How to Remove and Replace a Toyota Tacoma 1997 Ignition Lock Cylinder


The 1997 Toyota Tacoma uses a four-stage ignition switch. With the key rotated fully counterclockwise, the ignition is in the "Off" position and you can remove the key. Move the key one position clockwise, and the accessories receive power. Move the key to the next position and the vehicle is "On," meaning that items such as the fan will function. The final position is the temporary "Start" position, which activates the truck's starter. If any of these positions are malfunctioning, or the cylinder won't turn at all, you must replace it.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Torx screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Steering wheel puller

Removing the Cylinder

  • Lift the hood and prop it open. Disconnect both battery cables from their terminals. Wait at least three minutes for all residual electricity to discharge before you begin working near the airbag.

  • Locate the two airbag attaching screws, one on each side of the steering wheel. Pry off the plastic covers to reveal a Torx screw. Use a Torx screwdriver to loosen these two screws, which you can't remove completely. They will stop when fully retracted and remain attached to the steering wheel.

  • Lift the airbag out of the steering wheel. Disconnect the airbag wires from the harness by lifting up the plastic tabs on each side and pulling the two sections apart. Place the airbag face up in a safe location.

  • Unplug the horn electrical connector, which you will see once you remove the airbag.

  • Point the front wheels straight ahead. Remove the steering wheel retaining nut using a socket. Place a mark on the steering wheel and the steering wheel shaft so you will be able to realign them during reassembly.

  • Attach the steering wheel puller. There are bolt holes on each side of the steering wheel shaft. Screw the bolts on the puller into these holes and turn the puller handle clockwise to force the steering wheel off the shaft.

  • Remove the steering column covers by detaching the two screws on the front of the column. You will see these once you remove the steering wheel. There is one additional screw under the steering column. Pry off the ignition switch bezel. This is the plastic piece that surrounds the ignition cylinder. You should be able to pull it off using your fingers. If not, use a small flat-head screwdriver.

  • Unplug the connector from the ignition switch. This connector simply pulls out of the wiring harness, without any clips to remove.

  • Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the "ACC" position. Insert a small screwdriver into the hole located on the bottom of the ignition switch casing to depress the release button. With the button depressed, use the key to pull the cylinder out of the casing.

Installing the Cylinder

  • Insert the key into the new cylinder and turn it to the "ACC" position. Insert the cylinder into the casing. When it seats, you should hear and/or feel a click. Try to pull the cylinder out. If you cannot do so, it is properly seated. Reconnect the ignition switch wire to the wiring harness. Snap the plastic ignition bezel back into place.

  • Replace the steering column covers and the three screws.

  • Place the steering wheel back over the steering wheel shaft, ensuring that the marks you made earlier are aligned.Turn the handle of the steering wheel puller counterclockwise until the steering wheel is fully seated. Detach the puller. Replace the steering wheel retaining nut.

  • Connect the horn wires.

  • Connect the airbag wires to the wiring harness and place the airbag into the steering wheel. Tighten the Torx screws on each side of the steering wheel and replace their covers.

  • Reconnect the battery cables.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can usually rent a steering wheel puller from an auto parts store.
  • Use extreme caution when working around and handling the airbag module.

Related Searches


  • "Haynes Repair Manual: Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner and T100"; Robert Maddox, Mike Stubblefield and John H. Haynes; 2006
  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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