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How do I remove a GM Key Lock?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by FatFndr, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. FatFndr
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 193

    FatFndr
    Member

    I have a 1972 Buick Skylark tilt steering column. The key will move to the accessory position but will not move to the start/run position. My intention was to remove the keylock and take it to a locksmith for repair. I have not done this before but was told it was easy - just take the column apart, when the turn signal indicator assembly is removed, stick an icepick type object in the hole going to the lock and push on the spring loaded button and pull out the keylock. I have probed and poked just about every hole around or near the lock set and will nothing budges or moves.

    What am I overlooking?

    Thanks in advance
     

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  2. ABBoston
    Joined: Dec 13, 2005
    Posts: 275

    ABBoston
    Member
    from Boston

    take the phillips screw out
    take the key buzzer contact out
    put the ignition in the on position
    use a thin screwdriver to push the pin down - the pin is in that wide slot
    it won't push down unless the key is in and the ignition is in the on position

    if the ignition jams - it may not be the lock cylinder
    once the ignition is out - use a 3/8 extension or a needlenose pliars
    to turn the ignition on/off

    if it is smooth - then it is the lock cylinder
    just get a new one with a new key

    If it is not smooth - then the gears inside are stripped
    or the ignition switch is binding

    go buy a new lock\cyl\key and you will see how it is held in
     
  3. LANCE-SPEED
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    LANCE-SPEED
    Member

    How the theifs got mine out was by busting a large hole in the column and then prying it out with a huge screwdriver.
     
  4. FatFndr
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 193

    FatFndr
    Member

    The ignition key won't turn to the On/Start position, but it will go to the accessory position. Does this indicate a stripped gear or switch binding? Is there a procedure to take it out in the Off position or Acc position?
     

  5. to get the key cylinder out:

    turn key to ACC
    stick a paper clip (bent straight) in the tiny hole next to the key
    depress spring while turning key past ACC
    lock cylinder will come out when past ACC
    sometimes sorta stuck, just pull
     
  6. FatFndr
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 193

    FatFndr
    Member

    Just to be sure, where is the key depress spring? Sorry for the detail, I am in an area that I haven't been before and don't know where everything is - but I'm learning fast.
     
  7. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,660

    Larry T
    Member

    That's for dash mounted switches, for column mounted switches ABBoston has the plan.
    If you want to make sure if it's in the key & tumbler and not the switch (they are seperate on column setups), you can loosen up the switch (on top of the column, under the dash), remove the rod from the switch and check your key & tumbler again. If it still won't go turn to ign. it's in the k & t and if it does it's the switch. You get the idea.
    Larry T
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,193

    squirrel
    Member

    The lock cylinders wear out, and like he says if you go buy a new one you can see where the lock tab is, and how it works.

    I probably have the shop manual pages that cover how to do all this stuff, pm me if you want me to scan them.
     
  9. remove the philipps screw and the key buzzer and that cylinder should slide right out. in the event it could have been replaced above the key buzzer is slot use a small screwdriver to depress tab and slide ignition assembly out. new ones are under $20.
     
  10. IIRC the older columns the hole for the tab is filled with a really thin layer of the cast metal the upper column is made of, you kind of have to punch through it.
     
  11. you can also drill the locking pin out, once you have located where it is if nothing else works, you need a good drill bit as its hardened steel most of the time.
     
  12. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,660

    Larry T
    Member

    That would be kind of hard on this key and tumbler. The "lock pin" is actually a flat piece that is about 1" long and 1/8" thick.

    The easiest way to figure out how to get it out (if you've never done one before) would be to get a new key and tumbler. It's pretty obvious what needs to be done when you look at one. And you can double check what position the key needs to be in for the lock to be retracted. I really don't remember if it's the on position or the acc position, but the lock will only retract when the key is in one of the two positions. I think it's the acc position, but..........

    Couple of things to remember,
    No 1 The early columns don't use a set screw, just the "lock pin"

    No 2 If the key & tumbler have never been removed before, the "slot" might have casting flash covering it. You'll have to dig in the slot until you break through the flash.

    No 3 You have to pull the brass contacts (key buzzer) out before you can remove the key & tumbler. It just pulls straight out.

