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1999 4Runner - Key won't turn in ignition

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Old 06-04-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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1999 4Runner - Key won't turn in ignition

The last few months, I've had occasional difficulty with the key not wanting to turn in the ignition. This is NOT the steering wheel being locked and making the turn a little difficult. This is also NOT the transponder, because this truck doesn't have transponder keys - just the regular kind.

I go to turn the key, and the key will just not budge in the ignition. I jiggle it, pull it out and put it in a couple times, and finally, it will turn easily.

This time, I've been at it for 10 minutes, and it still won't turn. I'm using a newly cut key, made from an old working key. I've tried the old key too, no luck.

Am I correct in assuming it's a worn out lock cylinder? If so, how can I get around this over the weekend, until I have time to replace the cylinder? Is it hard to change the lock yourself - anyone have experience?
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:15 PM   #2
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Use the search button my friend... works wonders!

http://www.yotatech.com/f2/ignition-...g-start-77907/

As was mentioned in the thread, get a new one cut off the VIN.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:25 PM   #3
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try getting a new lock cylinder
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:10 PM   #4
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Use the search button my friend... works wonders!
Thanks, I'll check that one out. I don't know why, but I can never get anything useful out of the site's search engine. I usually google the site instead, but I guess I missed that article.
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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Okay, then let me ask: what ignition lock cylinder have you guys bought? Did you stick to Toyota or did you get an aftermarket one?
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:36 PM   #6
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Okay, then let me ask: what ignition lock cylinder have you guys bought? Did you stick to Toyota or did you get an aftermarket one?
99% it's the cylinder. Had the same thing happen to me a couple months ago, except I didn't have much warning (didn't lock up much prior to this) and I was stuck in a Bi-Lo parking lot.

I went with the Toyota cylinder. I didn't even try to look for an off-brand cylinder, didn't want to take any chances. The dealership total for the part, locksmith keying the cylinder, and install was $336. Breakdown is as follows: $116.96 for the cylinder, $99 for keying, $100 for labor, and $11 in misc. expenses. Definitely an expensive fix, but there's not much else to do in this situation.

You could buy the part from Toyota, then have a locksmith key it, and install it yourself. I haven't attempted an install, but I doubt it's very hard. Look around the FSMs and I bet you could handle it. If you do take this route, I'd be interested to know how much you save. Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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you can do it urself it really easy almost like an oil change that if you do your own oil change
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:03 PM   #8
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I went with the Toyota cylinder. I didn't even try to look for an off-brand cylinder, didn't want to take any chances. The dealership total for the part, locksmith keying the cylinder, and install was $336. Breakdown is as follows: $116.96 for the cylinder, $99 for keying, $100 for labor, and $11 in misc. expenses. Definitely an expensive fix, but there's not much else to do in this situation.

You could buy the part from Toyota, then have a locksmith key it, and install it yourself. I haven't attempted an install, but I doubt it's very hard. Look around the FSMs and I bet you could handle it. If you do take this route, I'd be interested to know how much you save. Good luck!
Looks like an aftermarket ignition lock cylinder and key (Standard Motor Products or Airtech/Wells) runs around $75 on rockauto. Install involves removing the steering wheel and some trim, popping off the bezel, and then it's a simple swap. Aftermarket would mean a different key for the door vs. ignition, but that set up would be workable.

I'm going to sleep on it.
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:24 PM   #9
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Looks like an aftermarket ignition lock cylinder and key (Standard Motor Products or Airtech/Wells) runs around $75 on rockauto. Install involves removing the steering wheel and some trim, popping off the bezel, and then it's a simple swap. Aftermarket would mean a different key for the door vs. ignition, but that set up would be workable.

I'm going to sleep on it.
I also have keyless entry with alarm, so having an OEM cylinder with OEM key was important to me. Just something for you to consider if you have any of the same.

It looks like your total cost would be $75 for the cylinder plus $50-$100 for keying, plus your time, and then you have to deal with having two different keys. Knowing now what the cost savings would be, I personally think I would still go with the dealership option, but that's all preference.

