Key Not Turning in Ignition Switch

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Having a problem with my 1999 Disco 1 here suddenly the key will not turn in the ignition switch so I’ve done the following:

  1. I took apart the shroud and tapped on the lock mechanism.
  2. tapped on the key and jiggled it and steering wheel.
  3. Put graphite lubricant in the cylinder. Repeated above.
  4. Put silicone lubricant in the cylinder. Repeated above.
  5. Gearshift lever moves fine into both park and neutral.
  6. This happened suddenly without being an issue before.
I’m parked in the city away from most of my tools so any other ideas on getting the truck started are very much appreciated!
 
Last edited:

CORover

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2007
493
13
Colorado, USA
What vehicle? Tap on the end of your key if you can while it is in the ignition. You need to dislodge the stuck pins in the cylinder and the direct vibrations might help.
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Sorry - ‘99 Disco 1. Thanks I gave that a try but I’ll try some more and see if it helps. The pins would be the only thing keeping it from turning? Is there any way I can remove the cylinder and lube them?

Also curious if there’s a way to manually unlock the steering wheel to move it more as I remember that being connected somehow to key rotation?
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Ok thanks a lot - I’ve got the cover off. I’ll look for those security pins.

Any idea if the steering lock prevents key from turning? Was wondering if I could manually disable that while in there.
 

CORover

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2007
493
13
Colorado, USA
I thought that was electronic, from the brake pedal maybe and might only be the steering wheel lock for antitheft. Or it could be the gear interlock that I am thinking of. Not sure what happens if you disconnect it at the ignition. That might be what the one of the connectors does.
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Well I was able to remove the two tiny screws holding the ignition switch in and used a flat screwdriver blade to start the car (Hoping that will unlock the steering lock in allowed me to drive off ) but the steering lock is still engaged so I still can’t go anywhere.

Seems like the keyed portion of the ignition mechanism is connected to the steering lock - Electronically or otherwise - So unless I can get that cylinder barrel to rotate in a lease the steering lock I’m not going anywhere!

I have not located the pins you mentioned in terms of removing the cylinder but I’ll keep looking!
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Ok I seem to be making progress - found this link :


that clearly shows how the ignition switch has a pin that locks steering at the column.

Seems like on my ‘99 Discovery 1 (Everything looks like the photos in this link even though it’s for a discovery 2) the only way to disable the steering lock is to remove the switch (push it downwards).

So thanks for the help so far - looks like I need to get some more tools in order to remove the capped bolts to the switch.

In the meantime I’ll keep hammering at the thing hoping to release whatever cylinder pin is stuck in there!
 

mearstrae

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2017
84
0
Pennsylvania
You need a new lock mechanism. To remove the offending parts you need to look for two fair size (1/4" or 5/16") rivet looking heads (these are security screws that the heads break off when the correct torque is reached) under the center of the whole mechanism. These can be unscrewed by tapping (or hammering) out the heads in a counter clockwise direction with a screwdriver or similar tool. The lock is a mechanical part of the ignition barrel assembly. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can free up the key by forcing the steering wheel one way or the other, without taking things apart..
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
Update: Got the truck running by putting the key in the ignition and tapping on it with the light hammer ‘while’ turning the key toward start that seem to finally dislodge it (in case that helps anybody down the road).
 

Samer

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2006
67
0
Washington DC
You need a new lock mechanism. To remove the offending parts you need to look for two fair size (1/4" or 5/16") rivet looking heads (these are security screws that the heads break off when the correct torque is reached) under the center of the whole mechanism. These can be unscrewed by tapping (or hammering) out the heads in a counter clockwise direction with a screwdriver or similar tool. The lock is a mechanical part of the ignition barrel assembly. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can free up the key by forcing the steering wheel one way or the other, without taking things apart..

Thank you for the input. I’m going to attempt to remove it when I can get it back to my garage and try a chisel / hammer combo on those security bolts to try and rotate them out - Will try to grease and clean out the mechanism before replacing it. Much appreciated.
 
Last edited:

CORover

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2007
493
13
Colorado, USA
That's what a bump key does to get you into just about any locked door. You tap and twist at just the right time as the spring loaded pins move out of the way allowing the cylinder to rotate freely. Look it up when you have a few minutes.