Help diagnose, key stuck in ACC and won't come out (1 Viewer)

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This is a follow up to a previous post where I had an issue getting the car out of park because I'd messed things up a bit while I had the gearshift area pulled apart. I've been working with a soft trim shop on a full re-do of my interior. They pulled everything out and then I took the car back and have been doing a sound deadening and sound proofing job while the truck is bare, and then the shop is installing all new headliner, leather, and carpet. I particularly wanted to work on the center transmission hump area, because of all the well known heat issues. So I got a bit over aggressive with a wire brush rotary tool while I was cleaning up some surface rust, and ended up letting the drill pull itself into the shift controls and cause a few issues. First, i couldn't get the truck out of park. Second, i'd severed the switch wires for the overdrive defeat button. But I continued getting the sound treatment work done knowing that I wouldn't be using the overdrive defeat and some good folks here on Mud reminded me that I could get the car in gear with the shift lock override. I was too pressed for time because I only had the weekend to do the sound treatment. But even still I didn't finish it all, so I focussed on the roof and the front so they could at least get the headliner and front carpets in. I did finish all that and brought the truck to them on Monday morning and picked it up Tuesday night to continue the sound work.

When they put the center console and gear shift area back together to get it presentable for me to take home halfway done, somehow the whole issue with not getting the car out of Park fixed itself. The gear shift lever now moves as it should, when you press the button and have your foot on the break. Mystery problem, mystery fix.

However, now I have this new problem where I can't take the key out of the cylinder when I turn the truck off. I know that the cylinder lock is there to make sure the car is in park when you take the key out. So in my head I'm thinking there is a connection here to the original problem. Had a problem getting the car out of park, and now seemingly the key cylinder doesn't know the truck is in park. Maybe the two issues are connected... So last night after I got the truck home I pulled the trim out again and dug in.

I had intended to get in there anyway because I still had to fix the overdrive wire, which I did last night. So at least that problem is gone. But I dug in a bit further by pulling the gearshift trim and the shift lock control box to get to as much body metal as I could. I vacuumed it out and cleaned it with some degreaser on a rag, and then put some sound/heat insulation in to try and control the heat that radiates from down there. It worked, I highly recommend this!

But back to the issue.

While I was in there cleaning, I made sure everything was working properly with the gearshift. I cleaned out the 20 year old nasty grease and reapplied fresh. I tested the movement, used the override button to move the gear shift back and forth and make sure all mechanical movements we functioning correctly. Everything looks perfect. I tested the dashboard reactions to the various gear changes. The car definitely knows that it is in park. When I move the lever into park, I definitely hear whatever the sequence is that goes on behind the dash when the car gets put in park. If I heard nothing, I would be thinking that whatever sensor is in there that detects I'm in park had been damaged when I screwed up with the rotary brush. But hearing that noise makes me think all is just fine in the gear shift compartment.

Reading the forum, it seems that hearing those sounds is meant to be an indicator that the problem is in the cylinder, and after a painful extraction can be fixed by a locksmith. I understand that logic, but my problem is that I can't ignore the possibility that something has happened to whatever is between the gearshift and the lock cylinder. That's why I went into all the detail about the soft trim work. I brought the car into their shop on Monday morning, and had no problem shutting the car off and taking the key out. When I picked the car up Tuesday night, that's when I first noticed the issue. In between Monday morning and Tuesday night, the shop was busy fitting a new carpet in the front footwells, and could easily have jostled something leading into that key cylinder that is causing this.

Something just doesn't seem right in thinking that I've had this car for 20 years and 230,000 miles, and the ignition key cylinder all of a sudden picked the soft trim house to lay an egg. Sure, stranger things have happened. But knowing the amount of poking and prodding it must take to fit and trim new carpet under the footwells, to me it just seems more likely that something came loose.

Now I do intend to bring it back to the soft trim shop and say "hey, this wasn't like this when I gave it to you". But I'm thinking there's a hell of a lot more expertise here in figuring out what happened than there will be in the soft trim shop!

So I'm wondering if anyone has any good ideas to guide me along in trying to diagnose if I can rule out the cylinder itself or not? Thanks!
 

ramangain

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How much force have you tried to use to "push" the key in when trying to rotate from ACC to OFF?
 
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How much force have you tried to use to "push" the key in when trying to rotate from ACC to OFF?
I don’t really know the right answer to that question other than to say I’m pushing just as hard as I have been for 20 years. This is definitely not me, I’ve tried over and over, restarting, putting back in gear and back in park, moving the wheel, etc. I’m always willing to entertain the thought that the problem is my own stupidity, but this is definitely stuck....
 

flintknapper

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I don’t really know the right answer to that question other than to say I’m pushing just as hard as I have been for 20 years. This is definitely not me, I’ve tried over and over, restarting, putting back in gear and back in park, moving the wheel, etc. I’m always willing to entertain the thought that the problem is my own stupidity, but this is definitely stuck....

