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If I swap steering columns, must I swap ignition keys?

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Old 11-07-2010, 12:48 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
If I swap steering columns, must I swap ignition keys?

I just purchased a 97 Expedition with about a half inch of play in all directions in the steering wheel. The airbag light is not on, but cruise control does not work. I pulled the airbag and the wheel/torx screw is tight on the shaft, so from reading the threads on steering columns (thank you guys - very educational, specail thanks to Steve83) I assume the housing assembly that holds the bearing below the wheel is either worn out or broke. There is a used column at the salvage yard and perhaps the problem will not warrant that once I pull the wheel and see what is actually broke - BUT assuming worst case and it is cheaper or easier to replace the entire column could I use my existing keyset in the new column? Between the anti-theft key fob and autostart, I am leery of creating a new set of problems to solve the existing one. Any guidance would be most appreciated.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Under the flightpath of ORD 22R
Vehicle: 2006 FORD F150
Posts: 10,312
the 1997 Expedition has a PATS key ?

Does it look like this :
Click the image to open in full size.

The F-150 introduced the PATS key with the digital odometer in 1999. The Expy had changes that were sooner on some items, this is why I ask.

The EXPY should be the same ( I cannot say 100% it is ) that the PATS info is stored in the HEC in the cluster. It is easy enough to pull the key cylinder, to get it in the new steering wheel column

Post #10, JMC describes how to remove the key cylinder in this thread ( on a F-150 )
Stopping beep beep
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:29 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
Yes I have a PATS key with a chip in it that looks very similar to the above, and how to program more keys (up to 16) is in the Owners manual that came with the vehicle. What I didn't (don't) know was what the "chip in the key" talked to and where it was located or how it actually works. The forum educated me on replacing the column and how to pull a key cylinder, but I could see myself with a new column that doesn't wiggle, but a truck that wouldn't start if the Key chip talked to a corresponding reciever (that wasn't changed) in the new column.
gary herring
97 Ford Expedition 4x4
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Louis (Out in the woods)
Vehicle: 2001 Ford F250 6.8
Posts: 5,345
There is nothing in the steering column that would require a new key provided you transfer the ignition cylinder.

The PATS system uses a ring around the key cylinder that is the antenna for the key reading process. As long as the replacement column has the antenna ring or you transfer the old one over, there's no problem.

IIRC, the 97 Expy & Navi were the first of Ford's trucks to get PATS (several high-end cars had it in 96). A separate PATS module was used until sometime in 98 or 99, at which time the PATS was integrated into the HEC and the PCM.
If your original owner's manual is missing, download a soft copy from www.fleet.ford.com under the MAINTENANCE tab.

1995 Mustang GT Convertible, only 68K miles.
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Last edited by projectSHO89; 11-07-2010 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:02 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Thank you very much - a new column with a transferred ignition cylinder is in my near future. The new column is from a 98 Exp so I will ensure it has the antenna ring identical to what is in my 97.
gary herring
97 Ford Expedition 4x4
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:02 PM


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