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Re: Never ever use WD-40 as a lubricant

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Hey folks - I know this is a tired thread so apologize in advance for posting. I'm hoping to get some guidance.

Owner for last 15+yrs. Over the past few years I had noticed the ignition switch get harder to turn. Whenever this would happen, usually the way it would go is I'd only noticed it on the first startup of the day (car isn't driven that much - maybe once/wk). Subsequent turns of the switch in the same day generally it's feeling about normal. It got to the point where I was afraid I might break the key trying to turn it (and, yes, I always am trying to slightly turn the steering wheel back/forth to help). There have never been any weird electrical gremlins observed (dash lights flickering, inability to get key out, etc).

About 1 month ago I went ahead and decided to replace the ignition switch - Part #: 4B0-905-849-OEM - hoping this would resolve things. (side note - that was a contortionist nightmare!) Unfortunately I'm really not noticing any difference after doing that (and the old switch really didn't look noticeably bad at least on the outside). I still am observing about the same behavior now.

Other than taking it in to the mechanic to ask them....What else could be causing this, and is there anything else I can do, hopefully myself? Assume you can't just spray some graphite in somewhere?......I don't want to get in a situation where I can't start the car because I can't turn the key or it breaks.
Thanks
There are two pieces to the ignition switch. One is the electrical part, and I assume that it's what you replaced. The other is the mechanical part that probably is responsible for your hard turning. The electrical switch component is relatively easy to replace (read pretty awkward), the mechanical is harder. I recommend you read the 101 Projects pages on doing this as well as the Bently manual. Porsche's Boxster repair manual cal also be obtained from sellers on eBay. Read the manuals before you start buying parts.
Thanks. Yes, the piece I replaced already is an electrical part (part# listed earlier). I agree it seems something mechanical that is causing it. From what I can gather that could be 2 things:
1) any mechanical stuff between the key receptacle itself (and including it) all the way down to the electrical piece I replaced (i.e. there is some stuff directly in between ---- and that stuff I haven't seen much DIY help on anywhere)
2) there is some steering wheel lock mechanism that ties into this whole thing

Folks, which of the 2 areas are you suspecting?

Anker, the "101 Projects pages" you refer to - is that the Wayne Dempsey book (101 Projects for your Porsche Boxster)? I think it covers something on the 2nd pt above but not the 1st. I don't have any other manuals unfortunately.
Yes, the 101 Projects book is Dempsey's. I haven't had time to go through Porsche's Boxster service manual, but suspect that it will have the most thorough description. My experience is that the procedures they take you through are a bit more complex than those described by the DIY manuals. More disassembly and more use of specialized tools. The Bentley manual covers replacement of your point 1), the ignition lock cylinder, which could be where your problem is. The steering lock component is the long piece attached to the other side of the ignition lock cylinder. I will try to find time to go through the service manual later today.

From my experience of working with under the dash components its a really good idea to remove the driver's seat, maybe even the passenger seat. Lying with half your body outside the car and the rest under the dash is really uncomfortable.
I’ve rarely seen these symptoms associated with the mechanical part (pistol), it’s generslly the electrical portion that causes it to hang up.
When you replaced the electrical portion did you make sure that it was properly aligned with the key’d portion of the pistol?
To test the pistol, remove the electrical portion and then insert and turn the key. If it hangs up you have the culprit, if it doesn’t it’s the electrical part.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 280,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Hello Pedro - thanks for replying

--when I replaced the electrical portion, yes, I made sure it was aligned (just like the original piece). -> side note, the only possible difference is I had some trouble getting the electrical portion to sit 100% back like it was. I could only get 1 hand in there to work w/ due to the tight quarters, and I basically had 2 set screws that were to hold that electrical plug in place. 1 of them I could reach and work w/, the one on the far side I couldn't really reach and just barely could work w/ it. And the cordage going to that electrical piece (having been bent in a certain position for years) had a tendency to pull that piece towards the front of the car --- so what i needed was 2 hands, 1 to push that piece towards the back of the car so it was fully seated, and another hand just to tighten the set screws. Again, I had issues w/ all that and I'm not 100% sure it's seated as tight as it was originally. But it's probably pretty close.

