Stuck igniton lock

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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kassim503
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Stuck igniton lock

#1

Post by kassim503 » 12 years ago

Today my ignition lock appeared to be sticking, it takes a quite a bit of jiggling of the wheel and a couple of light punches to the steering column to get the key to turn freely.

Happened three or so times towards the end of the day, it just started doing it consecutively, and pretty much without warning.

Im thinking two possiblities, the steering lock is sticking preventing the key from turning. The other is the cylinders in the ign lock has worn down to the point where it wont let the barrel turn. Im betting on the steering lock being jammed, b/c I tried both copies of my keys, and I believe that the key is of a softer material than the cylinders. I will try the original key tommorow, if I remember where I put it.

Does anybody know how the steering lock works? It sounds like its a simple mechanism. I dont know how im gonna remove those security bolts holding the ign switch on
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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asavage
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Re: Stuck igniton lock

#2

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

kassim503 wrote:Im betting on the steering lock being jammed, b/c I tried both copies of my keys, and I believe that the key is of a softer material than the cylinders. I will try the original key tommorow, if I remember where I put it.
Recall that I am working as a locksmith these days. I have never seen a broken Nissan steering column lock (though I do often service broken Toyota and MB steering column locks).

The Nissan/Subaru keys are the fastest-wearing keys I see, followed by the old Toyota keys. If you have an unworn or only lightly worn original key, try that first. I have found that creating a new Nissan/Subaru key has fixed better than 90% of lock issues on these old vehicles. So far, I have never replaced a Nissan steering column lock for failure. I have replaced a couple of Nissan Ign. locks (the part the key goes in, not the steering lock behind it) that had severe wear, but it's not the first thing that goes: the key is.
Does anybody know how the steering lock works? It sounds like its a simple mechanism.
It is simple. . . but it's not serviceable, nor can you disable it -- the motion of the Ign. lock has to get transferred through the steering column lock to get to the Ign. switch at the back, and you just can't jerry-rig around that. I've got good used steering column locks, if you can't find one locally.
I dont know how im gonna remove those security bolts holding the ign switch on
On the old Nissans, you can use a nice, sharp cold chisel or punch and hit it at an angle on the smooth break-away head to get the chisel to bite, and the thing can be unscrewed in that manner. I've also used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel that has been worn down to a smaller diameter, to cut a slot in the head, and used a std. flatedge screwdriver. Both methods work.

But once you have it off the column, then what?

Review this thread on Nissan keys, keycodes, and locks for pictures of key styles, keycode locations, and Ign. lock dis/reassembly techniques and tips. I don't recommend that you chase this particular symptom yourself -- if a new key (and I do mean new, not a "new duplicate") does not fix the problem, you probably have a bent wafer ("tumbler"), probably in combination with a worn core (the plug you put the key into, that turns). I can repair yours, or rekey one of mine (given a keycode) to match your key and send it to you, or any competent locksmith (one that does automotive work, a lot of them have discontinued auto work) can do the same.

But it's unlikely that the steering column lock is failing. Try a new key first, silicone lubricant second, and a repaired/replaced Ign. lock third. Never graphite, never WD-40.

We get $30 to create a new key by code. I get a further $30 to dis/reassemble an auto lock (any auto lock, except split-wafer and high-security auto locks, which cost a lot more), which would include re-keying a lock to match your key, if you went that route. And the Ign. lock -- brand-new -- is not all that expensive, in case yours isn't rebuildable/repairable.

Hope this helps.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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kassim503
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Re: Stuck igniton lock

#3

Post by kassim503 » 12 years ago

asavage wrote: ...The Nissan/Subaru keys are the fastest-wearing keys I see...
Where does 80's gm keys come into play in the service lifespan chain? Ive got a set for a olds cutlass, cars long gone, but key is shaven flat. Worked right till the end surprisingly.

Good news! the only thing that appeared to have went right today, jumped in the car and the key worked like a charm, all day! Im just going to forget about the problem for now, but ill keep a spare screwdriver and some wiring on hand in case it jams up again. Hopefully it was just a fluke

It is good to know that the column lock cannot just be jb welded in the off position (sounds like something id do), I will pick one up at the pull a part when I get down there though.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

HowlerMonkey
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#4

Post by HowlerMonkey » 12 years ago

I'll bet you locksmiths get a lot of toyota/lexus lock cylinders that the key get's stuck in the accessory position (ES models, RX models, IS models......etc).

Or that problem with the lock cylinder having a part break off causing the key to turn around without engaging the switch or lock. (tundras, GX470s, LX470s........4 runners.......etc).