I'm just wondering though, why can't you get the aftermarket cylinder keyed to your original key? Is it just pre-keyed and supplied with the keys? If it is pre-keyed, maybe you should just get the Toyota cylinder and then have your locksmith key that to your original key. That would still cost you $30 more for the Toyota cylinder and the locksmith fees, but again, to me would be worth it. Anyway, best of luck.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:05 PM   #10
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Before you spend a bunch of money, try at the very least getting a new key made from the VIN. It worked for me.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:29 PM   #11
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Well, I was still up, so I went out a while ago and did some more fiddling with it. The car was parked in my level driveway with the tires straight. The steering column had not been locked when the key would not turn initially. After noticing the key wasn't turning, earlier, I had jiggled the wheel and eventually locked the steering column. So, just now, I was out jiggling the wheel some more, trying to turn the key, and the key finally clicked loose and turned easily.

I still think I probably have a lock cylinder problem, but at least I can drive it (though I risk getting stranded, I suppose). I'll try the key from the VIN first, see if that helps, but if I run into more stuck-key trouble, I'm going to go ahead and replace the ignition lock cylinder. I hope I can go another couple months.

Last edited by pendrag; 06-04-2010 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:47 AM   #12
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The last few months, I've had occasional difficulty with the key not wanting to turn in the ignition. This is NOT the steering wheel being locked and making the turn a little difficult. This is also NOT the transponder, because this truck doesn't have transponder keys - just the regular kind.

I go to turn the key, and the key will just not budge in the ignition. I jiggle it, pull it out and put it in a couple times, and finally, it will turn easily.

This time, I've been at it for 10 minutes, and it still won't turn. I'm using a newly cut key, made from an old working key. I've tried the old key too, no luck.

Am I correct in assuming it's a worn out lock cylinder? If so, how can I get around this over the weekend, until I have time to replace the cylinder? Is it hard to change the lock yourself - anyone have experience?
my 97 limited did the same thing, i brought it into the dealership they just lubed my cylinder and now it works fine again... i think it was like 40 bucks
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:42 PM   #13
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I came across this post on FixYa.com - 98 Toyota 4Runner ignition switch won't turn . I haven't had time yet to get in the truck and start wrenching, but this makes it sound like it would be easier than I thought (i.e., I wouldn't have to pull the steering wheel).

Quote:
The problem was the lock cylinder itself was worn out. To remove it on my '98 4Runner, I removed the four 10mm bolts in the lower panel underneath the steering wheel, and then popped out the small panel surrounding the ignition switch itself. Take off the little white ring that surrounds the keyhole light, and the other ring just slips off. Careful not to lose the little white locking tab if it falls out when you remove the rings. Leave that key light assembly connected. Put in the key, and turn it to "ACC". Look underneath the silver lock cylinder itself and find a small hole. Push a pen or other small object into the hole to release the cylinder from the switch. It pulls straight out. Reverse the steps to install your new lock cylinder. Piece of cake, but much easier if you order a new one and take a good look at it before you start!

Last edited by pendrag; 07-05-2010 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:58 AM   #14
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I used to run into this all the time when i worked at Saturn (r.i.p.) The ignition cylinder would get worn out so that you could pull the key out with the engine running. The customer would decline replacing the cylinder and get a new key instead...combine a new key with a worn out cylinder and you get some serious binding! When I bought my 4R back in September it only had 1 key and it hardly had any ridges left in it. I got 2 copies made and sometimes the key won't turn the cylinder but if I take the key out, flip it over and put it in the other way it will work just fine. i know the cyl is worn but I'm not going to worry about it until it quits working altogether.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:39 PM   #15
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so funny you had this exact same problem on the exact same day mine started... I will be trying the graphite lube trick first, then replacing the tumbler. I know mine is not a key issue, as the valet key was never used but a few times on this truck and it does the exact same thing in the ignition cylinder. as you can imagine, almost 14 years and 225k miles will do this to a device that is used every single time you use the truck. here's to hoping the lube works!
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:31 PM   #16
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so funny you had this exact same problem on the exact same day mine started... I will be trying the graphite lube trick first, then replacing the tumbler. I know mine is not a key issue, as the valet key was never used but a few times on this truck and it does the exact same thing in the ignition cylinder. as you can imagine, almost 14 years and 225k miles will do this to a device that is used every single time you use the truck. here's to hoping the lube works!
Turns out the valet key must have been used a bunch of times too, it had the same profile as my old key. I had a new key cut from the VIN after the graphite lube didn't remedy my problem. Here's two pics for comparison:





