I received this answer from Doug Gan at
while I was searching other websites. He knew exactly what was wrong and how to fix it. I followed his directions and it was a relatively simple fix. Many thanks to Doug and his information! It saved me $150 for a used column, the trouble of getting it, removing the broken one, and installing the used column. Here is what Doug wrote:
The part that broke is called an ignition rack actuator. It's a cast piece of metal that pushes the rod when you rotate the lock cylinder. I have enclosed a picture of what you want and my company does sell these. The reason you cannot shift it is because the long piece that extends to the right has broken inside the column and is not moving to release the shifter when you turn the key. When they break like that, nothing inside is moving where is should anymore.
Here are the instructions for replacing that piece.
1) remove the horn pad
2) remove the steering wheel
3) remove the 3 screws for the turn signal switch
4) under the dash and column disconnect the turn signal wire connector (large gray connector)
5) pull the turn signal switch up about 3 inches to give you room...you do not need to remove it
6) remove the 3 screws for the steering column outer housing
7) remove the lock cylinder (turn to on and depress the release pin under the lock
8) remove the housing
9) remove the snap ring from the center of the column shaft
10) remove the tile spring (it's hard to do so be VERY CAREFUL)
11) remove the two pivot pins on the side of the tilt housing
12) remove the tilt housing (catching the gear mechanism that drops)
13) part of the broken rack is still in the shift tube (on top)...it’s the part that is locking the shifter. With a right angle pick, slide the long piece up and remove it from the tube
14) remove the roll pin holding the rack actuator to the rod... DON'T LOSE THIS PIECE
16) putting the lock cylinder back in sync is the hard part. You will need to remove the snap ring and bearing from inside the housing and reset all of that to the correct timing or you will not have all the positions ACC, OFF, ON, START
Douglas Gan, Pres.