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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Today I could not get the key out - it would not turn fully to the position that allows the key to be removed - after some time of leaving it in driving and turning car off and on it finally just worked fine again..any help on what lock is best to buy?
 

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This is now sounding like the cylinder needs to be disassembled, thoroughly cleaned (of wear particles and dirt), re-assembled and lubed. This is how they act when the tumblers are sticking - it's usually intermittent: works fine for a day, or 2 days, or a couple of weeks, then will suddenly start acting up again.

A tip until you permanently fix it: Carry a small hammer and short dowel (or a screwdriver) with you, and next time it does this (and it will), put the dowel end against the end of the key (lengthwise) and whack it moderately hard (not hard enough to do any damage) with the hammer - or tap the handle end of the screwdriver on the end of the key. This will momentarily jog any stuck tumblers loose to allow their tiny springs to push them into their proper positions against the key profile, and - voilà! - the key will turn (until it sticks the next time).

Now for the permanent fix:

I had to do this on both my Concordes. People were insisting that I needed a new cylinder, but the disassembling and cleaning fixed both - never had another problem with them. So it's not that the cylinder is worn out. It's just that the tumblers are binding up from debris.

When disassembling, keep track of where each part goes. There will be one spring at the key-entry end of the cylinder, the tumblers, each with its own tiny spring, and a metal swivel piece - you'll know it when you see it - pay attention to its orientation when removing it so you'll know how it goes back in. Also - the tumblers are different lengths - they must be put back in their original positions.

Use brake parts cleaner on all the pieces and use a small stiff brush (what's called a pipe dope or thread compound brush from the plumbing section of a hardware store would be perfect - you can cut the bristles shorter to make them stiffer) to clean all signs of dirt from the tumblers and their slide channels. The debris particles can be gummed together and even hardened - I didn't realize that the first time I did it and left some on a couple of tumblers, and had to re-do it. Closely visually inspect each piece to make sure all you see is metal. If there are any stubborn spots (they'll be dark colored) that the brush won't remove, scrub them off with a broken off toothpick or Q-tip shaft or similar - best not to use anything metal so you don't risk scratching the part.

Lubricate with spray white lithium grease (auto parts store). It is fine lithium grease in a thin volatile liquid. You spray it on, the lithium grease distributes itself evenly over the parts, and the liquid evaporates, leaving only an invisible, microscopically thin layer of lubricant.

Everybody will tell you you must use powdered graphite. I disagree. I never had any problems after I cleaned and lubed with the spray lithium grease.

I sprayed the parts with the lithium grease before assembling, and then sprayed the whole assembly before installing it into the steering column. Before installing it in the column, I wiped the outside of the assembly with a paper towel, set it down for a half hour or so to let most of the the liquid dry, then wrapped it in a paper towel and shook it to shake any remaining liquid out, set it down a few minutes to finish drying, then stuck the key in it and rotated it back and forth a few times, and then wiped off the outside again. Wipe off all the surfaces and grooves of the key in case there's any grease residue on it. One nice thing about the lithium grease, even if a visible amount is left on, is that it's white and not grey/black like graphite (won't stain clothes).

Or pay a local locksmith to replace it and key the tumblers to your existing key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Wow - what a nice thorough write up! You are so fast at this! Are you a college professor, PhD or what? 🐱 Thanks as always!!
 

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No. A verbose engineer with some time on my hands (semi-retired) who likes to man-splain. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
No. A verbose engineer with some time on my hands (semi-retired) who likes to man-splain. :)
I should have guessed engineer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
41632

I didn't have my white lithium grease - so I substituted faucet grease ( waterproof grease ) seems to work very well - removed a lot of gunk. However a pin or two sometimes doesn't pop out on their own - everything though feels great and works well. I put a cheap $10 cylinder in while I did this - might return that or keep it as a backup. Do you see any issues with my grease or my slow pin?

Cheers
 

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As far as the grease, you're running an experiment. It may work fine.

However, the fact that some tumblers seem to be hanging up just after having been cleaned and lubed is concerning, but they may do OK.

The theory behind graphite or thin coating of silicon grease (very small volume of grease floating in a liquid that evaporates away leaving a microscopically thin layer of grease) is to reduce friction without forming any mass of very viscous bridge between the moving snd stationary parts. But it is a theory. If the grease is causing the sticky tumblers, there might be problems. I hope I'm wrong.

Nice brushes BTW. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
As far as the grease, you're running an experiment. It may work fine.

However, the fact that some tumblers seem to be hanging up just after having been cleaned and lubed is concerning, but they may do OK.

The theory behind graphite or thin coating of silicon grease (very small volume of grease floating in a liquid that evaporates away leaving a microscopically thin layer of grease) is to reduce friction without forming any mass of very viscous bridge between the moving snd stationary parts. But it is a theory. If the grease is causing the sticky tumblers, there might be problems. I hope I'm wrong.

Nice brushes BTW. :)
Fingers crossed - the tumbler was sticking before the grease - but would hate to have it fail again.

Maybe I should just redo it now while I have it in hand - disassemble it again then soak it in alcohol, use compressed air and get some spray real Silicon.
 

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You took all the tumblers out and got everything cleaned down to nothing but metal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Yes, I pulled the tumblers and springs out and cleaned off old gunk - also the side pins and springs. I wish I had soaked it in rubbing alcohol or had sprayed with brake cleaner or something. Tried using the little brush to clean all - but that tumbler was not popping out on it's own - even before greasing. Surprisingly, it did always pop right up if I depressed any of the other tumblers.
 
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