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Key will not turn in ignition - happened 3 times so far

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Delphi Guru

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2nd Gen Owner
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The first time this happened, I stepped on the brake pedal and then it turned and cranked up. The second time stepping on brake pedal had no effect, but shifting to neutral and back to park did the trick. The third time, pressing brake pedal and shifting gears did not work, so I pulled key out, flipped it, put it back in and it turned and cranked up. Does anyone know what is causing this?
 

DILLARD000

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1st Gen Owner
V6 Engine
4 Wheel Drive
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Mar 7, 2020
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A little silicone spray lube in IgnitionSlot,
DoorLocks\Hinges\WindowGuides, LowerDoor+BodyPanels, SpareTireLift
HoodLatch, SpareLift, PulleyBearings, UnderBodyBolts+Bushings......anything that looks in need.
I try to remember to do that once a year; seems to help keep them working & fights off rust\rot.
You've got a +10yr old vehicle; best to expect it to breakdown tomorrow & do preventive maintenance.
Even with good design+maintenance, everything (ourselves included) wears out.
We all hope\pray & put time\effort\money against that reality.

More info at
 

antny024

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The ignition lock cylinder is most likely going bad. The tumblers get worn down much like a key does. 1st if you have one key that is less worn than the other, try using that key. If it continues to happen the lock cylinder will need to be replaced. It's common on older Fords. I replaced mine after 17 years. It's a relatively easy job to do. ONLY use a Motorcraft part! DO NOT buy an aftermarket part... (I've been doing this for a LONG time. Aftermarket isn't worth the hassle) I had to wait a few days to get one from my local dealer, aftermarket either won't work at all or only last a short time.
 

Steve Brothers

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On my ‘01, I had similar trouble. With mine, the key seemed to be worn, and if I pulled it out a tiny bit before turning it would work. Eventually, I switched keys with my spouse, who typically does not drive the truck.
 

StephenL

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V6 Engine
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Next time try rocking the steering wheel. The steering lock somehow puts pressures in the very thing that unlocks it (the ignition key), maybe if the tires are up against a kurb. I had a paniced call from my wife about this once, told her to try and turn the key with one hand and rock the steering wheel with the other - instant success.
 

Doug Kaye

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yes, the keys/lock tumblers will wear out..
happened in my 98 Sienna after sixteen years, luckily had one key not much used, and just got new keys cut from it every few years.
happened in 09 Honda Fit, had to rebuild the lock cylinder ($800 for the part available only from dealer, how I love Ford parts ;-)
many years ago, happened to my first car, Hillman Vogue. Hotwired it for a couple months then bought a generic lock cylinder (no body parts available for the Hillman) and used a hose clamp to secure it to the steering column..

I was hoping this wouldn't happen in the SportTrac since the load on the key is minimized by the little plastic wings.. it never happened on my 82 Econoline in 20 years, it had a similar ignition setup.
 

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