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Old 01-31-2020, 07:46 AM   #1
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Key spins round and round, steering column won't lock

My 99 Boxster has done this occasionally since I bought it 3 years ago:

If I stall the car accidentally then reach down and try to restart the engine without first turning the ignition fully off, the key turns infinitely in both directions. Usually if I back the key off to approximately the 'off' position and wiggle the steering wheel I can get the key to reengage and start the car.

For my wife this has happened a few times when she first tries to start the car after it's been parked for several hours. She is not as good at the wiggling of the steering wheel technique so I have to drive out and rescue her.

This happened today and caused her to miss an appointment so I guess I need to fix it or she's going to make me sell the boxster and buy a tesla or something

A forum search yields electrical switch, tumbler mechanicals, or steering column lock mechanism as possible culprits. My gut tells me it's mechanical rather than electrical. What parts would you suggest i replace first?

Thanks!

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Old 01-31-2020, 07:51 AM   #2
TRP
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It sounds mechanical. I wouldn't jump in and start replacing parts until you open up ignition switch assembly and see what's out of place. Jiggling the wheel most likely torques / applies pressure to the mechanism to keep the ignition tumbler from spinning.

https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/86-ELEC-Ignition_Switch/86-ELEC-Ignition_Switch.htm

Last edited by TRP; 01-31-2020 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:58 AM   #3
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I don't have my spare key and lock cylinder here, but it sounds to me like the lock cylinder (996 347 917 00) has slid upwards and is not engaging the slot in the steering lock housing... so it is free to spin. I'd remove the cylinder and lubricate the latch at the bottom of the cylinder that holds it in place in the housing then push it back in place. This latch is operated by the piece wire used to remove the cylinder.
The pelican article mentioned above shows how to remove the ignition key (lock) cylinder.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips! I will pull the tumbler and take a look.

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