• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

Ignition key lock point/purpose?


86_FX4

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
21
Points
8
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
FX4 4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Manual
More curious than anything, does anyone know why Ford decided to put the little lock that keeps the ignition key in until you push the little lever on steering column?

I've had a few rangers, so I never thought twice about it and it doesn't bother me, automatic by this point but I've always wondered why it even exists.

Twice now I've had other people struggle with it. Once, when my partner needed to jumpstart her car when I was not there, she gave up after trying for an hour how to remove the key and just left them in the ignition until she could contact me, and another time when a friend drove my truck he couldn't figure it out and forcibly RIPPED the key straight out of the ignition. Luckily there has never been damage, but I always wonder, what's the deal with that? I've never seen another car with a ignition lock like that and never had a an issue with my key falling out, so WHAT GIVES FORD?!
 


superj

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
2,574
Points
113
Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3 liters of tire smoking power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
Grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s
i have had other vehicles with that lock but i don't know why they are on there? maybe as some locks wore, the keys would fall out on hard left turns so this stops that from happening? or maybe its to keep people from pulling your keys out and throwing them if they are arguing with you?
 

RonD

Official TRS AI
TRS Technical Advisor
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
25,363
Reaction score
8,370
Points
113
Location
canada
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
Can't think of a good reason except to prevent locking steering wheel while still driving, i.e. shut the key off and coast

I did notice that "keyless" vehicles no longer have locking steering wheels
Most likely because there is no non-electronic way to lock and unlock steering wheel if there is no manually operated key mechanism on the column

Although they do have "drive by wire" throttle plates and steering motors now
 

86_FX4

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
21
Points
8
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
FX4 4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Manual
Can't think of a good reason except to prevent locking steering wheel while still driving, i.e. shut the key off and coast

I did notice that "keyless" vehicles no longer have locking steering wheels
Most likely because there is no non-electronic way to lock and unlock steering wheel if there is no manually operated key mechanism on the column
Interesting, this is logical, but so many cars just have the lock built into the ignition tumbler, like if the key is in, and turned, the wheel is unlocked. Was that too complex for ford? :)
 

86_FX4

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
21
Points
8
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
FX4 4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Manual
I can imagine it would be terrifying to be off-roading and have the key literally fall out and steering lock, but does that even happen? I've never heard of such a thing, but then again the majority of the time, all 4 of my tires are on the ground. Dunno how the rest of you are driving but if you're more airborne than not, a key retainer isnt a bad idea!
 

sgtsandman

Aircraft Fuel Tank Diver
TRS Forum Moderator
U.S. Military - Active
TRS 20th Anniversary
TRS Event Participant
Ham Radio Operator
GMRS Radio License
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
12,853
Reaction score
12,636
Points
113
Location
Aliquippa, PA
Vehicle Year
2011/2019
Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
The 2019+ Rangers don't have it. So, it must be a legacy thing to address something in the past that didn't change until the World Ranger came into being.
 

RobbieD

2.9l Mafia
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
3,877
Reaction score
3,447
Points
113
Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
I actually like it; it helps keep me from losing my keys while I'm driving.
 

86_FX4

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
21
Points
8
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
FX4 4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Manual
I actually like it; it helps keep me from losing my keys while I'm driving.
Pesky ignition switches! Always moving around when you're not looking, everytime!
 

RobbieD

2.9l Mafia
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
3,877
Reaction score
3,447
Points
113
Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
Pesky ignition switches! Always moving around when you're not looking, everytime!
Yeah, I try to keep an eye on it.

Now where'd I put my glasses?
 

holyford86

Some guy with a problem
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
RBV's on Boost
GMRS Radio License
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,213
Reaction score
610
Points
113
Age
37
Location
Plattsburgh, NY
Vehicle Year
many
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
7
Tire Size
33x12.50R15
Its to keep you from locking the steering wheel while driving if you turn the key off. 95 and up manual transmission trucks have it, autos do not, but, you cannot turn they key back far enough to remove the key unless it's in park. 83 to 88 all have the button because they were all floor shifted, whether they be manual or auto, and there was no shifter interlock with the floor shifted auto, you can just get in and pull it out of park.
 

