2004 Suzuki Verona ignition switch issue

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  #1  
Old 12-27-12, 02:11 PM
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2004 Suzuki Verona ignition switch issue

My Verona ignition started to get a little hard to turn from lock to acc, on, or start during the summer. Normally a removal and reinsert or flipping over of the key would allow it to turn no prob. Last week our weather got pretty cold and it became a real problem requiring a lot of wiggling and trying to turn (not sure if it was weather related or not). Now it's sitting in the driveway unable to turn the key at all.

When it would start..as long as I didn't remove the key when in the locked position it would operate fine. I could shut it off and restart 10 times in a row, no problem.

I did realize when the problem got bad that the steering wheel was NOT actually locked when the key was removed in the lock position. I could still turn it as much as I wanted.

The key is NOT stuck in the cylinder...which I found to be a common problem when doing an online search.

Looking at online instructions...it appears I have to disable and remove the airbag and steering wheel to access the ignition housing and steering wheel lock assy...which is quite a bit of work.

Before I do that or remove the dash covers to try pulling the cylinder (which I'm not sure I can even do, since it needs to be in the ACC position to remove)...anyone got any access to any info on this problem?

Could it possibly be an issue with the shifter? It's in park mechanically...but is there something else I might be missing?

This is really putting a crimp in our schedules since we are down to one vehicle and I sure can't afford $300-400 for a mechanic and a tow right now

Note...the ignition on this car is in the dash, not the steering column. It has a separate module that connects to the column for the steering lock which requires dropping the column down for access.


Any advice greatly appreciated.

Hint.....never buy a car that was only in production for 2 yrs, no matter how nice it drives or how good the price is. The darn cylinder is $150!
 
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Old 12-27-12, 07:50 PM
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well your key cylinder is a goner it will need to be replaced. but what could get you a little down the road is some small taps on the back of the key. while trying to turn. whats going on is that the tumblers inside of the cylinder are sticking due to age,wear, or foreign matter. also a shot of white lythuim(sp) grease might help.
 
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Old 12-27-12, 08:30 PM
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Usually graphite works better in cases like this because it doesn't gum up the works or attract dust and dirt.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 07:23 AM
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Tried the graphite as well as some actual lock lube when it first started...no real help. Looks like I'm in for some fun. I was just thinking...not sure they could even tow it without dragging it out of the driveway since I'm nose in.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 04:38 PM
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Hate to do this to you,Vick, but you might be right about dragging, not towing.
You either have tumblers come out of cylinders and jammed, or - yeah, I know - they put 2 different metals into ignition lock, which caused galvanic currents and oxidation that basically welded the two together.
So, going back to my original statement. Unless it's chipped key, and who knows what electrical gremlins house themselves in the lock then, cylinder pretty much ends in a flat rod that goes into ignition. So, you can drill the cylinder out and start engine with screwdriver, while figuring the rest. I drove like this on my - yes - Taurus for almost a year, after lock froze same way on it.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 05:05 PM
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Well....good news is that I have a shifter release...so it can be moved if required. Bad news is tapping with a hammer and more lube did nothing.

Key isn't chipped...I guess that goes on the plus side.

Going to stop by a locksmith next week, see what he says. Also going to call the Suzuki dealer (no sales anymore...repairs only...35 miles away) and see if I can talk to a mech.

It's just soooo different from all the problems I found on the web, I was hoping it might be something different (and easier to fix).

I am really NOT looking forward to this.

Oh...any hint's on drilling?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 07:09 PM
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Well, it depends how hard it is to get to. You likely saw that little handy "hammer" tool they use to whack the cylinder loose?
I have tendency to be brutal (like I did yesterday with my garage door), but a large flathead jammed into key hole with vicegrip attached to it for leverage will snap tumblers and twist cylinder loose. Then you just dig it out. Have bettery disconnected, for airbag safety.
If you drill it out, you have to go in small depth increments, you do not want to go too far into the lock. Pilot hole and slowly go up in bit sizes.
But like I said - it's final desperation decision.
Try soaking it with QuickWrench. If it galvanized itself, it may break loose.
 
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Old 01-23-13, 02:53 PM
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Well...I probably made it worse by not knowing what I was doing and twisting stuff....but the design prevented the locksmith from actually accessing the release button hidden on top of the assy behind the dash. He spent over an hour , trying and modifying different tools to work through the small access he had. He finally said, "if yer ok using a screwdriver (which I had pretty much said at the beginning) I'll just drill the guts so you can access the slot in the back". Still took him almost 1/2 hr to get it all cleaned out.

Since my key isn't chipped and I can still arm the security system, I'm good. Will have to drop and pull the steering column to get the to ignition and steering lock for a real repair...but I doubt I'll ever do it.

I'm mobile w/o scheduling issues for the only other vehicle, so as far as I'm concerned it was a success.

Once again...let me state...never, ever buy a car the first year it's offered and don't buy from a smaller company! Maybe I've finally learned MY lesson. Btw....best car I ever had was an '81 Honda Accord that I bought from a guy who worked at a Honda dealer. Small problem with the carb after a few years, but I bought it in '89 or so, so I won't complain.
 
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Old 01-23-13, 03:09 PM
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Oh....forgot to mention...he was here over 90min and only charged me $50...gave him an extra $5 just because. I know he felt bad cause he couldn't really fix it, but he got me moving and that's what matters.
 
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