Ignition Key Will Not Turn

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Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:48 pm

As the title says, key will not turn. Tried moving the steering wheel left and right (and up and down...) but no joy. Naturally it is in the garage where a tow truck can't get to the front, and the shifter is locked with the ignition in lock position. :wall:

Will call the dealer on Monday, but in the meantime--

Any ideas? :duh:
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:24 pm

And yes, I have turned the wheel rights and left, tried to jiggle the shifter, tried to see if there is a stuck tumbler that can be freed, disconnected the battery, put on a charger, etc. Probably needs a new lock cylinder I suppose -- can't figure out how it went so fast...:wall:

Any other ideas?
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby SummitUp » Sun May 01, 2011 9:49 am

Hopefully, some or all of the following will be helpful...
Good Luck!
==================================================

There are three ignition problems that appear to occur rather often with H2's. These are:

1] The key will not come out of the ignition and therefore not allow you to park the truck.

2] The Truck will not shift out of PARK resulting in your inability to move or even easily tow the truck.

3] The truck either discharges its battery when the key is removed and/or the truck will not crank over and/or the truck will start and then just stall again.

Needless to say when any of these happen it is VERY aggravating.

There are some solutions to these problems to get you out of a bind. It is also pretty easy to fix the truck. Some can be done with no parts, the other needs a special part that cost about $40 at the dealership.

Tool list

Emergency tools-

For emergencies all you need is a Phillips screw driver. KEEP THIS TOOL IN YOUR TRUCK AT ALL TIMES. I suggest you buy a uni-tool and keep it in the truck.
It is also suggested to keep a small drill bit - 1/8 inch

Repair tools-

Phillps screw driver (the same as used for emergencies)
An allan wrench set
A knife
Some tape or preferably some small butt splices and a crimper
Some 24 ga. Stranded wire

Problem - I Can’t get the key out of the ignition!

Here is the procedure:

KEY PROBLEM – emergency extraction

For the key problem, you have two options. The first is to remove the bottom part of the steering wheel column cover. The second is to drill a small hole in the cover in a specific place (don’t worry the hole is on the bottom and you cant see it). The steering wheel column cover is the gray-black thing that covers the steering column between the wheel and the dash. It tilts up and down with the steering wheel.

If you don’t have the drill bit here is how to get the cover off:

Put the steering wheel tilt to the highest position.
Remove the steering wheel tilt knob by pulling it straight out.
Press the seam of the top and bottom plastic pieces of the cover inwards. You need to press hard enough to cause them to deflect enough to release the locking tabs that are on the inside which hold the halves together. Use this procedure on all sides, one at a time. They WILL come apart. If you can’t get them apart this way then you can break the part but it will cost you about $100 to get replacement parts.

If you have a drill bit (preferred method):

Put the steering wheel to the full up position:
Look under the steering wheel on the right side and look for an oval blemish in the plastic. This blemish is the spot where a plug was put into the plastic mold resulting in an imperfect surface finish.

Use the drill bit to bore a hole into the exact dead center of the oval. You can be off center a bit but try to keep it close to center. Once the hole is drilled adjust the drill angle so that you can insert the drill bit straight up (rather than perpendicular to the plastic which is a curved surface).

Once you have the hole drilled or you have the cover off:
There is a gold /silver button at the bottom of the steering wheel assembly that is either in direct line with the hole you drill or can be seen just behind and under the key. This button needs to be pushed up. Once pushed they key will come out.

If you have the drill hole you can use a tooth pick, paper clip or the drill bit to push the button. The nice thing is that the button is in direct line with the hole so you don’t have to fish around very much. You can feel when you are pushing the button as it has about ½” of travel and has a weak spring trying to push back.

Now that the key is out, what next?
The problem will still exist next time you shut off the truck so keep the cover off or keep the drill bit handy.
To fix the cause of the problem you need to do the work described in the next section.

I can’t get the truck out of park!

Park Problem – Emergency procedure

This is a more serious problem as the truck is totally immobilized. You will have to do something if you want to get to where you are going. Fortunately, the solution is very easy. Note that The park problem can occur at the same time as the key problem so you may have to do both to get out of a bind . The repair of the shifter as described below will fix both problems.
Here is the procedure

Open the center console glove box and using the Phillips screw driver, remove the 4 screws that hold the center console "glove box" in place. The box is the tub right under the flip up door. Remove the tub then stick you hand into the hole toward the shifter. While jiggling the shifter feel where the bottom of the shifter goes. Somewhere near the bottom, you will feel a round mushroom shaped thing, with the round part facing the PASSENGER SIDE. If you press on this, the shifter can now be shifted out of park using the regular method. You need to hold the button down when you want to shift out of park. The lock is only for park so all other gears are ok from this point on. Remember- every time you go to park position, the shifter will lock and you need to access the “button” each time to get out of park.


What is the cause of the problem?

