GM Ignition Repair

Cutting keys is only about 10% of what we do. With this Chevy van, the keys were working intermittently in the ignition. Why? Well, that’s what we’re about to find out.

First, take the shroud off, upper and lower. The shrouds snap together, no screws, so pry in a place that no one will see in case the plastic gets scratched.

Next, pull off the column tilt lever.

Disconnect the car battery, because you have to turn the ignition to the “start” position (all the way clockwise), then depress the tab and pull out the ignition.

Still can’t see any problems. So, we take the tumblers out of the ignition plug, and WOW, look at the wear on the bottom of the first tumbler.

GM ignition tumbler

Wear at the bottom of the tumbler where the key “rides.”

Better replace them all. Good thing I have a GM “Z keyway” pinning kit. This is why we literally have a million parts in our service vehicle.

Put it all back together, and what have you got? Half the problem solved. Keys wear out at about the same rate as the tumblers, so it’s probably time for a new “Circle +” key. This GM key, with a little circle with a plus sign in the middle (see photo above) has a transponder chip in the rubber head. Costs less than $30 for an extra key. However, for a new, factory fresh key with no wear in it, we have to make the key by code, not from the old key. Here’s the code number stamped into the ignition plug. GM doesn’t make it easy. Can you see what it says?

Of course it’s not the raised numbers. It’s the number stamped with dots. SOO4G. Decode and cut those onto a new Circle Plus key. Program the new key to the van. THEN, you’re done, with a 100% fix!

Good thing this was my own van. At 170,000 miles, lots of putting the key in and out, this fix was due!


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