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Hiya,

I just bought an 89 gt with no keys. Its in a tight spot so being able to unlock the steering wheel will help greatly.

I ordered an ignition cylinder and was wondering if anyone has documentation on the repair process. Can I replace it by just removing the steering shroud or is it a design that requires removal of the steering wheel?
 

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Unfortunately, I think the "easy" way to swap the lock cylinder involves using the key to turn it, and there's a pin you can push to pull it out. Without the key, it's a much harder job.
 

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I think if you remove the plastic shield under the steering wheel you can access the security bolts that hold the whole lock assembly onto the steering column. Using a small, sharp cold chisel and hammer, tap on the periphery in such manner to unscrew them. Then finish using your fingers.
This will allow you to take out the assembly to work on it or bring to a locksmith, and remove the locking mechanism.

Well that's how you do it on second generations anyway!
 

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Since I had to remove/replace the ignition lock assembly on several escorts, I took off the clamshell around the column, then removed the four bolts supporting the steering column, and let it lie on my lap.. Then I could get to the "antitheft" bolts and use the sharp cold chisel method to loosen the bolts; but I also had a Dremel moto tool, with which I could grind a slot across the top of the bolt head, and use a screwdriver in the slot to loosen them. I always used ordinary metric bolts of the same "M: size as replacements.
And all of my escorts are 2nd gen ones, so I dont know the layout of a first gen.
 

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Pursuant to what Denisond said, be careful not to let the steering column dangle with those four bolts removed as it puts excessive strain at the bottom of the column.
I use a couple long M8 bolts threaded in a few turns by hand to support the column when the stock short bolts are removed.
 

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Unfortunately, I think the "easy" way to swap the lock cylinder involves using the key to turn it, and there's a pin you can push to pull it out.
Exactly right, I did this job a few years ago on my 89 GT and it's easy enough, if you have a way to turn the ignition to the "run" position. Getting at the cylinder is as easy as removing a few screws from the trim surrounding the steering column and a few bolts that attach to the support bracket. The cylinder itself even comes out with two screws, but it's that pin that'll mess with you. Admittedly, it's a 30+ year old lock, you've got a new one on the way, you might be able to beat it with a wiggler picking tool, a flathead screwdriver or even the new keys that come with the new cylinder (though I wouldn't recommend the screwdriver). Getting the cylinder to the "run" position is, funnily enough, the key to doing your job with minimal headaches.
 

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The switch went bad on my '95 wagon. I purchased a complete replacement lock/switch assembly. Others described changing those, and yes, I had to deal with the security bolts. They are like a bolt with a thin center section that breaks off after installation, making it more difficult to remove. I used a side grinder with cutting disc to cut slots in the cone head shaped bolts then unscrewed them using a "hammer on impact driver/remover" w/slotted bit. The switch unplugged from the wiring harness, and with the lock assembly removed you can turn the wheel. You don't want to mess with the wires going to the airbag (why you don't remove the steering wheel). It wasn't very difficult, the only real challenge being removal of those security bolts. My new lock/switch assembly included new security bolts. (I could have re-used the old ones after cutting those slots into them for removing them). With the new bolts, you install them with a regular wrench and break their hex heads off.
 

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The switch went bad on my '95 wagon. I purchased a complete replacement lock/switch assembly. Others described changing those, and yes, I had to deal with the security bolts. They are like a bolt with a thin center section that breaks off after installation, making it more difficult to remove. I used a side grinder with cutting disc to cut slots in the cone head shaped bolts then unscrewed them using a "hammer on impact driver/remover" w/slotted bit. The switch unplugged from the wiring harness, and with the lock assembly removed you can turn the wheel. You don't want to mess with the wires going to the airbag (why you don't remove the steering wheel). It wasn't very difficult, the only real challenge being removal of those security bolts. My new lock/switch assembly included new security bolts. (I could have re-used the old ones after cutting those slots into them for removing them). With the new bolts, you install them with a regular wrench and break their hex heads off.
I should have added that there is a wide price range for a complete lock/switch assembly. I found the lowest priced one on ebay with free shipping for under $90, and that was about 5 or 6 years ago. You can find the part number at rockauto for your exact part, then search for that part number at ebay. Some ebay vendor will have a NOS part for the best available price, hopefully.
 

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It's obvious that none of you have ever worked in a shop or salvage yard. All you have to do is take a drill bit and carefully drill out the little pin that you can normally push if you have the key and can turn it all the way forward and you should be able to pull the lock cylinder out. You can also use a small punch and hammer the pin inside of the cylinder and then pull it out.
 

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My 20 something years old escort needed more than just the lock cylinder. The switch itself was beginning to malfunction and close to failing. The lock cylinder was worn out and sloppy, yes, but the switch was shot too. Very happy to replace the whole assembly. The reliability and confidence of having it all brand new and working perfectly was well worth the effort and expense (and yes, I had a parts car with a used part I could have swapped). The new part has been trouble free for 4 or 5 years now. Though I paid $90 for mine, I noticed someone selling a complete assembly for $30-something, now. Search the interchange part number on ebay.
 
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