How to replace a ignition cylinder lock on a 2001 Pontiac aztek?

Hildred

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the ignition lock just gave out on and now we need to replace the cylinder lock - I can't figure out how to take off the steering wheel to replace the ignition.
 

JWP

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Lock Cylinder replacement

Having just done this on my 2004 AZTEK here's what I found out...

There is a symptom with this vehicle which will make you think you have a lock cylinder issues when in fact it's a wire down in the shifter attached at the base which has broken, first check that. You have to pull the shifter plastic top and driver side off to get a good look. Take your time and don't force anything because once you find all the screws it all comes off realitively easy. Unwrap black tape on shifter connector and inspect all the wires very closely.

NOTE you may not have to take off steering wheel. Attempt first to take off top steering wheel cover. There is only one way to do this... The ignition key cylinder has a plastic flange around it. On stock systems this flange has a finger and thumb extension for turning key. This is the part that must come off. Easily try to pry this off. Once done you should be able to lift cover enough to see a small hole in top of lock cylinder device.

To get the lock cylinder out, find a small wire to put into this small opening on top of lock cylinder covering (all metal). Turn key towards ACC mode while pushing down on wire, pull lock cylinder at same time.

NOTE: If you are purchasing a new lock cylinder, my recommendation is to go with the dealer. I purchased a NAPA cylinder first at it was useless as there were no tumbler covers for replacing the tumblers into new cylinder. It made the work impossible for me the amatuer. I repurchased new cylinder at dealer and then took key and cylinder to locksmith and paid $25.00 to have tumblers put into place professionally.

If you can't get the finger and thumb lock cylinder cover off, you have to remove the turn singnal device on other side. But there's a trick, one T20 Torx screw is easily seen in front but the other is not. That's because it's on top of turn signal device and the steering wheel cover doesn't let you see much. Go to hardware store and buy a $4.99 T20 screwdriver, bring it home and heat it up with a propane torch bending it at a 90 degree angle (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length no more). Slide T20 under the cover and try to locate screw, then take your time and unscrew that top screw. Only after you get both screws out will you be able to get Steering cover off.

If you have to take steering wheel off to get at cylinder: Disconnect Battery, then take off Air bag in middle of steering wheel. In 2004 the air bag was attachted by 4 posts in the back which snap into place. You have to relieve tension on springs to unsnap the four bindings. The entire assembly comes off. There are two wires to detach one yellow and one red. The yellow one is more difficult to detach, just take time to do it.

You'll now see a tensioning spring encased in plastic, release plastic holding clips and remove this tensioning spring assembly.

You'll now have access to entire lock cylinder, ignition switch etc. If you have to replace ignition switch there are two white prongs (Spring loaded) which you have to depress on both sides to remove ignition switch. NOTE, when putting in new switch make sure that the key is in ignition set to off. This ensures that the gear on ingnition switch top is in-sync with key position.

If you decide to look into the broken wire syndrome first.... Take off the plastic top and driver side cover around the floor console shifter. Take your time and remove all screws first. Gently pry where needed but if there too much resistance you've missed a screw. After you get top and sides off look at the base of the shifter. You will see a wire harness connector (White with about 5 wires) remove this from connection (Gently and not breaking plastic retaining clip). Take off the black tape around 5 wire bundle. Inspect wires very carefully looking for severed wire, cracked wires or any indication of excessive wear. Replace wires as needed. Test ignitions switch and ensure everything is working before replacing plastic cowlings.

Good luck and hope this helps the next guy out...
 

JWP

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Advanced notes:
If key won't come out there is a manual key release switch under steering column. Depress this to get key out.

If break lights come on you do not need to replace break switch.

If when the key does turn on, all the light in dash activate, you most likely do not need to replace ignition switch. If you remove ignition switch you can test by manually moving the plastic gear on top and observing behavior, if everything but starting vehichle works you most likely do not have a bad ignition switch.

If the key does come out after manually releasing it, you most likely do not have to replace lock cylinder.

If the car just won't come out of Park, or shifter is acting up, listen for a clicking sound in shifter when turning key on, if you hear it you most likely do not need a new BTSI (Complete new shifting mechanism) because the solenoid is working ok, there's just no return signal to anti lock mechanism to tell auto, start. Unwrap the wires and inspect for broken wires.
 
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G-528758

I need a step-by-step video on removing and replacing key ignition
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