it may be the lock cylinder. I pulled out the shop manuals and had a look throught it. Sounds like I have to remove the steering wheel and drill it out. If I replace the ignition/lock cylinder I assume I'll need a new key, which I also assume will need to be programed by Ford. Is this the case?

  7. #7
    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    Programmed?


    And if you buy a new lock cylinder, it should come with a matching key - or if you score a used one, I would imagine a locksmith could key it however you want and provide a key to match just like they'd do with a Schlage deadbolt.
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    Working with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair Nathan in MI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaysboat View Post
    I thought it may be the lock cylinder. I pulled out the shop manuals and had a look throught it. Sounds like I have to remove the steering wheel and drill it out. If I replace the ignition/lock cylinder I assume I'll need a new key, which I also assume will need to be programed by Ford. Is this the case?
    Unless things changed significantly between 1999 and 2001, which I don't think they did (but I could be wrong), there should be no need to remove the steering wheel. I also don't think yours is new enough to have the transponder key, which means no programming necessary. Does your original key have a big fat plastic thing at the end, or is it more like just a metal key with a thin plastic coating? If it's big and fat, it's a transponder key. Otherwise, it's just a reg'lar ol' key.

    2001 Ford Crown Victoria P71 - "The Fire Engine"
    1985 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

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    "In science it is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford 91grandmarquis's Avatar
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    Those transponder keys aren't cheap hopefully you don't have one.
    "Shakedown"- 1991 Grand Marquis GS Dual exhaust, Magnaflow xl turbos, Rear anti sway bar, Outlaw 1 wheels, 43k miles
    1985 GMC 1500

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    Kaysboat Kaysboat's Avatar
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    Problem solved. My wheels were a bit sqewed, so the ignition locked up. I had to turn the wheel AND the key at the same time to unlock it. Thanks CAA!!, and thanks to all you guys for the tips.

    By the way, my key has the black plastic on it, so I'm pretty sure it's a transponder key.

  11. #11
    Working with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair Nathan in MI's Avatar
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    Hey, glad to hear you got it figured out. I didn't even think to recommend trying that, because when you said this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaysboat View Post
    I tried jiggling the steering wheel...
    I assumed you meant this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaysboat View Post
    I had to turn the wheel AND the key at the same time to unlock it.

    2001 Ford Crown Victoria P71 - "The Fire Engine"
    1985 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

  12. #12
    "In science it is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford 91grandmarquis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987cp View Post
    Programmed?

    The key has a chip that is read by the car somehow (How I do not know) anyway even if the teeth are correct the car will not start unless the chip matches, A new set of keys is like 100 bucks from the dealer, My grandmother wanted a spare made and thats what the ford garage quoted her for her torus.
    "Shakedown"- 1991 Grand Marquis GS Dual exhaust, Magnaflow xl turbos, Rear anti sway bar, Outlaw 1 wheels, 43k miles
    1985 GMC 1500

  13. #13
    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    Black plastic doesn't necessarily mean it has a transponder.
    Is there an X, T, or other letter stamped in the key below the plastic?

    Alex.

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    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91grandmarquis View Post
    The key has a chip that is read by the car somehow (How I do not know) anyway even if the teeth are correct the car will not start unless the chip matches, A new set of keys is like 100 bucks from the dealer, My grandmother wanted a spare made and thats what the ford garage quoted her for her torus.
    Good heavens! Are there specific years/models/submodels that have that? Sounds like an excellent feature to defeat/override. :nonono:
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    "In science it is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford 91grandmarquis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987cp View Post
    Good heavens! Are there specific years/models/submodels that have that? Sounds like an excellent feature to defeat/override. :nonono:
    I have no idea when they started and on what cars, maybe someone else does though. Not sure it can be overridden either, at least easily.
    "Shakedown"- 1991 Grand Marquis GS Dual exhaust, Magnaflow xl turbos, Rear anti sway bar, Outlaw 1 wheels, 43k miles
    1985 GMC 1500

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    Kaysboat Kaysboat's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=
    Is there an X, T, or other letter stamped in the key below the plastic?

    Alex.[/QUOTE]

    Ya, it sort of looks like a screwed up H

  17. #17
    Graham: Your source for car repair and smartassery. 91waggin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987cp View Post
    Good heavens! Are there specific years/models/submodels that have that? Sounds like an excellent feature to defeat/override. :nonono:
    Just about every car built after 2000-2001 has this. Good luck defeating it without professional car-thief equipment.
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
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    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    "Car-theif" equipment? I was thinking more like just removing the feature entirely and bypassing whatever interlock functionality it may have. My car only needs two wires to run, how about yours?
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  19. #19
    "In science it is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford 91grandmarquis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.forensicauto.net/id63.html
    One of the most significant features of the transponder system is the micro-transponder (transmitter-responder) that is embedded in the head of the ignition key. This allows a vital component of the electronic system to be removed from the vehicle by the driver along with the mechanical ignition key.

    The vehicle on-board components include a ring antenna (also known as an induction coil) located around the outer ignition lock, a transceiver (transmitter-receiver) adjacent to the ring antenna, and, depending on manufacturer, a Body Control Module (BCM) or Electronic Control Module (ECM), usually located in the interior dashboard.

    When the ignition key is inserted in the ignition lock keyway and rotated, the vehicle electronics and systems are energized. A signal is then sent through the transceiver and to the ring antenna. This signal is broadcast from the ring antenna to the transponder embedded in the head of the key. The key mounted transponder has no battery or independent power source and the transponder is energized by the electromagnetic field from the ring antenna. The transponder will then send a return signal back to the ring antenna which is processed through the system. What is essentially occurring is a by-directional radio frequency communication between the ignition key and steering column.

    If the vehicle systems are energized, and no vehicle specific properly programmed transponder is present, the signal being broadcast by the column mounted ring antenna will receive no reply. This will result in vehicle engine functions being disabled.

    The transponder system is considered a passive engine immobilizer system and requires no specific action on the part of the driver, other than key insertion and rotation to energize the vehicle.
    More info at http://www.forensicauto.net/id63.html

    From my understanding the only way to compromise it is to trick the ECU into thinking its getting a return signal, probably cost you more than a new set of keys, unless you are really good at re programming or modding ECUs
    Last edited by 91grandmarquis; 02-03-2010 at 06:55 PM.
    "Shakedown"- 1991 Grand Marquis GS Dual exhaust, Magnaflow xl turbos, Rear anti sway bar, Outlaw 1 wheels, 43k miles
    1985 GMC 1500

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