--I didn't try turning the ignition key/switch w/ that electrical piece off. I didn't think of that, but, as long as that wouldn't create any new problem somehow (not 100% sure how it all works in there), I agree that would rule out the electrical part causing the resistance (if it's still hard to turn w/o it in place). Intuition (and common sense - there isn't enough resistance in that little electrical part - at least that turns - that could generate that much resistance I feel) tells me it would still be difficult to turn (during first key turn in awhile)

I go back to this issue only happening the 1st time you try to turn the switch after it's sat awhile. If you try again the same day, the feel is pretty close to normal. I'm not sure where to go w/ that - but think it's a key point for someone to analyze this.

Which mechanical part (refer to my #1,#2 in earlier post above) would you be most suspect of causing this? I've used graphite in door locks/keyholes, is that something safe to try in this car?
Graphite is an electrical conductor. Don't spray that into an electrical switch.
I've been doing more research on this. This post was helpful for me to explain more of the parts involved (save this was much older Porsche than mine)
[forums.pelicanparts.com]

Is the ignition key "tumbler" the same thing as the "ignition lock cylinder"? Can that be bought online, or will only the dealer replace it?

I suspect either I have to replace the entire "steering wheel lock assembly w/ ignition switch (w/o ignition lock cylinder)" 996-347-017-07-M100......................OR................that AND the "ignition lock cylinder" at this pt. Please share your thoughts.
Thanks
Download the Porsche Boxster parts document from Porsche's web site and find the page that lists the parts for the ignition switch. It will have the part numbers for all components. Then do a Google search on the part number.

I have found this document and procedure invaluable.

I would have done it for you, but I am sitting in a hospital waiting area without access to my laptop with the document on it.
If you determine that the locking cylinder (pistol) is damaged, which probably it's not, you can remove the tumblers from the old pistol and install in the new pistol retaining your original keys.
It's tricky and I wouldn't even try to explain it here.
Do the test I mentioned above to determine where the problem is, then you solve it.
Right now you're chasing problems that may not exist and which will be costly.
Happy Boxstering,
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 280,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Hey Pedro/folks -
I spent some quality time in the footwell of my car this morning. I have disconnected/removed the new (electrical) ignition switch (just to recap this was the more expensive OEM part# one). This time I removed the left vent panel and it was slightly better access. As soon as I did that, here's what I observed:

Put the key in ignition and tried to turn it on (clockwise). During the first turn (from 0 to 1 position) I did feel the similar difficulty turning it...........it slowly "gave" though and let me turn all the way to 2.
Then I immediately turn the key back to 0 (counterclockwise)..........and then repeated. Each time I repeated, it felt great, no more difficulty in turning it.

I'm not sure what to make of things now. I think you are going to say this confirms that the pistol (mechanical) stuff (including lock key cylinder) are all OK probably...........and that I either have a bad new electrical switch, or I just hadn't installed it (seated it/etc) properly when I tried earlier.

I haven't tried to put the new switch back in yet.....wanted to see what you had to say. Below link has some photos of current state of things.
Thanks in advance
[s1310.photobucket.com]

(I'm going to let it set for a day AS-IS and try the key again tomorrow --- and see if it still is hard to turn on 1st try or not)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2018 12:25PM by bb1. (view changes)
When you remove the key, do you hear the distinctive “clunk” from the steering locking mechanism?
If you don’t, the issue is with the pistol. The fact that it wouldn’t turn after you removed the electrical portion tells me that there’s something with the mechanical side that’s binding.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 280,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Hello Pedro - just tried it today. I observed the exact same thing I noticed yesterday - so it's looking consistent so far.

As to your question - I must say I had never really noticed (thru all years owning this car) the noise you are talking about when removing the key (I also don't really think I ever engage the steering wheel lock - always have the wheels straight when parked and don't turn the wheel after pulling out the key to try and "lock" the steering wheel or anything like that). The way it sounds when I do that now is the same as I've always noticed. I took a quick video (including sound) of it this morning when I tried but for some reason can't get it uploaded to photobucket.

