The ignition key cylinder in our 1990 Jaguar Sovereign takes some work to turn. You have to turn the steering wheel and push up on the key before turning. And it will only turn in neutral not park. Part of the problem may be the neutral safety switch and the frayed cable from the shifter to the transmission. But with a parts car available, I wanted to try swapping the ignition key cylinder first to see if that made a difference.
Removing the steering wheel was not a problem. The center cover just pries off with a screw driver and reveals the nut that holds it to the splined steering shaft. Once that was removed, it was easy to pull the steering wheel off. But getting to the key cylinder wasn’t as easy. I got the lower plastic moulding off fairly easily, but as it got closer to supper last Tuesday my desire to lie on the floor of the parts car diminished rapidly.
Enter Jefferson Rupert.
My oldest son, Jefferson, just got back from spending a week with my parents. So he was happy to see us and willing to help with the project. I explained what we wanted to do and he got at it. Using the detached rearview mirror (great idea!) to look under the assembly, he found that the upper plastic cover was secured with four bolts from the bottom of the shaft assembly. Once that was removed, there was a metal cage of sorts which attached to the assembly. Four small wire harnesses were clipped to the metal cage. But with perseverance, the cage and the wires were eventually removed and the lock cylinder was revealed.
At this point we were unsure what to do. My Haynes manual was with our local mechanic, so we had to figure it out by ourselves. It seems that the lock cylinder is secured to the steering shaft with heavy duty rivets. Apart from drilling these out, there didn’t seem to be an easy way to remove the ignition lock cylinder. Some units on eBay are sold with the entire shaft assembly. After staring at the problem for a few minutes, we decided to call it quits for the night. But once all the tools were put away, I decided to check the internet for the answer. The first response was “Get the haynes manual xj6 88-94.” Nice. But the second was very helpful.
Not easy unless you have the key. If you do, turn it to the accessory position and depress the pin at 1 o’clock on top of the cylinder body. Pull, and the cylinder should pull out of the body. If you don’t have the key, you’ll have to remove the entire cylinder body, then cut the cylinder out of the body by any means necessary.
By this time, it was dark outside, so I yelled, “Jefferson! Get a flashlight! I know what to do!” Sure enough, with the key turned to the accessory position, all I had to do was press in the tab and wiggle the whole cylinder out of its housing. Hurrah! Now, the next step is installing it in the other car and seeing if it solves the problem.