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Old 08-09-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Default New Guy, Needs help in replacing Ignition Key lock on 91 SSE

Hey all,
My name is Justin, I'm 20, and I am from Manhattan, KS. I own a white 1991 Bonneville SSE that is in good-great condition. It has 215,000 miles on the clock and is still running strong. Now to my problem.

The last couple of days I have been able to take my key out of the ignition in all positions, OFF, ON, START, and there has been a lot of play in the lock assembly. I went to start it yesterday at my job that is a half and hour away, and turned the key and it wouldnt go any further that the ON position. It was like hitting a brick wall trying to get it to go into the START position. So I got a ride back home and picked up a new key lock assembly from AutoZone. My question is, does it sound like it is the Ignition lock assembly that needs to be replaced? Is this a hard part to replace? If not, what tools are need(I have the basic screwdriver and socket set ). Is there a way to "jump" the engine in the on position besides running a cable into the starter solenoid(So I can get it back from my job and back here where I can work on it)? I remember when I had my 94 intrepid, I had to remove a relay under the hood, jump 2 spots with a wire, and it would start that way.


Any help would be extremely appreciated fellas and gals. You can probably count on me joining up on the sight and becoming a regular(I'm already a regular at oldspower.com, because I have a soon-to-be powered 455 1986 cutlass )

Have a good one and Ill be keeping my ears open. I kinda need the info before tonight, because that is when I will attempt to get it running
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:09 PM   #2
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Instead of running a wire.. you could turn the key to on..then use a screwdriver to jump the solenoid to start it and drive home to fix. Other than that..I've never heard of another way.
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBoost37
use a screwdriver to jump the solenoid to start it and drive home to fix.
Could you clarify a little on that? Its been a little while since I have looked under the hood of the bonne, and im not 100% sure what I need to jump where.
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:56 PM   #4
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Is your ignition key in good condition? The key wears out much faster than the ignition lock. I had the same symptoms with the key slipping out of the lock in any position. The key I got with my car was very worn. A new key solved my problem. You can get a new key made at a GM dealership. You need to show them proof of ownership and the VIN number of your car. They use your car'* VIN to make a new key instead of tracing the old key. If I were you I would try this first before I replaced the lock. I forget exactly how much it was to get the new key made, but it wasn't too bad. I only had one set made at the dealership, then I went to Wal Mart to have copies made to use every day.
This may not be your problem, but it worked for me.
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bastard
Is your ignition key in good condition? The key wears out much faster than the ignition lock. I had the same symptoms with the key slipping out of the lock in any position. The key I got with my car was very worn. A new key solved my problem. You can get a new key made at a GM dealership. You need to show them proof of ownership and the VIN number of your car. They use your car'* VIN to make a new key instead of tracing the old key. If I were you I would try this first before I replaced the lock. I forget exactly how much it was to get the new key made, but it wasn't too bad. I only had one set made at the dealership, then I went to Wal Mart to have copies made to use every day.
This may not be your problem, but it worked for me.
Great Info! Yes, my key is completely worn down. It'* the worse lookin key I have ever seen. Hmmmm, We have a GM dealership here in town, so I might be checkin them out today. I tried the old trick of having wal-mart or Ace hardware make a copy, but they were all duds. Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:33 PM   #6
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Ha Ha!
When you have them trace a key or copy it, all you get is the same old worn key. When the dealership cuts it by the VIN, it is a brand new key, just like the salesman handed to the first owner. I would be surprised if you needed a new lock assembly, unless you have been trying to force the key to work.
The metal of the lock tumblers is much harder than the soft metal that the key blanks are made of. This is why the key wears out much faster than the lock. Be sure to take your car title or registration with you to the dealership, along with your ID. They will only cut a key by the VIN for the owner of the car, at least that is how they are supposed to do it.
And once you get the new key made, make copies of the new key and use the copies. Put the GM key in a safe place. I keep mine with all the car'* paperwork. That way you will always have a fresh new key to make copies from in the future, once you wear out the next one.
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:41 PM   #7
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The only prob i just realized with me gettin a new key is the fact that the car is 1/2 hour away, and I dont have a ride there till this evening. This means no vin or proof of registration for me, I just have the keys right now. The ignition lock itself has been getting worse and worse when it comes to play in the ignition, and I do believe that it is the root of the evil here. Does anyone have an idea how much I would be lookin at to get it fixed $$$-wise? I dont have any idea how long it should take and how much I should be charged. I was told by a body-shop owner back home that even he wouldnt mess with the replacing the ignition switch, for risk of screwing up the linkage.
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:47 PM   #8
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I guarantee you that getting a new key made will be cheaper than having someone replace the lock. You don't have to take the car to the dealership to get the key made, just take the title and your ID.
The problem got steadily worse as the key became more worn. I'm betting a new key solves your problem.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:01 PM   #9
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The title is at my hometown about an hour away. My mom can fax the title tommorow if necessary. I will go down to the GM dealership this afternoon after the gf'* lunch break, and see what all they need to let me have a copy.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:42 PM   #10
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I agree that you should try to get a fresh key made first.

However, the lock tumblers DO wear, although slightly. I have a good locksmith that I've been going to for several years and he'* made me brand new keys from the old ones. Places like wal-mart really won't be able to.... they're only trained to run a machine, not understand how to make a key from scratch. Also, my locksmith usually lightly buffs the edge of the key so its not quite as "fresh" to match the the wear on the tumblers.

If the key doesn't work, then its time to replace the cylinder. I had one go bad on me for some unknown reason and to get it to turn I had to place the key in the ignition and use a big pair of vice-grips to get it turn. It worked fine

After you get it somewhere you can work on it you'll need to go to an Autozone and rent the following tools: lock plate spring compressor, steering wheel puller.

...and you're going to need a set of sockets and either small screwdrivers or picks.

First, remove the horn button. These just pull off, but sometimes they need a bit of leverage from a screwdriver.

Next, Remove the odd retaining clip over the wheel retaining nut. Use a screwdriver or pick. Set aside.

Remove the wheel retaining nut. I *think* its 19mm, so the factory lug wrench might work. Otherwise, you need a socket.

At this point the wheel is free, but to get it to pop off the splines of the column, you need to use the steering wheel puller. Use two bolts (should be supplied with the kit) to screw down two sides of the puller into the wheel (should have some threaded holes) and then turn the center stud clockwise against the column (where you removed the retaining nut)

Now the steering wheel should be free. At this point, you need to use the lock plate compressor to push it down enough that you can easily access the retaining ring. This ring sits in a recess in the column that keeps the plate in place from pressure put on it by the underlying spring. You have to get that stupid retaining spring loose. ...use small screwdrivers or picks...anything. This is the hardest part.

After that is removed, you should be able to see the white plastic turn signal cam and maybe a torx screw situated above where the lock cylinder is. If you can get at the torx screw without removing the turn signal cam then do so but I don't remember if you need to remove the cam (its like 3 phillips screws tho, so its easy).

Got the torx nut out? A screwdriver will work fine, its not torqued down real tough. Now just slide out the old cylinder. Thats it. One little screw holds that thing in.

....in conclusion, hope that its just the key
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