Key stuck in ignition (and the fix)

Discussion in 'KJ General Discussion' started by rebelram, May 27, 2008.

  1. rebelram

    rebelram Full Access Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    HSV, Alabama
    Over the weekend, my Jeep had a problem. I had been making a couple trips around town to run some errands. I got back to my brother's house and shut off the Jeep. I started to get out when I realized that my key was stuck in the ignition. It would not turn back to the stop where you can get the key out. I try turning the key back and forth and also shifting the transmission(This is on a 2006 4X4 automatic BTW). No luck. The Jeep was in park, so we went in to see what we could find on the net. Not much, but we did see one comment about the Shift Interlock having problems. So back out I went and tried the key and the shifter a few more times. Still no difference. So I started pulling the console apart to see if anything was binding. What I found was that the shift interlock cable was not returning to it's proper position when in park. I could push it with my thumb and then it would release the key. I only had to move it about 1/8" to get it to work. I did this the rest of the day to get where I was going.

    The next day I took the console completely apart to determine why the cable was not working as it should. What I found is that there is a small solenoid with a brass actuator bar that pushes the shift interlock cable into the correct positions depending on what gear you are in. This solenoid was not pushing the cable far enough forward to allow me to get the key out of the ignition. This solenoid has part numbers on it so I copied them down and went to the parts store. No luck, it must be a dealer only part. So on Monday I went to the dealer. I describe the part and give them the part numbers. What I found out next is that the fix is to replace the entire automatic shifter assembly and shift interlock cable. That is the only way Mopar sells these parts. I even took the shifter out of the box while there and pointed out the part I needed on it. The guy said they had done some revisions to the shifter and cable and that they only sold the whole assembly. He said this was not a recall item, but the revisions had been made and on his computer it noted to sell a new interlock cable with the shifter because they had been revised. I went ahead and bought the shifter assembly and cable, $120 total. I expected much worse.

    I went home and started swapping parts. I could tell that the shifter assembly and cable did look slightly different in some areas. The interlock cable is also spring loaded and seemed much springier than my old cable. The cable alone may have fixed my problem, but I went ahead and replaced both. Total repair time was about 2 hours and that was with me taking it slow and making sure I was doing everything correctly. Also the process for doing this repair is documented fairly well in the Haynes Jeep Liberty 2001-2004 service manual and instructions match very well even on a 2006 model Jeep like I have. The main things to remember are, the console has to come completely out. And the bottom half of the cover around the steering column will need to come off. Tools needed for this job are; #2 Philips Screwdriver, A couple flat tip screwdrivers, Torx T15 driver, 10mm deepwell socket and ratchet, needlenose pliers, and a good bright droplight. The console removal was fairly easy, except for one screw that eluded me for a bit. If I had referred to the Haynes manual first, I would have found it more quickly. This screw was under the leather boot for the transfer case shifter. It also helps when removing the console to have the transmission in N, the transfer case in N or 4LO, and the parking brake pulled up.

    Well hopefully this info will help somebody in the future.
     
  2. JIMMY JEEP

    JIMMY JEEP Full Access Member

    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Nice write up,i'm sure that that information will help one of us out of a spot of bother at some time.
     
  3. indieaz

    indieaz Full Access Member

    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    This happened to me too. I was able to get my key out by firmly pulling in on the shifter knob while in park then releasing it quickly. After taking console apart I found i could barely nudge the cable and get the key out that way as well. Taking the entire console apart in order to assess the problem seemed like way too much work for me that day so I took it in to the dealer and they fixed it for free. They replaced this for free. BS that it's not a recall item...I imagine this isn't all that uncommon...and if they had to revise the part in order to fix it then it's obviously a manufacturing/design flaw and should be replaced for free.

    So, if anyone else has this happen to them...try just firmly pulling in on the shift lever knob (the thing you have to push in to move the shifter out of park), and just quickly release it. That'll probably get you through a few more days/weeks until you can replace the shifter assembly (i did that for about a week).
     
  4. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

    Messages:
    8,406
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Location:
    Dem hollers in Ky
    Was it under warranty?

    Nice write-up rebelram. Ill be sure to save this since Ive read about people having the same problem. :)
     
  5. rebelram

    rebelram Full Access Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    HSV, Alabama
    Unfortunately it had just run out of warranty. I have about 37,500 mi on it now. I tried explaining that at the service desk, but got no sympathy. At least it was something that I could replace rather than have a dealer do it. I suspect it would have cost me closer to $400 or more to have a dealer do it.

    Also BTW, there are no instructions in the box for the shifter or the cable. So you definitely need to know what you are doing or have a service manual nearby.
     