Fast Eddie

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
1,909
Reaction score
2,656
Points
113
Location
On The Road
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
2x4 on 4x4 Factory Chassis
Tire Size
235/75/15
These guys all have their reasons but it's a blessing. I travel cross country and tow my ranger behind the motor home (5spd). You can't disengage the key in the off position. I carry a spare.

I hook the truck up with a tow bar, put the aux brake system in, power that up, turn the key forward to disengage the wheel lock, close and lock the door. The truck can stay like that if/until I need to head out again. Aux brake system is powered externally by the motorhome so now truck battery drain other tan what it normally uses when it sits (e.g. computer).

This technique frees up the front wheels so they can track through motorhome turns without tracking towed mileage. Doesn't mean much for tires or suspension, but doesn't count against engine run time either and trans is neutral as well.

It's a God send to someone like me.
 

scotts90ranger

Well-Known Member
RBV's on Boost
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
8,026
Reaction score
4,365
Points
113
Location
Dayton Oregon
Vehicle Year
1990, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
Yeah, but that's still not great for the transmission being towed without pulling the rear driveline, there's no oil getting to the output shaft in neutral without the input shaft spinning... with a 4x4 with the transmission in gear (any gear) and the T case in neutral they have a lube pump driven by the output shaft...

Yeah, I haven't found a great use other than that either...
 

Bgunner

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
1,779
Reaction score
1,085
Points
113
Location
Western Mass.
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford/Ranger XLT
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
225/70/R15
My credo
If it's not broken Don't Fix It!
RonD and HolyFord86 have it correct. This was taught in school when I was learning that it is to prevent the steering wheel from locking if you needed to turn off the engine for any reason. Those reasons being a throttle sticking/run away engine, having to reset the ECM from a stall or someone trying to turn the engine off while the vehicle is in motion. It was a designed in safety feature.

It has nothing to do with the "Keys Falling Out" as the lock cylinder when turned is supposed to pinch the tumblers into the cut of the key to lock the key in the ignition lock cylinder. If your key comes out while it is turned then the lock cylinder is not pinching the key properly and most commonly the key is severely warn.
 
Last edited:

Bgunner

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
1,779
Reaction score
1,085
Points
113
Location
Western Mass.
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford/Ranger XLT
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
225/70/R15
My credo
If it's not broken Don't Fix It!
A down fall to not having a steering wheel lock would be in the case of parking on a steep hill. As we are all supposed to know that you turn your wheels into the curb so that if the vehicle moves for some reason it will push the tire into the curb and stop its movement. Well with out a lock I can see a situation where the curb could force the tires to turn and allow the vehicle to continue down the hill.
 

Fast Eddie

Well-Known Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2020
Messages
1,909
Reaction score
2,656
Points
113
Location
On The Road
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
Ranger Edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
2x4 on 4x4 Factory Chassis
Tire Size
235/75/15
Yeah, but that's still not great for the transmission being towed without pulling the rear driveline, there's no oil getting to the output shaft in neutral without the input shaft spinning... with a 4x4 with the transmission in gear (any gear) and the T case in neutral they have a lube pump driven by the output shaft...

Yeah, I haven't found a great use other than that either...
While I believe what you wrote, 20k miles and no worse for wear, no signs of damage (knock wood)? Truck has 98k on it. Not sure what to think.
 
Last edited:

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Staff online

Member & Vendor Upgrades

For a small yearly donation, you can support this forum and receive a 'Supporting Member' banner, or become a 'Supporting Vendor' and promote your products here. Click the banner to find out how.

Truck of The Month


Shran
April Truck of The Month

Recently Featured

Want to see your truck here? Share your photos and details in the forum.

Follow TRS On Instagram

TRS Events

25th Anniversary Sponsors

Check Out The TRS Store


Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Sponsored Ad


Amazon Deals

Top