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  #1  
Old 02-07-2018, 01:30 AM
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frozen door locks, lube, steel keys

hey, i'm repeatedly running into 2 separate key lock issues with my 85 300D, and thought i'd try to get a more definite answer than the various past posts i read.


1) frozen door locks.
i've been locked out in 20įF weather a couple times this winter.
i’ve read:
- maybe the o ring is letting water in, but changing it seems to be a bit much.
- well lubed locks don’t freeze.
- WD-40 is not a true lubricant and more of a water displacing solvent.
- graphite, but that would end up in the ignition tumbler, and wouldn't it rinse away in rain anyway?
- so what is the proper lube for door lock that won’t attract dirt? all purpose grease? white lithium?
- also to note i've used rubbing alcohol to unfreeze, and it seemed to help. but the other day, after rain, i got in my car, moved it to another parking spot, and then somehow the tumbler was frozen when i tried to lock it.
- i prefer manual entry over remote
- i've also had my bicycle locks freeze, so i'm hoping the same lube will work for that.

also while i'm at it,
- the right lube for door checks, grease?
- is it possible to lube your seatbelt so it doesn’t jam, without taking it apart? it only happens now and then.

-

2) steel keys.
i've kind of given up on this.
- the MB plastic heads always break.
- i've read that brass copies leaving shavings.
- the locksmiths say that’s nonsense, citing the fact that apt door tumblers dont’ get jammed with shavings, but car locks are exposed to dirt/soot which is more likely to jam them up. and that steel keys would damage a tumblr faster. however they don’t know w123s.
- also i’ve had brass blanks stop working after just a few months, so i tried to use all steel keys.
- i found silca YM23 steel blanks on ebay, made in italy, german ebay seller. i've gone through 4 of them, 2 different locksmiths copied my master key from the classic center, and none of the copies worked on the passenger door or trunk, just the driver door and ignition. (earlier this winter my propane tent heater, which i use as my cordless city block heater, was locked in the trunk when the 20į weather didn't allow vacuums to unlock the trunk, and then it took a bit longer to start the engine)
- i saw one post that some originals were MB39, some were MB41. one of my brass blanks is MB41/X82, the other is YM31, they both work. makes me wonder if the silca YM23 is slightly wrong one, but i found no other all steel blanks.

thanks!

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1985 w123 300D turbo
jan 2018 - ~176,000 miles.
nov 2015 - mar 2017 running tri-state biodiesel, commercially made from restaurant waste veggie oil
looking to start a biodiesel buying club in nyc, brooklyn, queens.
just need somewhere to stash a 100+ gallon drum or tank.

Last edited by allenying; 02-07-2018 at 01:41 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2018, 11:30 AM
Diesel911's Avatar
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No low temps were I am but I thought I saw little spray cans with a tube that you cans stick into the Key Slot to unfreeze locks.

Keeping the water out is another issue. You might try taping over one of the locks on the door and see if that works or not. If it does not work perhaps the Water is getting in past the Window seals.

Putting a cold metal object inside a warm garage can cause Water condensation to build up on the object. At least the Military tells you during the winter not to bring you Fierarms into a warm tent and then take them back out in the Cold. You are supposed to keep the sheltered but at the same temp as the outside thmp.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2018, 11:46 AM
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You mention igniton tumbler. Are you also having trouble with that?

Rubbing Alcohol has Water in it.

I use brass keys and in the pic you can indeed see shavings.
Another Type of Ignition Lock Tumbler Issue W123 Pictures

However, the shavings did not cause the tumbler failure. Pevious to what happend in the thread I posted I had the inards of the Steering Colum Lock break.
When I investigated that I threw the Ignition Lock Tumber into an ultrasonic cleaning tank and when I turned it on a cloud of particles came out from the inside of the tumbler.

