Factory keys, cutting codes
I have a little bit of information along with a question regarding getting "master" keys cut from the VIN code on Ford vehicles.
The '97 F-250 7.3L I just bought came with only one key, which happened to be the original and quite well worn. It wouldn't unlock the driver door, and needed a bit of a wiggle to turn both the passenger door and the ignition cylinder. Taking it to my local locksmith did not help any as he does very high-quality copies and every flaw in the original worn key was immediately transferred in flawless form to the shiny new blank. I took my registration document with ID over to a dealer and inquired about getting a master key cut from the VIN code. They were happy to comply, if only they were able to. As it turns out, the Blue Oval no longer keeps key codes for vehicles 10 years old and older. Well crap, that put me in a bit of a jam, and kind of steamed me up a bit as I ran into a similar situation with my '83 Mercedes 300D turbodiesel which came with a badly worn set of ILCO brass nickel plated brass copies and not the original steel Mercedes keys. A trip to the dealership with my registration and title and $35 dollars later a master set of OEM steel keys arrived in the mail the following week. I see this kind of service as absolutely essential for any manufacturer so as to prevent folks from having to get the entire vehicle's locks reworked if the keys are lost.
I just happened to drive past another dealership yesterday, and the parts counter was a little more worn and the guys inside looked like they turned a wrench as opposed to answering phones. As it turns out, I explained my situation to the guy at the counter, and he measured each of the positions on the key, wrote them down, and went in the back and brought out a blank key and a Ford Rotunda key cutter. He dialed in each position, cut each one, and told me to go try it. Voila! The ignition cylinder worked without complaint, no jiggling. This time, however, the new key with nice jagged edges and sharp points between each position had no joy in the passenger door, and the driver door as always wouldn't budge. He then rounded off the sharp points, and now both the passenger door and the ignition work without hesitation. The driver door lock is quite obviously worn down to an inoperable level, and the passenger door, due to needing the points rounded down, is on its way. This now gives me a nice master key from which I can make copies to put on my every day keys.
Anybody out there with an older truck that has the original key getting worn down, I highly recommend finding someone at a dealership that doesn't mind going the extra mile to help you get an original key.
Here are my questions:
1) If you have a 2000 or previous model year Ford, with or without chipped key, and you lose your key, basically you are screwed. Does anyone out there know of a way to look up key codes for vehicles older than 10 years old? Why in the hell would Ford not keep this data? I can go to ANY other manufacturer (in recent memory I have done this with Toyota, Mercedes, Chrysler, and GM... some 10+ years, some less), and with proof of ownership I can get a key made for a very reasonable price.
2) Do any of you have experience re-keying a Ford door lock to a specific key? Now that I have the original key and a key code with an ignition cylinder that works perfectly, I would prefer to have new locks installed on the door that are keyed to the ignition. I hate carrying around more keys than I have to.
I thought maybe that would help any of you folks who have to sometimes sit and jiggle your key in the cylinder for ten seconds in the morning before heading off to work.