Stiff Iginition Switch
#1
Happy New Year to all!! Just wondering if anyone has experienced a stiffness in the ignition switch in cold weather (under 45 degrees)? I have a 70 Mach 1 that whenever it gets about 45 or below the ignition switch seems to require a greater amount of pressure applied to actually turn the switch to the "ON" position ( cranking position ).
Appreciate any suggestions since when the temp is above 45 or so it turns more freely.. Thanks
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#2
Sometimes people lube their switches with to heavy a lubricant and when it turns cold they can definitely stiffen up. The cure is to take WD-40. Cover the surrounding area with a towel or something, and using the straw, spray it directly into the switch while turning the switch back and forth. You may want to spray some into the switch before you insert the key. Doing this a couple times should flush the stiffer lubricant out and allow the switch to turn freely. Be warned this can get messy. So protect anything you don't want sprayed, also it doesn't smell the greatest. Hope it helps. JTS 71 Mach1
"We built these cars to drive the "HELL" out of them, not to be museum pieces!"  Carroll Shelby

2008 Mustang V6 5 speed "Diablo Sport Predator" tuner, 87 octane tune. WOW!
1994 Ford F150 Shortbed
1986 Honda 450 Rebel
1995 Honda Pacific Coast
1989 Jacobra / Jag xjs
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#3
Many Thanks - we'll give it a try..

I had to leave my Mach1 out of the garage for the last two nights which averaged about 12 to 15 degrees here in PA and trying to turn the ignition switch this morning almost sprained my wrist (ha ha). So it back to the garage for the old girl.. Appreciate the information. Have a good day, Bill
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#4
+1 on the WD-40 idea. Pull the wire of the solenoid before you do it. That will save pulsing the starter motor and preserve your clock and radio memories.
                                   
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#5
Its probably old 40yr old lube clogging it causing the stiffness.
I would suggest that you simply just take out the key assembly and clean out the assembly recess as well as key assembly.
Relube it all and reinstall.
Cold weather contracts all metals so everything will be more stiff but this should correct the really hard stiffness you have.
Use lots of Q-tips to clean out that grime with WD-40 only on the Q-tips. It will slowly and neatly remove the grit and aged grease deposits while cleaning the area.
I only used some di-electric grease (sparingly) in a couple areas and regular graphite powder inside the key assembly hole.
Ray sends.....?
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#6
Great Suggestions.. I wouldn't have thought about the lubricant being the culprit. Weekend weather here in PA should be warmer this weekend so I'll head out to the Garage.

Thanks. This type of support is what makes this site/club so enjoyable. I'll make sure to pass on to others what I've learned from everyone here.http://mach1club.com/images/smilies/Smiley2/thumbup.gif
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#7
It is nice to have great ideas to help one think things through.

Here's hoping the suggestions have helped loosen the stiff ignition.
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#8
There are aerosol lubricants with graphite in them specifically for lock cylinders. Most hardware stores have it. I use it on all my lock cylinders. General Motors, (yeah I know not Ford) use to offer a graphite aerosol lubricant for lock cylinders as well. I haven't tried it on an ignition switch. Will the graphite be an issue on an ignition switch? Maybe somebody else here has thoughts on that.

Regards,
Mike
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#9
I'm not to sure about the graphite/ aerosols, as the graphite has a tendency to clump and cake up sometimes, Used sparingly it might be ok. Can't remember if graphite carries electricity or not? I think it does. So that might cause another problem. I'm thinking against the graphite, in that old style switch where the electrical connections are part of the assembly. Just some thoughts JTS 71 Mach1
"We built these cars to drive the "HELL" out of them, not to be museum pieces!"  Carroll Shelby

2008 Mustang V6 5 speed "Diablo Sport Predator" tuner, 87 octane tune. WOW!
1994 Ford F150 Shortbed
1986 Honda 450 Rebel
1995 Honda Pacific Coast
1989 Jacobra / Jag xjs
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#10
I initially wasn't certain but I think you're right and graphite is an electrical conductor. That's why I questioned using it on an ignition switch that contains both the lock cylinder and electrical portion. Definitely don't use the graphite stuff on an electrical switch. Thanks for confirming that.

I think on a 1970 the electrical portion of the ignition switch is separate from the lock cylinder. The electrical portion is mounted on the column under the dash and a rod connects it to the lock cylinder up higher on the column. I have seen many times on later model cars where it's typically the electrical portion of the ignition switch and not the lock cylinder making it stiff to turn the key. I'd definitely check or even simply replace the electrical part of the ignition switch. That should be a simple part to replace.

Regards,
Mike
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