Question about 1990 Jeep Cherokee Limited

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1990 Jeep Cherokee Ignition key replacement

Is it hard to DIY a new ignition key cylinder? Ours is frozen and we cannot turn the key at all. Is this the best solution?

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  • clbethmann Jan 29, 2009

    Key will not turn in the ignition. Frozen. I have a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Anonymous Mar 26, 2009

    This is very helpful, I have the service manual but it doesn't cover this simple keylock replacement, only to remove the steering wheel and that is it. Thank you so much, I was stuck in a parking lot and had the key locked out so I couldn't start my Cherokee. Took the steering wheel off and was able to unjam my ignition keylock to get it home and replace the keylock assembly. Now I can replace the key assembly without a problem. Very helpful, Thanks a lot, it saved me a tow truck and storage charge...

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Removal & Installation
Without Air Bag
See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Remove the turn signal switch.
  2. Insert the key in the lock cylinder and turn it to the ON position.
1990 Jeep Cherokee Ignition key replacement - 0900c152800a9f7f.jpgFig. 1: Using a pair of needle nose pliers, remove the key warning buzzer switch and contacts from the steering column
  1. Remove the key warning buzzer switch and contacts AS AN ASSEMBLY using needle-nosed pliers, or a paper clip with a 90° bend.
0900c152800a9f80.jpgFig. 2: Lock cylinder retaining screwSome steering columns may have a retaining screw holding the lock cylinder in the column. When servicing this type, simply remove the retaining screw and remove the lock cyl1990 Jeep Cherokee Ignition key replacement - 0900c152800a9f81.jpg>0900c152800a9f81.jpgFig. 3: Using a small thin bladed too1990 Jeep Cherokee Ignition key replacement - 0900c152800a9f82.jpgtion lock clinder retaining tab ... 0900c152800a9f82.jpgFig. 4: ... then pull out the lock cylinder from the steering column
  1. With the ignition switch still in the ON position, insert a thin screwdriver into the slot adjacent to the switch attaching screw boss (right-hand slot). Depress the spring latch located at the bottom of the slot to release the lock cylinder.
  2. Remove the lock cylinder.
To install:
  1. To install the lock cylinder, turn the key to the LOCK position. Insert the lock cylinder in to the housing far enough to contact the drive tang. Force it inward and move the ignition switch actuator rod up and down to align the components. When the components align, the cylinder will move inward and the spring-loaded retainer will snap into place locking the lock cylinder in the housing.
If the lock cylinder is retained by a screw, tighten the screw to 40 inch lbs. (5 Nm).
  1. Install the key warning buzzer switch.
  2. Follow the ignition switch installation procedures to adjust the ignition switch.
  3. Install the tur1990 Jeep Cherokee Ignition key replacement - 50c573d.jpgitch.
With Air Bag73cc55f.jpgb9448d0.jpg278f367.jpg

Posted on Oct 22, 2008

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Lost ignition key


OK, NOW WHAT?? If you don't have one you are going to have to replace the lock cylinder for the ignition and if that is the same key as the doors and hatch you will have to replace them also and have the cylinders all key matched to the same key..

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I put the key in and it wont turn its frozen.


I had the same problem, turned out it was worn ignition switch tumbler pins. Try turning the key while tapping on top of the switch with a rubber mallet or sneaker. If it frees up, you need to remove the keyswitch and take it to a locksmith to have the pins replaced. Much cheaper than a new ignition switch.

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How to replace ignition on 1990 jeep cheerokee


You have to disassemble the steering column in order to remove and replace the ignition key cylinder. Almost the entire innards of the column has to be removed to get to the clip holding the key cylinder in place. It's not a procedure that can be described....you will have to either locate a diagram of a disassembled column or have someone, who has done it before, replace it for you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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To JTurcotte - Your discussion and directions on how to repair the 1990 Jeep Cherokee srteering column were very good. I have a similar but not exact problem. The key would not come out of the...


WHEN YOU INSTALL NEW LOCK CYLINDER, TURN THE KEY TO THE LOCK POSITION. INSERT THE LOCK CYLINDER INTO THE HOUSING FAR ENOUGH TO CONTACT THE DRIVE SHAFT FORCE IT INWARD AND MOVE THE IGNITION SWITCH ACTUATOR ROD UP AND DOWN TO ALIGN THE COMPONENTS. WHEN THE COMPONENTS ALIGN, THE CYLINDER WILL MOVE INWARD AND THE SPRING LOADED RETAINER WILL SNAP INTO PLACE LOCKING THE LOCK CYLINDER IN THE HOUSING.

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Steering wheel locked and key will not turn 2000 jeep grand cherokee


First thing you need to try is wiggling the steering wheel back and worth while turning the key to try and unlock the steering column. If the key is worn out it may not turn well in the ignition. Another thing is to lubricate the ignition cylinder. If nothing works, it maybe the ignition cylinder tumbler is worn out and needs to be replaced.

Feb 24, 2011 | 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Ignition on my 2004 jeep grand Cherokee is locked, how do I unlock the ignition? Keys goes in ignition, door chim works when key is in ignition. But the key won't turn it's stuck.


tap the ignition lock cylinder with the plastic end of a scrwedriver (with the key removed). then insert the key and try to start. Try this several times. If you get it to turn immediately replace the igntion lock cylinder. The cylinder needs to be in the on position in order for the lock button to be depressed so that the cylinder can be removed from the housing.

If you still can't get it to turn than you will have to drill out the lock button in order to get the old lock cylinder out. I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you have some experience and understand what you are doing.

The lock button can be accessed by removing the lower steering column cover.

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If i replace the ignition cylinder in my 1999 jeep grand cherokee will i have any problems with the anti theft system


You should not have a problem, the ignition cylinder only transmits the ohm reading from the key to the anti-theft module and it does not produce its own ohm reading or any kind of signal.

Oct 22, 2010 | 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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I have a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle


sounds like the key is either worn down to where the ridges in the key wont push the tumblers inside the key lock cylinder into their proper place to move the cylinder into the starting position. Or your steering colum is locked and the wheel is moving freely as if it were not. So your solution would be to either have an expert look at it (estimated cost: 200$ low/400$high) or you can attempt to fix it yourself.
should you choose the "I'll fix it myself" method....try getting a new key made at a hardware store since keys wearout over time (ie:10years of turning that old key), this may solve the problem right away if the ridges are just worn on the key. Or the hard way, you need to get a phillips screwdriver and some jewelers tools and an 8mm or 10mm wrench/rachet+socket to disconnect the battery, then underneath the steering colum just under the ignition is a hole in the colum shroud/cover, from there you can disconnect the ignition key lock cylinder (the thing you put your key into). once you've removed the cylinder from the steering colum you should test your key again to see if you can turn the cylinder outside of the colum if you cannot then buy a new ignition key lock cylinder for about 15$-30$...problems solved.

Nov 18, 2009 | 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Key wont turn in the ignition


I work at jeep and this is very common. you need a new ignition lock cylinder. easy repair but you need to buy it from a dealer and bring the key and lock cylinder to a locksmith to get it coded

Jan 05, 2009 | 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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