Ignition Switch Blues - my story

I have a '91 Formula that I need to repair. I'm trying to get some insight on what I'll be in the middle of before I'm in the middle of it.
Last week I went for a burger and when I tried to start the car to get back
to work the ignition switch hung up in the starter position. Fortunately the anti-theft system kicked in and the starter didn't engage. After some tapping and jiggling the switch unstuck and after several minutes the VATS let me continue on my way. That was fun.
A couple of days ago the switch hung up again, this time in the run position. I couldn't shut it off. About 45 minutes later I lost patience and ended up breaking out part of the switch. Right now I've bypassed the VATS with a resistor and I can work the switch with the key and a screwdriver. Needless to say I need to replace the switch (and, I'm assuming, the VATS module)
My questions - is this a tricky job (airbag, etc.)? Any insights or things to watch for? Is there a good on-line store to find the parts for (hopefully) a good price?
Any info you could pass along would be appreciated. It has been years since I've replaced a switch and have never been through as much junk on a column as what this one has.
Thanks, Ken
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Had a '90 Formula that liked keeping hold of the key occasionally. Didn't much like that but it was a minor annoyance.
One morning on the way home from work the steering wheel fell into my lap. Didn't like that much neither....
So a friend and I tore it down to the pawls on the tilt. It sat for a while until the column was no longer fresh in our minds. Finally printed out a big blown up diagram of it and laboriously fitted it all back together. Didn't much like that... tedious, but it worked.
Two weeks later it got totalled at a stop light. ....really didn't like that.... Yeah, sitting at a red light eating donuts with my future ex wife. Glanced in the mirror and saw a girl going about 65... 20 feet behind me. Tromped the gas to run the red light and she plowed me. At least I wasn't sitting dead still tho..
Anyway, disconnect the air bag wiring first. Get a big blown up diagram. Find your lost patience. Best I can do.

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It just sounds like the ignition cylinder has failed and you need to replace it. I had the wires break and the cylinder was replaced with a factory replacement. I think the cylinder cost $40. It comes with a new key and a spare. If you need to get to it, it's pretty simple.
You might check out this tech article that I've written about tightening your tilt steering, it'll get you to the ignition cylinder.
http://tinyurl.com/3qren
It's a pretty easy job. Just need to go rent the tools from Autozone. Steering wheel puller and a lock plate remover tool. Everythign else is a piece of cake.
-Bruce
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Thanks for the info. The job does appear to be easy enough to do. The article helps.
Sad situation is I just checked on the replacement part prices. According to the local Pontiac dealer (I couldn't find the thing anywhere else) the lock cylinder runs about $60 and comes with one dummy key. They will check the value of the original VATS key, sell you the same valued blanks and cut them using the dummy key. That's another $70 - $80 for a pair. I'll have to consult with my wallet and think about this. My screwdriver was cheap and it still works.
A steering wheel falling off in your lap, man that really had to pee in your cheerios.
Thanks much everyone, Ken

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Ken wrote:

I was able to get a key made for my 89 for less than $20 at a local key making place. They should be able to sell you a key with the right resister in it and cut it to the blank for you easily. So the only high cost should be the lock cylinder. You might also check with a locksmith as they may be able to fix the cylinder cheaper than a new one.
--
Cy Welch
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Ken, Like Cy said, you don't have to get the key cut at the dealer, any competent locksmith should be able to cut you one. If you don't mind losing VATS, just leave the bypass in and get a non-VATS ignition cylinder and be done with it.
-Bruce
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I second what Bruce said. Thieves won't know the VATS is bypassed anyway and the cylinder is about $24 at Auto Zone WITH 2 keys. I bypassed the one in my wife's caddy after I got fed up with the "now-it-cranks-now-it-don't" syndrome. Three tries and wait 10 minutes, repeat. She was not a happy camper. Told me if it happened again she would have it towed home on my nickel. I don't worry about it anymore.... AW.
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