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Topic: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position

in Forum: C3 Electrical


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Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (1/8)
 3/23/24 4:13am
MattDrake
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Joined: 3/23/2024
Posts: 3

HI my fellow Corvette enthusiasts,
 
I am relatively new to the forum, so first thanks for having me.
I have a problem I am hoping someone could help me with. I am restoring a 1972 C3 Coupe and about a week ago, the key would not turn back from RUN position. I had to pull the distributor cable to shut down the engine. I have still not been able to turn the key back. I have heard some suggest that it may be the ignition switch and others say it may be the lock cylinder. I am would just like to know if anyone have had this issue or am I the only one? I was going to first check the ignition switch, because it seemed like the path of least resistance, but even if I remove all the bolts the steering column only lower about an inch, so it seems I can not get to it unless I remove it completely? However, it seems like if the ignition switch was the culprit, there would be at least a little play in the lock when I attempt to turn the key back or I should feel some movement when I push a bit on the rod, but it is a hard stop. Would love to hear if anyone had similar issue with either a lock cylinder or an ignition switch?
 
 
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Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (2/8)
 3/23/24 11:17am
Adams' AppleLifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas


Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 20128

I would suspect the key cylinder. Ign switch normally would not keep the key from turning like that. You either have a bad cylinder, or a problem with the rack/pinion mechanism. Either will require steering wheel removal to diagnose.  



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Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (3/8)
 3/23/24 11:26am
manchestersharkLifetime Member
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Equinunk, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1972 conv, 4-speed, 350, 200hp, numbers match, rally wheels, war bonnett yellow w/white top. good condition, nice driver.


Joined: 10/31/2007
Posts: 2387

Well my friend, on those cars there is a theft deterant located on the steering shaft. It is connected to a cable that lines up the shifter and the ignition. The shifter needs to be completely in park, or reverse for it to work. Try wiggling the shifter and turn the ignition at the same time. It is on both auto and standard transmission cars. They need to be adjusted to align over time. I'm not good at sending pictures on this site, but a O.E.M. assembly manuel may help you figure out the sequence.



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Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (4/8)
 3/24/24 6:59pm
MattDrake
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Joined: 3/23/2024
Posts: 3

Thanks, is this the interlock system you are referring to, with the wire from the transmission to the steering shaft, which requires it to be in park to turn key into LOCK position? I have had others also mentioning that, but it would not stop you from turning off the car. 

Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (5/8)
 3/24/24 7:00pm
MattDrake
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Thanks Adam, Yes I think you are correct. I have started to disassemble the steering column. Hopefully I just need to replace the ignition lock. 

Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (6/8)
 4/3/24 12:54pm
VNCRUISER
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North Hills, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1972 T-Top


Joined: 6/12/2003
Posts: 505

I believe it's the rack assembly inside the steering column. I've never had one lock up but have had them strip. It may have a piece broken off and jamming the assembly. As others have said, the steering wheel must come off to inspect. The part on the lower left in this picture is the rack the others have talked about. On the end of the lock cylinder is the gear that goes this up and down.. I'm trying to find something a little better than this to help you out. 

Good luck to you!

 Reid



|UPDATED|4/3/2024 9:54:15 AM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (7/8)
 4/3/24 1:01pm
VNCRUISER
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North Hills, CA - USA

Vette(s):
1972 T-Top


Joined: 6/12/2003
Posts: 505

 



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Re: Key tumbler will not turn back from RUN position (8/8)
 4/3/24 6:27pm
Quick454
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FRIENDSWOOD, TX - USA

Vette(s):
1974 Corvette 454 House of Kolor Gold


Joined: 4/3/2024
Posts: 1

Count your blessings, though---

Saturday my whole steering column rotated about 270 degrees when I was making a turn-- column is completely broke and zero steering control.  The 'key cylinder went from normal 3 o'clock position to 9 o'clock and then down to 6 o'clock !

I could take the key out but the engine was still going.  Had to unplug the ign wire on distributor to shut it off.    I count my blessings , though-- I came close but didn't wreck .  I couldn't get it up the driveway into garage after I got it towed-- no steering...  I gave up on doing it myself and had Christian Bros. Automotive come pick it up and they're going to replace column.  

 

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