Question about Mercury Cougar

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After parking it yesterday, I could not shut off the engine with the key. The ignition switch cylinder was pretty worn so I bought a new one. After installing the new part, I have the same problem. My question is: Could I have installed the switch wrong or could there be another problem? Thanks

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  • Joe Mar 11, 2011

    The new switch and key seem to be ok. It turns smoothly and I can turn on the engine just fine.
    But when I turn the key to the 'Off' position, nothing happens and the engine stays running.
    I'm not sure if I had the new part set to the 'Run' position like the instructions say when I removed the old part and installed the new one.

  • Joe Mar 11, 2011

    The new switch and key seem to be ok. It turns smoothly and I can turn on the engine just fine. But when I turn the key to the 'Off' position, nothing happens and the engine stays running. I'm not sure if I had the new part set to the 'Run' position like the instructions say when I removed the old part and installed the new one

  • Joe Mar 11, 2011

    I haven't done anything under the hood other than add fluids.

    The idle looks good on the RPM and it doesn't 'Diesel' it runs smooth.

    About those other possible problems you mentioned, wouldn't the engine

    shut off by disconnecting the battery cable? When I disconnect the cable,

    the engine stays running.

    Now, after installing the new ignition cylinder, when I reconnect the battery,

    the dash lights all go on and stay on no matter what position the key is in.


  • Joe Mar 13, 2011

    I removed and re-installed the ignition switch. Same problem, I can start the engine but
    can't turn it off with the key.
    I don't know if this means anything but, there is no resistance while turning the key in either direction until I move it to the lock position. And, the radio gets power even when the key is lock position. The engine runs smoothly all this time.
    It looks like it is an electrical problem somewhere else.

  • Joe Mar 15, 2011

    Don't know yet.

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  • Mercury Master
  • 17,970 Answers

When the internal mechanism of a key lock cylinder becomes stuck or worn, replacing the key lock cylinder will restore it to proper function.

Are you try woth another key? The same problem stay there? If your answer is no, and this occurs with all keys, its possible that you have some problem with the startting/ignition system and not the ignition switch or keys.

Send us additional details about this wrong.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011

  • ZJ Limited
    ZJ Limited Mar 11, 2011

    Your problem isnt the switch or key; this condition (engine stay ON with key in OFF position or take off) can occur for a multiple of reasons:



    * Built-up carbon in the ignition chamber can glow red after the
    engine is off, providing a mechanism for sparking unburnt fuel. Such a
    thing can happen when the engine runs very rich, depositing unspent fuel
    and particles on the pistons and valves. Similarly, non-smooth metal
    regions within the piston chamber can cause this same problem, since
    they can glow red. It has also been suggested that an improperly rated
    sparkplug can retain heat and cause the same problem.

    * A carburetor that does not close entirely can contribute to
    running once the engine is off, since the extra fuel and oxygen mixture
    can combust easily in the warm piston chamber. Similarly, hot vaporized
    oil gases from the engine crankcase can provide ample fuel for
    dieseling.

    * Incorrect timing.

    * An engine that runs too hot or too lean may produce an environment conducive to allowing unspent fuel to combust.

    * An idle speed that is too fast can leave the engine with too much
    angular momentum upon shutdown, raising the chances that the engine can
    turnover and combust more fuel and lock itself into a cycle of
    continuous running.

    Almost sounds like the timing is too far advanced and you experiencing
    engine run on. Have you done any work around the distributor lately? Or
    had the timing set?



    If it was the switch itself I'd think it would either shut off right
    away or not at all unless the key was giggled to the point where it
    broke all power to the ignition system.


    Other possible causes could be to high of an idle speed, worn timing chain or bad O2 sensor.

    Keep us updated.

  • ZJ Limited
    ZJ Limited Mar 11, 2011

    Yep, the car can keep on even if disconnected the battery, keep in mind that the battery just is necessary for start the engine, after this, just the alternator keep sending voltage. Definitively, you have some electricla problem; I suggest take off the new ignition switch ans check and recheck the wires connections.

    Keep us updated.

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