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Key stuck past OFF position

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Hello - I cannot get my key to move to the OFF or ACC position on my 71 Mach 1 now but the funny thing is that everything was working perfectly fine before. I could move my key to ACC, OFF, start, RUN positions but after I removed my steering wheel to change it somehow my key position changed and the key got trapped past the OFF position and I could not remove the key any longer. The only way to release the key is to take out the ignition barrel from the steering column. The key works perfectly fine when the ignition barrel is removed from the column. I could see that the gear mechanism inside the column had moved over by one position and when I insert the ignition barrel into the column the key immediately gets trapped. I see a linkage rod connected from the gear mechanism down to the ignition switch. I somehow think this has moved but I don't know how to move the gear one position up so that when I put the ignition barrel in, the key would be able to go into the OFF position so it can be withdrawn.


Appreciate any advise

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Try loosening the 2 bolts that hold the ignition switch to the top side of the column (at then end of the rod). There's room to move the switch up and down the column. Try adjusting it there.

1973 Mach 1 Q-code C6 3:50

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  • 3 weeks later...

Problem solved. The collar behind the steering wheel must have moved clockwise when I was removing the steering. This traps the key in the ignition. I turned the collar fully anti clockwise and this released the key and everything worked perfectly well after that. I could remove the key and it worked fine in all positions.

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ah yes that is part of the anti theft system it is tied to the floor shifter on the automatics when the car is put in park the linkage from the transmission has an arm that goes to the steering column it turns a arm attached to a collar the collar turns and locks the steering wheel with the anti theft knob so it is very hard to turn to turn left and right and it attaches back to the key tumbler so all this malfunctions if somebody tries to jam a screw driver in the igntion and turn the ignition switch or if they short the ignition switch on top of the steering column to steal the car.


over the years people swap transmissions and disconnect the parking lockout linkage and then they go and change to a grant steering wheel replacing the oem wheel so that disables the ignition lock out, but then what happens is all that collar linkage in the steering column is floating around and you could hit a bump in the car and the linkage moves around and could lock your key in the column or lock you out of starting the car and you have to go by the powering steering gearbox behind the rag joint and turn the lockout collar by hand to fix the jam in the steering linkage and get the key out...


fun times :D happened to me before i restored the OEM ignition and transmission anti theft lockout system.

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I just had this happen to me this past Saturday after a 40 mile ride. Another not a long term solution that works if something isn't lining up and has worked in all my old Fords. With the palm of your fist tap on the steering column moderately just below the key slot. Just in case someone finds themselves in the situation or is out on the road and is looking for a quick fix. 9 times out of 10 it works 60% of the time.

Eric Nonamaker

1973 Mach1 351C 2V

Colorado Springs, Colorado

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