97 ford explorer key won't turn

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Old 07-23-09, 01:44 PM
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97 ford explorer key won't turn

the key won't turn nor will the steering wheel. Does anyone know why this would happen and How to fix it?
 
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Old 07-23-09, 03:44 PM
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Try turning the steering wheel when turning the key. Steering wheel locks are a common anti-theft measure put in by the manufacturers. Not sure if this would be the problem, but it is worth a shot.
 
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Old 07-23-09, 05:11 PM
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I wonder if the pin in the steering wheel broke and is caught up inside.
 
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Old 07-26-09, 06:13 PM
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my Camry does this same thing - try turning the steering wheel without the key in - make sure you have it in park
and/or plus - put key in ignition and giggle to make sure it locked when you turned it off last time - then pull out key - start over like you are starting the Explorer - it is a Pa*n in the a** is you do not know it is some type of security feature that I didn't read in the manual - and it is - we can not start the vehicle -
 
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Old 07-26-09, 06:18 PM
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steering wheel will not turn or is it in the locked position like it might be with the engine off?
 
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Old 07-26-09, 09:28 PM
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My Father-in-law's truck the same year (97) did this last year. He had to replace the ignition key cylinder. It was wore out. Now he has an ignition key and the old key for the doors.
 
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Old 07-27-09, 03:36 PM
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steering column

IT is very hard to remove the cylinder w/o the key turning. You have to drill out a pin etc.... A locksmith may be able to do this cheaper than a dealership. Sometimes hitting the key with the palm of your hand and turning the steering wheel will sometimes allow it to break loose.
 
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Old 07-27-09, 03:40 PM
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guess they figured it out - have not heard anything more about this problem posted -
 
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Old 07-29-09, 07:03 PM
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Same thing happened to my 98 Windstar when it was bran new. I tried everything to free it up. Had to have it towed to the dealership.
The dealer told me when they went to try it the next morning it was fine.......but I insisted they change the cylinder anyway....and they did. Haven't had a problem with the key since.

I would try some WD40 inside the cylinder.......what do you have to lose?
 

Last edited by Mackey; 07-29-09 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:02 PM
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when my husband drove my car and it happened to him he was ready to call and pay anything - he didn't know it had happened to me already. I have to say that it could be a lock position of steering wheel or just the tumbler in the ignition had some pin drop and you just need a locksmith to fix it or rekey the car - for the new tumbler.
 
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Old 07-29-09, 08:44 PM
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Could be the return spring broke. That is how the key goes from start back to the run position. If this is the case, you might have to pull the wheel to get access to the key cylinder.
 
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Old 07-31-09, 01:20 PM
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just shake the steering wheel and turn the key at the same time but im sure you already fixed it
 
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Old 08-01-09, 09:55 PM
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I just finished fixing my 1999 Ford Econoline van today. The ignition key would not turn. We tried two sets of keys which worked the day before, etc. We tried turning the steering wheel back and forth, moving the Shifter, etc. I tried soaking the lock in WD-40, etc. Nothing would work. Here's the quick and easy way to fix this on the Econoline and probably a bunch of other Ford trucks and vans eg: F150 E350, etc. The directions said the steering wheel had to come off. This is NOT true. I wasted two hours pulling the wheel and airbag only to find out it does NOT have to come off on my 99 Econoline. 1) Buy the replacement part so you know what the lock cylinder looks like, and where the retaining pin is. I bought mine at Autozone for $19.99 Throw away the directions. 2) (optional) Bring the replacement cylinder to the locksmith to have the new cylinder set to your old key, so your door key matches your ignition key. Else you'll need to carry two keys. Price is around $25 bucks, but ask first. 3) disconnect the battery. This will make sure the vehicle doesn't get stuck in the start position and burn out your starter. I think it will also prevent the air bags from going off. 4) remove the three screws holding the plastic/trim in place under the steering column. The bottom half of the trim should come off. 5) I was amazed at how easy this was to do. If your key will not turn, removed the key from the ignition and put a large flathead screw driver in the key slot. Make sure it's a large screw driver. Turned the screw driver with a wrench or vise grip the way you would to start the vehicle. In my case the screwdriver shaft was square so I could turn it with a wrench. This turned the key cylinder to the run position. I could tell it worked because the shifter would go into gear, and the steering wheel was no longer locked. The screw driver needs to sit right in the key slot and fit tight like the key, not in the plastic. 6) Under the column you'll see a small retaining pin you must push up and into the cylinder to release the key cylinder. With the key switch now in the on / run position, push in the pin and pull the key cylinder out. You may have to pull hard. Be sure the removal pin is pushed all the way in, and in my case I had to use pliers to pull the cylinder out. This was not easy coming out in my case. The metal around the cylinder looks like it's white metal and could crack pretty easy, so don't beat up the column. 7) Put the new one in all the way and test it. It should turn forward to the start position, and back to the "radio" position. 8) Reassemble the trip 9) Clean/reattach the negative battery terminal. 10) Check the oil while the hoods open...it is a ford after all. Good luck. If things go smoothly you'll be done in under an hour.
 
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