Friday, May 17, 2013

Replacing a Jeep Liberty Actuator Pin and Ignition Switch

I love the Internets. Even more so, I love the people who take the time to share their knowledge to help out their common man (or woman or transgendered individual).  Social responsibility is a large part of why I share these tidbits of information that hopefully make someone’s life just a little bit easier.

Last week I pulled into the Post Office and ran inside to drop off a package.  When I returned to my beloved Jeep, I turned the key and… nothing.  Actually, there were lights, but they were accompanied by silence.  All the dash lights and everything came on, but there was no starter crank, not even the dread “click-click-click.”  Just silence.

Rather than start screaming obscenities, I pulled out my Droid and searched “Jeep Liberty Turn Key No Sound.”  There were a decent number of returns, but six or so down was a post on the wonderful LostJeeps.com with the title “06 CRD Won’t Always Crank… Problem Found!"

Throughout the thread were many suggestions, but the one that seemed to fit the bill regarded the actuator pin, a long plastic pin in the steering column that connects the actual key cylinder to the ignition switch (which seems like a ridiculous part… and even more ridiculous is the notion of making it out of plastic –this is a part that gets cranked/tweaked over and over and over again –plastic –really?).

There was a diagram and a suggestion to jumper the starter relay to bypass the ignition process.  I found a small piece of copper wire, jumpered the relay pins, and sure enough, little Thumper started cranking like a champ.  I pulled the relay back out and drove home, saving myself the time, hassle, and cost of a tow!  Very cool.

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I actually spent the next week starting the car this way while waiting for parts to arrive.  I would simply turn the key to the “run” position, pop the hood, place the jumpered starter relay in its slot, and the starter would crank and fire up the engine.

If you’re doing this, just remember to pull the relay out before driving away, or the starter will keep cranking as you’re driving down the road.  Also, you don’t need to “seat” the relay all the way into its slot.  The jeep will fire up as soon as the pins hit the contacts.

Note that several people in the Lost Jeeps thread mentioned dealers that wanted to replace the ENTIRE STEERING COLUMN rather than service the part.  $1200 in parts and service vs. a little less than $40 in parts to do it yourself in about an hour.  This is EXACTLY the reason it’s a good idea to do a little research before simply turning your keys over to the dealership.

Surprisingly enough, it turns out that the METAL in my actuator pin housing had broken, not the actual plastic pin.  It looks like the metal was brittle and crumbled like the “pig iron” you often see installed for drains in old houses.

Here is a link to the part you will need:

Dorman 924-704 Ignition Switch Actuator Pin

Several people also suggested changing the ignition switch since it’s cheap and you’ve already removed it during the process, so I went ahead and did that as well.  Here’s a link to the part:

Standard Motor Products US447 Ignition Switch

Here is a link on youtube that illustrates the entire process.  They do a great job of announcing the step you’ll be undertaking, then showing you how it’s done.  Great tutorial. I believe they are actually changing the pin on a PT Cruiser, but the process is nearly identical.

I also highly recommend reading the post on Lost Jeeps to prep yourself with general knowledge before undertaking the work!

Below is a gallery of the photos I took while changing things out.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

when you started it like that for a week how did you turn it off

The Invisible said...

You still have to use your key, so you just turn the car off as you normally would.

Here's clarification from the original post:

"I actually spent the next week starting the car this way while waiting for parts to arrive. I would simply turn the key to the “run” position, pop the hood, place the jumpered starter relay in its slot, and the starter would crank and fire up the engine.

If you’re doing this, just remember to pull the relay out before driving away, or the starter will keep cranking as you’re driving down the road. Also, you don’t need to “seat” the relay all the way into its slot. The jeep will fire up as soon as the pins hit the contacts."

Then just turn the key off when you arrive at your destination!

Anonymous said...

oh ok thanks was just wondering in the original post the next paragraph I see was...

Note that several people in the Lost Jeeps thread mentioned dealers that wanted to replace the ENTIRE STEERING COLUMN rather than service the part. $1200 in parts and service vs. a little less than $40 in parts to do it yourself in about an hour. This is EXACTLY the reason it’s a good idea to do a little research before simply turning your keys over to the dealership.

That didn't show for me and still doesn't however also for your liberty when you turned your key off were your dash lights still illuminated because mine stay on... is why I wasn't sure the key would work cause my battery just drains cause I can't turn them off

Jesselyn said...

THANK YOU!!! Saved a lot of money by replacing the ignition actuator pin. Truck started immediately! Thank you again

The Invisible said...

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU-I was looking at $1500.00 bill-they lowered it to $1200.00. My son saw this video-got the part-$28.00. Just finished with it- runs beautiful. A grateful person from CT.

The Invisible said...

Right on! Funny how the dealership wants to replace the ENTIRE COLUMN for a $30 fix, huh? [wink]

jose said...

My liberty have a remote starter one morning dont start , I will replace ign switch and try the wire in the relay , I hope work for me.

jose said...

Thanks you guys.

Unknown said...

Jeep Liberty 2005.
Sounds like my problem. Car started
With the after market remote starter. I assume that bypasses the
Ignition lock. Put key in and away I go use key to turn off. Thanks!
Be a good check to see if my normal mechanic tries to hose me on cost of job. Otherwise I'll just do it.

The Invisible said...

Yeah... it's always nice to KNOW what a job will cost and then see what your mechanic comes back with as a good "check." Good luck!

Mike Bambrick said...

Update to June 6 post.
Mechanic called back and said I need to have key reprogrammed? So I said both go bad same time? Told him of pin and switch and he got a little snide about my "self diagnosis" Didnt seem to care for the fact that I knew parts. Which means I know price. Never called back with a quote for job. So now
Ex mechanic and I'll just do it myself. Thanks

The Invisible said...

Nice. [eye roll] By the way, if you have two keys, you can program your own key ($20 on eBay or Amazon). If you have only one key, you have to have the dealership program it, so it's always good to have three keys (in case one gets lost). Dealers will often charge $70 or more for a programmed key.

Anonymous said...

Mine keeps cranking but engine won't fire????

C Solis Photography said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. My Jeep Liberty Sport started having issues with the key switch, and as soon as I found your article on replacing the actuator I got the two parts mentioned in your article and was waiting for the safety screw drivers to arrive when the actuator finally gave up. I was prepared, and when the screw drivers arrived today, I got to work on problem. To think a 64 year old woman could follow instructions to a T, and get the job done is one thing, but the amount of money I saved by not having to take my Jeep to a dealer or auto shop is fantastic. Thanks so much for posting this information.

The Invisible said...

Right on! Glad I could help.

celso antonio de pina said...

My problem ignision swuthi problem