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How do you change the key cylinder of the ignition switch in a 1993 Dodge Caravan?

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2015-07-15 20:41:53
2015-07-15 20:41:53

I just had to do this on my '93 a few weeks ago. The top and bottom plastic steering column covers need to be removed with a Torx screwdriver. The tilt lever, if it exists, must be unscrewed to remove them. Then, remove the tamper-proof Torx screws to remove the entire plastic ignition switch assembly, including key cylinder. The metal cylinder part can now be removed from the ignition switch. If you need to remove the internal keyed part from the cylinder, the key must be in a specific position, and a hammer must be used at a specific spot. Most locksmiths have access to this specific procedure, and/or will do it for $10 or so. Otherwise you can simply replace the cylinder, but that means the key will be different than the doors.

Here is some more detail on replacing the ignition switch in a 93 Dodge Caravan.

Use these instructions at your own risk. This job requires careful work and correct reassembly.

Tools needed: A Torx screw driver T-20 size, also a Tamperproof Torx nut driver or socket, also size T-20. Battery terminal wrenches, a wheel block and a 1/8" flat blade screwdriver.

If the symptom is "engine will not crank", you may have a broken potmetal lug on the ignition lock cylinder. You must disassemble the unit to determine if your lock cylinder has a broken lug. On my Caravan, the yellow and blue wires entering the ignition switch actuate the starter when bridged with a paper clip. Do this at your own risk.

Block wheels so car will not roll.

Disconnect battery ground.

Remove 6 T-20 Torx screws from the bottom plastic housing around the steering column. Carefully slide the housing down and do not tear the sliding plastic that covers the gearshift lever opening.

Turn the ignition to "run". Put gearshift in "Park". Remove 3 three tamperproof torx screws from ignition switch. Wiggle switch out and disconnect plugs.

Take the switch assembly to a workbench. Ensure key is set to run. Find a slot and a 1/8" pin on the ignition switch assembly. Press down behind the pin with a screwdriver and wiggle and draw the key and lock cylinder out of the ignition switch.

Inspect lock cylinder for a broken potmetal lug. Unless the cylinder needs repair, do not pull the key out and do not disassemble the lock cylinder.

Slide the good lock cylinder into the new ignition switch. There is movable lug on the lock cylinder. I think it drops down when you pull the key part way out. I think. Be gentle and patient. The new ignition switch is shipped with it's inner parts set to "run". Slide the lock cylinder into the new switch with the same orientation as when you pulled it out of the old switch.

Put the switch and key in "run" position.

The switch must engage three places on the steering column:

First, the upper ignition switch pin must engage the gearshift blocker. It is a sliding mechanism along the steering column. The upper pin on the ignition switch fits in a gearshift blocker. Look at the grease pattern and slide the plate with a slot. Put it in the midpoint. The upper pin on the ignition switch engages the slot of the plate.

Second, The lower ignition switch has a projecting "key". The tip of the key must drop into a pivot hole.

Thirdly, an alignment pin on the steering column enters a matching hole on the ignition switch.

When you think it is right. Thoroughly test that all the linkages are working correctly. Run the tamper proof screws in finger tight and check the gearshift, ignition switch and steering wheel locks work right. You can visually see the gearshift blocker linkage move. Test the steering wheel latch to latch and unlatch.

Tighten the tamper proof screws. Insert two electrical connectors. Connect ground cable. Test switch. Verify gearshift blocker and steering wheel lock mechanism work as expected.

Hi, I was able to remove the key and cylinder without removing the whole assembly, I used a slightly bent small screwdriver to depress the pin and wiggled it out, I have no tamper proof tools. I can now start and run the van with a needle nose pliers. mine is a 1994

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