HELP -- 1992 XLT starts and runs great UNTIL YOU RELEASE THE KEY

My 1992 Ford Explorer XLT (4.0L V6, automatic, tilt wheel) starts and runs, but when the key is released and springs back to "run" position, the engine dies.
While holding the key between "start" and "run", the engine runs but the electrics (blower motor, wipers) don't work.
I replaced the IGNITION SWITCH, but that changed nothing.
Could it be the IGNITION ACTUATOR ROD? I tried several times to adjust the switch position before tightening it down, but nothing made a difference. Once the key is released, the engine dies...but the electrics come on.
What might cause this, what might fix it?
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