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2002 STS - Can't Remove Key - Park Lock Cable Issue


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Hi - new member here, hoping to get some help on an issue. I'm visiting my mother-in-law for my father-in-law's funeral, and by Murphy's Law, the key in her 2002 STS starting sticking in the ignition and wouldn't come out. It was impossible to turn the key completely to the off position - it would stop between ACC and OFF. Because I'm more mechanically inclined than my brother-in-law, she asked me to see what I could do.

I found this thread on this site, http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=42115, indicating the problem was in the park lock cable. From that, I thought that the issue might be that there was too much slack n the cable, so I removed the center console to reach it, and began pulling the slack out of the cable, but the key still wouldn't come out. I then tried the other way, pulling to produce more slack. The orange piece, that moved back and tightened the cable when the car was moved out of park, moved forward, letting the cable get more slack. Voila, the key could turn to off and be removed.

I'm feeling good that I confirmed the problem, but I'm not certain what to try to fix it other than spray WD-40 on the orange piece so it fully releases when the car is put in PARK. Right now, my "solution" is to leave the console off and tell my MIL to take a pair of pliers and pull the cable forward after she puts it in PARK; as might be expected, she's not overjoyed with this idea. The above thread never came back with the solution, so I'm hoping that someone here can give me the final piece of the puzzle to fix this so she doesn't have to spend a lot at the dealer.

Thanks.

Perry

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:welcomesmiley:

Something similar happened to my wife's car recently. It's a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT. The culprit happened to be too much coffee spilled on the floor shifter for too many years, causing some sticking in the safety interlock for the shifter. The symptom was that the key would not turn. The AAA tow truck guy told me that this was a common problem with a lot of different cars, and some of them would lock the key in the ignition if the battery died completely. On his prompting, I found that the steering was not locked. The shifter had been sticking in Park recently, which led him to his diagnosis. He attempted to move the locking solenoid through the leather shifter boot but did not succeed. We rocked the car back and forth against the parking pawl and managed to unlock the shifter safety mechanism that way. I took it to the dealer, talked them out of a $500 lock cylinder replacement, and got them to clean out the shifter, which was full of some black sticky substance that smelled like coffee (!!!) and it is as good as new.

Different people will have different solutions. WD-40 is not always the best penetrating oil for every application because some cables can be attacked by some chemicals. The sticking may not be in the cable but in the mechanism, which is far more exposed than the inside of the cable. I'll leave the specifics to those who know better than I what is best for the 2000 Deville, Seville, or Eldorado (you didn't say which in your profile) shifter mechanism, shifter lock solenoid, and shifter cable.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Cadilac_Jim -

Thanks for the reply. It's an STS, which I believe is a Seville.

I do think it is the mechanism that is binding instead of the cable, but I don't see anything that looks like it might be binding the mechanism. I normally don't like spraying stuff that I don't know is the right stuff to use, but I don't know what else to do. If anyone can give me a better substance to use, i would greatly appreciate it, but I'm leaving tomorrow, so i need to try something quick.

Thanks.

Perry

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If it was me I would use the WD, been using it on all things stick for years without any effect on plastics, rubber or vinys. Heck, I've even used it to clean glue off of linoleum floors

Don't let your first ride be your last ride in a Cadillac!

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I think WD-40 is safe, too, but there are many others here who have cleaned up and/or replaced steering column lock linkages and know what worked for them, and I haven't done so myself.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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