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  1. #1
    Frank Wulfers
    Roving Adventurer Wulf's Avatar
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    Ignition Switch Cylinder removal instructions - Saab 9-5

    The ignition barrel is supposed to pop up slightly when you remove the key from the ignition switch. It is common this mechanism gets dirty after a while so it doesn't pop up after you remove the key and the car thinks it is still in the OFF position. This leaves your accessories on and may drain the battery. It also sounds the reminder gong when you open the door. Pretty annoying.

    Fortunately, this is easy to fix. There are instructions in the WIS and I have read some written instructions online but couldn't find any detailed pictures. I had a bit of a hard figuring out the catch in the cylinder works so perhaps this tutorial will be helpful for others. This is for a 2004 Saab 9-5 and I assume it is the same for all first generation Saab 9-5 model years.

    Instructions

    Remove the transponder by turning it clockwise and lift up.

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    The plastic cover on mine is pretty loose so I took that off first so I could see what is underneath. Same procedure in turning it clockwise. You may have to wiggle it a little before it comes off.

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    I also removed the other plastic ring from the barrel but that's probably not necessary. The transponder doesn't need to be unplugged, just moved it aside.

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    When you try to start the car now, it shows a message on the SID saying there is something seriously wrong with the theft protection system. Proof that the transponder actually works!

    Turn the key to the OFF position

    There is a small square hole at the base of the housing (yellow arrow).

    Use an Allen key (hex wrench/key) or other curved metal rod/tool to push in the release on the ignition cylinder. You have to push a bit to the side in the direction of the red arrow. The top of the red arrow ponts to the release on the cylinder. If you push perpendicular on the release, nothing will happen.

    Push in the release, pull the key and cylinder up. This may take a few or many tries, especially when you're not sure where the release is and where you have to push.

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    The above picture show the ignition cylinder already pulled up so you can see the release and its position. This detail shows the scratches on the release where I was pushing in the wrong place/direction.

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    This picture shows the Allen key with the ignition cylinder removed.

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    After the cylinder is removed, you can un-clip the plastic part on the bottom and remove the spring and washer. Nothing else comes apart.

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    I am sure there are several ways to clean the cylinder. I used a small container with gasoline/petrol and let it soak for a few minutes. After letting it dry, I applied some lubricant on the moving parts. I wasn't exactly sure what to use and several sources said it is not a good idea to use WD40 or other stuff that attracts dirt. I had an old can of motorcycle chain Teflon lube and that seems to work great. If anyone has any other suggestions for cleaning and lubrication products to use, please respond to this thread.

    Assembly is the reverse of the removal instructions. It pops up every time now and feels smoother when it is turned. Mission completed. Total time was about an hour but I can probably take apart, clean and put back together within 10 minutes after I know how that pesky release works.

  2. #2
    Frank Wulfers
    Roving Adventurer Wulf's Avatar
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    Here are the instructions from the WIS. Some more detailed info is helpful and I didn't have any welding rods laying around..

    Ignition switch cylinder

    To remove

    1. Remove the transponder by turning it as shown in the illustration.

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    2. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.

    3. Bend a welding rod to shape.

    4. Remove the lock cylinder by pressing in the catch with the welding rod and withdrawing the cylinder straight up.

    To install

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    1. Fit the lock cylinder in place and press it well home. Make sure it is firmly located.

    2. Fit the transponder.
    HooliganHogan likes this.

  3. #3
    New Member Michael E. Levinson's Avatar
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    26 Sep 2012
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    Did your cylinder have a door?

    It seems like the keyhole always had a metal door that would shut when I pulled the key out; but now it remains open like the one in your picture. The door keeps out the dirt and contaminants that might fowl the switch...how can the door be repaired? I didn't see it anywhere in the forums! :-)

  4. #4
    Frank Wulfers
    Roving Adventurer Wulf's Avatar
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    I can't recall if mine ever had a door. Even after cleaning, the keyhole is still open after removing the key. I can't remember if my other Saabs 9-5 had the door or not.

  5. #5
    New Member Michael E. Levinson's Avatar
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    Keyhole Door

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wulfers View Post
    I can't recall if mine ever had a door. Even after cleaning, the keyhole is still open after removing the key. I can't remember if my other Saabs 9-5 had the door or not.
    Trust me on this...there is a shiny metal door (matches the surrounding metal) that is spring-loaded. When the key is inserted, it opens inward and when the key is removed it closes tightly to keep out the dust, etc. Mine just recently failed, now remaining open all the time...I believe the tiny spring inside breaks or falls out. That's why I wanted to know if the top portion of the cylinder was removable; because then it can be repaired. If it is a solid unit, then it most likely cannot. There is nothing out there on the web about this condition at all.

    I appreciate the reply...

  6. #6
    Frank Wulfers
    Roving Adventurer Wulf's Avatar
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    I don't know if the top portion is removable. There was no reason for me to take it apart so I didn't even look at it. If they put it together, there must be some way to disassemble.

  7. #7
    Roger Cook
    Regular Member MI-Roger's Avatar
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    Saab(s)
    2008 9-5 Aero, 2006 9-3SC 2.0T, 2000 Viggen Convertible, 2000 9-5 retired at 318K miles
    Car won't fully shut off when key is removed, i.e. accessories stay powered. Thanks to your excellent instructions Wulf I was able to remove the cylinder (a 3mm hex key was the trick) to clean and lube it but the problem persists. It appears the center shaft of my cylinder has a slightly oversized cross drilled hole for the spring leoaded steel pin. This has allowed the steel pin to cock slightly and bind, plus score a tine arc shaped burr on the cam ramp which is intended to depress this pin when the key is removed.

