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Scott K
Scott K, ASE Master Tech/Instructor
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1569
Experience:  20 yrs exp. Electrical; Driveabilty; Undercar; Airconditioning. Domestic and Foreign.
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2005 Saturn: The key is stuck in the ACC position..plunger

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My wife has a 2005 Saturn ION. The key is stuck in the ACC position. The plunger under the switch will not move. Is this a switch problem or the Ignition lock cylinder control actuator? How do I get the key out and the car turned off? I can kill the car but that still leaves the ACC on.


Welcome to just answer,

Saturn has issued a service bulletin in regards XXXXX XXXXX symptoms.

You could disconnect the battery until you can get this resolved


Subject:Difficult to Rotate or Can't Remove Key From Ignition

Models:2003-2007 Saturn ION With Automatic Transmission


This PI was superceded to update Recommendation/Instructions. Please discard PIC4477.


The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.


A technician may find the ignition key is difficult to rotate or cannot be removed from the ignition lock cylinder. This may be an intermittent condition.


These are separate concerns and may be caused by two separate conditions. To determine which condition is present remove the small access panel from the bottom of steering column. Using your index finger to locate the ignition lock cylinder control actuator pin (it will help to wiggle key while feeling for the actuator pin), manually depress the ignition lock cylinder control actuator pin for the ignition cylinder lock towards the driver's door while turning the ignition key towards the lock position. See Doc. ID(NNN) NNN-NNNNIgnition Positions/Shift Lock Release.

Note: A sticking shifter button (from spills or interference) can cause a similar condition and should be addressed first.

If the key now rotates to the off position and can be removed follow procedures in SI Doc. #1714295-Ignition Key Cannot Be Removed from the Ignition Lock Cylinder. If the technician completes all 13 steps of this document and vehicle still exhibits condition replace shifter module assembly.

If the ignition lock cylinder control actuator pin is depressed and the key still does not rotate or is difficult to turn, check the ignition lock cylinder and key for binding. Do not replace the housing unless damaged in removal as this has shown not to repair vehicle. Refer to SI Doc. #1752702-Ignition Key Cannot Turn or Sticks in Any Position.

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.

Scott K and 5 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Scott K's Post: I am not sure how to use this system but I guess you got my answer, no I was not really ok with your answer. Tomorrow I will tear up the column. I still don't know why it is stuck. Next time I use this system I will not accept and just reply that I am going to check the answer first, which will be tomorrow. I don't think I gained anything here.


Can I help you with diagrams or anything else? just reply back. you will not have to pay again for additional help.

I can ask for you to be issued a refund, if you are not satisfied.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Is there any special tools I need to remove the stearing wheel and the switch and tumblers. I have to drive about a 100 miles today to a saturn dealer to get a switch and key, ( $100 for the assembly and $50 to cut a new key ) If they do the work they would charge a couple of hour labor also. It may be worth it but I just can't see giving them the satification of getting that money also since it is cutting into my families time.

Thanks Jim
Is your saturn a red line?

Disabling Procedure - Air Bag Fuse

  1. Turn the steering wheel so that the vehicles wheels are pointing straight ahead.
  2. Place the ignition in the OFF position.

    Important: The SDM may have more than one fused power input. To ensure there is no unwanted SIR deployment, personal injury, or unnecessary SIR system repairs, remove all fuses supplying power to the SDM. With all SDM fuses removed and the ignition switch in the ON position, the AIR BAG warning indicator illuminates. This is normal operation, and does not indicate a SIR system malfunction.

