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TheRoadTrip

Attempted theft of 1993 Legacy now key will not go in!

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Some horrible person tried to steal my 1993 Legacy wagon. It has been stolen before but got it back. This time the person tried to steal it but messed up the ignition and now the key will not go in all the way and will not turn.

 

I looked up a few threads including: http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/116698-ignition-switch-lock-cyl-replacement/

 

I watched the youtube video and removed the plastic covering around steering column. There is a hole in the ignition switch that if I could turn the key I could press there and I could pop it out and just replace it. Then I would not have to take steering wheel and more off. I am ok with having different keys for ignition and door. The problem is of course I can't get the key in to ignition to turn it.

 

Questions:

Could a locksmith could get the key to turn?

How long would it take to do the long way (take off steering wheel) and think it is possible for someone who has not done something like this before?

 

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks for your time in advance!

Edited by TheRoadTrip

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They've damaged the lock cylinder, probably by trying to hammer a screwdriver or pick into it to break the tumblers.

Quickest way is probably to finish what they started, but there's risk of breaking other parts if you go hammering on it more.

 

I'm not sure you need to totally remove the wheel. The ignition lock should have a couple of shear head screws in the top that hold it to the column. Usually you can get access to those by just removing the upper column trim which should have 4 screws in the bottom. Remove the screws and the trim peices pop apart then you lift the top section up and should be able to remove it.

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You could try some wd40 and see if that helps but otherwise you'll be dealing with the shear head bolts. I've found taking the steering column loose from the dash helps gain access to these ignition bolts

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Thanks for the suggests and thoughts everyone.

 

I tried WD-40 but to no avail. I spent a lot of hours reasearching, taking off cover, and trying wiggle it all sorta of ways. I want to try hammer it but I am afraid of damaging something or making it a more expensive fix.

A locksmith I called said it would be $120 to come out and if they had to drill would be around $200. Plus $40 and tax for the new ingnition switch I would get at Auto Zone. 

So $160 min and could be $240+

 

Very fustraing. Thanks random thief (who also did some drugs in the car and left a small mess).

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If you have a drill, you can drill out anything the locksmith would have drilled out. 

 

I suggest buying a replacement key lock assembly, and inspecting it VERY carefully. It'll tell you exactly what you need to drill out on the damaged unit to get it removed. Also, since the car was stolen before and this was a 2nd attempt (probably different people) I strongly recommend adding your own fuel pump kill switch or similar, and mounting the switch out of sight and NOT in a spot a would be thief would look for loose change. This way, you shut car off to park it, flip the switch, and it won't start even if they break the key lock out and could have started it otherwise. Also, if the car is insured, it might be covered as that's vandalism.

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Thanks again for to all those who replied.

I ended up finding a less expensive locksmith and also purchased new ignition cylinder/switch which I got for $30 after tax at O' Reilly.

 

Turns out the would be thief broke a small part of a key off in the ignition.I looked in the key slot but could not see it or I would have maybe ordered the tools and tried to get it out myself.

The locksmith charged $55 total, which is relatively reasonable.
The whole thing took a ton of time because of the high priced first quote. I should have gotten another quote soon after instead of waiting.

I will look in to that kill switch.

Edited by TheRoadTrip

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I will look in to that kill switch.

 

I've tried thinking of a decent kill-switch idea and/or adding an interrupter switch to the coil so the fuel pump wouldn't constantly have power cut (nothing I presently own, but for something in the future). A cool idea I came up with (probably already done before) would be to get an old high beam switch from say a late 70's Ford F100 or similar and mounting it under the carpet near the firewall on the floor, basically where they were mounted back in the day but hidden under the carpet obviously and maybe shaved down a bit OR mounted a little under the metal surface so as to not protrude or create a wear pattern in the the material. This way, even if people are in the car with you, as long as you aren't drawing attention to your feet, you could press it with say your left foot right as you start cranking the engine. Those switches were originally a click on, click off deal, and would be perfect as an interruption switch and dead simple to implement.

 

So get in the car, insert key, put foot near where it'd be anyways, press it and crank. When parking car, shut engine off and press again to interrupt the circuit and the car is 100% immobilized as far as actually starting the engine goes. Could even go a little trick and wire it into say a dash light for seat belts or brakes (or if you are lucky, some cars will have modular clusters where it'll have something like a turbo boost cut out, TCS, etc. where they made the actual printed section for the dash back light, but didn't run a bulb nor the printed circuit board to that cut out. Basically when you start the car and see Airbag, Check Engine, ABS, etc.lights briefly, the factory often incorporates unused FWD, TCS, etc. and just doesn't add the bulb or wiring; it's cheaper this way since the cluster can be used in several models at once, and rather than retool the machine that makes it, they just omit the light. All you'd need to do is buy a generic LED bulb housing from a parts store and mount it. This would give you a visual indicator every time the switch to the interrupt was in cut-off mode, but by using a factory spot, it'd be super stealth as it's back-light a factory TCS or FWD panel in the cluster vs. say a blue dash bulb drilled through the actual dash, alerting someone something is causing that light to be on. Since all the dash lights typically stay ON until the engine is actually started, even people familiar with the model won't catch it as it looks like it's "meant" to be on anyways.

 

It sounds like a lot of work, but would actually be VERY easy to implement. You'd just need to find a hot wire going to the fuse box that supplies power to the ignition coil or even fuel pump (not a fan of fuel pump cuts as some cars can be very hard to restart if cranked dry) then reroute that to the high beam foot switch. Only thing that could be an issue off the top of my head is the amperage rating of the switch is probably 10-15 amp, so the fused point from the fuse box would need to be at least the same or less amperage i.e. a 10 amp fuse going to something that's needed to start the engine would need at least a 10 amp switch rated for continuous duty. To be safer, you could buy a generic relay (or get one from a junk yard as every modern car a ton of them) and let that carry all the current while your switch just powers it. 

 

It's a little more work than just tossing a toggle switch in, but the stealth factor is 100 times better with an under carpet switch, plus most people that steal cars are typically dumb to begin with, so you know they won't catch it ;)

Edited by Bushwick

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