This article provides step-by-step instructions and two short videos on how to remove the ignition lock cylinder from early 1990s Toyota Land Cruisers when the ignition key is still available. For the circumstance where the ignition key is missing or the ignition key absolutely will not turn the ignition to the “ACC” position, some of this procedure is still the same, but I do not cover or explain the process of shoving a screwdriver into the ignition lock cylinder and forcing it to turn to the “ACC” position.
Important Note: If you own a Toyota Land Cruiser, 4Runner, or other Toyota vehicle that is an older vehicle with high mileage, and your ignition key begins to “stick” and not want to turn your vehicle ignition to start your vehicle, I very strongly recommend replacing the vehicle ignition lock cylinder soon. On older higher mileage vehicles, this key/ignition problem is a result of both key wear and lock wear.
Once you begin first experiencing this key/ignition “sticking” problem, it does not get better, it usually becomes increasingly difficult to turn the vehicle ignition, from a few seconds of fiddling with it at first, to multiple tries the next time, to a minute of trying to get it to turn the next time. The recommended silicone lock lubricant can make this condition even worse in my experience, this lubricant seems to clean out the lock and remove the “filler” gunk/debris that was allowing the worn key to function with worn tumbler wafer pins inside the lock and enable the cylinder to turn.
Not long after first experiencing this key/ignition “sticking” problem, you can find yourself sitting in your vehicle for 30 minutes in a grocery store parking lot trying to get your key to turn. At this point, not only will your vehicle not start, you could have difficulty getting your vehicle towed because you would be unable to unlock your steering wheel. If you handle this problem when your worn-out key is still able to turn the ignition lock cylinder to the “ACC” position, this repair takes about 25 minutes, and a new ignition lock cylinder costs about $80.
- Disconnect negative battery cable clamp from vehicle battery post.
- Remove ignition key from key ring/chain so that this key is by itself.
- Put key in vehicle ignition and turn key to the “ACC” position.
- Note, the steps below are to LOOSEN a dashboard panel only, DO NOT REMOVE dashboard panel, it is not necessary! Refer to FIRST VIDEO SHOWN BELOW.
- Pull out ash-tray, push down lever inside ash-tray to allow this ash-tray be completely removed.
- Remove two screws on either side of ash-tray cavity that hold dashboard panel in place.
- Remove one screw from dashboard panel located to the lower right of steering wheel.
- As shown in video below, where dashboard panel meets clear instrument panel plexiglass, using your fingers and applying 5lbs-12lbs of force, pull this top dashboard panel edge towards you 1 inch, to release it from its snap-in clips.
- Using your fingers and applying 5lbs-12lbs of force, continue along the top edges, side edges, and bottom edges of this dashboard panel, pulling it towards you 1 inch, to release it from its snap-in clips.
- You only need to create 1″-2″ of gap between this dashboard panel and the face of the ignition lock cylinder, just enough of a gap to be able to reach behind this dashboard panel and use a long-handle screwdriver to push the ignition lock cylinder release button located on its bottom surface.
- Note, refer to SECOND VIDEO SHOWN BELOW to see the exact location of ignition lock cylinder release button on its bottom surface.
- The ignition key MUST BE IN THE ACC POSITION, using a flashlight in your left hand shining it through the hole in the dashboard panel, holding your head to the right of the steering wheel and next to the dashboard, you can see the bottom side of the ignition lock cylinder “hump” where the push button release is located, push this button in with a screw driver and hold it there. Let go of the flashlight in your left hand, use your left hand to wiggle the ignition lock cylinder out while continuing to hold the push button release in with the screwdriver. You can pull outward some using the ignition key in the lock cylinder.
When you purchase a new ignition lock cylinder for your vehicle, it will come with two new ignition keys that fit this new ignition lock cylinder. If you are adamant about having your original vehicle keys matched to a new ignition lock cylinder, to have your door keys and ignition keys the same, this entire repair needs to be performed by a Toyota Dealer Service Department and will be costly.