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Offline ponyboy

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Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« on: November 11, 2019, 05:43:09 PM »
I have a 1973 Pinto, and a broken key. According to the Haynes manual, you have to have the key in the switch to remove it. Is there any other way to remove the switch that won't break anything else? I found a new switch with keys at rockauto.com.

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 10:47:17 PM »
Hi..

The actual ign switch is not at the same location as the key slot.

The switch is located near the bottom of the steering column near inder the dash.

I found this out after dismantling the steering column to deal with some electr8cal issues that turned out to not be related to the switch.

The place where you insert the key is just a lock mechanism with a cylender and tumbler that locks the steering column and attaches to the link connecting to the switch.

It connects with a thick wire link to the actual switch.

You may be able to get a locksmith to drill out the cylender and replace it.

Car thieves sometimes pull the cylender with  a slide hammer fitted  with a screw that they screw into the key slot. But that might damage the lock.

The lock should be accessible by removing the plastic covers on the steering column.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 01:48:28 AM »
Thank you for your response. The actual switch is fine. I just don't have a way to remove the lock. I removed the plastic covers and found the rod. I removed the steering wheel and the turn signal switch plate. How is the rod attached to the actual switch? I found the actual switch on eBay. It looks like maybe the rod just hooks onto a hole in the switch plunger. But the problem is where the key goes. While the key lock and actual switch are available, the rod is not. So I don't want to damage it or the cast part of the column where the key lock is. I might be able to drill out the lock myself. Again, I don't want to damage that fragile cast part.

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 10:51:36 AM »
The rod looks to me to be pretty sturdy but i dont recall how it fits into the switch or the lock assembly.

My best advice wouod be to c9nsult a locksmith about removing the cylender assembky in the lock .

I suspect that most locksmiths have encountered this problem before.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline 71pintoracer

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 01:03:16 PM »
You don't need to mess with the rod at all. What happens is when you turn the key to the on position it allows you to push the locking pin up into the cylinder to remove it. There is a little hole under the housing to access the pin. Since you can't turn the key, you need to drill the cylinder. It's aluminum so it's not to bad to drill. Start with a small bit and go bigger little by little. What you are trying to do is remove the material that blocks the pin. When you get to a certain point take a small diameter punch and drive the pin up into the cylinder and then remove it. Be careful not to use to big of a drill bit because if the bit grabs the hardened pin...... :P  Working for Ford for 40 years l've done many of them!! The slide hammer might work but these cylinders are very strong so using a 10 # slide, probably going to break something.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Offline 71pintoracer

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 01:27:50 PM »
Oh yeah, forgot step 1. Take a big screwdriver and break off the chrome outer piece. Then start drilling. l always used a 1/2" variable speed drill with a side handle.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 02:26:29 PM »
If the key is already in the lock and broken off there is itnpossibke to turn it to the ON position and just use the punch to drive in the pin and remove the cyllender that way without drillng
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2019, 02:43:07 PM »
Thanks. Yeah, having the drill bit catch and break the cast housing is what I was worried about. I'll take it nice and slow and use a lot of WD-40. When you say 1/2" drill are you referring to the size of the bit? I have a 3/8" VSR drill. I appreciate all the help.


I had to replace the ignition switch in my 1964 Fairlane because it simply wore out. It was dash mounted and had the key switch and electrical parts all in one piece. Four wires, hot, accessory, ignition, and start. A lot of Pintos are probably reaching the age where the locks (and keys) are starting to wear out. It might be a good idea to replace the locks BEFORE you stick the key in one and it doesn't work. I also have to replace the tailgate lock. Fortunately it was open when the key broke. I don't really care about the doors.


The key broke while it was in the tailgate (it's a wagon) lock. It got hit with something I was loading in the back. For some reason it was not all the way in the lock when it broke, so it is worthless. Now I am seriously wishing I would have had some more keys made.

Offline 71pintoracer

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2019, 03:37:12 PM »
Yes 1/2 drill, not drill bit. You can try to drive the pin first but there is a steel blocking plate in the way. By drilling first it takes away material so you can drive it in easier
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2019, 03:45:19 PM »
Pintoracer..

Do you know if there if there was/is a key code recorded somewhere.

Were there many different keys made for the pintos?

Perhaps another ford may have a matching key that will work as well.

Also perhaps a locksmith could pick the lock and turn it to the ON position for cyll3nder extraction and possibly make a key.


