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William D Mulneaux
William D Mulneaux, Auto Service Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 224
Experience:  20 yrs experience, ASE, Dodge, GM certified.
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how to replace my ignition switch

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I have a 2002 dodge ram 1500 sport and I can not turn the key to start the truck, how do I remove the ignition to either check to see if it needs cleaned or replace it.

Is the key aftermarket?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Kyle Northrop's Post: no its the original keys, tried both sets.

Have you tried to jiggle the steering wheel back and forth while trying to turn the key?

Have you tried to hold the shifter in park while turning the key?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
tried to jiggle the steering wheel an hold the shifter and still nothing thats why i think its internal in the switch, had the same thing happen on my 98 ford and had to remove the ignition assembly from the housing and found some metal peaces broken, this is why i need to remove the ignition from the housing to check if something broke internally


one more question...when you step on the brake pedal are you getting brake lights?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
yes I am

Welcome to Just Answer,

You very likely have a problem with the shift-interlock system. Lock cylinder failures are pretty rare nowadays. If you remove the shroud around the steering column you will find a cable with an an electrical connection.

Try this adjustment procedure:


  1. Pull upward on both the BTSI lock tab and the gearshift cable lock tab (Fig. 65).
  2. Verify that the shift lever is in the PARK position.
  3. Verify positive engagement of the transmission park lock by attempting to rotate the propeller shaft. The shaft will not rotate when the park lock is engaged.
  4. Turn ignition switch to LOCK position. Be sure ignition key cylinder is in the LOCK position. Cable will not adjust correctly in any other position.
  5. Ensure that the cable is free to self-adjust by pushing cable rearward and releasing.
  6. Push the gearshift cable lock tab down until it snaps in place.
  7. Locate the BTSI alignment hole in the bottom of the BTSI mechanism between the BTSI lock tab and the BTSI connector.
  8. Move the BTSI assembly up or down on the gearshift cable until an appropriate size drill bit can be inserted into the alignment hole and through the assembly.
  9. Push the BTSI lock tab down until it snaps into place and remove the drill bit.
  10. Install any steering column trim previously removed.

If this does not work remove the cable from the column end and manually actuate the lever , you should be able to get the key to turn.

Good Luck,



William D Mulneaux, Auto Service Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 224
Experience: 20 yrs experience, ASE, Dodge, GM certified.
William D Mulneaux and other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Still did not work, can you give me the instructions to remove the ignition from the housing. picture or diagram if you have one. Thanks.


  1. Disconnect negative cable from battery.
  2. Remove upper and lower covers (shrouds) from steering column.
  3. Place shifter in PARK position.
  4. A retaining pin is located at side of key cylinder assembly.

  5. Rotate key to RUN position.

  6. Press in on retaining pin while pulling key cylinder from ignition switch


  8. The ignition key must be in the key cylinder for cylinder installation.

  9. Install the key cylinder into the housing using care to align the end of the key cylinder with the ignition switch.

    1. Push the key cylinder in until it clicks.
    2. Replace the upper and lower shrouds.
    3. Reconnect the battery.

I have never had a inop lock cylinder that did not involve the inter-lock, you will have to force the cylinder to get it to the run posistion, and this is going to cuse problems with the theft deterrent. You are probably going to end up at a dealer anyway to get the new key programmed.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks had to snap the key assembly then remove the inner lock and inner springs and could turn it over, looks like the spring on the inside was off its mechanisim, thanks again.