How to prevent the ignition lock from jamming

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.
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hellbelly wrote:

[...]
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.
HTH
Chris
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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 <http://www.amacleod.clara.co.uk/focus3/
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wrote Re Re: How to prevent the ignition lock from jamming:

Wow! That is an entirely different kind of key. I wonder what the origin of the differences is?
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Alan wrote:

Purely out of interest, is anyone able to post a link to a picture of a US key/lock please?
Chris
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On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 16:01:32 +0000, Chris Whelan wrote:

My key and lock:
http://blinkynet.net/stuff/uskey.jpg
http://blinkynet.net/stuff/uslock.jpg
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Blinky the Shark wrote:

I got this:
Forbidden 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.
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Blinky the Shark wrote:

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 decades.
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!
Chris
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On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 09:33:51 GMT, Chris Whelan
ignition lock from jamming:

That's amazing and sounds pretty aggressive on the part of the thieves. Not much further to go to actual "car-jacking" where the criminal forcibly removes the driver and takes the car.
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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.
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Blinky the Shark wrote:

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.
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On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 08:55:37 +0000, Chris Whelan wrote:

Ah. No, it just looked like a square tip, and reminded me of the little keys we used to use to wind up toy cars and such. :)

I'm confused. We have to do the credit-card stuff with the pump before the pump will dispense any fuel -- how could we drive off without paying?

Ouch!

It seems like debit/credit-card-enabled pumps like ours that don't pump until it's read your card and you've plugged in your ID code would accomplish the same thing.
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Blinky the Shark wrote:

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 stations too.
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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.
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Blinky the Shark wrote: <snip>

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.

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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 members).
Thanks for sharing.
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