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Old 05-19-2019, 06:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Laval QC
Posts: 97
Steering locking mechanism problem - how I resolved it.

After spending many hours under, over and around my 2000 blue Boxster to change the clutch disk and check on the IMS bearing I finally got to the point where I could do my first test start.
Key in the ignition… turned it… and it would not go even to the first position. Previously the key was hard to turn after not being used for awhile, but I was always able to get it to move with moderate force.

Here is what I went through to resolve this.
1) It seems sometimes it is the electrical switch on the bottom end of the mechanism that causes this symptom so I first removed the electrical switch… key would still not turn. I installed a brand new switch… key would still not turn.
2) So my attention turned to the lock cylinder that the key fits in, I convinced myself that it was broken and that was why it ould not turn. I tried to follow the instructions to lift out the lock cylinder by turning the key to the first position and sliding the end of a large paper clip through the hole* beside the key slot. After hours of wiggling and jiggling there was no way the paper clip was going to go in far enough to release the lock cylinder. I deduced that the key was not turning quite enough to allow the paper clip to slide all the way down.
3) So I decided to remove the whole locking mechanism. At this point I found a reasonably priced replacement mechanism (including key, electrical switch and barrel) on eBay and I ordered it. After removing all sorts of parts including the instrument panel, the steering wheel and various panels I got to where I could remove the mechanism as one unit. Removed the bolt and then there is a little spring loaded pin that one depresses and the unit slips out. Unfortunately there was no way that little pin was going to move. After more time wiggling and jiggling and forcing I gave up and got out my Dremel like tool and cut a piece out of the bracket that holds this piece so the pin would slide out with being depressed. Once out I saw that he bolt that slides into the steering column to lock it was extend. Hmmm. I could not push it in, but with a hammer I tapped it back. At this point I was able to depress the spring loaded pin.
This is my old unit... the bolt is extended, left side.

You can see the spring loaded pin above the bolt hole... and marks left by the Dremel.

So my problem was that due to a lack of lubrication the bolt was getting more and more difficult to move using the key, finally it jammed in the extended position. Turning the key to the first position pulls the bolt back so the jammed bolt prevented the key from turning. Since the key must be at the first position or a little more to insert the paper clip, the lock cylinder could not be removed. And given that the little spring loaded pin that holds the mechanism in the steering shaft bracket can only be depressed when the bolt is not extended the only manner to get it out was to cut a path for the pin.

Once on the bench I oiled the bolt and now the key turns to extend and pull back the bolt normally.

* Note - I have seen pictures of this hole both at the 1 o’clock position and the 7 o’clock position. Once you have it apart you will realize it can be installed in either position (i.e. rotated 180 degrees).
Green 2000 Boxster 5-speed
1978 928 auto
1987 924S 5-speed
Blue 2000 Boxster 5-speed (Sold)
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