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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
“Key cannot be turned to lock and removed“ repair experience.
A neighbor referred her friend to me for second opinion about ignition lock cylinder replacement on 2000 Corolla with A/T. According to her, the key cannot be turned to lock position from ACC and therefore cannot be removed; all other functions were unremarkable.
At first it sounded to me like a problem with lock cylinder but after doing some homework I suspected a problem with key interlock solenoid operation. This solenoid is energized by shift lock computer when car is not in park preventing accidental locking of the steering column after turning ignition off while vehicle is in motion. The solenoid is de-energized when shifter is in park only.
Based on my reading experience in many cases the problem was fixed by replacement of the shift interlock computer or by unplugging the solenoid, so I desired to do the second thing first.
I began with removal of the steering column cover thanks to the nice write up
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/1...-corolla-key-ignition-switch-replacement.html
I took out the lower part easy, however I was not able to remove the upper cover without taking the instrument cluster bezel, so I left it lose in place after removal additional screw atteching the upper cover to the steering column lock barrel and separating its stud from square hole on the steering column bracket.
Next, I took 4-pin connector off the solenoid. Although this step de-energized the solenoid, the key still did not go into the lock position.
So I started taking off the solenoid off the steering column lock barrel. The bottom screw was easy to take; I bent solenoid away was able to turn key to lock and to remove it.
(Refer to pictures below: (4-runner shown; Corolla is similar):





The black round spot is the spring-loaded pin that acts on the locking cam (NOT lock cylinder) and prevents it from going into the “Lock” position. This pin is pushed by the plunger that extends from the solenoid when it is energized.
When solenoid is off the plunger must be retracted by the “main” solenoid spring. I don’t think that tiny spring that returns cam locking pin is capable of pushing the solenoid plunger in. I have not got any chance to open the solenoid and see exactly how many springs are there (should be at least two).
Other screw for the solenoid was tricky to remove but it came out as well. Because taking wire terminals from the connector was impossible due to the space restriction, I cut the blue wires to solenoid (be sure to unplug the harness before doing that!!) and insulated each of 2 stumps to prevent short circuit.
I secured them to the other wire bundle with small size tie wrap and put everything back together.
The designers attempt to make cars idiot proof (idiots should not drive cars, right?) casues more repair expenses down the road J
 

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Nice write up.
Yep almost every newer car with A/T has this, it's a safety feature.
It can be annoying but I understand why it's there.

I will add this to the stickes when I have more time tonight :)
Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update:
(It is more important than actual article, because it shows the root cause of this problem and can be helpful knowledge base for other Toyota owners)
I obtained the solenoid and took it apart. It does not have return spring, but has 3 mm diameter anti – buzz spring on the opposite end.
So the ant- buzz spring-loaded solenoid plunger always extends for about 5 mm out of solenoid AND the spring in the ignition lock barrel (under black dot on the pictures) is solely in charge of retracting BOTH locking pin and the plunger of the solenoid. This spring is made of small diameter wire and has original uncompressed length of estimated ½ inch (educated guess). So, even after it breaks, it has enough force to retract the pin, but not enough force to retract the solenoid plunger (this why removal of the solenoid “fixes” this problem). So the correct repair method is to replace the steering column locking barrel along with shear head bolts with used one which still gives no guarantee to last. The new one is over $150 and can last another 10+ years, but the car may not last that long.
 
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