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Discussion Starter #1
So my stupid truck is giving me some grief again. I replaced the key cylinder a few years ago when the key jambing in the cylinder and it was not locking.

Over the last while it has been acting up by seemingly not getting to the off and locked position. When the "ears" on the cylinder are lined up with the mark on the steering column the radio is still on, the switch seems to be in the ACC position instead of the OFF / lock position. I took the cylinder out and can't see anything obvious in the mechanism in the bottom of the socket. The plastic cover around column where the key release lever is is gone, so I can see the push rod that actuates the ignition switch move as the key is turned.

So, with it in the OFF/locked position the ignition seems to be in the ACC positon. The key will rotate back, CCW, but there is no detent, or stop, to hold it in the ACC position. To get the radio to stay off I have to turn it slightly past (towards RUN) the OFF/lock position and wiggle the key out and it usually takes many tries, and then the ignition is usually not locked, so it will start without the key.

I feel that the problem is not with the lock cylinder, or the ignition switch, but is with the mechanical linkage between the key cylinder and the push rod. Is the mechanism accessible when the steering wheel is removed? Has anyone experienced anything similar? Any thoughts and recommendations are appreciated.

The vehicle is a 1988 F150 XLT Lariat, 4X4, 5.0l, 5 spd.
 

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The IGN SW should be mounted on tabs that will allow up and down adjustment.
 

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The one, wonderful bit of that generation of F-Series is how pathetically easy it is to by-pass the lock. Basically, the switch actuates a rod that will move the switch located by the pedals. Look for a box under the steering column that's off-white with many wires going to it. That's your ignition switch. The switch has the detent which will keep the key set in the various positions. You can see if it's working on the box end. Also, note that the ears are usually just crimped on, and will typically come loose (on my last lock, I can spin it 360 w/o having the key move). Typically when the rod goes, you'll be able to start the truck, but not turn it off. If the switch is fine, make sure the rod isn't binding, bent, etc. Other than that, if the linkage works, the switch functions as it should, then perhaps the cylinder is the issue.
 

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Is this a tilt-will? It's been a while since I've worked on these but I believe that if it is a tilt it has more linkage at the wheel tilt spot. There is an l-shaped piece of linkage that connects from the lock cyl splined linkage at the top. It is about 3 inches long and has a curved "L" sort of shape at the bottom that connects to the rod that goes down to the Ign switch.

These break often and can still sort of work but have your symptoms.

Try here... ford ignition actuators | Steering Column Services

The weak pot-metal linkage I talk of is ford part # E4TZ-3E715-A

You can see the 3E715 pot-metal actuator on this exploded view. It connects to 3E723 from the lock cylinder. http://www.steeringcolumnservices.com/exploded-view-results.php?y=1988&ma=Ford&mo=F%20150&d=tilt&c=651





Or try here
1980-1991 Ford F150 Steering Column Lock Actuator - Steering - Dorman 80-91 F150 Steering Column Lock Actuator - 5296-07064910 - PartsGeek
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks a bunch for the replies. Those links in Blulakr's post are awesome!:tup: My truck has a tilt column.

I don't relish the thought of going inside the column to check / replace any of those little linkage pieces. I do not have a warm, indoor place to work on it, so that kind of project will have to wait until spring. The thoughts about the switch possibly being out of position is something that would be easier to address at this time, so I'll take a closer look at that area.

The mechanism has always been stiff in cold weather. It would stiffen up so much at 40 below that I often couldn't get it turned far enough to engage the starter. I think there was a bunch of grease and dirt in there that would bind up when real cold because it moved freely in warmer conditions. I did spray some lube on things this last cold snap and it does move freely in the cold now.
 

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Take the column out of the truck then. It really isn't to difficult. The column isn't very complicated and once disassembled, the pieces are easy to get to and replace. On mine, the pivot pin fell out, so you can image how furious I was after opening up the column to find that as the only issue.
 
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