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  #1  
Old 08-18-2006, 07:02 PM
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Replacing (?) the steering lock

Hello-

Was just reading up on removing the ignition tumbler. Under the DIY Links as organized by whunter (amazingly, I might add), there is a thread involving this "Ginger" lady. Someone posted that they replaced their tumbler and still had the same problem - the one I'm having now - of the key not turning at all. He recommended replacing the steering lock. What's this all about?
My problem is similar to a post I saw on benzworld. If after I take the key out of the ignition I turn the wheel, locking it, I will have a real hell of a time - including blisters on my finger & thumb and a sore arm - getting it to finally turn again. If I make sure the wheel is straight and then pull the key out - making sure I don't touch the wheel - it usually works the first try when I start it up again. This to me sounds like more of a steering lock problem. I've seen plenty of posts on replacing the tumbler/ignition switch, but nothing about replacing the steering lock. Any direction to links or instruction would be great! This is definitely my most urgent problem to fix!

Thanks!
Jim
1983 300SD Turbo Diesel
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2006, 08:19 PM
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i believe you are refering to the ign lock assembly.if so i just did it on my 86 sdl.there are threads detailing this procedure,just search for ign lock assy.not too bad ,getting the tumbler and locking collar back together was the worst part.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2006, 03:01 PM
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Grinding the steering lock pin

Upon doing further research here, I've decided grind down or remove the pin that locks the steering wheel. So...
Is it possible to do that by removing only the instrument cluster? I really don't want to remove the whole dash to get to it. It seems like the cylinder doesn't need to come out to grind down the pin. Is this right? And if so, what's the simplest way to expose the pin enough to grind it down or punch it out?
Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2006, 04:59 PM
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Location: Vancouver WA
Posts: 6,528
I was having this same problem and replaced the tumbler. When I got it all back together it locked up again, and it took me hours of wiggling to get the key to turn again. I bought the $80 steering lock from Phil, and it has worked well ever since. If you can get your ignition to turn you do not need to grind the pin. If your lock is stuck try wiggling vibrations and anything else you can think of before you resort to grinding the pin. The lock assembly is fairly easy to replace. You can follow the dieselgiant guide, but if you can turn the key to position 1 you can just press the pin rather than grind it down.
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1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

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  #5  
Old 08-19-2006, 06:21 PM
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Tumbler or Steering lock?

bgkast-
I read through your entire thread - that's where I came to the conclusion that it was the steering lock pin and not the tumbler. Here's the thing - when I pull the key out of the ignition - if I don't touch the wheel - it usually works first try when I go to start it back up. If I turn the wheel, I get blisters and a sore arm trying to get it started again. But when it works, it works no problem. That's why I think it's the steering lock and not the tumbler.
The tumbler seems easy enough to fix, but I'm not sure about the lock. If I just want to grind it down, do I have to pull the whole dash apart or can I access it from behind the instument cluster?
Or, does this problem sound obviously like it is the tumbler and not the lock? After all, I am an extreme novice.

By the way-
Did you buy a WVO kit or go part by part and put it together yourself?
Thanks!
Jim
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  #6  
Old 08-19-2006, 08:00 PM
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Remove the instrument cluster and the lower bit of the dash, it's just three screws and a plastic fastener. Diesel Giant has a very good tutorial.
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  #7  
Old 08-19-2006, 08:05 PM
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The steering lock assembly is held to the column by a collar that is held by a pin. That pin has to be ground down, sometimes, to release the steering lock assembly. That pin, however is NOT what keeps the wheel (and the key, sometimes ) from turning. There is a "bolt" (or slide) inside the assembly, the size of a finger, that gets jammed up. That is what needs to be cut off or removed.
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2006, 08:10 PM
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Just get it to turn one last time, then you can take it apart. You need to remove the tumbler, loosen the clamp that holds the lock in place, push the button then pull out the lock. It is a tight squeeze but it can be done. Now disconnect the vacuum lines (label them first) and remove the electronic switch from the rear. Assembly is the reverse of removal. I removed the cover under the dash and the instrument panel, then loosened the screws that hold the dash in place to make it a bit easier.