Please help suggest next steps - and if there's something I could take out and lubricate/etc to solve this let me know.
Thanks
Hello again - I went ahead and removed the ignition lock cylinder. Below link has more photos of what I can see now of that ignition lock cylinder and the pistol mechanism. I tried to inspect the ignition lock cylinder - I don't see anything obviously wrong.......there is some lubricant you can see on the lower portion of it (farthest away from key).......and I can see at least a couple pieces that move on it - one around the side that you can push in a bit.......and another one on the bottom of it that is blue that you can push in. As far as the pistol mechanism, if I look in there, again I can see some lubricant it seems and, at least, nothing "obvious" broken.

I have considered spraying some WD40 on the cylinder itself and into the pistol mechanism.......but fear of this somehow costing me more pain/$ has so far prevented me from doing it.

If it comes down to replacing the pistol mechanism, I am iffy on whether I want to delve deeper into that pit myself.

Please share your guidance! Thanks

[s1310.photobucket.com]
Aside from the fact that it isn't a lubricant, it attracts water, leading to corrosion.

You certainly can try lubricating the pistol.
Hello Boxterra - what would you recommend to use as a lubricant?
Is this product safe to use to try and lube it?
WD-40 Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant
[www.walmart.com]

Apologize for the basic question........just I don't want to find out after the fact that this can make matters worse.

I want to try the lube option, and if that doesn't work then, yes, I'll move on to replacing the pistol mechanism.
... a good lubricant Pure oil in some cases, but my favourites depending on the application are:

- liquid graphite for locks, threads where you want minimum buildup, etc.
- superlube or tri-flon/tri-flow 9 (FTFE in a light oil base)
- dry lube (where you need dry and non-dirt attracting)
- silicone spray (where called for)

Grant

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net


Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 280,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
Take Pedro's advice!
Re: Replace the pistol
bb1 - 3 months ago
Hey folks - I finally took my car into the dealer for this (recap - 2000 Boxster - key was getting harder and harder to turn, esp. if key not turned for several hrs; I had already replaced the electrical ignition switch myself and that didn't fix, and with that disconnected - it was still hard to turn).

Here's what they told me and I wanted to get some feedback before I pick it up.

The service rep told me (after talking to the tech) that they recommended replacing
-the steering lock pistol (that comes w/ a new switch)
-the lock cylinder

The lock cylinder was going to be about $950 (part $ only) and (get this) take 6-8 weeks to get because they had to order it from Germany and match it to my vin# so my keys still worked.

The explanation for why the lock cylinder was recommended to be replaced: supposedly the tech took it out and looked at it and said it might be damaged.....and said that the only way for sure to ensure that everything works is to do it too........when pressed as to what would happen if you didn't replace it, he said it might work fine at first, but all of a sudden you might be in a situation where you pull the key out and the whole guts of it come out

I told them I didn't want to wait that long and to just replace the pistol part and see if that fixes it. They called me back and said it seems to be fine now but will check it again in the morning after it sits overnight.

QUESTION: what do you think of that explanation? I'm hoping that never happens and I can get by w/ just what it's going to cost to replace the pistol part.

Cheers
Quote
bb1
Hey folks - I finally took my car into the dealer for this (recap - 2000 Boxster - key was getting harder and harder to turn, esp. if key not turned for several hrs; I had already replaced the electrical ignition switch myself and that didn't fix, and with that disconnected - it was still hard to turn).

Here's what they told me and I wanted to get some feedback before I pick it up.

The service rep told me (after talking to the tech) that they recommended replacing
-the steering lock pistol (that comes w/ a new switch)
-the lock cylinder

The lock cylinder was going to be about $950 (part $ only) and (get this) take 6-8 weeks to get because they had to order it from Germany and match it to my vin# so my keys still worked.

The explanation for why the lock cylinder was recommended to be replaced: supposedly the tech took it out and looked at it and said it might be damaged.....and said that the only way for sure to ensure that everything works is to do it too........when pressed as to what would happen if you didn't replace it, he said it might work fine at first, but all of a sudden you might be in a situation where you pull the key out and the whole guts of it come out

I told them I didn't want to wait that long and to just replace the pistol part and see if that fixes it. They called me back and said it seems to be fine now but will check it again in the morning after it sits overnight.

