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Discussion Starter #1
Another question for you guys.....

I'm trying to remove the ignition cylinder in a '57. My switch has two small holes for poking a wire into.
The switch is worn and I have the key. I can feel ONLY three positions:

Start
Run
Off

By turning counter-clockwise and counting the stops, I should have a 'lock' position according to the shop manual. But it stops turning when I reach the 'Off' position.
So I can't find the release mechanism when I stick the wire in.
Any suggestions?


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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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You either don't have the correct key for the ignition lock or the key is too worn to align the tumblers in the lock. Original tri-5 ignition locks could be left in the off position, the key removed and the car could be started without the key. The key had to be used to turn it to lock and keep the switch from being started without the key. You are correct, the switch has to be in the lock position to feel the spring loaded plunger to remove the cylinder.
 

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Are you replacing the switch? Does your key work the doors and trunk? If so it should fit the ignition. If it is correct a tiny bit of WD-40 might loosen them up. Don't overdo it. Did you try the paperclip in the hole and turn CCW? Only one of the holes hits the release pin I think. Or last resort call a locksmith or if the car starts take it to one.
John F
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Are you replacing the switch? Does your key work the doors and trunk? If so it should fit the ignition. If it is correct a tiny bit of WD-40 might loosen them up. Don't overdo it. Did you try the paperclip in the hole and turn CCW? Only one of the holes hits the release pin I think. Or last resort call a locksmith or if the car starts take it to one.
John F
The key and cylinder are very worn and I have a new one ready. I tried all three keys that came with the car, and none will allow the cylinder to be turned CCW to the lock position. I tried the clip in both holes. Now I know I'm looking for the 11 o' clock position - that is helpful to know.
And I'll try the WD-40 to see if that helps.
Car is still quite disassembled - can't drive it anywhere anyway. Just makin' it pretty inside.

I'll report back with status.....
Thanks,
Tom
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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The key and cylinder are very worn and I have a new one ready. Tom
It may be time for a drill, if your replaceing the tumbler anyway. Just don't drill too deep and damage the switch where the tumbler turns it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tom how worn are the keys? If the key is too worn that may be adding to the problem.
Terry
The keys are worn down quite a bit. They are smooth in the valleys and the key will pull out in any position.
I'd like to save the cylinder if possible since it still sorta works and I have the door locks and keys. I'm putting together a pile of re-usable parts from this project if anyone needs them.

I'll keep wiggling it back & forth and maybe it will drop into the lock position.
If that doesn't work it sounds like I'd have to break it apart as a last resort.
Tom
 

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Ignition Switch Removel

I had the same problem with my 56, the key was to smooth. I had a lock smith come out and he recut a new key and the cylinder came right out. On the cylinder is the "key" number so any locksmith can make a new key to fit. I hope this helps, sorry I am late with this information, been out of town.
 

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My door and trunk key does not let the cylinder turn to the lock position, I have to use my ignition key. Is that not normal? If the door lock and ignition lock should be the same then take the door or trunk lock to the locksmith and have him make a key for the lock, should be way cheaper than having him come to you.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My door and trunk key does not let the cylinder turn to the lock position, I have to use my ignition key. Is that not normal? If the door lock and ignition lock should be the same then take the door or trunk lock to the locksmith and have him make a key for the lock, should be way cheaper than having him come to you.

Randy
Aha.........
Perhaps that is why this won't work. I might be using a door key in the ignition?
If so, that is all I have - neither of the three keys that came with this car will work.
 

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This really is a situation that holds no absolutes. Some will swear that a car comes from the factory with two keys; one for the ignition and doors; and one for the trunk. Others will be adamant that their car came with a single key for all the locks. After half a century or so, I would suggest that how it came from the factory may have little to do with how the locks and keys are on the car today. (And if the bezel is gone then someone has been in there already.)
What is universally true is that those old locks and keys had a very wide range of tolerances. Quite frankly any key will work in the ignition if is not in lock position because no key is needed at all. If you try your other keys (and some friend’s keys) you can probably get the mechanism to the lock position. You achieve this by the old lock picker’s method of
“jiggle and move”: this is due to the wide variances in tolerances. However it may be a one way street: you may be able to get to “lock” but not out of “lock” so easily. It is a “commit” move. Once there, you have to replace, drill or attempt more “jiggle and move” to get it back to unlock.
Of course after you replace the lock tumbler you will have a unique key for the ignition unless you are willing to have all the tumblers “keyed” the same way. It can be done of course but takes some time and money or expertise to do it on your own.
I hope that is of some help.
 

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Terry chat about the trunk key? Is it the same as well?
Randy i believe the trunk is supposed to be the same key also. That being said mine was gone and i have changed it so the trunk lock is a different key on mine. The doors and ignition use the same key though.
Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I want to thank everyone for their time and help.
This evening I gave it one more try to get that sucker into the lock position. Wouldn't cooperate at all.
So I forcibly popped the outer horned ring from the cylinder, unscrewed the bezel nut, removed the switch assembly and then pried off the lock cylinder. :eek:

So much for trying to save it without damage. I did salvage the switch though.

I had bought an Autowire wiring kit and it came with a complete new switch assembly with keys and all. So I can now continue with the dash project.

Thought I'd let everyone know the end result and again thanks for your suggestions & knowledge.

I have a slingshot in the garage and almost aimed the wrecked cylinder at a neighbor's excessively barking dog.........but instead chucked it in the trash. That object lodged in the dog's backside would be too traceable. :D

Tom
 

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When I got my 57 the Ignition Key was so loose that I could take it out in any position. I bought a new lock cylinder from a supplyer and removered the Lock set. I now have two keys..One for the Doors and Trunk and one for the Ignition! Oh well its easy to tell as the old key is so worn don its a copper color in spots..the new key is Shiney. I like Shiney Things!!
 

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