I've was the diagnostic specialist for the southeast toyota/lexus region and found that in the first instance above, you can usually yank their key out with vice grips, hammer in any key that fits (it may get damaged so don't use the owner's key at this point) twist it hard toward the point that you can push the spring loaded pin that releases the lock cylinder and drive the car away with a screwdriver.........if you hold the key near the immobilizer coil.

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asavage
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#5

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

@Kassim: The old GM x1098x keys do tend to wear more on the sides than on the cuts, due to their construction (they are sidebar locks) and become thinner and thinner and then they break and I get $15 minimum to extract the broken part (if they can get it to my shop) and more labor to try to duplicate a new key from the bits of the old one, or $35+ to create a new key from scratch based on the bits of their old one. After extraction.

Keep in mind that that single-sided GM key was phased out over 15 years ago. The early versions of that style of lock (first ones in Cadillac in 1969 I think, and pretty much the entire GM line except some truck platforms by 1971) are starting to fail pretty regularly. The sidebar dies, sticking out and remaining locked, occasionally sticking in the ON position. I replace them so often now that I have a pat estimate ready: $150 to replace the Ign. lock w/new with two brand-new keys, if I come to the car and it's within five miles of my shop. I do a lot of those.

If it's a late single-sided sidebar VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System, 1986-on, some GM models: resistor "pellet" in the key), add $30 labor and about $60 for the VATS version of the same Ign. lock. It has a stoopid fine wire harness that connects from the column base to the turning part of the Ign. cylinder, so the wires are flexed every time you turn the key: stoopid. The wires break, car will not crank, and bypassing the starter switch doesn't work because the computer won't turn on either. I have so snake the new harness down the column, which involved dropping the insulating panel above the feet, and sometimes the lower column trim, hence the extra labor.

Like I said, I do a lot of them. Requires three special tools, all cheap but most folks do not want to get into a column, once they see the pieces. They can be intimidating, Saginaw columns.

Regarding your Maxima: I don't know what you think having a large screwdriver near you will accomplish, should the lock cylinder fail again. You can't overpower the lock with a screwdriver. You can't drop the column lock assy. off the column with it, so you can't turn the wheel.

And the spare wire: what for? If you want to start the car, use a No. 2 phillips and remove the lower column clamshell plastic, use a small No. 1 phillips and unscrew the Ign switch, use a No. 2 flat to turn the switch and start the engine.

But the column will remain locked. Best have the Ign. lock serviced while it is still mobile, don't you think? Do planned maintenance, rather than unplanned maintenance.

Can you find your keycode (did you read the thread I linked to upthread)?

@HM: Yes, and yes. More Camry & Corolla Igns around here though, and yup they get stuck with the back of the lock busted off and unable to turn the downstream column lock mechanism. I don't pound a key back in, I drill the cylinder and vacuum up the chips, then I can rotate the core and remove the lock assy. But, yes, pretty much what you said. An annoyance of Toyota locks is that you cannot buy one from the dealer uncoded, so I have to sell an expensive dealer-only steering column lock w/Ign. lock integrated, and then sell an additional service to rekey the new assy to match the doors!

I just got back from a day of training in Seattle, the afternoon session was new key machines from one mfgr. We are looking to replace our old Orion sidemill with a new, cheap, HPC mini mill. I don't much like it, but it's very cheap: $1000, half of the next one up by Bianchi. I have to cut a lot of sidemill keys to pay for that, and even with a new machine they take a long time to cut. And I can't begin to contemplate a sidemill machine that can code-cut yet, they are $10k and up, and I just don't have the volume to justify the equipment, even if we are the monopoly locksmith out here. What this boils down to is that I can usually make a duplicate sidemill key (MB back to 1980, BMW, Lexus, Honda, Acura, etc.) for about $50-75, but to originate one (make a new key from nothing) means I have to use "depth keys" to duplicate the "cuts" onto the new blade, which is very time-consuming. I just did a theft-recovery key originate on an '89 535i for a fellow who bought it at auction, and I charged him three hours ($180) labor to make the first key, plus $50 for the second key, plus $30 to dis/reassemble the trunk lock he brought me. All in-shop labor; can you imagine if I had to drive 50 miles and do this? Old cars are being scrapped for lack of keys (mainly old MB, who introduced the optional sidemill "high-security" keys in 1980 or so models). You quote the owner of a car worth maybe $2000 to make her two new keys for $600, they tend to abandon the vehicles to the tow company.

BTW: GM is going to get into sidemill keys in a big way soon -- real soon. Think your transponder key is expensive at $70-up? Wait until you tack an extra $50 for the sidemill labor.

