What is wrong withmy 1987 ford thunderbird key cylinder%3F When I crank the car and let the ignition switch go it goes dead and the key must be in the exact right place for the car to run.

Asked by Nov 20, 2011 at 12:05 AM about the 1987 Ford Thunderbird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

When I turn the key to start my 1987 thunderbird and let go of the key after it cranks.  If the key is not in an exact position the engine will go dead.  Also the instrument panel gauges and lights go off.  I was told I need to purchase a new steering column to fix the problem.

2 Answers


That happened to my 1995 Mercury Cougar. I was told I needed a new starter. One day I got to work and I turned off my car, but it kept running. The rod was broke. Please go to a reputable repair, as I though I did. I ended up with problems with my gauge lights and my heating system, after the repairs. Good luck. They don't make vehicles that ours any more.


You sound like you have a VERY worn ignition switch. This could be from many hundreds of start and stops and / or it could be from having a very heavy key ring or both. I notice in some of the new owners manuals they are warning about heavy key rings being a no no. In either case I think you are going to need a new switch

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