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removing lock cylinder / starting with screwdriver


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Ive been storing my 1980 280zx na coupe at a family members house for a while now. The family member in question had the only ignition key and she got her purse stolen. I have keys that i thought were for the ignition and the doors being that the ignition key she had also locked/unlocked the doors and decklid.

So i went over there today after work and she tells me the car has to depart from here garage in a few days. I replaced the fuel pump to prep it for the drive to my new place. Its been about 3 months scince the car was last turned over and 3 and a half scince it was last started and driven. And before that i started it every weekend and drove it to brunch with my mother in law every other sunday or so. So i know it will be driveable for the trip to the new house if i could just unlock the steering wheel and get it started.

I tried using my door keys whitch are considerably worn out, and jiggling the heck out of them while giving some turning pressure to no avail. I also tried this with a few similar 80's era nissan keys from friends vehicles.

I even tried putting an allen wrench in there and turning while manipulating the wafers with hairpins. (saw it in a movie once)

I pulled the covers off the and looked around for numbers to get a new key made and came up empty. No luck in the glove box or door lock cylinders either.

i thought jiggling my door keys in there would work for sure, being that they look just like my ignition key did but worn down.

I have a small slide hammer for body work. can i just thread a screw into the lock and rip the lock cylinder out and start it with a flat blade screwdriver? The car is registered and insured in my name and i have title in hand so im not worried about being pulled over on the way there with a screwdriver as a key. the car is also going into a locked garage for storage untill I can find a hatch and driver door and get started on my bodywork, so Im not worried about it being stolen. When i get the new hatch and doors Ill buy a full lock set with matching keys.

Any thoughts on the slide hammer idea? I was also thinking drilling out the snap off bolts that hold the ignition switch on and removing the lock and switch completly. wouldnt that free up the wheel? Then i could run a jumper wire with an inline circuit breaker to the fuel pump and the fuse box directly and push-start it, right? that sounds logical to me but then again its late and that could be the 10 hours i just spent in a hot as hell sportsbar kitchen talking. Any insight would be appricated. if i hadn't spent every dollar i had getting into this new house i would buy a new lock and key, get a hayes manual and swap it out or have it towed out and deal with it later. Damn i wish i had AAA

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The "key" is getting the steering lock off. Now there is a bunch of ways to do this but may I suggest unscrewing the snap bolts with a chisel or sharpened screwdriver. I did this to my 200b only yesterday and did not damage a thing. What you do is bite into the side of the screw head with the chisel with a firm tap and then use the indent to tap the screw off a bit and repeated :) the screws are not in too tight.

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I use a snap punch and all but one has come out over the years........so I used a regular punch on that one.


I was at a party and some girl asked me to give her a ride home while claiming to love Z cars.


Some wannabe suitor decided to hide my keys in an attempt to give her a ride home himself but I had a snap punch in the center console and further impressed her when I stripped the column cladding, quickly took off the lock, and drove off with her.




Once the snap off bolts are out, you remove the switch from the back of the lock and use a screwdriver to start the car.

Edited by HowlerMonkey
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  • 2 months later...

Is it possible to use an ignition lock from a 280zx in a 280z? My ignition key is very soft and might break soon, but the teeth on the key are soo worn, that im sure cutting a new key wont help. I found someone online selling a used ignition key lock "locally" with 2 keys from a 280zx. So I was wondering if its possible to use it?

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I went to the locksmith with a worn out key that worked on one driver door and ignition but not the passenger. He figured out the "numbers" with the worn down key (couldn't find the key number in the glove box or wherever the sticker normally resides) and cut one based on those numbers now the key works with the passenger door as well. Got a couple of spares as well ;)

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