January 27th, 2003 (Post #20)

January 27, 2003
It has finally happened…
It is bitter cold outside. (See below for details.) And the Big White Bus has finally left me at the side of the road. Actually it left me in front of a 7-Eleven but you get the point.

It was in the low teens Friday morning and I got in the Rover to go to work. I started it up and went to fill with petrol. I turned it off to open the gas door. Restarted to keep it warm while I filled the tank with the precious go-go juice. I pulled up to the front to go in and pay. When I returned the key would not turn in the ignition. No way. All the obvious things I tried. Multiple keys, turning the wheel to relieve the pressure of the steering lock, everything. Enough graphite to grease a battleship.

So in my desperate state I returned to the house to check my AllData subscription to see if I was missing anything. I returned to begin taking things apart to find the problem. The key lock mechanism is completely mechanical and free of the solenoids that prevent everything else on the Rover from working unless conditions are met. So with this bit of knowledge from my friend JagGuy I took the steering column cowling off. I messed with the lock some more but to no avail. I did manage to pull the electrics off the back of the tumbler mechanism and now know I can start my truck without the key.

Nothing worked, I had given up. Done. Call the tow truck. “Game over man, game over.” I started gathering the important things and put a couple of things back together. I was about to pull the key out and I thought one more try, what have I got to loose, twist and wow it turned. I have no idea why it turned, but it did. It did not start but it did turn. I had failed to secure the electric switch part of the mechanism back to the tumbler correctly. This is poorly manufactured and even more poorly designed. I managed to get it back together correctly and it started. It started consistantly at least 5 times.

Did I learn anything from the experience? Yes, I can take the silly thing apart in my sleep now. I know how the shifter mechanism works intimately. Could I replace a tumbler, probably but I’m not sure I would try it when the temperature was below 50 degrees farenheit.

I would like to thank Ryan at Rover Cannibal for his generous offer to bring my truck down for the guys to look at it, again. I will take him up on that soon. Thanks to JagGuy in helping me
return the Taurus to Janie so she could get home after work and for his invaluable knowledge of automobiles of the British Isles (do they still call them that?).

Have a good winter. Talk to you next week.