That might cost a bit but would save labor drilling the ign lock

OR since the ign key is in the rear door lock could you maybe remove the rear door lock and with the tumblers out retrieve the broken key and insert the broken key intk the ign lock so you can remove the ign lock or have a new key made from the broken key in the rear door lock.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline pinto_one

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2019, 04:06:01 PM »
hope you have not started drilling yet , one you say the key was broke off in the tail gate half way , do you still have the other half of the key ? if so all is not lost , if you still have the tail gate open remove the lock by removing the tab on the bottom of the gate , (can only be done when it is open ) bring the lock and whats left of the key to a lock smith , the lock has the same amount of tumblers as the ign lock , door do also, no need for a locksmith to drive to the car , cost more , bring lock to him cost less , Make a dozen extras ,
76 Pinto sedan V6 , 79 pinto cruiser wagon V6 soon to be diesel or 4.0

Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2019, 05:13:53 PM »
Have not started drilling yet. Part of the key is still in the tailgate lock, which I have already removed. I have the other part, but it is bent, and it was not fully inserted in the lock when it broke. I will see if I can get the broken piece out and use both pieces in the ignition lock, but I doubt it will work. Too much damage to the key parts.

If I still need to drill the lock, why do I need such a large drill (I have access to one if necessary) and what size bit should I use? I also have a Dremel tool if that would be useful. Most ignition lock cylinders seem to be made of pot metal with brass pins. It should be fairly easy to slowly grind away at it until I can drive out the pin.

I doubt Ford has anything for a car that old. I have dealt with locksmiths at work before. They are expensive. Yes it is possible one could come out and make a key. But it would cost well over $100. I can get a new lock and key for $20. I just have to remove the old one. which is probably close to be worn out anyway. My only real issue here is removing the old lock without the key and without damaging anything else.

It is possible to start the engine without the key, all you have to do is run a wire from the battery to the coil, and jump the relay with a screwdriver. But the steering wheel is locked, and the turn signals and wipers won't work because the acc part of the switch is off. I thought about just cutting off the pin that locks the steering wheel to make the car drivable, but decided not to for now.   

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2019, 05:23:02 PM »
Have you tried keys from other fords and pintos..

I doubt that there were a lot of different keys and maybe you could get lucky and find one.

If you can dismantle the rear lock and remove the tumblers the key shiuld come out pretty easily.

Then you could try to have a new key made from the pieces.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline pinto_one

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2019, 08:42:14 PM »
Ok , there is on last trick to remove it lock , the early pinto lock are different than the later ones , or fords untel late 74 ,  take a old ford key and just stick it in the ign switch , use a large pair of channel lock pliers and turn it to the on position, then you can push the pin in to remove lock , the later ones had the top that would shear off and a retainer plate at the bottom so you could not use a dent puller to remove the lock , if itís the stock lock that came with the car it will work , newer replacements were made to prevent removal like I said ,
76 Pinto sedan V6 , 79 pinto cruiser wagon V6 soon to be diesel or 4.0

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2019, 08:54:51 PM »
Why not try a "shaved" key, an old worn out one or  one with the high spots filed down to turn the switch to the ON position for removal.

Might work with some wiggling.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline 71pintoracer

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2019, 09:17:42 PM »
l used a 1/2" drill because it has a handle on the side. When you drill it the tumblers will fall out and it can cause the bit to grab and twist the drill around. Didn't know it was the rear lock not the ignition cyl.  l would take the lock and the other piece of the key to a locksmith first. So......the rear lock doesn't use the round key?
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2019, 09:28:34 AM »
Then key broke off in the tailgate lock while the tailgate was open. I accidentally hit it with something I was loading in the back. It was not all the way in the lock when it broke off. I have removed the tailgate lock, and new ones are available. But, it was my only key. So now I have no ignition key, and cannot turn the ignition switch, which is required to remove it. My main issue now is getting the ignition lock out. There is probably a code on the outside of the cylinder, but once I get the whole thing out, I was going to replace the whole thing with one from CARiD. Yes that means having multiple keys, but that is ok.

I am familiar with locks and how they work. I work for a city building and facilities place, and have rekeyed many residential type locks. Just sticking a drill inn there  and running it as full speed will cause it to hang up and break something. You have to go very slow and take your time. I do not have another original old Ford key. I have a key for my 1964 Fairlane, but it is a replacement, not original Ford. But I don't understand how that would work. The tumblers have to line up, and only the key that the lock is keyed for will do that. I'll give it  a try anyway. If I can just get the entire lock assembly out, I'm in the clear.

I was able to get what is left of the original key out of the tailgate lock, but I'm afraid to put it in the ignition lock. I might not be able to get it out, and it would complicate drilling out the lock.

