Friend asked me to troubleshoot his Ford Falcon Fairmont III. Car cranks and sparks but won't stay running. It only runs when you hold the key in the run position. Once you let go of the key, it returns to off, shutting off the car.

I initially thought it was a fuel cut off and did the procedure where you leave the key in position 2 for 30 seconds and off for 30 more. Had to physically hold the key in second position so it won't return to off.

Everything points to faulty ignition switch that won't hold position but I'm unfamiliar with Ford's, maybe it's a common quirk that can be easily solved.

Friend claims that there's fuel and car ran fine yesterday

  • 1
    Very odd. I have never seen this happen before but fords do have some issue's with the ignition switches. It sounds like maybe the stopper for the spring tension on crank has broken in away that is now providing spring tension for Run and Crank. I see nothing else it could be accept the ignition switch itself since the housing and lock cylinder do not have any type of spring tension inside. (based on our US models fwiw) Please update when you get it fixed, thank you.
    – narkeleptk
    Dec 4, 2019 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


I think your first reaction is true. It's most likely the ignition switch. Causes for this may include too many keys or weight on his key chain. Replace the ignition switch and recommend to limit weighted key chain.

  • Good advice but the weight on the keys is more damaging to the lock cylinder. It ends up bending the first few wafers inside, which then prevent it from turning. I don't see how it would effect the switch behind the lock cylinder in anyway tho.
    – narkeleptk
    Dec 4, 2019 at 0:52

Found quite a simple solution that worked in this case.

After the plastic around steering column is disassembled, you gain access to ignition barrel. There's a black plastic part at the end of it that has electrical connections, if you push it in with your hand, the key will work as expected.

Fix was for one person to push it in and keep it in that position and other person using hammer and screwdriver to carefully bend the metal bits around plastic part to keep it in place

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