The lock on my focus was sticking a bit even though I lubed it
with graphite. So I removed the parts that lock the cylinder. It
was easy. Now any focus key or even a screwdriver can be used to
turn the lock. This means that I am relying on the electronic
chip in the key to keep the car from being started. Those with a
manual transmission might want to find out if the car can still
be push started without this chip.
How I did it: separate the two steering column covers just behind
the steering wheel. The upper one is attached to the lower with
some tabs that can be pushed in. The lower one is attached front
and rear by several screws. Remove the screws on the steering
wheel side with a star driver. You can buy a whole set packaged
like a pocket knife for a few bucks at wallymart. Separate the
covers a inch or so and locate a hole on the driver's side of the
housing that holds the lock cylinder. I used a long thin allen
wrench to poke a button through the hole while the key was in the
accessories position. The lock cylinder then falls out.
Pry off the clip on the back of the lock cylinder. It then falls
out of the second housing. Then you see a lock bar that pops up
when you stick the key in the cylinder. On either end of this
bar, pry off two staples that hold it in and remove the bastard.
Opposite this space, on the other side of the cylinder is a thin
metal plate. Pry it off with a pocket knife and all sorts of
metal parts fall out.
Put the cylinder back into the second housing, use pliers to
squeeze the clip back on to the post and snap it back into the
housing attached to the steering column. Now your key will insert
without any resistance and there's nothing to jam the lock. Have
a shot of moonshine.
I'm guessing you are in the US where lock failure seems to be a problem.
If you were to disable the lock in the UK, it is likely that in the event of
your car being stolen the insurance company would refuse to pay out. It
might be worth checking that out before you try this.
The locks fitted to European cars are completely different and don't
have the same problems as seen in the US.
The type of key/lock on a European car can be seen at
I got this:
You don't have permission to access /stuff/uskey.jpg on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use
an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Thanks for posting that. Your key looks like a very old design by European
standards, and has not been used by Ford here for perhaps a couple of
I think the ones we have are called "Tibbe" keys, and are presumably more
secure to mitigate the high levels of car theft we have.
This is so high in the UK that when you fill your car at a petrol (gas)
station you must remove the keys and lock it up. If you fail to do so it
might be taken whilst you are paying for the fuel; under those
circumstances the insurer may not pay for your loss!
On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 09:33:51 +0000, Chris Whelan wrote:
To me, yours (at least the one in the photo that someone linked before I
shot my USan key and lock) looks, on the end, like a square. How many
variations of that can there be? (IOW, there must be something I'm
missing. And yes, ours have the embedded chips, too, so that's a constant
on both sides of the pond.)
You don't generally pay at the pump, like we do? Your pumps must be like
a very old design by USan standards, that hasn't been in use much here for
quite a few years. ;)
We just had a discussion in another group about the differences between
USan, Canadian and UK debit card and credit card systems (and user
habits); there were quite a lot of differences.
It might not be clear from the picture that the key has a number of angled
faces along the thicker metal part. This provides the coding. I seem to
remember that the aim at the time that this type of key was introduced was
to increase the number of combinations.
There are a small number of pumps here that you can pay by inserting your
debit/credit card in, but they are far from common. This is probably
because of the high number of "drive-offs" we get. (People driving away
without paying for their fuel). When you consider that filling my Focus
from when the fuel light comes on to when the pump first clicks off costs
the equivalent of around 80USD, you can see why!
In France, many larger filling stations have a manned pay booth at the exit.
There is a barrier that is not opened until you have paid. It may become
common here as it would virtually eliminate drive-offs.
I see, your pumps are card only. The ones we have can be used either with a
card, or to pay at the kiosk. You press a button to select a pay method
first. If you select kiosk and fill up, you can then just drive off and it
may not immediately be noticed. Not a very intelligent system!
Indeed, but that would mean "Card only" pumps. Some people here still like
(or have) to use cash. Filling stations here are always pretty busy,
especially in the south-east where I am. Space is really limited at filling
On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 11:00:50 +0000, Chris Whelan wrote:
I guess not. :)
Ours aren't card only. Some take cash as well. And you *can* pay
inside if yoou want to. But however you pay at the pump, you prepay; and
you have to either do that or see the nice man inside who will take your
payment and then activate the pump.
I live in Los Angeles. Perhaps in some of the small towns you can still
pump and then pay inside. But by now I doubt it.
Or the ones like we have in some places where they will accept paper
money. And, of course, one can always pay inside -- in that respect there
are really no "card only" pumps.
Sure. Here that's a perfectly fine way to (pre)pay, as well. :)
Well, you've always had a thing for tiny cars, so they didn't have to
build big filling stations. ;)
Perhaps interesting: the car I took off the road when I bought my '03
Focus in late November was a 1976 Triumph that had been my daily driver
since March 1983.
Most stations in SE Minnesota you can either pay at pump or go inside to
pay, several stations have card only pumps and the select payment pumps
also. Therer are several that will close at night but you can still get
gas with the pay at credit card pumps.
There are a few drive offs here but most of the time they get the plates
or car description from the security cameras, I hear on the police
scanner one to two times a month for them to find a drive off they
usually get them before too long especially when they have the plates
they have to go home eventualy.
Interesting idea. I haven't had a problem with this part since my original
failure going on three years ago, but I'll keep it in mind.
Another way to get around this whole thing is to bypass the factory start
system completely and install a starter switch in a hidden or disguised
location. Most unlikely that a thief would figure this out, so it probably
theft-proofs the car (unless you don't trust all your friends and family
Thanks for sharing.
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