Slid in the new key, works perfectly. As you can see, all the little points are long gone on the old key. Also, the new key is substantially thicker. I am disappointed that I got the key cut at the dealer and they didn't give me a real Toyota key.... Oh well haha. Best $4 I have spent in a long time LOL.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:34 AM   #17
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Turns out the valet key must have been used a bunch of times too, it had the same profile as my old key. I had a new key cut from the VIN after the graphite lube didn't remedy my problem.

Slid in the new key, works perfectly. As you can see, all the little points are long gone on the old key. Also, the new key is substantially thicker. I am disappointed that I got the key cut at the dealer and they didn't give me a real Toyota key.... Oh well haha. Best $4 I have spent in a long time LOL.
So glad you posted that after folks still seemingly wanting to change out the cylinder without getting a new key from Yota first.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:22 PM   #18
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I was having the same problem and getting a new key cut didn't help. I also noticed some excessive wear on the tip of the key so I tried powdered graphite which also didn't work. The one product that did is called "The Dry Lube" by the same manufacturer as PB Blaster. After spraying that a couple times into the key cylinder, I haven't had a problem since. AWESOME stuff that you can pick up at Home Depot or most hardware stores. (I tried to attach a small picture of the can but it would not work)

Here's a link to the product on a different website for reference.

http://www.tooldistrict.com/teflondr...rchemical.aspx

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Old 06-23-2010, 07:46 PM   #19
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So glad you posted that after folks still seemingly wanting to change out the cylinder without getting a new key from Yota first.
I'm always looking to save a few bucks, and I'd much rather gamble 4 dollars to see if it fixed the problem than replace the whole assembly at a cost of $200+ LOL. Gotta share the tech and what I learned in the process so we can keep this forum going haha. I do agree though, I darn near replaced it before getting that key cut, glad there were a few wise posters who said to do otherwise lol.

ahhhh, yotatech!

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Old 06-24-2010, 10:45 AM   #20
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I came across this post on FixYa.com. I haven't had time yet to get in the truck and start wrenching, but this makes it sound like it would be easier than I thought (i.e., I wouldn't have to pull the steering wheel).
Was just going to tell you how to do it, but glad you found the way to replace the cylinder, takes you all of 10 minutes. My 4runner came with a replaced cylinder when I bought it, so I have the issue of two keys. Not a bid deal as I have the OEM Toyota security system with the key fob to lock and unlock the doors at the same time it sets the alarm. So I have one key that will unlock the doors/rear hatch (which are still OEM keyed to the VIN) and the new cylinder key.

Only issue I have is I too would like to have a common key again. Just makes for a simplier key ring. What I did was at one of the local yards, I was able to find a pretty much trashed 96 4runner and for $35 I got ALL of the locks and the ignition cylinder. I took down the VIN from the vehicle, went into the dealership with the door locks and my receipt from the yard. Also the lock code for the vehicle original locks is on the passenger door lock cylinder. Had a key cut fresh for the set, tested in the door locks then went back to the yard and removed the cylinder. I will eventually replace all the locks and the ignition cylinder but removing all the other locks is a real pain so I'll wait till I have a few days to tinker with it.

The directions you found are the correct ones for removal of the cylinder. If you want to save some cash, find a wrecked runner 96-02 and see if they have the ignition key, then just pull the cylinder and install. Having to have two keys is an inconvience but if you have the locking doors key fob, its pretty much a non-issue. I have lived with it for almost 3 years. Piece of cake
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1999, 2002, 4runner, 94, 98, 99, cylinder, ignition, key, lock, runner, stuck, toyota, transponder, turn, wont

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