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RX300 ignition cylinder replacement part -on the cheap!-


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When I started my '01 RX endeavor (auction purchased-no keys- eckk!) I was able to get a flat key cut to the info supplied by my dealer's parts dept. and my VIN verified by my title.

At this point all I expected/hoped to do was unlock the steering column so that towing (and then parking) the car would be possible without crabbing the steering tires around to get it onto the deck of the tow vehicle.

Key cut to VIN operated the door locks & glove box, but would not work in the ignition cylinder to unlock the steering.

Tried & tried & tried. Lubed, raked key into and out of the lock -LOTS- of times, found the 'fix' for -stuck- lock cylinder suggesting to strike the inserted key, lock cylinder alone, tool slim & long enough to poke around inside the key slot, bottom out in the cylinder, and strike that tool too. Lube/jiggle/exercise/strike again & again. All to no avail.

The auto locksmith I'd found to do ECU reflash and related key work even suggested that 'strike' thing too.

Well, once I removed the ignition cylinder holder/steering lock-electrics unit from the car the locksmith was able to pick the cylinder, and remove it from the assembly.

Since the car was expected to show hundred s-of-K on the odometer I didn't want to depend on a lock cylinder of questionable age/condition. Any salvaged parts I could find were of that same -unknown mileage-, so I didn't care to depend on any of them either.

A new lock cylinder from Lexus would be about $350. A reproduction of the RX lock cylinder was going to be about $275 ! (insane). The absolute cheapest alternative I could find after copious research was $175 for a new reproduction(?). 

I learned that the same company producing the reproduction RX part also marketed a cylinder for the IS300 too.

That IS300 cylinder sold on Amazon for under $70. I bought one.

Closely scrutinizing the IS300 reproduction, and comparing it to the factory RX cylinder revealed that the trim ring with the positions marked on it was 180 degree opposite of my original. Otherwise, exactly the same.

The lock cylinder is provided with a key code identifier tag that coincides with Toyota/Lexus key code, so having additional keys cut via code is possible with automated key machine equipment.

I -COULD- have finagled the trim rings between key cylinders so that everything looked absolutely proper, but didn't feel the need on a 23 year old car.

I'd suspect that the HUGE difference in cost between the reproduction parts between the IS and RX version was the call for the RX part mounted in the dash vs. IS mounted on the column additional stock number, retooling, or otherwise sourcing that particular trim ring proved cost prohibitive, and ultimately, stupidly expensive.

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