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I have a 2004 E250. The ignition switch actuator came apart into two pieces, so I can't operate the ignition switch with the key. The steering wheel is tilting, so I think the pin that connects the upper actuator to the bottom actuator has come loose, as I did not hear or feel it breaking. I unscrewed the ignition switch from the steering column and have been starting the van manually.

I have two questions:

  1. Can I indefinitely continue to manually operate the ignition switch without problems?

  2. From my reading, I would have have to disassemble the whole column to fix the actuator. Does anyone have an easier way to fix it?

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If I'm understanding your description here, I'd say your biggest issue is a safety issue with your steering column. You really need to get it together correctly so you will not have issues driving it. This is not only your safety you need to be worried about here, but the safety of your passengers and other motorists as well. To answer your questions, though:

  1. Can I indefinitely continue to manually operate the ignition switch without problems?

You could, but you run the risk of your vehicle getting ripped off, I'd think. If you can do it manually, someone with a keen eye could easily figure this out through watching you or seeing something apart.

  1. From my reading, I would have have to disassemble the whole column to fix the actuator. Does anyone have an easier way to fix it?

I would say your reading is correct. If what has happened which I think has happened, tearing it apart is going to be your only recourse.

  • My only safety concern was the wheel lock engaging, but after examining the assembly, I didn't see how that could happen. Is that the safety issue you're thinking of? As for someone stealing it; it would be a pain if lost, but if they had a t30 bit and a screw driver, they could get it in the condition it is now in under 45 seconds. I think it might take me up to 10 hours for me to fix it. I never removed a steering wheel before. The van has 247000 miles on it. I'm not sure the risk/reward is worth the fix? – Edwin Nov 25 '14 at 1:36
  • I don't think it would take you near that long to fix it. If you have any kind of mechanical know-how (which it seems from your writ), you should be able to completely disassemble this in about an hour. Here is a video which I believe should be the same as yours. If not do a search on YouTube for your year and model. This one may be of some assistance as well. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 25 '14 at 13:54
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    Thanks for your advice. I have to wait to do any repair, anyway, as my other vehicle (1995 Altima) is disabled until the distributor is delivered. Freaking cars. – Edwin Nov 26 '14 at 19:54
  • No doubt about it. :D – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 26 '14 at 19:55

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