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Old 10-25-2010, 01:01 PM   #1
tallman54
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Default Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Hello All,

I recently purchased a used '00 Saturn LS1 for my son to drive to his new job.This past weekend he experienced the dreaded 'key won't turn in the ignition' issue. I tried tapping the key with a rubber mallet, spraying some penetrating fluid, pulling on the steering wheel in either direction etc., etc. etc. Nothing.
I've read that replacing the cylinder sounds like a 'do-able' job for the average back yard mechanic as long as you can get the key to the 'Start'/'ACC' position (depending on whos instructions you read) so it seems I won't be able to replace this myself ?? Some one suggested I purchase special 'lock picking tools' off the 'net for $15.00. I don't know about that...no experience with these 'tools'.

"fdryer" posted this in the L Series forums instructions here (can't link yet)
which is very helpful. This is the 1st time I've read the key needs to be in the 'Start' position to remove the cylinder. Others (elsewhere) say the 'ACC' position. Its very easy to make a mistake reading the model - may people
read LS as S(L) and post the wrong instructions. I presume fdryer knows his stuff ! So, my question is, being that the key needs to turn to the 'Start' position but I can't get the key to budge, what are my options ?
We spent every last dime to purchase this so we are 'desperate'. I have to work outdoors (NE NY) and the weather is turning cold ! Do I have a chance ? Thanks so much for any help offered !

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Old 10-25-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

I can help when the information is correct (car model and symptoms), most times. In the meantime, are you having trouble turning the key to START or removing the key? While you're replying, I'm stalling as I try to find the info to remove the ignition cylinder lock; its usually in one of the positions that also require pressing a release button in the steering column to release the ignition lock cyliunder. Have you tried pushing the key in a little while turning it? Returning the ignition switch to the OFF position may require shifting the transmission lever to Park to allow turning the ignition switch to the OFF position. Instructions can be posted for this too. My wealth of information are from sources.........so I am able to supply as much info as needed.

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Old 10-25-2010, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Hello fdryer,

sorry for the late response...ran over to the car to try yet again. No luck.
Its a 2000 LS1 with manual tranny. The key inserts/comes out ok just will not 'turn' ie, can't get it to the Acc or Start position, its stuck at the Off position.
Hope I'm giving the right info. here - if I left something out please let me know.
Thanks so much again for taking an interest !

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Old 10-25-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Unfortunately, I found the instructions about removing the ignition lock cylinder - it requires the ignition cylinder be turned to the START position and depressing a lock button on the ignition module to release the lock cylinder. The clam shell covers are removed to see this. I can send you the pdf's if you pm me an e-mail address that will allow attachments.

You may have to figure out a way to jiggle the ignition cylinder to get it to work (by then you may not need any more info). I presume this is either a worn out cylinder or worn out ignition key. If the key is suspect and you don't have a spare one you can have a new one made by GM with the car's VIN on your registration presented to the dealer service dept. as proof to have a new key(s) made. Better than copying a worn out one.

...
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Hi fdryer,

Check your PM - thank you !

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Old 10-25-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Latest:
No further ahead here - key still refuses to turn the ignition cylinder.
fdryer kindly provided instructions on how to remove the cylinder but until I can get it in the 'Stop' position...
One thing I can say though is that theres a lot of misleading info out there on the net.
fdryers instructions are the correct ones (posted on another thread (I can't link yet). Others say to put the key in the 'ACC' position and this is NOT the case. And this has to be done TWICE. Once when removing then again when installing the new cylinder. Every other source I've read gives the erroneous 'ACC' info. Imagine the frustration only to find out you've been following the wrong directions ! There are other Saturn sites out there... beware. This one was the fastest to assist and with the most comprehensive, detailed 'help'/instruction(s). For this alone I am grateful. I hope to be able to contribute soon myself. As to my next step, I'm going to have another key cut to rule out a 'bad key' being the problem. I will post here once its fixed and detail what I've learned. Wish me luck !!

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Old 10-26-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

I just had a look at the procedure on ALLData. It says you need to rotate the cylinder to START, then rotate it back to RUN, then depress the lock pin to remove the cylinder.

I replaced my lock cylinder a few years ago, but paid the dealer to do this. They re-keyed to cylinder to the original code and supplied a new key, so my copies still worked and it matched the door & trunk. Cost was reasonable.

