1994 Mercury Tracer Ignition Broke | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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1994 Mercury Tracer Ignition Broke

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by atto, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. atto

    atto FEOA Member

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    Hey there,
    I have a 1994 Mercury Tracer 1.9l wagon (automatic) and yesterday the ignition broke. I would turn the key and it would not engage the accessories or turn on car's electrical systems. The key just felt "loose" and it would not do anything.

    I ended up removing the lower clamshell on the steering column, unplugged the 6 slot electrical connector from the ignition assembly, and jumped a couple of wires to get it to start. The ignition switch gave one last breath of life and allowed me to disengage the steering wheel lock.

    Still, I'm unsure of what part needs replacing. I've read that the whole assembly costs over $100 and I was wondering if I could just replace the part where the key is inserted.

    Here is the parts list:
    http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1204186,parttype,10041,a,Search+for+1994+MERCURY+TRACER+1.9L+L4+SOHC

    Can I just buy the "Ign Lock Cylinder" and install it? KEMPARTS Part # UL7Y

    [​IMG]

    Or do I need the whole shebang?
    AIRTEX Part # 4H1083

    [​IMG]
  2. Bullethead104

    Bullethead104 FEOA Member

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    Hi Atto,
    I had the some thing happen to me. This is what I did. Try to leave to key in the on position and removed the key if you can. I removed the whole plugged assembly . There is a slot where the rod from the key assembly goes. I used a small screwdriver to start the car. If you do this, you can take the rubber out of the steering wheel half and the assembly fits between the plastic. I ran that way for awhile. That are some threads about this. The whole assembly is easier to change.
  3. atto

    atto FEOA Member

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    Thanks for your post, Bullethead104. How would I go about removing the "whole plugged assembly"? Is that the part in my first pic? Or do I remove the whole ignition assembly (2nd pic)? Sorry, I'm new at this :|

    In any case, would it be a bad idea to bypass the ignition altogether? I could rig a switch for the ON position (ignition), a switch for ACC (for radio), and a push-button for the starter. I could then hide a "secret" switch for "theft prevention".

    Since the whole thing is easier to change, I'd rather jerry-rig it and wait until I have the funds in order to do the job right. I just order $200 in "Strut / Coil Spring / Mount Assembly" for the front suspension and this is another kick in the pants :(
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you want to know how to remove the entire ign. switch assembly, or just the part that plugs into the back of the 'electrical switch' part of the ign. assembly?
    I also have had the little flat strip break that was rotated by the key-switch, and which in turn rotated the electric part of the ignition switch. Getting the key-part out of the way involved drilling through the small split-pins holding it to the overall housing; which messed up the housing. But at least I could start and operate the car with a small screwdriver.
    To prevent the steering column from locking in position, you can pry off the shiny circular cover on the bottom of the assembly, and let the spring fall out of it. Then that pin that interferes with the column turning will not get pushed up into position. This would make your car easier to steal, but the thieves wont know this if you put the column clamshell back in place.
    To get the original ign sw. assembly off of the column, you have to undo the two small bolts that have 'theft-resistant' heads. You can use a hacksaw blade and saw a slot in them - so a narrow bladed screwdriver can loosen them..... or use a small cold chisel to make a notch in the rim of each bolt, which you then hammer at an angle, to make the bolts turn counterclockwise. This is done by taking out the 4 bolts holding the steering column up, and letting it droop onto your lap while you work on the bolts.

    I wanted to install just a new "Ign lock cylinder", but in getting the old one out of the assembly, I ruined the assembly. I eventually bought a new entire switch, for about $100 with the shipping. Be sure to get one that matches your transmission. The ignition switches for the manual trans and the automatic trans are not the same. Different interlocks.
    atto likes this.
  5. atto

    atto FEOA Member

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    denisond3, you answered all of my questions! You even predicted what I was going to ask next.

    I ended up bypassing the ignition and rigged this up using the ignition harness (this was a test--I soldered all of the connections);

    [​IMG]

    My next step is to remove the steering wheel lock, as you mentioned. Is there any danger of the airbag going off? I want to take a flathead and tap the shiny circular plate with a hammer.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I very much doubt the air bag would go off. The airbag impact sensors are on the front side of the radiator, and the control unit is in the console. No particular reason for the air bag to go off because you pry off a round metal disc on the bottom of the ignition switch.

    The air bag circuitry is not switched in any way. If you want to disable the air bag, you have to disconnect the battery and wait about 5 minutes, for the large capacitor inside the control unit to discharge. That capacitor is the energy source to fire the air bag propellant, when the impact sensors tell the control unit to do it.
  7. atto

    atto FEOA Member

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    denisond3, I was overestimating the circular plate in the steering column; it was just a little piece of stamped metal! The steering wheel lock has been removed. Thanks! :)
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    On the 95LX I just bought I will be defeating the steering wheel lock, since it was only a safety feature in terms of theft prevention - and Im not greatly worried about thieves stealing 19 year old faded/scratched Escorts. I will also disable the interlock that keeps you from taking the shifter out of park until your foot is on the brake and the ignition is on. I will leave intact the interlocks for 'Starting Only When in Park or Neutral' and being "Unable to Remove Ignition Key Until Shift Lever is in Park".

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