Ignition lock sticking

wayneking

1986 Ericson 38-200
The lock on my ignition switch keeps sticking to the point where I can't turn the key at all. Silicon spray solves the problem but only temporarily, i.e., if I haven't turned the lock for maybe a week it's stuck again. Any suggestions on what would be a longer lasting solution without gumming up the lock? 6-56 maybe? WD-40? Something else?
 

peaman

Member III
Ignition switches are pretty basic and generic. It ought to be pretty easy to just replace it.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Sure, and consider a push pull switch. True, anybody can steal your boat--the least of my worries.
My (used) boat came with a heavy duty push/pull engine switch. Universal key switch had been replaced previously by the sailing club that operated it for 3 years. I always wondered if, like other boats, someone kicked and broke the key since the panel is mounted low down in our model.
Our new panel (Betamarine) now has an acrylic cover over most of it, and hopefully the new key will survive OK.
Another way to look at this is that after 30 years of service most of these electromechanical parts do not owe us anything.....
 

Shankara

Member I
I like Ballistol spray for a lubricant. Apply carefully around gel coat as it can make a mess. Perhaps take it off and do it elsewhere. Also make sure the two holes (if applicable) on the backside of the ignition switch are positioned top and bottom so any moisture will drain out in the future.
 

wayneking

1986 Ericson 38-200
My (used) boat came with a heavy duty push/pull engine switch. Universal key switch had been replaced previously by the sailing club that operated it for 3 years. I always wondered if, like other boats, someone kicked and broke the key since the panel is mounted low down in our model.
Our new panel (Betamarine) now has an acrylic cover over most of it, and hopefully the new key will survive OK.
Another way to look at this is that after 30 years of service most of these electromechanical parts do not owe us anything.....
I also have a new Betamarine panel installed just a couple of years ago (with the acrylic cover) by the previous owner. So, seems kind of premature to be having this problem. The switch can't be worn down at this point which is why I'm looking at a lubricant option.
 

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
WD-40? Something else?
Mine was really sticky when I purchased the boat and I used powdered graphite and it worked well. It comes in a little tube and the big box stores carry it. I've always used it on doors around the house and it works well on the 90 year old door mechanisms too. It's powder so a tiny bit messy but just hold a damp rag or paper towel close and the excess will stick to it.
 

David Grimm

E38-200
I left the ignition switch in place but jumped the wires over to a push pull switch. In a few weekends I will be removig the key switch and installing a Cole Hersee low oil pressure/over temp warning buzzer/light in its place. My key stopped working reliably 2 seasons ago.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I also have a new Betamarine panel installed just a couple of years ago (with the acrylic cover) by the previous owner. So, seems kind of premature to be having this problem. The switch can't be worn down at this point which is why I'm looking at a lubricant option.
There is a multi year warranty on those. You ought to contact the US supplier for advice.
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