Ford Customs again! It’s not that I have something against them, I think they look great. However, from where we stand, there are problems with every single aspect of locks and keys on this model, so we’re going to write about it. The first obvious problem was the Custom and Transit door lock problem, now we have an issue with the Ford Custom ignition.

Ford custom ignition

We’ve written alot about this, click here to read more. Then we highlighted how the Ford Custom Key have  buttons that stop working and blades that go floppy. Again, click here to read more about this problem. Now, the only part left on the van that we look at is the Ford custom ignition.

Ford have been making ignitions for years and although they are known to wear, it was always after 7-8 years on the old Mk7 Transit.

Ford Custom Ignition warning signs

However, in the last few weeks we’ve seen several Ford Custom ignition locks that have simply stopped turning, with the owners stranded. You may get a bit of warning, with the key needing a wiggle in the lock to get it to turn. Unfortunately, if you leave the problem too long, you’ll suddenly get stuck.

There are two problems that cause the Ford Custom ignition to stop turning. We’ll look at both in this article. Think of it like going on a long journey with two kids in the back of the car.

Image result for annoying kids in car

If you have one that’s annoying, and badly behaved, but the other child just doesn’t take the bait, then you have an annoying problem. However, this annoying problem doesn’t cause too much stress for the journey.

However, if you have two problem kids in the car and they interact, then the journey will be hell and long and painful, or you won’t start the journey at all. This is what we have with the Ford Custom ignition problem, let me explain.

Ford Custom ignition Problem One – Worn key blades.

The first half of the problem is the amount of wear on Ford key blades. The curvy line that runs along the length of your key is important. The shape of that line is unique to your van. For the Ford Custom ignition lock to work correctly, the key needs a crisp line that is well defined. This crisp line must move all the lock levers into the correct place, so the lock will turn.

Ford Custom ignition

The blade shown here is a real, worn blade from a recent breakdown of a 2015 Ford Custom. There is a video at the end of this article and it explains in detail how we helped our customer who was stranded. If you have a similar van, this could be you so it’s worth a look. The key blade is wearing at any point that sticks out to a point, such as wear the arrow is pointing to.

So once the key gets worn, it struggles to move all the ten of the levers into the correct place. We’re seeing many worn key blades on 2014-2015 vans, just four years old. This is another example of Inferior Component design and manufacture that we’ve written so much about. So, half the problem is the key.

Ford Custom ignition Problem Two – Worn lock levers.

The other half of the story is the levers that move up and down inside the lock. With the Ford Custom ignition there are ten lock levers and they are made from brass.

Ford custom ignition

Consequently, every time the key slides in and out, the levers are worn slightly. Once the problem starts to show itself, with the ignition being ‘sticky’ to turn, it normally starts to get a bit of abuse. This starts of as wiggling the key up and down and this normally gets the lock to turn. However, every time the lock is forced against its will, it wears the levers even more.

Ford custom ignition

Again, the video below shows how the worn key and levers causes the levers to stick out and stop the key from working.

Stranded at the drive in.

Our latest unlucky Ford Custom owner was filling up at the petrol station when the key finally gave up the ghost and refused to turn in the ignition. It was blocking the pump and although they managed to push it out of the way, they had a big problem.

The owners were sixty miles from home and were looking at an expensive recovery. This is all simply because of inferior component design.  In our opinion, parts that are not designed to last, as a result they fail prematurely.

So, we put together this video that explains what we’re seeing and how it may affect you. This includes us going out to a 2014 Ford Custom on a very blowy day. It shows how we got the van running and then afterwards, we strip the faulty Ford Custom ignition to pieces and show you where the problem lies. We hope this helps you.

What can I do about my stuck Ford Custom ignition lock?

The first thing is, don’t ignore it. Think about the dentist.

Early on it’s a bit of a niggle, it needs an expert to take a quick look and treat it. There’s a bit of pain but it’s as cheap and painless as it’s going to get. If you ignore the problem, it starts to become painful, and eventually you’ll be in agony.

Then it will be so bad that they need to pull out the tooth, which is painful and unnecessary. It’s just the same with the ignition.

If you catch it early and get a new blade done, then you may save the ignition from getting worse. However, if it gets damaged from a worn key blade, then just like the tooth, the lock will need to come out and be replaced. So, don’t ignore it!







8 replies
  1. Rik
    Rik says:

    Cheers fella, I had a 3 year old 2017 tourneo custom that was getting issues – could turn it on but not go to crank once in a while. Got worse so google led me here. Compared used key with unused spare and the wear was ridiculous – you saved me the trouble of being stranded, and I have the tourneo to cart around a multitude of kids so that would be bad!

    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Rik, glad you not stranded with the family. It’s amazing how much these keys are locks are wearing out, we replace 2-3 every week, just in Lincolnshire! Thanks for the feedback

  2. Iain
    Iain says:

    Just had similar problem 19th Feb 21
    16 plate custom
    Would start and drive wouldn’t go from 1 to 0 to release key so got to a mates garage
    as he tried to remove immobiliser kicked in and wouldn’t start
    So in there awaiting repair

  3. Karl Gillians
    Karl Gillians says:

    I have had the same problem tonight. Tried the new key which is still very iffy.
    Will Ford’s be able to supply a new barrel or does it have to be made up as you did?

    • Steve Bulleyment
      Steve Bulleyment says:

      Hi Karl. Yes they can, but I would recommend a local Auto Locksmith. If you find a good one, they will come to you, and use Ford parts but I’m sure will both save you time and money

  4. Aaron Rout
    Aaron Rout says:

    Mines been doing it intermittently for the past few weeks, 68 plate custom. Been an about pain today, 5 mins to get it to work, even the spare key make zero difference. Now to find the time to get new keys done and/or change the barrel.


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