Jim Smart
December 1, 2003

We're not completely certain where the first key-operated ignition switches appeared. However, we are certain they've made the world safer for our automobiles. Think of the ignition switch as your Mustang's sentry. It acknowledges only the key you were given with the car, bringing your Mustang's engine and all of its accessories to life with a twist. The ignition switch, its lock cylinder, and your key keep things personal.

Things become impersonal whenever the ignition switch or lock cylinder fail to do their jobs. Few things make us feel more defeated than a car that won't start. The truth is, ignition switches rarely fail. They typically work faithfully year after year. However, many classic Mustangs still have their factory ignition switches and lock cylinders, installed when Lyndon Johnson was president. It may be time for a change.

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'65-'66 Ignition Switch Replacement
The ignition lock cylinder is removed first. Turn the ignition left to "ACC" and insert a paper clip into the hole beneath the key hole. Turn the key counterclockwise to 9 o'clock.

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'67-'68 Ignition Switch Replacement
For 1967, Ford made ignition switch replacement easier. Instead of a push-and-turn escutcheon, the '67-'68 switch employs a screw-on escutcheon, serviceable with a special tool available from Mustangs Etc. This switch is secured with a bracket that ties it to the dashboard.

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'69 Ignition Switch Replacement
The '69 Mustang ignition switch is a stand-alone design. Although this is the same ignition switch used in 1968, it installs differently in a completely different dashboard.

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'70 Ignition Switch Replacement
The '70 Mustang was similar to the '69. However, government-mandated safety and antitheft changes meant the '70 would be considerably different inside, with a one-year-only, locking steering column. The ignition lock cylinder locks the steering column when the ignition is in the "off" position. When the steering column is unlocked to start the engine, you're moving a linkage inside the steering column that operates the ignition switch, located halfway down the column. Replacement is easy. All you have to do is remove the plastic steering-column cover.

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'71-'73 Ignition Switch Replacement
Ford changed the Mustang's locking steering column again in '71-'73 models, moving the ignition switch farther down the column. A long linkage ties the ignition lock cylinder with the ignition switch way down the column. Replacement is a piece of cake.

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'70-'73 Lock Cylinder Removal
Lock cylinder removal for '70-'73 Mustangs is different than for '65-'69 models. The steering wheel must be removed. Once removed, press on a release pin inside the column at the lock cylinder. Turn the lock cylinder toward "ACC" and pull it out. To reinstall, turn the lock cylinder all the way to "START" and insert the cylinder.