  3. Locate and remove the fuse(s) supplying power to the SDM.
  4. Wait 1 minute before working on the system.


  1. Disable the SIR system. Refer to SIR Disabling and Enabling .
    Object Number:(NNN) NNN-NNNN Size: SH

  2. Release the upper steering column cover retainers (1).
  3. Disconnect the electrical connectors (2).
  4. Remove the upper trim cover from the vehicle.
    Object Number: 877677  Size: SH

  5. Remove the lower steering column cover screws.
    Object Number: 877679  Size: SH

  6. Lower the steering column adjusting handle.
  7. Unsnap and remove the left lower steering column cover.
    Object Number: 877680  Size: SH

  8. Remove the right lower steering column cover.

Installation Procedure

    Object Number: 877680  Size: SH

  1. Install the right lower steering column cover.
    Object Number: 877679  Size: SH

  2. Install the left lower steering column cover and snap into the right cover.
  3. Raise the steering column adjusting handle to lock the steering column into place.
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Refer to Battery Negative Cable Disconnection and Connection in Engine Electrical.
  2. Disable the SIR system. Refer to SIR Disabling and Enabling in SIR.
  3. Remove the steering column trim covers. Refer to Steering Column Trim Covers Replacement .
    Object Number: 874786  Size: SH
  4. Turn the ignition lock cylinder to the RUN position.
    Object Number: 874789  Size: SH

    Important: There are two retainers on the ignition lock cylinder. Depress both retainers to remove the lock cylinder from the housing.

  5. Depress the first retainer through the lock housing access hole (2) with a small allen wrench or similar pick-type tool. The lock cylinder will back out slightly.
  6. Depress the second retainer through the lock housing access hole (1). The lock cylinder will back out slightly again.
  7. Pull the lock cylinder out enough to locate the second retainer to the lock housing access hole (2).
  8. Depress the retainer though the access hole (2) a second time. The ignition cylinder should release from the housing. If not, the ignition cylinder may need to be moved in and out several times to locate the retainer correctly in the hole.
  9. Remove the lock cylinder from the lock housing.

Installation Procedure

    Object Number: 874786  Size: SH

    Important: If you are installing a new lock cylinder, refer to Key and Lock Cylinder Coding in General Information.

  1. Position the lock cylinder in the run position. Insert the cylinder into the lock housing.
  2. Rotate the lock cylinder in the housing. Verify proper rotation.
  3. Install the steering column trim covers. Refer to Steering Column Trim Covers Replacement .
  4. Enable the SIR system. Refer to SIR Disabling and Enabling in SIR.
  5. Connect the negative battery cable.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
OK, I am getting more impressed now. I feel better about using this service.

No where in the procedure did I see I had to remove the stearing wheel. This is good. Is this true?

Your previous question on was this a red line. No it is not. It is a 4 door 2005 ion with 5 speed manual, 2.2 liter engine.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX manual transmission the previous bulletin does not apply, sorry I should I asked if you had a man or auto trans.

I think you are on the right track here with the lock cylinder but there is a possibility some thing else could be binding.

If the lock cylinder is at fault, a common reason for this is an "overweight" key chain, If you key chain has several other keys on it the additional weight wears the cylinder prematurely.

No the steering wheel does not have to be removed.

I sent instructions for the NON redline.

Let me know if you need anything else.



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I am going out to get the part and will be back in a few hours. I feel good about the answer so far but if I have problems with the procedure can I respond on this ticket?

Sure, I will be on/off throughout the day.

Just reply back


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Scott K

I have the lock cylinder about 3/4 inch out. The second retainer will not push down. I thinking just drill the core out. I have the new replacement.



Can you drill without damaging housing of column?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Scott K,
Drill works just fine. The lock housing was not damaged and was well cleaned. The lock cylinder now works for locking but will not return automaticly from start to run. The saturn people put some while lube inside the key. Should I put lube (what type between the lock cylinder and housing? You are probly drinking a beer right now so I will go ahead and put some white grease on for now and warn the wife to to a manual return from start to run.


No beer yetSealed.. Graphite lube would be the best

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
How do I accept? I can't seem to click on the right page.

You did a great job. My wife can now turn off the car and take out the key.

Well, It was all you Wink

You Have already accepted! In your anger and frustration at your saturn! Last night you pressed Accept!

You could leave a Positive feedbackLaughing and if you really wanted to pay you can leave a bonus!

And come back the next time you need us!