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Old 10-27-2010, 10:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Yes but I wish this was my problem ! Anyone can replace the cylinder its so simple and thats the frustrating part - have to get the key to turn 1st.
Anyhow, at 5am this morning (no, wasn't up that early - was up that late !) I finally found the tech bulletin specific to my year/model ('00) and guess what ?
It was put out by Saturn in '01. A looooong standing issue apparently.
Have to go out and find a brass draft now and a 2nd pair of hands (even one would do).
Wish me luck...

"Using a light hammer and brass drift, tap lightly on the ignition housing assembly at the location indicated in the illustration, while trying to turn the ignition key".

BULLETIN NO.: 01-T-23

ISSUE DATE: April, 2001

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Old 10-27-2010, 11:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

OK, after following the Saturn service bulletin (issued in '01) to no avail.
I gave up and called for a tow truck and the SL1 is a flat beddin' its way to a local garage.
A 5 minute job turns into a ?? hour job because the key can't be turned to 'ACC' position. One question though which is buggin' me...
Why would you want to change out the lock cylinder if it works (turns) ?? Why didn't the 'designers' make the cylinder so that it could be removed from the 'OFF' position ? Let me guess.... to protect me from car thieves ? News Flash: If ya think ya were goin' to steal MY Saturn by swapping your key/ignition cylinder with mine... HA ! You're in for a big surprise buster because you need my KEY to advance it from the 'OFF' position to the 'ACC" / 'Start' position first !! What ? No one steals Saturns you say ?? Hmmmmm.....
Would ya reconsider if I left a dozen Dunkin' Donuts on the front seat ??
Please ? Pretty please...ok, ok...with sugar on it ??

Signed,
Lookin' forward to the day I can post on the 'joy/pride of ownership' pages.
I just know they're a comin'.....soon.

In all seriousness, I've learned in recent days (much to my surprise) that this is a much more common issue than I thought. And not just with Saturns. Plenty of GM owners getting snagged by the seized tumbler(s) too.
Many with low miles. If only there was some pro active/precautionary steps you could take to prevent this from happening. There was very little warning if any. 2 days prior my son said he couldn't get the key to turn. I tried and was able to start the engine on one twist of the wrist. We chalked it up to 'just one of those things'. If I only knew then...

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Old 10-28-2010, 11:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Sorry I didn't see this sooner. I replaced the lock cylinder on my LW2 back in the summer. Like you, I couldn't get the lock to turn to the on position no matter how hard I tried. I removed the sheer bolts on the cylinder housing by chiseling them out. Then I removed the lock cylinder housing from the steering column. When it was removed I was able to turn the lock cylinder and removed it by turning it to the on position and depressing the pin inside of the housing.

The new cylinder comes with a new set of tumblers that allow you to key the cylinder to your old key. The new cylinder only uses 7 tumblers, while the original used 10. It is easy to match the new tumblers to the old, but the new tumblers are longer. I assume their length is to prevent this problem from happening again.

I replaced the sheer bolts with standard metric allen head bolts.

The whole process took a couple of hours. The majority of the time was spent removing the sheer bolts.

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Old 10-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Thank you for your description. I may be trying this myself. I called the place we bought the LS1 from. It only had to be moved down the street to the repair shop. The driver tells me 'If I'd known about this I would have taken care of it.
Do you still want it to go to this garage or do you want us to make it right ?"
Long story short I agreed that the seller would take care of this problem and off it went about 12 miles it of town to whence it came. This was Wednesday night - its ow Saturday and I don't believe its been touched. I haven't been dealing with anything other than with them over the phone and I'm just getting back here to see your post. I know this description opens up more questions than answers but its a looooong story and probably a boring one so I'll leave it here until something good happens .... it has to right ???

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Old 10-31-2010, 05:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockOrange View Post
"When it was removed I was able to turn the lock cylinder and removed it by turning it to the on position and depressing the pin inside of the housing."
I was just wondering if you had any insight into why the cylinder was able to be removed only after removing the housing ? I'm still nowhere with this project.
The guy who is doing the repair said he called 2 sources and they weren't able to source the parts yet and they'd call him back Monday (tomorrow). I checked 'Amazon' of all places and found it there plus a dealer in Washington state (found with Google). The parts person there told me the Saturn part number for the cylinder had changed from a "21019502" to a "15841209" as Saturn did away with the 10 pin and replaced with a 7 pin which is supposed to be less trouble prone. I hope shes correct ! Seems like the number order is bass-ackwards in that you'd think it would be a '2' series number like the housing (21019794) along with the other parts available to fix the tumblers - all start with a "2". Of course my 'logic' could be flawed LOL !! I didn't order from that dealer having not known if the mechanic already lined something up that I don't know about + the turn around time - she said they'd order it sent to (Wash.) receive it there, re key it and then send here to NY. 10 -12 day estimate. Hoping to find a supplier a little closer to my neck of the woods. BTW, the 'Amazon' # doesn't match the Saturn part number at all - maybe just an Amazon stock # having nothing to do with a Saturn part #. So, any 'insight' ? Thanks !