The rear lock, door locks, and ignition lock all used the same key. I've never had anything but that one key since I got the car.

Thanks for all the responses. They are much appreciated.

Offline LongTimeFordMan

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2019, 09:55:41 AM »
Usually car makers only used a few different locks ie every car didnt have a unique key so sometimes the keys from one car will work in another.car, even another model and year.

My best guess would be  to try to get a duplicate key made from the broken one and if it doesnt fit initially maybe file and wiggle it a bit just to get the switch to ON to remove it..

Good luck
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Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2019, 03:14:14 PM »
GOT IT!! I finally got the lock out without damaging anything. It came out in about a million pieces, and took over 3 hours, but it's out. I just ordered a new ignition lock and a new tailgate lock. It is drivable the way it is. I was able to start it with the end of the turn signal lever by pushing in on the plunger which is connected to the actual switch with the steel rod, and shut it off by pulling out on the rod. The recess that the protrusion on the lock fits into is completely undamaged, so it should be a by the book replacement. I will post again when the new lock comes and I get it installed. Thanks to everybody for all their help.

If you only have one key, I would get some more made. I might even consider replacing the locks while they still work. Over decades the key and tumblers wear down, and the springs get weak.

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2019, 03:39:02 PM »
Glad you got the problem solved.

I have multiple.spare s.

and the rear doors have a different key than the doors and ign

I keep a spare rear door key hanging from the wiring harness under the hood.

And a complete.set w ign and rear door under the carpet in the rear near the rear door

That way if someone finds the spare under the hood it wont fit the doors or ign

If i need the spare i open the rear door retrieve the ign key and im good to go.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

Offline ponyboy

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2019, 02:44:24 PM »
Good news. I finally got around to replacing the locks. It only took a few minutes. Everything fit right into place. I now have a separate key for the ignition and tailgate, and no key for the doors. I really don't need to lock the doors. If they should accidentally get locked, I can go through the tailgate to unlock them. Thanks everyone for their help.

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2019, 10:14:24 PM »
Glad you got the ign lock fixed

As far as the door locks there is an easy fix for making a key if you arent too concerned about security.

If you remove the door lock you can modify the tumblers in the lock to accept the ign key.


The cylender should have a thin metal clip along the top of the lock  where the tumblers are inserted.

If you pry this strip off you can remove the tumblers and pull out the cyllender

Then insert the ign key in the cyllender and insert some tumblers into the holes in the cyllender  to see which will just protrude from the cyllender.

Swap them.around until you find a couple of tumblers which will just protude out of the holes in the cyllender

You will probably only find one or two

Remove any that do not protrude from the holes in the cyllender.

File the protuding tumblers off flush with the diameter of the cyllender.

Reinsert the cyllender and key into the lock bore.

F8nd a  ouple of short tumblers that fit into the holes in the lock mechanism with the tumblers you have filed and add the springs.

Reinstall the retaining clip over the tumblers and check to see if the key will turn the cyllender.

If it does you are home free and the key will work although only a couple of tumblers prevent the lock from being opened without a key.


The object is to use a cou0le of tumblers that will fit flush with the diameter of the cyllender

If you really dont care at all about security you can just remove all of the tumblers and this allows the lock to lock and unlock the door but this also allows anyone who tries a screw driver or pocket knife to open the.lock but most folks wouldnt try beyond press8ng the door butt9n.

I   urrently have only 2 tumblers in my doors and can open the doors with a pocket knife.

I.will try to post some pix soon


Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2019, 11:34:18 PM »
A big part of why I'm not concerned about the door locks is because I never leave anything valuable in it, and I know a few people who have had their door windows broken by thieves looking for something to steal. I have no idea where you would be able to get windows for a Pinto. I spent over 2 years on eBay before finding an undamaged rear bumper.

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2019, 11:37:36 PM »
You do have a point about the thieves..

I just wanted to pass along the info in case someone wanted to mod their locks.
Red 1973 pinto wagon DD, SoCal desert car, Factory 4 speed, 3.40 gears, Stock engine, 14" rims and tires, 60 K original miles

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Re: Ignition switch 1973 Pinto
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2019, 01:10:33 PM »
OK, the more information the better. The locks and keys on these cars are probably going to start wearing out soon. I am familiar with locks, I have rekeyed and master keyed a lot of residential locks, like Weiser and Kwikset. But I had no idea what to do with that ignition lock, because I didn't have the key. Also, I don't know where to get pins for those locks. Different locks use different pin sizes. I used to have a rekeying set for Weiser locks.