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Old 07-10-2010, 02:00 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Big Island- Hawaii
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81 300SD Broken Key in Ignition- Ignition not locked can drive

So the key got stuck in the on position and wouldn't go back. Jiggle Jam Twist and voila- borken. Thankfully in the on position so I ran two alligator clips to the starter and can start it etc...

But obviously that is a short term solution.

My question:

Will this make things tough when trying to pull the tumbler? If so, any thoughtful solutions?


1985 300D- 222k- (bad transmission)
1980 300D- (parts car)
1982 300SD- 242k
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mount Holly, NC
Posts: 26,274
you broke a key in the lock? was it a wallmart copy or an original MB key? when you say alligator clips to the starter, do you mean all the way to the starter itself, or just to the junction block on the fender?
if you cannot turn the key, you will not be able to get the tumbler out.
it must be in position II to get the pin pushed to release the tumbler.
do you have another key? you can get a palm sander, and without paper on it, use it to vibrate the tumbler while you jiggle the key to get it out, then put in your spare key and turn to the position II. no spare, gotta go to the dealer and order one.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:16 AM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Land O Lakes, FL
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Wait a minute, he said stuck in the on position. Isn't that position 2?

If you can get a paper clip into that tiny hole on the black collar, then you'll be able to remove it.
Rick Miley
2014 Tesla Model S
2018 Tesla Model 3
2017 Nissan LEAF
Former MB: 99 E300, 86 190E 2.3, 87 300E, 80 240D, 82 204D Euro
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:19 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mt. Airy, NC
Posts: 891
These are the key settings

Off - Accessory - Run - Start

The tumbler needs to be in accessory for the access hole to be over the release hole.

there is a small hole in the aluminum cover to the tumbler. that is the access hole.

You need to take a flashlight and see if the small hole is over the tumbler release hole. If it is then you are golden...just stick a stout paperclip in there and when you feel it detent, then turn the black shroud surrounding the tumbler.

Do not drill the the tumbler. Do not drill the tumbler. do not drill the tumbler.

Me feeling is that if you can jump the starter then you are in "run" and not "accessory".

That being the case, go ahead and order a new tumbler from the dealership. (it comes with the key, its like 75$.)

then examine the tumbler.

worst case is you will need to drill a small hole in the aluminum cover that spins with the tumbler over the release hole. Once you have access to that, you can put your paperclip in and remove the shroud and tumbler. That black shroud is the only thing that is holding your tumbler up against the ignition switch. I'm going to go take some pictures for you.


once you have a paperclip in that hole, then the big square on top will recede and you can spin the black shroud freely which will allow you to get install the new tumbler. Just get a new tumbler, unless it's been recently replaced, the leaves in your tumbler are probably very worn.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any further clarification on the extraction process.
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81 300SD Broken Key in Ignition- Ignition not locked can drive-imag0127.jpg  

77' 300D, "Cartman" SOLD @ 150K (didn't know what I had)
83' 300SD, "The Superdon" 325k+ @ 28mpg
95 E320 wagon, "Millennium Falcon" 231k+ @ 24 Mpg
95 E300D, "Sherley" 308k @ 33.69 Mpg, currently anticipating a head
99 Suzuki Intruder "Trudy" @ 45 mpg

Last edited by thayer; 07-10-2010 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Simi Valley, CA (SoCal)
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Unless the locking mechanism is jammed and won't let the tumbler turn. In either case, you'll probably need a tumbler unless you can dislodge the key once the tumbler is in hand. Worst case you'll need an ignition lock as well.

You should be playing the lottery with luck like that.

'84 300SD 119KMi (Liesl der Diesel)
'84 300D 326KMi when the oil left (former parts car)
'82 300SD 253KMi (new parts car)
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:00 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mount Holly, NC
Posts: 26,274
yeah, accessory, not run.
key positions are noted as 1 off key removable, 2 accessory, 3 run position, 4 momentary start position.
that's how I was learned it...
the OP has not chimed back in, so he may be running it with the vacuum line disconnected, and the only bonus for him is that the steering lock is not engaged. if that's the case, he should be able to push in the pin.
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