How to Replace the Ignition Lock Cylinder on an Escort

Written by chris moore
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On most models of the Ford Escort, the ignition switch's lock cylinder is placed in an assembly that is mounted with special "break-off" screws, which are designed to permanently install the cylinder. This means that it takes a bit more work to remove and install a lock cylinder in this car model, should you need to replace it. A replacement lock cylinder for the Escort should come with the same type of instalment screws.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet
  • Deep socket
  • Ratchet extension
  • Marker
  • Steering wheel puller
  • Hammer and chisel

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the car's negative battery cable, loosening the clamp nut with a wrench, and wait at least one minute for the air bag power to deplete.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the cover to the steering wheel by unscrewing the fasteners from the back of the wheel--this may require a Phillips screwdriver or a ratchet and deep socket, depending on the year of the car. Lift the cover and disconnect the electrical connectors behind it.

  3. 3

    Unscrew and separate the covers to the steering column, using the screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the steering wheel from the column, removing its mounting nut with the ratchet and socket, marking the wheel's relationship to the shaft with a marker and pulling off the wheel with a steering wheel puller.

  5. 5

    Unplug the electrical connectors to the multi-function switch within the steering column, then unscrew and remove the switch with your screwdriver. Unplug and remove the ignition switch in a similar fashion.

  6. 6

    Remove the four bolts that connect the steering column to the instrument panel, using a ratchet with an extension, and then detach the column, allowing it to hang free.

  7. 7

    Strike the tapered, cone-shaped, tamper-proof bolts for the lock cylinder assembly, using a hammer and medium size chisel. Strike each bolt about three times in a counter-clockwise direction and loosen them enough to then unscrew by hand.

  8. 8

    Pull the lock cylinder assembly with its bracket out of the steering column.


  1. 1

    Install and position the replacement assembly within the steering column and secure it with the special screws that should come with the assembly. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver, until their heads break off.

  2. 2

    Move the steering column back into position on the instrument panel and apply its mounting bolts with the ratchet and extension.

  3. 3

    Reconnect the ignition switch and the multipurpose switch into the steering column, using their mounting screws and the Phillips screwdriver, then connect the single electrical connector for the ignition and the three connectors for the multipurpose switch.

  4. 4

    Connect the trim covers back onto the steering column, using their mounting screws.

  5. 5

    Reconnect the steering wheel onto the steering shaft, using your marks to correctly line up the wheel and shaft. Connect the mounting nut in the centre and tighten it--if you have a torque wrench, tighten it to 34 to 46 foot-pounds.

  6. 6

    Reconnect the steering wheel's cover, connecting its electrical connectors and applying the fasteners with the ratchet or screwdriver, as needed.

  7. 7

    Reconnect the car's negative battery cable.

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