  6. indieaz

    indieaz Full Access Member

    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes I was under warranty.
     
  7. aamarie87

    aamarie87 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Location:
    Pasadena, MD
    Same problem

    I am having the same issue actually. Moved my car last night and all of the sudden I couldn't get the key out. One guy managed to get it out at one point and then stuck it back in and it's stuck again.

    It's nice to know that I didnt do something to break it and others are having the same issue.

    Unfortunantly, even though it's a 2006 with only 20,000 miles on it, it too is out of warranty.
     
  8. spekter

    spekter New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado
    same ignition problem today as well. the liberty has been nothing but a long series of problems. have owned almost all other model jeeps made and none are as crappy as this thing. i would take a 1986 jeep cherokee with over 300,000 miles and the lethargic V6 over my 06 liberty. sad thing is i would probably be getting stranded less and called less on my day off to go rescue my girl friend.. why chrystler has not been forced to recall every vehicle they have produced since at least 2001 is beyond me. love jeeps and the liberty's capability in snow and off road is a thousand times better that the next comparable vehicle but, i will never buy a new jeep/chrystler product ever again.
     
  9. markd

    markd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Location:
    nj
    stuck key

    Hey this happened to me as well just a long list in the line of things this Liberty has wrong. However, before you take it in to get fixed or spend a dime try this....there is a set screw on the shift handle towards the front of the handle it's a tox screw.....loosen the set screw and gently pull up on shifter while holding it tighten the set screw....it's worth 5 min of you time!!!!!! if you need the cable it's an easy diy thing.
     
  10. Neb1373

    Neb1373 Full Access Member

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    You know. I couldn't get my key out at all a few weeks ago, then I put it in park and it came right out!!! I'm used to a manual lol.
     
  11. Dave

    Dave Administrator Administrator Moderator

    Messages:
    15,589
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    on here
    Had this happen to me but finally got it working. Only thing that has gone wrong with the KJ since new.......(knockin on wood so I don't jinx myself)

    Dave
     
  12. ELK

    ELK New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Temporary Fix or No?

    Same problem here too! I took the consol apart like Rebel Ram had mentioned and sure enough the white cylinder with the brass actuator is not pushing the cable forward far enough. Money is somewhat tight for the next couple of weeks, and I cant drive around without my center console. Sooo, I disconnected the interlock cable from the shifter assembly all together.... and BAM! I always get my key back. Of course with the cable being disconnected the shifter is able to move from park to drive freely. While this is a temporary fix until I can afford the new part... Aside from that, is there any other reason that anyone can think of that I should not leave it like this for the time being... or indefinitely?
     
  13. robertcooney

    robertcooney New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
  14. labsmann

    labsmann New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Location:
    sault

    def just worked
     
  15. rxraptor02

    rxraptor02 Full Access Member

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thank you for this post!

    I just had this happen. I was able to open the cover and figured out that to push to get my Key out. Now I should be able to get it fixed without having to pay a dealer to do it.
     
  16. jackr

    jackr New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Location:
    NY
    Before you do anything - check the torx screw on the shifter handle. Mine was loose so I pulled up on the shift knob & tightened it down. FIXED!!!!
    Thanks MARKD for this fix.
     
  17. 4x4kayak2112

    4x4kayak2112 Full Access Member

    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Location:
    tx
    Mine does it too....long time ago that was my issue. Now its back!

    Sent from my Home Phone using Tapatalk
     
  18. MTN GTO

    MTN GTO Full Access Member

    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Rockland County
    Whoever the manufacturer is, they are probably under contract to make most, if not all of the shift assemblies for GM, Mopar and the like. My wife's Limpala had problems with the key. A friend of mine had similar prob with his Impala, too. Except he, being mechanically inclined, ripped his whole console out trying to get the problem squared away. Now he has all those cables exposed.
    Me, hey-I have a manual, NO problem with the key! Other things, yeah...anybody replace their gas struts for the hood & rear glass yet?
     
  19. kamileon

    kamileon New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    I just replaced the gas struts on my rear glass, $50 at autozone and less than 10 minutes to swap out.

    Also my key problem is just a bit different. It doesnt get stuck in the ignition, it just doesnt turn. Gotta play with it a bit to get it to turn. It turns towards me with no problems, just not the other way. Gonna look at the cable this weekend and see if this is the problem. Thanks for the write up.
     
  20. dgaluppo

    dgaluppo New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Location:
    N.Y.
    key stuck

    Thanks for the tip it just worked for me.
    Thanks MARKD for this fix.
    Daniel

    10/18/13 key still ok!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013