key won't turn, locked in reverse

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Thread: key won't turn, locked in reverse

  1. #1
    Regular Saab Guy InEurope's Avatar
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    key won't turn, locked in reverse

    97 SAAB 2.0 SE convertible, manual box.

    Found this old thread https://www.saabscene.com/forum/threa...uck-in-reverse, never seemed to get any answer.... Plus the links in there are dead.

    Anyway, the ignition key barrel was a bit sticky, sometimes taking a few seconds to pop-up. So i tried a few drops of very thin oil (releasing oil style) and it then popped up just fine when moved to "lock" and the key removed. Except now the key won't turn at all when inserted; it's like the internal release is jammed. Tried all sorts to free it up, no joy.

    So I have stripped down the central console (instructions per Haynes etc. say to remove the seats, but this was totally not needed) and unbolted the gear change housing. Trouble is that you need to get under the housing to loosen/fix anything, and it's not possible to turn it over without disengaging the gear change rod. But to do this, all the instructions tell you to put the car in 4th and lock it in place. If I could do that, I wouldn't need to do all this anyway!

    So I am in same situation as those stupid mobile operators that send you an SMS to help you when your phone is out of action

    Anyone ever come across the procedure to follow in this case, i.e. how to disconnect (and reconnect) the gear linkage if you can't get it in 4th before you start?

    I'm left with trying to push/pull the entire housing and rod and hope to find 4th, but perhaps there is a more methodical way to go about this.

    Help/suggestions appreciated

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  3. #2
    Regular Saab Guy InEurope's Avatar
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    Tried the "push pull" option, and looked down the hole in the top of the gearbox where you are supposed to place a 4mm dia screwdriver to lock it in 4th.
    Saw a hole that lined up, dropped in the screwdriver, undid the pinch bolt and pulled the whole lot out.
    Now I just have to hope I found 4th!

    Next problem: got the cylinder housing out, but as I can't turn the key, I can't pull the cylinder out.
    I can see the sprung tab I'm supposed to be able to push when the key is in the "off" position, but descriptions on the net are non too clear on which bits to drill/grind to get the barrel released.

    So another appeal for ideas!

  4. #3
    Regular Saab Guy Alpenflitzer's Avatar
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    First of all never put oil on the key or in the key hole. Clean the key with an oily tissue - that is all.
    What I read to get the cylinder off is
    1. Ignition key in position "off"
    2. Use a piece of welding rod an form it to a "L" whereas the lower part of the L ( the horizontal) is 2-4 cm long.
    3. With the the short end of the wire push through the hole on to the catch in the cylinder and take off the locking cylinder . The key must stay in the cylinder in Off-Position.

    This procedure has been taken from the Workshop Information system I have.

    I recommend to thoroughly clean the cylinder and check why the key does not get out. Maybe one of the pins is broken in the cylinder and you have to buy a new locking cylinder or the key is bowed?
    Last edited by Alpenflitzer; 11-25-2017 at 09:35 AM.

  5. #4
    Regular Saab Guy InEurope's Avatar
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    Hi Alpenflitzer
    that sequence is fine IF you can turn the key to the "OFF" position. In my case the key inserted/removed just fine but would not turn out of "LOCK". So no way to use the welding rod or 3mm Allen/hex key method to push on the release.
    Even when I stripped the entire gear lever housing the release lever would not press down while in "LOCK"

    Anyway, drilled along the release lever with a 3mm bit to remove a lot of metal, then used an old screwdriver and hammer to flatten the whole lever below the level of the housing. Then I could pull out the lock barrel/cylinder. So just that lever acting to retain the barrel.

    With this level of damage, no choice but to order a new barrel. And while I wait for delivery (2 weeks while it gets made) I can start to put the whole thing together again!

    Short tip: when reassembling the locking mechanism, make sure it's set out of reverse-lock position. If you have a key barrel, just turn it to "OFF". If not, a screwdriver can be used to lever it gently out of the lock position if needed.
    Last edited by InEurope; 11-26-2017 at 05:50 AM.

  6. #5
    Regular Saab Guy InEurope's Avatar
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    OK, to complete the story for future reference.
    Ordered a new barrel from Skandix
    http://www.skandix.de/en/spare-parts...-lock/1026074/

    Second hand ones are available, but a good one from a reputable dealer wasn't much cheaper, and then I'd have had a different set of keys. Here I gave my VIN and it was made up for my original key. Had the part in one week from order.

    Reassembling is as per the book, but I could not get the new barrel in without access to under the housing. In theory it should just slide in, but the reverse-lock bar/lever that the barrel acts on would not line up. Once I held the mechanism from "underneath" it slid in no problem.

    Note that the frame that holds the gear lever gaiter is wider at one end then the other. So make sure you get it the right way round or else you go through the fiddle all over again

  7. #6
    Saabisti
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    The barrels are a PITA. Mine was stuck in OFF too but I finally managed to get it out by push/pulling the key whilst trying to turn it and after a gazillion times I managed to get it in position I. Took it out and left it soaking in some cleaner and once completely dried I used graphite powder to lube it. Been fine since.

  8. #7
    Regular Saab Guy InEurope's Avatar
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    Re: key won't turn, locked in reverse

    Just to clarify, the most anti-clockwise key position is where the key can be withdrawn and the reverse-lock is engaged (where mine was stuck).

    Next position (one click clockwise) is "OFF", reverse-lock disengaged, key can't be pulled out but here it's possible to use the method mentioned by Alpenfiltzer to pull the barrel out.

    Next is position I (1), where power is enabled.

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