It would seem the possibilities are:

  • Shifter or linkage is not fully in Park (adjustment needed, or look for foreign obstruction)
  • Steering wheel is locked such that it is putting pressure on the key lock
  • Dirty ignition tumbler or foreign matter in tumbler
  • Worn key (have new key cut from VIN or Key Code) after you get the old one out
  • Worn ignition tumbler. I believe these are split wafer design and they are sensitive to wear

You can try disconnecting the battery and see if you can turn the key, then reconnect and try again.
 
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It would seem the possibilities are:

  • Shifter or linkage is not fully in Park (adjustment needed, or look for foreign obstruction)
  • Steering wheel is locked such that it is putting pressure on the key lock
  • Dirty ignition tumbler or foreign matter in tumbler
  • Worn key (have new key cut from VIN or Key Code) after you get the old one out
  • Worn ignition tumbler. I believe these are split wafer design and they are sensitive to wear

You can try disconnecting the battery and see if you can turn the key, then reconnect and try again.
So if the cylinder is being “told” to be in lock, and the battery is disconnected it unlocks and I can take the key out? But if the cylinder is broken the key is still stuck in accessory? What I’m trying to do here is rule out that the problem is in the shifter or the cylinder, but rather somewhere in between. Anything in between would be the soft trim shop’s responsibility. If the cylinder is bad, then it’s not their fault it’s just coincidence that the thing went bad while it was in their shop.
 
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It would seem the possibilities are:

  • Shifter or linkage is not fully in Park (adjustment needed, or look for foreign obstruction)
  • Steering wheel is locked such that it is putting pressure on the key lock
  • Dirty ignition tumbler or foreign matter in tumbler
  • Worn key (have new key cut from VIN or Key Code) after you get the old one out
  • Worn ignition tumbler. I believe these are split wafer design and they are sensitive to wear

You can try disconnecting the battery and see if you can turn the key, then reconnect and try again.

I just tested this - disconnected the negative battery terminal and the key came right out. Without proclaiming any expertise here whatsoever, I think that does rule out all issues with the key or the tumbler. Also, the steering wheel is unlocked.

Regarding the shifter being fully in Park, I've gone through that thing very thoroughly and do not believe there is an obstruction. When I shift into Park, the shift arm locks in place and I hear the normal mechanical noises behind the dash that have always taken place when the truck has gone into Park. Is there anything else that I can do to test the car "knows" it's in Park other than hearing the sounds? I'll post a video shortly of what happens when I go into Park.
 

flintknapper

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I just tested this - disconnected the negative battery terminal and the key came right out. Without proclaiming any expertise here whatsoever, I think that does rule out all issues with the key or the tumbler. Also, the steering wheel is unlocked.

Regarding the shifter being fully in Park, I've gone through that thing very thoroughly and do not believe there is an obstruction. When I shift into Park, the shift arm locks in place and I hear the normal mechanical noises behind the dash that have always taken place when the truck has gone into Park. Is there anything else that I can do to test the car "knows" it's in Park other than hearing the sounds? I'll post a video shortly of what happens when I go into Park.

^^^^^


Well....let's revisit this and be methodical about it.

Because you've presented us with TWO issues now (No shift out of Park AND inability to remove key).

Perhaps the two are related, maybe not.

In the case concerning the shift lever, this could be 'mechanical' (improper adjustment) or electrical (Shift Interlock Solenoid).

Do this:

Insert key, turn to 'on' (Not Start). With foot OFF of brake, slowly push in on the shift lever button. It will not go all the way in....BUT you should hear a faint 'click' up by the ignition/dash area. (Yes/No)?

IF yes, continue to hold the shift button in and slowly depress the brake pedal. You should 'feel' a slight 'click' in the shifter as it unlocks. You might also hear a small click but this exercise is meant to be 'tactile'. Just carefully feel for the click. (Yes/No)?

The object here is to verify that the interlock solenoid is not blocking the shifter. If that 'passes' then we move ahead.
 

ramangain

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I just tested this - disconnected the negative battery terminal and the key came right out. Without proclaiming any expertise here whatsoever, I think that does rule out all issues with the key or the tumbler. Also, the steering wheel is unlocked.

Regarding the shifter being fully in Park, I've gone through that thing very thoroughly and do not believe there is an obstruction. When I shift into Park, the shift arm locks in place and I hear the normal mechanical noises behind the dash that have always taken place when the truck has gone into Park. Is there anything else that I can do to test the car "knows" it's in Park other than hearing the sounds? I'll post a video shortly of what happens when I go into Park.
I admire @flintknapper and his methodical approach. Perhaps some electrons just got lost somewhere and a signal never got received.
 

MANUCHAO

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Saw this thread and having had to go through something similar but with a diff vehicle...i figure i chime in....

As i understand it.. There is a sensor ( relay, solenoid) is not working and letting the key mechanism release the key tumbler...

Hope this helps....

My issue was dealt via the dealership for this particular vehicle as there was a TSB on this very issue...
 

flintknapper

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I admire @flintknapper and his methodical approach. Perhaps some electrons just got lost somewhere and a signal never got received.

^^^^^^

Ummm.....NO. ;)

Disconnecting the battery re-sets the Shift Lock Computer.

