HiCustomerthis is lostrider, from the description you gave, your guess is correct, there are 2 parts to the ignition actuator, you have the upper and lower actuators, the upper actuator has a pin that is inserted into the lower actuator and the pin falls out and causes the concern your having, its best to replace both actuators, the steering column has to come out of the van and be disassembled for the repairs, Labor to replace the actuators is 3.5 hours at the current labor rate for your area, there are special tools required to do this job, here is a diagram of the actuators, hope this helps.
With the tilt wheel there is a stiff spring located on the bottom of the column, it takes a small spring compressor to reinstall the spring. Here is the procedure to remove the steering column, and the dis assembly of the column to replace the actuators, this procedure is from the Ford Service Manual, This is all there is out there so the diagrams are the only ones I have access to, hope this helps.
CAUTION: Do not remove the steering column, steering wheel (3600) , and air bag module as an assembly from the vehicle unless the column is locked to prevent rotation. Lower end of steering shaft should be wired to prevent the steering wheel from being rotated and causing the air bag sliding contact (14A664) to become mis-indexed.
WARNING: THE ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT NECESSARY FOR AIR BAG SYSTEM DEPLOYMENT IS POWERED DIRECTLY FROM THE BATTERY (10655) AND A BACKUP POWER SUPPLY. TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL DEPLOYMENT AND POSSIBLE PERSONAL INJURY, THE BATTERY POSITIVE CABLE MUST BE DISCONNECTED FOR A MINIMUM OF ONE MINUTE TO DE-ENERGIZE THE BACKUP POWER SUPPLY PRIOR TO REMOVING ANY OF THE AIR BAG SYSTEM COMPONENTS.
NOTE: All components of the steering column are assembled with fasteners which are designed to prevent loosening due to vibrations associated with normal vehicle operation.
CAUTION: Be sure air bag sliding contact internal lock is engaged. Hub should not turn more then 45 degrees in either direction.
CAUTION: Do not remove wire harness clips from wire bundle.
Reverse disassembly directions.