Key Stuck In Ignition Fixed!
Per my post, dated 01-05-2012, 09:36 PM.
I found and fixed the key and start problems.
Back in January I was experiencing a problem where I wasn't able to turn the key to the natural position where the key can be removed from the ignition. This was due to the binding of parts within the shift mechanism.
Understanding how it works: There is a cable that runs from the gear shifter to the ignition/key in the steering column. This cable prevents the ignition key from being removed unless the shifter is in park. In addition there is a solenoid that prevents the button on the shifter from being depressed unless your foot is on the break. The cap on the solenoid has a hole where a metal bar connects the solenoid to the button linkage.
The Problem: The cap on this solenoid had come loose, slid down the metal bar, and was binding between the bar and metal shifter base.
The Fix: Just slide the cap back on the solenoid and snap it into place. Maybe a little glue on the cap to prevent it from coming louse again. I placed some grease on the metal bar to reduce friction between the bar and solenoid cap.
Solenoid location: The solenoid is located under the tray that is located between the shifter and ash tray, or hole between the seat heater switches. Modal dependent.
Access the solenoid: Lift the rubber mat off the tray and remove the two tray screws. You will see the solenoid. It's a white cylinder with a metal bar protruding rearward toward the shifter. You might opt to remove the center console too.
Quick Fix: If you're in a jam and need to remove the key without disassembling things read on. With the engine off, shifter in park, your foot on the break, quickly press and release the shifter button a few times. Do this without shifting. This will temporally dislodge the solenoid cap and allow you turn the ignition to the natural position where the key can be removed. Repeat as necessary.
Failing that, you probably have a more serious problem.
I was having intermittent starter trouble. I would try to start the Jeep by turning the ignition key. The dash lights, radio, and other electrical would come online, but the starter would not activate.
The Fix: I removed the electrical cables from the starter, unbolted the starter, and then reinstalled the bolts holding the starter in place.
Why this worked: The electrical connections including the ground to the block had become oxidized. By disconnecting and reconnecting the wires and removing and reinstalling bolts, I scraped the oxidation off, making for a good electrical connection.