So we are working our way 'backwards' (starting at the shifter itself). IF there is no obvious mechanical reason for it to not be working, then next in line is the Shift Interlock Solenoid.

If that seems to test out OK, then move further upstream. The solenoid takes its commands from the Shift Lock Computer. And as always...there is wiring and connections to check.
 
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^^^^^^

Ummm.....NO. ;)

Disconnecting the battery re-sets the Shift Lock Computer.

So we are working our way 'backwards' (starting at the shifter itself). IF there is no obvious mechanical reason for it to not be working, then next in line is the Shift Interlock Solenoid.

If that seems to test out OK, then move further upstream. The solenoid takes its commands from the Shift Lock Computer. And as always...there is wiring and connections to check.
Thank you for your time, attention, and assistance. It is much appreciated!

With the key in the ON position, but not trying to start the truck, I cannot press the shift button at all, it is locked. So I don’t get any noise. But gearshift unlocks as normal upon starting the vehicle.

One other issue I forgot to mention that is likely relevant. The shift lever is meant to lock up between D and 2. Along with this key issue the other symptom is that the shift drops freely from D to 2 but locks up between 2 and L now. Not sure if that alters your thinking...
 

flintknapper

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Thank you for your time, attention, and assistance. It is much appreciated!

With the key in the ON position, but not trying to start the truck, I cannot press the shift button at all, it is locked. So I don’t get any noise. But gearshift unlocks as normal upon starting the vehicle.

One other issue I forgot to mention that is likely relevant. The shift lever is meant to lock up between D and 2. Along with this key issue the other symptom is that the shift drops freely from D to 2 but locks up between 2 and L now. Not sure if that alters your thinking...

Yeah, kind of suggests something is out of adjustment.

Engine Running:

Normally you should be able to push in on the shifter button (and when released) go no further than 'D' (Drive). The shifter should lock up there.

You should be able to manually shift all the way to 'L' (Low) holding the shifter button in. Then with button released...move the shifter through L, 2nd, Drive and Neutral (but not reverse).

With engine started....each time you depress the brake pedal do you feel and hear the interlock click through the shifter (not touching the shifter button, just operating the brake pedal)?
 
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Yeah, kind of suggests something is out of adjustment.

Engine Running:

Normally you should be able to push in on the shifter button (and when released) go no further than 'D' (Drive). The shifter should lock up there.

You should be able to manually shift all the way to 'L' (Low) holding the shifter button in. Then with button released...move the shifter through L, 2nd, Drive and Neutral (but not reverse).

With engine started....each time you depress the brake pedal do you feel and hear the interlock click through the shifter (not touching the shifter button, just operating the brake pedal)?
When I push in on the shift button I go down to 2 before it locks up. In the reverse it does lock in N and not allow me into Reverse.

With the engine started and the car in Park I neither feel nor hear the interlock clicking through the shifter. Nothing seems to be happening in the gear shift area when I step on the brake with the engine running.
 
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Had an old LS400 that this would happen with every so often. The workaround for me was to turn it from the ON position to the OFF (through the ACC) position as quickly as possible. If I stopped in ACC for even a fraction of a second it would become stuck. A few tries from ON directly to OFF and it would usually come out.
 
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Had an old LS400 that this would happen with every so often. The workaround for me was to turn it from the ON position to the OFF (through the ACC) position as quickly as possible. If I stopped in ACC for even a fraction of a second it would become stuck. A few tries from ON directly to OFF and it would usually come out.
The issue is not in the cylinder. The disconnect of the battery allows the key out immediately, which means the cylinder is being electrically told to lock and its lock is working properly. If the key were still jammed up when I disconnected the battery, different story. But the cylinder is behaving as it is being told to.
 

flintknapper

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The issue is not in the cylinder. The disconnect of the battery allows the key out immediately, which means the cylinder is being electrically told to lock and its lock is working properly. If the key were still jammed up when I disconnected the battery, different story. But the cylinder is behaving as it is being told to.

I agree that a mechanical reason inside the key cylinder is very unlikely at this point, so let's put that possibility aside for now.

The issue with your shifter first NOT coming out of Park and the attendant 'over shooting' of the lever would indicate an adjustment issue to me.

For that problem....I would be inclined to reset it:

  1. Loosen the nut on the shift lever.
  2. Move the control shaft on the transmission fully to the rearward position.
  3. Then bring the control shaft back forward (two notches) to the Neutral Position.
  4. Set the shift lever in its Neutral Position.
  5. Hold the shift lever lightly forward (towards the R position) and tighten the Shift Lever Nut.
This way we KNOW we are starting with a correctly oriented shifter/control shaft relationship.

After doing that....check to see that you can start the vehicle in both Park and Neutral.

Report back and we'll go from there.

As for the key not withdrawing from the cylinder we can eliminate one possibility by just testing the Key Interlock Solenoid:


Key Interlock Solenoid.jpg



You should be able to find the connector for the KIS by following the wires coming from the bottom of the key cylinder to the harness.
 
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Shoot me now. Forgot to pop the negative terminal and now my battery is dead. Charging now, I’ll do this test when I get it started.
 

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