I designed and built the WVO conversion my self. There is a thread about it on the board somewhere.
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1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

1986 560SL - Wife's red speed machine
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2006, 04:54 PM
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steering lock replacement

There is some confusion about what pin is under discussion. The pin that has to be ground down to get unworkable lock out is not the bolt that goes into the steering column to lock it. To get the lock out a small button or pin must be depressed to allow extraction of lock assembly. This pin won't depress if steering lock is locked. So it must be ground down to allow lock extraction from a locked up postion. Grinding off the locking bolt (that goes into the steering) probably will not fix this problem. In my case, I had wrongly thought that the bolt itself was binding in the steering column, but not so. After key is removed and wheel centered a lever under the cylinder pops up and bolt goes into steering column. This lever must be depressed for key to turn. When it is working right, the tip of the key depresses this lever and lock can be turned. When it sticks and it is not due to the cylinder, I think it's due to this lever not being depressed enough to allow steering lock to be turned.

As many others have stated, if it gets stuck and you can get it to unlock once more, this is the time to remove the locking apparatus. (Rather than have to remove it when it is not unlockable.) Turn the wheel so the steering lock can't engage then start with the key cylinder - when it is out you can see how freely it operates. If it is stuck then you can get a new one with same key from MB or new cylinder and key aftermarket, if not then it is the steering lock. With cylinder out, you can see the lever referred to above. It will not stick up unless you move the wheel to allow lock bolt to extend, but then you're back to possibly being unable to unlock the steering lock again.

I just replaced the whole lock mechanism (keeping cylinder since it worked well out of the lock). A hard part was getting key buzzer connector out.

With the cylinder out,and lock in umnmlocked position, loosen clamp that holds lock in place at steering column, disconnect vacuum lines and rear mounted electic connector, depress pin and rotate and extract lock. I got a new one for around $115 but they usually are about $170.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2006, 12:48 PM
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conclusion...

So is it the consensus that i should just get a new tumbler and see if that solves it? If the tumbler doesn't solve it than I needed a new steering lock after all, but it's good to replace them both anyway...that's the impression I get.
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2006, 01:03 PM
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The ignition lock on my 84' 300D failed about 18mo ago and it wasn't the tumblers that had failed but a broken piece of a tab that actuates a small switch at the bottom of the lock housing. Apparently, the switch enables the 'key buzzer' .
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2006, 01:10 PM
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If you take the tumbler out you can look at it and try to operate it in your hand. If it seems OK I would get a replacement steering lock. I bought the new tumbler before taking the thing apart and looking at it and it turned out my old tumbler was just fine.
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1982 300SD - 232K miles - Wife's Daily Driver

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  #13  
Old 08-22-2006, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimZ View Post
So is it the consensus that i should just get a new tumbler and see if that solves it? If the tumbler doesn't solve it than I needed a new steering lock after all, but it's good to replace them both anyway...that's the impression I get.
I've had a bad tumbler before, and given what you describe I suspect your tumbler is fine. I think you were right in your original post when you suspected the steering lock. After reading R Leo's post I guess other things are also possible, but the steering lock seems the likely culprit to me.

In any event you will have to remove the tumbler, so I would do as bgkast suggests and test it once it's out. In my case the tumbler didn't work even when it was out so I knew it was bad. Yours will probably be OK. If I were you I wouldn't replace it until it starts to crap out. As you've probably read already, though, don't wait until it absolutely can't move anymore.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2006, 01:38 PM
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I'm not following why anything has to be drilled out. When the key is turned all the way to the right, the nub on the steering lock unit that secures it to the steering column can simply be pressed in to release the lock. What am I missing?
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2006, 02:30 PM
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Tumbler misaligned?

I'm going to take the tumbler out when I get home and see if it will work. I was just looking at it and noticed that the three dots that mark the key position are off by about 1/8". Is it possible that the square locking pawl on the side of the tumbler is misaligned with the space for it on the inside of the black cylinder, and this is what's causing the key to not turn? In any case, I'll pull it out when I get home. Has anyone done this without pulling the lower dash? Is there enough room to unscrew without removing it? Also, called one of the 4 dealerships in the area and was quoted $86 for the VIN specific tumbler. Sound about right?

R Leo-
Did you have to replace the whole steering lock? Was it noticably broken when you pulled it out? If not how did you locate the problem? Another problem with my car is that there are no buzzers. No key buzzers, no door's open buzzer, no blinker sound, no you left your lights on (which I've done twice - it's not like you can tell from the incredibly dim dash lights) buzzer. Nothing.

fastpakr-
I was thinking that the pin that comes out and locks the steering is failing, and grinding it down would mean no more steering lock - ever. But nevremj posted that "After key is removed and wheel centered a lever under the cylinder pops up and bolt goes into steering column. This lever must be depressed for key to turn. When it is working right, the tip of the key depresses this lever and lock can be turned." - so grinding the pin won't actually eliminate the steering from locking, it's the bolt inside the cylinder.

Thanks!
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