    Larry T

    Maybe this will help, stolen off the auctions site everyone loves to hate.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  13. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    Shaggy
    Member
    from Sultan, WA

    I'd start by removing the whole column and replacing it with something better looking
     
  14. WildWilly68
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 1,724

    WildWilly68
    Member

    Yep that is how it was in my '71.
     
  15. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263

    joe_padavano
    Member

    You don't need to turn the lock cylinder anywhere. You simply need to depress the spring-loaded tab on the cylinder. As noted, the hole that you press through is often closed with a thin layer of casting flash that needs to be punched through. Don't go drilling anything. Don't go breaking anything. This link provides detailed step-by-step photos (just stop at the step where the lock cylinder comes out - you obviously don't need to go further unless you do have to tighten the tilt screws):

    http://buickperformance.com/tiltsteeringcolumnwobble.htm
     
  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,193

    squirrel
    Member

    I think he already has all those instructions, which fail to mention that you need to turn the key to the "on" position to be able to depress the locking tab that holds in the lock. Which he can't do because the lock is stuck.
     
  17. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,660

    R Frederick
    Member
    from illinois

    YES!!! I was dying to add that.
     
  18. FatFndr
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 193

    FatFndr
    Member

    My saga continues.....I got back to my steering column using all the good advice I received here and now I'm stuck again. Before I get out my BFH and start beating this piece of frustration to death, perhaps I can find a gentler way to handle this. I have removed the key cylinder, turn signal contacts, 3 large philips screws and expected the steering column collar to be easily removable - it's not. It will move about 1/4-1/2" up but then stops when it hits an interference and I can't see what that would be. I have tried tapping gently then firmly with a dead blow hammer and it will not move after the 1/4-1/2" travel. The turn signal wiring loom moves freely up and down about 2-3 inches so I don't think that is a problem. I haven't removed nor loosened the ignition switch and rod (attached lower on the column) as I don't think that would interfere either.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     

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  19. dvs
    Joined: Nov 19, 2008
    Posts: 63

    dvs
    Member

  20. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,058

    oldolds
    Member

    [


    What he said. If your workshop manual (even online) dosen't have a good pic it is a pain in the butt. If you know an older GM tech take the column out and let him show you. After about 1975 or so you just have to take out a screw.



    QUOTE=rustynewyorker;6701361]IIRC the older columns the hole for the tab is filled with a really thin layer of the cast metal the upper column is made of, you kind of have to punch through it.[/QUOTE]
     
  21. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263

    joe_padavano
    Member

    Once again, you DO NOT need to turn the key to any position to remove the lock cylinder from a GM column. I have personally done it on many cars without having a key (which also means I could not turn it to the ON position). So long as you depress the spring loaded tab that is described in the link I posted, the lock cylinder comes right out.
     
  22. FatFndr
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 193

    FatFndr
    Member

    I finally got the collar off the column and therein found what had been the culprit all this time. In the photo below, in the upper left side, there is a "stem" (pardon, I don't know its real name) and this "stem" was stuck in the collar and therefore not letting the key switch work nor was removal of the column initially possible. After wrestling the collar off and gently tapping the "stem" out I cleaned it up and took a rat tail file and gingerly filed the hole - just a smidge. I greased the assembly, put it all back together and it now works fine.

    Thanks to all that contributed. It helped me immensely in teaching me how to do another part of working on my own car and having the satisfaction of knowing I can do it again if need be.
     

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  23. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,660

    Larry T
    Member

    While you're that far in, it sure wouldn't hurt to pull the rest of the "tilt" off the column (you're almost there), and tighten the screws up underneath. This is where the "slop" in tilt columns comes from.
    Larry T
     
  24. This is good info, I need to get a column for my 53 GMC project and will probably hit the junkyard. Mostlikely a GM column and it will be without a key, so need replace the lock cyl.
     
  25. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263

    joe_padavano
    Member

    The "stem" is the pin that locks the steering wheel. It's attached to the geared rack that the lock cylinder moves up and down the steering column, so yes, it will prevent the cylinder from turning if it's stuck. Glad you got it fixed.
     

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