Thill Checks A Charger

Chrysler began introducing new, brawny styles of vehicles in 2006. The new look incorporates a high body line along with a low roof line. Add vertical, truck-like grills to this mix and you have vehicles that look like they are in motion even when standing still.

One such vehicle in the Chrysler fleet is the new Dodge Charger (photo 1). The Charger nameplate was used by Dodge in the late 70s for a muscle car but the name has not been used since 1987. Original Charger models had two doors while the new 2006 Charger has four doors. The jury is still out on whether a four door family-style car fits the same muscle car image as older Chargers.

One interesting feature on the 2006 Dodge Charger is the in-dash ignition lock (photo 2). The last time Chrysler passenger models used an in-dash ignition lock was in 1968. GM and Chrysler both went to the column-mounted ignition lock starting with the 1969 passenger cars.

IGNITION LOCK

The Dodge Charger ignition lock is very easy to remove if you have a key. Gently pry around the face of the black ring surrounding the ignition lock and it will unsnap from the dash (photo 3). Once the black ring is removed, you will have enough room to insert a probe along the side of the housing. The probe must have a right angle bend near the tip with a 1/4” leg. Aim the probe along the top of the housing and feel for the retainer hole. Photo 4 shows the inside of the housing with the retainer hole at the top of the housing (in approximately the 11:30 position).

Once the probe is pressing on the lock retainer, the lock plug must be turned to the ‘on’ position before the retainer can be fully depressed. Photo 5 shows the ignition cylinder after removal. Use a 703719 Strattec ignition lock if a replacement is needed. Charger ignition locks use a sidebar locking system so picking the ignition lock to the ‘on’ position is not a good option.

DOOR LOCK

Photo 6 shows one of several plastic plugs which are located on the sides of the door panel. The center stud can be pressed inward to release the plug. These plug retainers can be reused, but it is probably a good plan to get a couple extras from a Dodge dealer in case of breakage. There are also two plastic flaps, one in the center of the door panel and one inside the lock release area (photo 7). Once the flaps are unsnapped, two additional Phillips screws are visible for removal. Four Phillips screws on the bottom of the door panel are the final retainers holding the panel in place.

One bolt holds the door lock cylinder in place. Once the bolt is unscrewed, the lock cylinder can be pulled out towards the inside of the door (photo 8). Tabs retain the facecap, but it is easy to read the tumbler depths without removing the face cap by inserting a key blank into the lock and observing the tumblers through the large drain hole.

KEY FITTING

Dodge Chargers locks are all keyed alike. The door lock cylinder has seven tumblers in positions 2 thru 8. Door panel removal takes only about five to ten minutes. Once the seven door tumblers have been decoded, progress cuts in position one in the ignition until the proper cut is determined. Known Dodge Charger key blanks are: Strattec-692352, A1-Chr250, Hata-HAT-1718 & Barnes C21425. Use code card CX102 or equivalent. All 2006-2007 Dodge Chargers use transponder security, so you must have your favorite programming tool to complete the key fitting.

A DVD OF THIS PROCEDURE IS AVAILABLE

Tom Thill has taken a video of the procedures described in this article. Pictures included with this article are actually still photos taken from the DVD video. For further information on purchasing the DVD video contact: Toms Lockout, PO Box 1273, Bedford Park, IL 60493-1273.

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