The prototype key I saw today, debuting probably on the Camaro/Epsilon was a switchblade style key like on VWs. Cool, and expensive if your GF throws it off the ferry when you break up with her (which happens a lot here in Puget Sound).
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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kassim503
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

#6

Post by kassim503 » 12 years ago

asavage wrote:....
Regarding your Maxima: I don't know what you think having a large screwdriver near you will accomplish, should the lock cylinder fail again. You can't overpower the lock with a screwdriver. You can't drop the column lock assy. off the column with it, so you can't turn the wheel.

And the spare wire: what for? If you want to start the car, use a No. 2 phillips and remove the lower column clamshell plastic, use a small No. 1 phillips and unscrew the Ign switch, use a No. 2 flat to turn the switch and start the engine.....

But the column will remain locked....
I was figuring id be able to just yank the column clamshell, and jump the connections with the wire. But you showed me a good point, the ign lock would still be locked. I gotta throw that on the ever increasing list of stuff that needs to get done on the car.

Right now I want to get the exhaust done again and replace the timing chain, leaking windsheild, fix a/c high idle solenoid. and r&r the gauge cluster before I start something that hasnt driven me to insanity yet. (I will regret saying this though, I know it)

Also ive been working full days+weeks, so I simply dont have much time anymore. Will get done though, im telling myself to have it all up to spec for august.

Edit:
BTW: GM is going to get into sidemill keys in a big way soon -- real soon. Think your transponder key is expensive at $70-up? Wait until you tack an extra $50 for the sidemill labor.
Damn, VATS sucks enough, sidemill keys would just bring the price of having a spare key through the roof. Good thing I have no personal plans of purchasing a shiny new car anytime in the near future.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

davehoos
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#7

Post by davehoos » 12 years ago

Today my ignition lock appeared to be sticking, it takes a quite a bit of jiggling of the wheel and a couple of light punches to the steering column to get the key to turn freely.
to ckeck the lock bolt turn the steering wheel away from the lock area annd remove the key a few times give it a bit a a juggle with the key out between tests.ive had lock bolt stuck it steering shafts a few times,normally happens when you try to brake the lock.
cant remember if the nissan lock has the barbs on the ends of tumblers that did in to the case and need a good file.ive seen these type fill up with alloy shavings from the housing and need a good clean out.

my 94 falcon has the next type of key with a transponder,and when hot it wont turn of the smartlock.the FIX is to wire in a smart lock bypass solid state deal for $98 and connect another type of throw away alarm into this curcuit.

Image
ebay uncut $27.Ford KEY.simple transponter[smartlock]

my "NEW" 1999 falcon key hard to get one cut that fits.the ebay seller i purchased it from,purchased a full set of locks to get matching keys-he also replaced the body control module as he didnt have the original key.
the car was fitted with the newer smartsheild keyless entry remotes than didnt suit my car being a first series AU and wife has ebayed them for $40+.

Image
is this what you refer to as side milled-MB key-these are cheep here.
this key is of the AUST GM-H products from late 80,s and is used by toyota in cars like toyota crown suplied with australian security electronics.
Image

camaro i think is planed to be built by or based on australian GM-holden[pontiac] range and they are due for a key security update soon.you are to get australian both car based utes from ford and holden in the USA soon.australia has strong security design rules-this is to reduce insurance costs.along with crash and saftey crap.

most of the other vehicles here are going keyless,cars like alfa-toyota that have a coded remote box and push button starter button.one push to turn on and second to start[follow the prompts on the didgital dash]

the toyota keyless is odd-with the key in you pocket you touch the car to unlock it and drive.[/quote]
WCJR31 Skyline.3.0 manual.wagon
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HowlerMonkey
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#8

Post by HowlerMonkey » 12 years ago

asavage wrote:@HM: Yes, and yes. More Camry & Corolla Igns around here though, and yup they get stuck with the back of the lock busted off and unable to turn the downstream column lock mechanism. I don't pound a key back in, I drill the cylinder and vacuum up the chips, then I can rotate the core and remove the lock assy.
I don't pound the a key back in on the locks that break.

I pound the a key in on the lexus/toyotas that get stuck halfway between lock and accessory so I can just turn it enough to get it out. A donor key and a little bit of twisting on the key get it turned just enough toward accessory to push in the spring loaded pin and remove the works.

It doesn't matter which key I use because the part is shot anyway but the donor keys I use are non keyless entry keys with a strong head because putting that much pressure on the owner's key will probably break off the flimsy plastic housing that contains the immobilizer chip and the workings for the keyless entry.

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83_maxima
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#9

Post by 83_maxima » 12 years ago

asavage wrote:Cool, and expensive if your GF throws it off the ferry when you break up with her (which happens a lot here in Puget Sound).
:lol: That's hilarious Al.

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