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Malfunctioning locks seem to be common with Hondas that have laser-cut keys. After lots of research and tutorials on repairing the ignition cylinder I was able to remove the cylinder, extract the worn out "wafers", and lo and behold, the key would turn the cylinder in the barrel while both were still separate from the car (in my hand). But upon reinserting the cylinder and barrel into the ignition assembly, the key no longer turns.

It strongly resembles what happens when the steering wheel is locked, but I'm familiar with that problem and even when relieving the pressure on the steering wheel, no luck turning the key.

I'm fairly certain the barrel only goes back into the ignition one way, so I haven't put it in upside down, and it's not a transponder or battery problem, because the key should still be able to turn past the zero position with those issues.

Does anyone have any ideas, please and thanks?

2 Answers 2

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I repair these quite often, even for Honda dealerships in my area. Its possible you just lost the key buzzer lifter and the now the key buzzer is dropping past the cylinders sheer line. Other then that I can safely say that either you did not seat all the remaining wafers back in correctly or there is another one that has dropped out of position because of your key.

The main problem with the wafers popping out is not because of the cylinder or the wafers. Its your key . What happens is one or more positions on the key loose enough meat on the area where the wafers slide along it and sit, that the wafers can actually slip by completely and get pushed out of their chamber. Once this happens the spring supporting the wafer pushes it up and sideways so it can not drop back in to clear the shear-line.

I always repair these by replacing all wafer, springs and keys. You can try to dissemble it again and remove the new offending wafer but it may not last too long, just depends on where your key is overly worn at. If its near the plastic head of key then just remove the first 2 rows of wafers anyway. If the worn spot of key is near the tip, then you'd pretty much need to remove them all.

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I had the exact same problem with my 2009 Fit. Just like in the OP, after removing the lock cylinder from the ignition assembly I was able to extract the failed wafer and get the lock cylinder working just fine on its own. But when reinstalled in the ignition assembly it wouldn't turn at all because the shaft it interfaces with inside the ignition assembly was itself locked up. I even tried removing the switch to turn the shaft from that end, and it wouldn't budge even with the lock cylinder removed.

After calling in a professional locksmith, it turns out that the steering column lock mechanism was broken, and the whole ignition assembly had to be removed to replace an internal spring. I guess when I reinstalled the lock cylinder I might have jammed something the lock cylinder interacts with. It might not be possible or practical to reinstall the lock cylinder without removing the ignition assembly to make sure it reengages with the column lock properly. Unfortunately removing the ignition assembly requires removing the two shear bolts that attach it to the column.

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  • I used a dremel to cut slots in the two shear bolts you mentioned so I could take the entire ignition assembly off the steering column. Removing these bolts was among the most trying tasks of the whole repair job. Once the ignition assembly was removed, I was able to manually release the steering column lock. Upon re-assembly, everything worked as normal. The column lock was indeed responsible for the problem I was having in my first post. Mar 28, 2023 at 15:41

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