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

I should re-state that question... 'insight as to why the key was able to turn once the housing/cylinder was removed" is what I should have asked.
Prior to trying to remove the entire housing (which still hasn't been done yet
I used a brass drift and tapped away over the cylinder as per Saturn TSB - didn't work (obviously) and tried the fluids, graphite prior. Stubborn little son of a Sea Capt. The mechanic said hes going to try drilling a little hole over the cylinder and see if he can move some 'pin'. This wouldn't be that big of a deal except that the difference between simply replacing the cylinder, which sells for a bit over 50 bucks removing/replacing the entire housing is upwards (with labor) of 400 bucks ! All because a key won't tun...
From what I've read folks, everyone should be prepared for this as this apparently is a pretty common failure. As I said, if you can turn the key you have a 15 minute job and 50 bucks parts. Removing the housing, as Rock Orange pointed out, is 2 hours labor min. and the cylinder + housing = 200 bucks + towing if you're away from home and this happens... it can add up !

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Old 11-01-2010, 06:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

I don't know why I was able to remove the cylinder after removing the lock cylinder. I assume it was because I moved the housing around and the tumbler fell into the proper position. I know that I was able to turn the cylinder as soon as I removed the housing. Like you, I tried tapping on the housing as the TSB described to no avail.

I don't remember the exact part numbers; I have the invoice at home and will try to check tonight. I bought the parts online from gmparts4u. They had to order them and it took about a week.

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Old 11-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

I am now into this mess as well, Someone tried to steal my 02 sl2 and all the managed to do was mess up the cylinder so now i cant even insert the key fully to even turn it to start...There has to be an easier solution to this mess. I can press the detent (accessed from the pin hole on the side of housing, but apparently it has to be in the "proper position" to remove it). I tried calling a locksmith and he told me to drill out the where the push to release button is, I told him that this car doesnt have that and he said Hmmm cant help you then, going to try a few more tomorrow see if it can be drilled out to where it can be turned enough to remove it. If i find out anything i will post it.

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Old 11-05-2010, 01:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Sorry, I just noticed these newer posts - I figured this thread was already 'dead'.

OrangeRock, thank you for your response also. How much of a pain was it to remove the housing ? Drilling out the cylinder wasn't fun but not horrendous either. I guess it depends a lot on where you have to do the work. When mine first locked up it was parked on a main road - not conducive to this kind of repair ! Maybe this will help trombleydc decide on whether to proceed with the drilling or to remove the housing.

trombleydc - See if any of the info I posted in my "and the good news is..." thread can help you. The next to the last post in particular. Make sure you can get your hands on your title, you will need it to get the new cylinder. I drilled to a depth of 1 and 1/4 inches. Marked the depth/length on the drill bit with black electrical tape. Have more than one bit ready 'cause the procedure is rough on bits ! Be very careful drilling it out unless you wanna buy a new housing ($160+) and make sure you've disconnected the neg battery term. minimally as you don't want the air bag to punch your head through the head rest.
Do you have the instructions for removing the housing should you need to ?

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Old 12-01-2010, 10:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: Please Help - '00 SL1 Ignition Cylinder Removal

Just seeing this thread...

Same thing happened to my car a year ago - I parked at Lowes, ran in to get a few things, came back out and key would not turn.

I called AAA thinking I would need a tow - they sent out a automotive locksmith who did the job right there in the Lowes parking lot. Took him about an hour or so. AAA covered part of the cost, I think my out of pocket cost was about $100.

The first thing he did was to cut a new key. He said the problem is made worse by worn out keys. Then he keyed the new ignition cylinder to match the new key. My old keys still work too, but he strongly reccommended using just the new key on a daily basis.

My LW200 has almost 170K on it and is still running great. Still the most reliable car I've ever owned. But alas, the wife wants a newer wagon so we're looking at a Volvo V50 now...

...
----
~Paul
2001 LW200 (4th saturn owned) 209K+ Miles!
71 Volvo 1800E, 73 Volvo 1800ES, 08 Volvo C30, 11 Volvo V50
Gone on to other owners: 92 SL2, 95 SW2, 96 SC2

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