One frequent cause is a broken wire that goes to the shifter (the break is located in the center console). These wires control both the key removal and the parking lock. If you have either of these problems then have the cable checked or you can fix it your self as indicated below:

Shifter stuck or key stuck repair
Put the parking brake on
Make sure the engine is off
Put the shifter into 1 (farthest back position)
Remove the shifter handle. To do this you need to loosen the allan screw (it is actually a torx screw but an allan wrench will work fine) There is a screw on the front of the shifter that needs to be loosened, Pop the shifter console off the center console. There are 4 very hard to release metal clips that hold the shifter cover on. To release, you need to pull straight up on the shifter cover. Beware, you might break the plastic around the clips so be careful. The cover does come off perhaps with a lot of effort. If you are worried about breaking it go to a dealer for the repair.
Once the cover is off you will see a cable and connector near a mushroom shaped button. This button is the one you pressed to release the shifter from park. Either the connector is off or the wires to the connector are broken due to the flex back and forth that occurs during movement of the shift lever. Find which wire is broken and fix it. It is preferable to use a small gauge, highly flexible wire to extend the harness to connector cable length. It is also preferable to use butt splices rather then solder joints.

Test it and then put everything back together.

Problem

I start my truck and it stalls immediately
OR
The truck just turns over but will not start
OR
I turn the key and truck wont turn over
OR
I took the key out last night and the truck batteries are dead in the morning but I did not leave a light on, nor was there anything plugged in the lighter or accessory jacks

The problem is most likely a defective ignition switch. You will need to get a new one. The part number is GM# 15242754. It is a common GM part and most dealers will carry it as a stock item. Cost is about $40.

Procedure:

Remove the negative connection to the truck battery.
Remove the bottom cover of the steering wheel column cover as described in the stuck key problem procedure.
The key switch assembly can be seen on the bottom right side of the steering column.
You need to unplug the switch and then press in the spring loaded tabs that hold the switch in place to slide it out. There are several cables that may have to be moved around a bit but DO NOT UNPLUG THE LITTLE WIRES THAT GO TO THE TOP OF THE COLUMN If you do so, the truck will think this is a theft attempt and set the security alarm.

Once the switch is out, get the new switch and make sure the gear of the new switch is in the same position as the one that was removed. Put the new switch into the proper position and plug in the connector

Hook up the battery

Test that the switch works. If the gear is in the wrong position, the key either won’t come out or the key will not move to the start position (the spring loaded start position). In either of these cases you need to remove the switch and re-position the gear.
Put the bottom cover back on the steering wheel column. Be sure to have the pieces aligned properly as it you don’t, you can screw up the locking tabs.
37" KM2's on 17" Hutchinson Beadlocks, Cognito UCA's, Cognito Sway Bar Links, Custom Hydro-Assist Steering Upgrade, Bilstein Shocks,
Warn 9.5ti Winch, Viking Synthetic Winch Cable, Piaa & Hella Off-road lights, Gobi Rack, Tru-Cool Transmission Oil Cooler, Eaton Front Locker, 4.56 Gears, Rubber Duck UCP Protection, Diablo Predator Hi-Octane Tune.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Sun May 01, 2011 2:35 pm

Thanks. I wonder if the "shift out of park through the console box" will work even if the ignition is locked?

If I get my nerve up for minor vehicle surgery, I 'll try that. It would be a lot easier to tow if I could roll it out of the garage!
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby springhill » Mon May 02, 2011 9:24 pm

I had this happen a couple of years ago. A new battery solved the problem.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Mon May 02, 2011 10:47 pm

I put it on the charger and it did not help. We will see what the dealer says about the battery. I did see where is is supposed to take more juice to unlock the ignition than to start the truck -- makes no sense to me.

For the record, to get it out of the garage it appears the easiest approach is for the tow truck driver to disconnect the shift linkage and put it in neutral manually from underneath. The you can push it out of the garage and get it cranked up onto a flat bed for the trip to the dealer.

Hopefully I will find out more tomorrow.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Seth » Mon May 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Your way to get it out of the garage is probably better, but in a pinch, the tow trucks winch could pull it out of the garage, tires screeching. Maybe a little vegetable oil for ease dragging. That or most tow trucks carry wheel dollies.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Thu May 05, 2011 8:30 pm

The problem with the wheel dollies is that my garage does not have much clearance -- I was concerned it would not clear with them. Plus, hard to get to the front corner in the garage.

I did think about the drag and screech approach. Glad it did not come to that.

The verdict was ignition lock cylinder failure. Paid my GMPP deductible and about half the tow and it was fixed by Tues evening.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Seth » Fri May 06, 2011 12:55 am

So how did you end up getting it out of the garage?
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby Charles Helm » Fri May 06, 2011 9:38 pm

Like I posted up above, the wrecker driver disconnected the shift linkage and popped it into neutral, all from underneath. We pushed it out to where it could be cranked onto the flatbed.

Glad he knew how to do it.
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Re: Ignition Key Will Not Turn

Postby h2tx » Tue May 31, 2011 10:54 am

I have had my key and gear shift lock due to a dead battery before. You can pop the entire plastic portion that surrounds your gear shift, and includes the cup holder out. I placed a flat blade screw driver in the seam between the gear shift and the center console. This plastic tray basically lifts up, you can then press in on a mechanical locking button on the right side of the gear shift, this unlocks the gear shift manually (vs normal electronic) and allows you to shift the truck into Neutral.
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