    It looks like I will need a new ignition lock cylinder and the Service Records Book never had the Key Code transcribed by the selling Dealer. I bought this car used and looked everywhere for the black nylon wire-tye which held the two keys together from the factory and which also had the Key Code written on it, but it was apparently discarded by the original owner or Dealership.

    I did find a five digit numeric code laser etched on the side of the ignition cylinder. Could that be the Key code??

  8. #8
    New Member saabviking's Avatar
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    05 Jan 2013
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    Saab(s)
    1984 99 GL, 1998 9-3 SE 2.3
    Thanks for excellent instructions! I followed the procedure today and got it working again. But, I had so much gunk in the cylinder that the key would pick up a lot of residue and soil my pockets. Therefore I went the whole way and dismantled the thing. The procedure was a little intimidating but the result is fantastic. I regret not taking any pictures, but I'll try to explain:

    After disassembly as per above instructions have a look at the part of the cylinder oposite of the keyhole. There's a guide pin going through the cylinder, wide in one end, narrow the other, holding the cylinder in place in the housing. When not in locked position the wide end is exposed. When in Start position it hits a little bulge in the housing wall, preventing it to go too far. To get the cylinder out simply push the wide end of the pin a little into the cylinder and turn it past the bulge. It's spring loaded and will fly out if smooth. From here it gets interesting.

    Make sure the key is inserted into the cylinder, this will prevent the lock mechanism parts from popping out before you get a chance to map their location – which is very important if you plan on getting your car started by means of the key.

    Now, carefully extract the cylinder from the housing, pulling the keyhole side away from the housing. The keyhole cover is the first spring loaded part to come out, it may want to escape so be wary. When the whole cylinder is removed from the housing you will be presented with the lock mechanism made up from spring loaded brass plates going into the cylinder. These plates go flush with the cylinder surface when the key is inserted, allowing the cylinder to turn. Note that if the key is worn, the ends of the brass plates may be a little elevated above the cylinder surface. The brass plates themselves have rectangular shaped holes of different shapes that allow the key to pass through and push the plates into the cylinder when unlocking.

    To clear the cylinder of the mechanism carefully remove the key while holding on top of the brass plates to prevent them from falling out. When easing the grip the brass plates will go into locked position, protracting from the cylinder. Take a clean sheet of paper, draw the cylinder in a position you remember, perhaps with the big pin hole mentioned above facing. Now remove a first brass plate. It has a part code embossed on one of the sides. Note the number and the position on the sheet. Pull out the spring and store it safely. Do the same with the rest of the plates until the cylinder is "clean".

    To clean smaller metal and plastic parts from oil I tend to put them in a bottle with wide opening, filled with diesel. A few shakes and a quick centrifugal action does the trick. I find it's a very cheap method of removing grit and oils and at the same time preventing parts from drying out completely. Whatever your preferred method is, now you can clean the individual bits properly, getting rid of any fluff gathered on or inside the cylinder or the brass plates.

    Putting all the parts back together is pretty straightforward. Add a little drop of thin oil to the brass plates and a thin layer of grease to other moving parts. When all the plates and the keyhole door are inserted (don't forget the springs), re-insert the key. It may take a little tweaking, but not to worry. When the key is inserted insert the cylinder back into the housing, make sure the big pin hole on the cylinder is facing the area of the housing where the pin was removed earlier. When fully inserted the big pin hole will appear. Fill the hole with grease and insert the pin, keep it pushed in and turn the cylinder (with the key) to make the pin pass the little bulge in the housing. This may be very tricky, especially if the key is worn and the brass plates protrude a little from the cylinder surface, preventing the cylinder to turn. If that's the case, you may need to get a file out to grind down the edges of the brass plates a little, as I had to. It will not affect the lock.

    When the cylinder is back in normal position in the housing, grease up, put the washer, spring and plastic retainer back on. Smooth is the result.

    There is also another aspect to this complete disassembly; converting replacement switches to fit the original key by configuring the position of the brass plates in the lock mechanism.
    Wulf likes this.

  9. #9
    New Member teleburst's Avatar
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    Saab(s)
    1999 9-3
    I don't know if you guys can help me because I've got a 99 9-3 (manual). When I remove the plastic transponder cover, the transponder looks almost identical to yours. Is there a trick to removing the transponder to move it out of the way? It isn't immediately obvious to me and I don't want to damage it. Any help would be welcome as my ignition switch is stuck in lock, but the key can be removed, which means that the electronics stay on. It started locking up yesterday with the key staying stuck, but with some jiggery-pokery, I was able to work it loose. Now today, the key comes out and everything stays on (I'm going to disconnect the battery to keep it from getting run down).

  10. #10
    New Member teleburst's Avatar
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    Saab(s)
    1999 9-3
    Quote Originally Posted by teleburst View Post
    I don't know if you guys can help me because I've got a 99 9-3 (manual). When I remove the plastic transponder cover, the transponder looks almost identical to yours. Is there a trick to removing the transponder to move it out of the way? It isn't immediately obvious to me and I don't want to damage it. Any help would be welcome as my ignition switch is stuck in lock, but the key can be removed, which means that the electronics stay on. It started locking up yesterday with the key staying stuck, but with some jiggery-pokery, I was able to work it loose. Now today, the key comes out and everything stays on (I'm going to disconnect the battery to keep it from getting run down).
    Bump, because I could stand to get my car back on the road...

 

 
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