Focus ignition cylinder/key problems

Just bought a 2002 Focus w/ 12,000 miles on it. When I picked it up at the dealer(Mazda-Toyota), we had a problem with the key. The dealer "explained"
that I had to RUB THE KEY ON THE TRIANGLE in the center of the dash, and then turn the key one click, turn it off, and then start the car. What BULL! Later found out the Focus is notorious for bad ignition cylinders. Got a new cylinder installed, and a week later I couldn't get the key out of the ignition. They (Ford dealer) then repaired/replaced the shifter (automatic trans, on the center console). In the meantime, also had a bad key. (They fail sometimes). Bought a new key ($40) and had it programmed by the dealer. Keeping my fingers crossed that its fixed! Had a laugh when I realized how the first dealer snowed me, and thank god for the warantee!
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Wish you had done your research on the car before purchasing it, you would have searched for something else. Like reading the complaints in this group. Good luck with it and don't be surprised by anything else that happens.

the dealer(Mazda-Toyota), we had a problem with the key. The dealer "explained" that I had to RUB THE KEY ON THE TRIANGLE in the center of the dash, and then turn the key one click, turn it off, and then start the car. What BULL! Later found out the Focus is notorious for bad ignition cylinders. Got a new cylinder installed, and a week later I couldn't get the key out of the ignition. They (Ford dealer) then repaired/replaced the shifter (automatic trans, on the center console). In the meantime, also had a bad key. (They fail sometimes). Bought a new key ($40) and had it programmed by the dealer. Keeping my fingers crossed that its fixed! Had a laugh when I realized how the first dealer snowed me, and thank god for the warantee!

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Maybe he did do his research and found out that Car and Driver included the Focus in their "10 Best" and among the reasons was "excellent quality". You cannot assess the overall quality of a car by newsgroup posts, for the simple reason that people don't often post to say they have no complaint.
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BUT IT WOULD HAVE HELPED being that alot of cars such as these had the problems the poster was referring to. No harm in checking. Everyone sees things differently.

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the dealer(Mazda-Toyota), we had a problem with the key. The dealer "explained" that I had to RUB THE KEY ON THE TRIANGLE in the center of the dash, and then turn the key one click, turn it off, and then start the car. What BULL! Later found out the Focus is notorious for bad ignition cylinders. Got a new cylinder installed, and a week later I couldn't get the key out of the ignition. They (Ford dealer) then repaired/replaced the shifter (automatic trans, on the center console). In the meantime, also had a bad key. (They fail sometimes). Bought a new key ($40) and had it programmed by the dealer. >
The rubbing the key might be to maximize the radio signal from the chip, but I thought the pickup was in the steering column. You're right that early Foci have ignition lock problems, but as far as I know it was fixed by 2002. I suspect that this car had a problem with the transmission interlock and the previous owner got physical with the key and damaged it. Maybe that's the reason the car was sold.
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"Dave Gower wrote ...

but
The microchip inside the key doesn't emit a radio signal, and the triangle in the middle of the instrument panel is nothing more than a switch for the hazzard lights. This should have been clear to a Mazda/Toyota dealer, as both those brands use pretty much the same system in their vehicles. This was a blattant attempt at deception, nothing more (it also should have been a signal to buy the car elsewhere).

2002.
My dealer tells me that Ford is still using the same ignition switches in all North American made Foci. It, apparently, takes a few years for the problem to manifest itself. As time goes by, we will start to see this problem cropping up in later production vehicles. Regrettably, that also suggests the replacement ignition switch I had installed last summer will only last a few years, and I'll have to go through the exercise of replacing it once again :(
Rob
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the
My understanding of how these chips work (they're also found in pet tags, some store price tags, inventory control in warehouses etc) is that while they don't broadcast in the normal sense, they do respond when excited from an external source. Thus they do "emit" even though they are not using their own power. Agree about the triangular button.
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The transponder pickup for the key is a black plastic ring right around the ignition switch.
The 2002 still has the same ignition switch, and the same problem.
I one does not want to pay so much for keys, one can by pass the transponder safety by providing a permanent ground for the starter relay. Normally it is conditionally grounded by the control unit, depending on what the transponder indicates.
But since I don't want to have to be towed once more, I removed the tumblers from the ignition, and therefore rely on the transponder.
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maat333 wrote:

In failure mode is it the case that the key can't be turned or can't be inserted? seems to me a cobination o aconditional strtaed realay ground - perhaps anothe relay operated via a hidden switch might provide a fail-safe. Is it really that easy to get around the transpondder? Anyone know irf this issue was corrected in 2003?
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I'm still satisfied with the Focus, just wanted to tell you about the problem. I have 24,000 miles and one year left on the warantee. I got a good deal, paying under $6,800.00American(with every option I would like), and its a good first car for my daughter. It drives well, easy to park, and is economical. Ford dealer is good, too. They were probably selling it cheap to get rid of it, once they realized it had a problem; they should have had it fixed with the warantee.
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The warranty may fix the switch for awhile, but that does not cover getting stuck with a car that won't start, when you least expect it.
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The lock cylinder has a defective design, and new replacement ones will continually fail as well. After my warranty ran out, and it stuck for the 4th time, I took it apart myself. The tumblers to not act directly to lock the cylinder, but push slightly on a locking bar at 90 degrees from the tumblers, to nudge it into the correct position. But this really relies only on the weak tumbler springs, and the locking bar can easily get stuck. That is why tapping on the cylinder when the key is in, will often free the stuck locking bar. But the whole design is fatally flawed. The only solution for now is to remove the tumblers from the cylinder, so that the locking bar will not ever have to move at all. But don't worry, you still need the key to work the transponder, so no one can steal it.
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