Very Worn Ignition Switch


Hi from a new member! Just bought a 1972 P6 2000SC from a well known televised auction house in North Yorkshire. It's currently sitting at a specialist classics garage to have a new gear lever and bush fitted (but that's another story!).
When it arrived, I found the ignition switch was very loose and the key required a lot of 'wiggling' to engage the starter and get things going. Also, with the engine running and the key in its correct position, I can remove it!
Will I need to replace the whole steering ignition lock (seems to me to be a rather awkward job), or does it sound like a simple(?) ignition barrel replacement that is needed?
Looking forward to hearing your views guys.
Yeah it sounds like the lock needs replacing.You should not be able to remove the key with the engine still running.
Have a look to see if the shear bolts have been snapped off. If they have been sheared off, it is a bit of a pain getting to it with a centre punch if they have been left whole I recall they were 1/4 wit (some as the battery clamps).
good luck and make sure your swear box is empty. If you get stuck for one I may have a used one somewhere in my pile
I had to do this to a car once there was no keys and it was in a underground car park with such a low roof no recovery vehicle could get in there also the steering lock was on and it was a auto so the auto box would not let you put it into neutral from park modern cars :oops:

It takes sometime but it is possible like Nick said use a centre punch and a hammer try to make a dot near an edge on the shear bolts then gently tap round a bit of WD40 helps I found the main problem is getting them to start to turn.
I have a excellent locksmith near me he repined the barrel to my original key and it was cheap I think about £16

Sounds a bit strange the key will come out I hope its the correct key for the car, is the key very worn.
If so you could try just getting a spare key cut, maybe ask a locksmith to cut your key to the number that should be embossed on the Key.
not just cut one from your original otherwise you might have have the same problem.
and if that did not work well at least you have a spare key.
Best Wishes
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Hi Nick and Ban,
Thanks for your replies.
I'm now going to demonstrate my mechanical knowledge ! Where are the shear bolts you both refer to ??????
Is it just be a switch and barrel job, or am I looking at fighting with the complete unit up to the steering column?????
In the 70's, I just got in and drove the P6's. Anything went wrong, it was straight to the workshops!!
Kind regards and sincere thanks for your help,
It sounds to me it might be just a barrel replacement from what you’ve described. None of what you’ve mentioned suggests the rest of it has issues.

The shear bolts are under the steering column. They were designed so you would use them to attach the lock mechanism to the steering column then snap off the bolt heads so it was hard to remove it as a theft deterrent.

You might want to call Mark Gray at MGBD to see if he has a replacement barrel and key set. He’s also very helpful over the phone so you might find a chat with him handy. Also consider Jeff at Wins International Classic British Car Specialist for parts, again very helpful with a good amount of NOS parts.
I've just been looking at a spare column and there appears to be a pin to drill out to remove the barrel, which doesn't look very easy. Initially I thought perhaps the bezel unscrewed but it doesn't appear to.
Hi guys, thanks for your input on this. I thought they might be the shear bolts mentioned by the other guys and was hoping they weren't!
Am watching brand new Lucas switch and barrel on EBay. I'm hoping that, as they are available as spares, they are therefore replaceable and I won't need to remove the whole steering lock unit.
Fingers crossed and thanks again chaps, this forum and its members is already proving its worth to me!
just a question, do you need a workshop manual ? as I have one going begging that you are welcome to have. Don`t want anything for it.
Your welcome to it, if its of use to you. Its the proper one with the two supplements
just a question, do you need a workshop manual ? as I have one going begging that you are welcome to have. Don`t want anything for it.
Your welcome to it, if its of use to you. Its the proper one with the two supplements
Hi Nick,
What a diamond you are! Yes please, that would be a great asset.
How do we arrange a meet?
Hi Ed I am not sure if you can get the pin out of the barrel with the steering lock still in place I think there is to much dash in the way but I could be wrong.

The shear bolts are above and two the your left of the the drivers glove box.
Open the glove box and look up and look to your left at the steering column it is encased by a black metal plate there is a cut out in the plate where the two shear bolts are located you will know if you have found them as you will be sitting on the side step on a pillow :) by this point
Hi Ban,
Thanks for all your help, as soon as I get 'Ronnie' mobile and back home again the work will begin !:rolleyes:
Hi Ban and Willy,
Have just been looking at a partially dismantled P6 and it looks like the switch and barrel is sealed into the whole unit, so that route is out.
Your offer of a steering column is very very nice Willy.
Which is easier though (!!!) removing the shear bolts and replacing the unit, or replacing the whole steering column?????
Hi Ed I could be wrong but I do not think it would be possible to remove the steering column with the steering lock still attached to the column as one unit without lots of things being dismantled around it might be ok if you was breaking up the car or had it stripped down but someone might surprise me with how this can be done.

I would use a centre punch on the shear bolt or if you have a new lock then you can drill a 5/32 in hole and insert a stud extractor or drill the shear bolts out if your going to chuck the old unit away, once you have them turning using a centre punch they should come out ok.
The hardest part is getting the things to turn maybe put a old rag up there and spray WD40 the day before.

Just one other way round it you could fit a push button start and still carry on using the key to turn the ignition on
or you could fit two switches one to turn the ignition on and then a secret kill security switch hidden some where to cut the power off
and have a push button to start but this way might affect your insurance if it was stolen as it would not have the original security device
a key and would be a modification however there are people who use the key to turn on and have a start button I dont think that would affect insurance.
Best wishes
I've never worked on a P6 with a column lock, but the entire column does come out of the car easily on cars with the dash key.

I just looked at the parts book, it appears to me removing the column is as easy as a Series 1 car, so that's what I would do.

Remove the driver glove box, disconnect the signal, headlight & ignition wiring, two bolts at the bottom of the dash, two bolts at the firewall, slacken the clamp bolt on the u-joint, and remove from the car. I'm probably missing something.

And now I've checked the repair manual, and I am missing something: apparently there will be three more fasteners attaching the column lock to a bracket, and that bracket to the dash, and you also have to remove two phillips screws holding the ignition switch to the column lock and remove the switch to maneuver the column out of the car. And you may have to remove the steering wheel, which is probably a good idea anyway as they are a bugger to remove with the column out of the car.

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Hi Ban & Vern,
You guys are all so very helpful, thank you.
Reading your posts and, after examining the unit out of a car the other day, is extremely helpful. I should be getting Ronnie back today or tomorrow (after the gear lever fiasco) and I can then have a really good look round to decide which route to take.
Whichever one it is, this is going to be a steep learning curve for me! But, with all your suggestions and an in depth study of the workshop manual, I will get round it.
Thank you all so much. This has got to be the best decision I've made, to join this website.
Kindest regards,
As Vern describes, it's not difficult removing the column, just quite a few steps. The fiddliest bit will be feeding the column into the flexible joint when you're putting it all back together. That really needs a second pair of hands though is just about possible alone.
Mark the position of the steering wheel before removing it.

If it all goes wrong, I'll keep this spare column on one side.
Your Welcome Ed
Willy and Vern thank you for your help so the shear off bolts that are attached with the lock bracket to the steering column.
The Steering column will still just pull out of the lock so you don't need to worry about the the shear bolts at all or the lock bracket
as you can just pull the column away and then the ignition lock is free from the column ?
I was thinking a long the lines that the steering lock was clamped to the steering column
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