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Discussion Starter #1
I have to turn my key all the way and it seems like it just barely catches to start. Do you think my ignition switch is wearing out? I really hate to have to carry around two keys.
90 lebaron tilt
 

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I guess I don't understand. You always turn the key 'all the way' to reach the START position. If it's not cranking, it could also be a bad battery, starter relay, starter solenoid or cable connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
it starts on the first try with no "cranking:" it just barely starts the process at the very end of turning the key I have to nudge it at the end. Kind of like starting a lawnmower and only the last one inch of the cord turns the engine . Do you thing the key cylinder or the ignition switch in the column is worn out?
 

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Sounds like it could be.
 

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Very likely. The lock cylinder can be swapped, so that the car can still be keyed the same.
 

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Some were adjustable, depending on how the switch is activated by the cylinder. I can't recall how the 90 LeBaron is set up to know if it has an adjustment. On some others the pieces inside the column can break causing a similar issue.
 

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These switches do wear out. They're readilly available in the aftermarket for around $ 50. They're easy to change and the lock cylinder is just swapped over. You'll need Torx bits for the retaining screws. If I'm not mistaken you'll need the "security" type Torx bits. You'll also need a Torx driver ( like a screwdriver but with the Torx tip ) to remove the screws on the steering column cover to get access to the switch. I've seen these drivers sold cheaply as headlight adjustment tools. Craftsman makes them as well.

The switch is easy to change but carefully check the connector plug at the bottom for overheated contacts or a partially melted connector. It wouldn't hurt to make sure the contacts are clean but be sure to disconnect the battery before cleaning as some of the wires in the switch connector carry high current and are always hot.

You'll want to put a small dab of white grease on the stub of the metal switch actuating tang that engages into the steering column.
 

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Yep - security Torx T-20 is the one you want. The column bezel screws should require the same size. On the Imperial, all of these are the security type.

Check the switch end of the lock cylinder when you remove it - sometimes a chunk can break off of there thus requiring you to turn the key way past the start position to engage the starter. The Imperial did that to me not long after I replaced the ignition switch.

Also, check the wires at the big connector (not just the pins) to be sure the insulation hasn't melted away due to current draw. I've seen that happen before.
 

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Just go to the dealership and ask for the inserts that go in the lock cylinder. They have either numbers or letters on them, I don't recall which. But you can take one tumbler out at a time and look at the letter or number that's on it and insert a new one with the same number or letter. That way, once you've replace each of them, your old key will still fit and work like new. That's what I did to my Grand Caravan a couple of years ago. You'll need a bright light and good eyes or a magnifying glass to see the number or letter on the old ones. At least at my age, I did!
 

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Yeah, it happened on my 90 LeBaron. I took the cylinder to a dealer and they told me they couldn't get the same key because it was too old. They also ordered the chrome version without informing me that a plain black version was available and somewhat cheaper. Poor dealer service (as usual)...

Oh, and another tip. If you haven't got the Torx T-20 security bit yet, make sure you get a decent quality one. I got a cheap Chinese-made set and that little bit broke quickly...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
BINGO to Oklahoma Wolf. The end of my lock cylinder broke off and the chunk was getting in the way. Orliey auto parts had 90 lebaron in the same lock set as 87. So i had to make a trip back for the correct one. The end looked like a cup in the shape of the letter C One end of the C was broken off. the 87 to 88 one has a solid chunk at the end ( nothing can break)

I didnt see a way to get the lock apart to switch the insides. Not that big of a deal, I will just carry two keys. I have a remote start that i use to unlock the doors and I made a trunk POP kit for the keyfob. I never will use the old key. Plus it was getting worn out. One i can even pull out while it is running. ( illegal in some states)

I already had the tools .
thanks for all the help
 

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It probably looked something like this:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
John what are you doing in my garage again . Get out of there. Do you know how to get the thing apart so i can use my old key?
 

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If the ignition is wearing out, it's not difficult to change. The only specialty tool needed is to remove the security torx head screwes located under the plastic cover.

So far I've replaced the ignition switch (just the cylinder part) twice in my '94 Shadow ES.

I got my replacement parts from NAPA. Not a dealer.
 

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neon98rt said:
John what are you doing in my garage again . Get out of there. Do you know how to get the thing apart so i can use my old key?
Somewhere I've got the re-keying instructions and a bag of re-keying pins. If I find those, I'll post. However, if your (only) key is badly worn as you describe, I'd either use the 2nd key, or take both the new and old key cylinder to a locksmith, have them make a new key and swap the keying pins. It is probably a 5 minute job and usually pretty cheap if you can find one of those low budget guys who works out of their garage.

IIRC, you remove the clip, depress a release pin and you can slide the inner cylinder (tumbler) out of the case. There are springs and pins so you have to be careful.... that is why the locksmith idea is the safest.

EDIT: Here is a Youtube video of the newer style
It will give you an idea of how it is done. I know a 1990 key cylinder is slightly different in the way they come apart.

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yntb_qGNzEA
 
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