QUESTION: what do you think of that explanation? I'm hoping that never happens and I can get by w/ just what it's going to cost to replace the pistol part.

Cheers

The entire lock cylinder coming out is I guess a possibility. I don't recall exactly how it is held in but my vague memory is it is held in pretty securely. It can be forcibly removed using a slide hammer with a threaded screw on the end.

But the key can't exert that amount of force on the cylinder.

When I had my 996 Turbo in for a hard to remove key symptom the tech replaced the entire ignition assembly -- the pistol part -- but not the cylinder lock portion. (I had the old assembly around but I think I threw it away after I sold the Turbo.)

There was no sign the cylinder had suffered any wear or damage. Now the hard to remove key symptom was a rather recent symptom and it never got to the point I had to use force to turn the key or to remove the key.

Had I done so it is possible that the cylinder might have suffered wear/damage enough to require replacement.

I take it you have a new igntion assembly, the pistol part, with the "old" lock cylinder installed? If the lock cylinder doesn't present a problem inserting the key or when you go to remove the key and you can turn the lock to the on/start position or off position with no drama the old lock cylinder is probably ok.

'course, over time it might not remain ok and in this case you will have to have it replaced. You should get some warning though and can have the tech order the proper cylinder before you are forced to stop using the car because of the bad lock cylinder.
Re: Replace the pistol
bb1 - 3 months ago
Marc/others - thanks
This is resolved. All for a small fortune$$, but resolved. Dealer replaced the pistol lock mechanical part and that did the trick (supposedly they were able to do that without taking the dash/gauge cluster off). The lock cylinder was not changed out.

Side note - think it was here, someone was asking me if I heard the "click" or "clunk" type sound when I removed the key. I've had this car a long time and I didn't know what they were talking about. Well, now w/ this near part in place, I do hear it clearly. It had just been this way for so many years I guess I didn't notice, but now I do.
I don't agree
Boxsterra - 3 months ago
The labor to replace the lock cylinder is minimal. Replace the pistol and see if the problem is resolved.

Also, you can test both components independently to see if it's the problem. It's very unlikely it's both.

The explanation about "everything's fine, then suddenly it pops apart" is nonsense. It's a simple mechanism and if it's damaged you should be able to tell by inspection and/or operation.

(Still could be just the electrical portion, IMO)
Thanks Anker
I have done that now. I found the part# for the ignition lock cylinder (tumbler). It's about $450 on pelicanparts. The steering lock assembly (pistol) is about $250. Is there any way to tell which of those in my case needs to be replaced (if not both)?

Also, if you replace the ignition lock cylinder - doesn't that mean you have a new key...........which would imply it wouldn't work on the driver's door physical keyhole anymore?
I agree with Pedro
Boxsterra - 3 months ago
The problem is most likely the electrical portion (even though you just replaced it) and you'd be throwing away money by just replacing parts. His above procedure for diagnosis is the easiest way to narrow down the problem.

Quote
You said:
"I had some trouble getting the electrical portion to sit 100% back like it was"

If you don't install it properly rotated it will act weird. It's also a telltale sign that you had trouble getting it in. The screws are hard to access but the part should slide right in with no real resistance.
For better access remove the driver's vent grill and the part of the duct that attaches to the grill.
first, i have installed defective electrical portions so don't assume new = good. Usually, yes, but not always. These are not good parts.

Second, if it is not aligned 100% true, it wont turn properly. I found it quite fussy to get right, especially the first time.
On mom's old Audi, fortunately (!!!!) i had lots of practice to get good at it.

G

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net
You should be able to find the parts much cheaper used. For example Woody on 986forum.

Yes, you will need new key blades, but you can transfer the RFI pill and circuit board from your old keys and not have to change anything electronic.
Actually, after thinking some more on this and what I wrote, thought I'd better clarify..........I think I need to try this same test a couple more days when car is cold/etc......just to be sure I have a consistent result.

And since it was hard to turn today w/ the electrical switch out of the loop (and even though it got better after 1st attempt).......I would actually lean towards the mechanical side (pistol or lock cylinder or both) being the culprit at this pt.

Please share your thoughts. If there's something I should try to lubricate or WD40 as a next step (that's safe to do) please suggest.
Thanks
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