It is warm here and about 1 time a year I hosed the inside door and Ignition Lock Tumbler with WD-40. I figure it hoses out the shavings/chips.
And if it is not a perment lube it does loosen up sticky door locks. But again it is warm here.
Attached Thumbnails
frozen door locks, lube, steel keys-lock-tumbler-shavings.jpg  
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Last edited by Diesel911; 02-07-2018 at 12:08 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2018, 11:58 AM
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I would also suggest one of those pocket aerosols filled with alcohol. There is a stainless door and an o-ring that are supposed to block water, they may have failed. Even so, the spray will get your doors working.

Lubricating a lock is a big issue. My feeling is that no lubrication is best. If that doesn't work for you, then the lubricant that leaves the least amount of deposit...maybe a silicone spray. I don't like graphite, because it tends to build and clog, especially if you get frustrated and keep lubing it. Grease or oil are really bad, because they attract dirt. Lubrication will only make things worse if the cylinder isn't spotlessly clean. The real deal is to disassemble the cylinder and clean everything thoroughly. It's delicate work, but if you have the skill and tools then that's the ticket. Again, the alcohol sprays are you friend, since they will both clean and deice.

I keep reading about steel keys, but I would really be surprised if there were every any steel keys. Plated brass, yes. But steel would be harder and tougher than the bronze pins and would create a lot of wear. I've never had chipping from brass keys, that sounds like mythology too.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:13 PM
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I replace my Ignition Lock Tumbler with a Meyle one (they are not supposed to be any good but I did it anyway). It has a similar plastic key head.

I took a knife and sliced the key on the side, removed the metal part and filled the space with JB Weld Epoxy and re-assembled it claming it together till the epoxy cured.

That was in Aug, 2017 and no issues with the Key Head or the Tumbler for that matter.
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:44 PM
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In a pinch, pressing your thumb on the cylinder for 10 minutes warms it enough to work in ~20F ambient. I suppose your butt has better circulation and would heat a larger area than your thumb. At least that worked on my old SAAB 20 years ago. I might have had a lighter on me but too windy, I think.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2018, 03:55 PM
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my guess is water is freezing in the key hole, not further in the door, cause blowing hot breath for a few minutes will unfreeze the lock. and when i do that even my breath condensation will initially freeze on the outside before all melting. sometimes my thumb is numb by the time i get back to the car… winter surfing, biking, or sledding…

my ignition tumbler is working fine, i just don’t want to do anything that will speed up damage. i am letting other keys dangle, not a ton but 2 apt keys, 2 small mail keys, small roof rack key, small usb stick, small bicycle key, and a 2nd car key. if i separate i’d more likely lose the car key.

good point about alcohol having water… it did seem to help though, as the freezing temperature of alcohol in water is lower… i think i will put some in a pocket spray bottle, though it’s not an instant defrost either.

the stainless door of the keyhole is in tact, sometimes it freezes shut as well.

the original keys, classic center keys, and the silca steel key i found are indeed steel, they magnetize while the standard brass copies do not.

so i guess w/o a full cleaning, the best solution for now is either no lube or a lube that is not grease or oil, that claims to not attract dirt.

houdini lock lube is supposedly good.

i also called Renewable Lubricants | Home and they recommend 1 drop of their firearm lube. they make a variety of lubes, penetrants and greases, some food safe for kitchen equipment, some industrial grade for machinery, some products they sell buckets of to the military.

for locks they recommend their firearm lube, just 1 drop. it’s pricey for a tiny 0.25 oz, idk if 1 drop will really spread in the door lock and my bicycle U locks, maybe that’s overkill

maybe i'll just keep it simple with their bio blast penetrating oil, and order some multi purpose grease to have for other uses.
__________________
1985 w123 300D turbo
jan 2018 - ~176,000 miles.
nov 2015 - mar 2017 running tri-state biodiesel, commercially made from restaurant waste veggie oil
looking to start a biodiesel buying club in nyc, brooklyn, queens.
just need somewhere to stash a 100+ gallon drum or tank.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2018, 08:30 PM
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Location: Long Beach,CA
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On the Ignition Tumbler I am for pulling it once every1-2 years and popping it in the Ultrasonic Tank I have. And I had been doing that except.

Alternatively once it is out you can spay anything in or on the out side of it that does not eat up pot metal and hose it out with compressed air.

I wonder if the door locks could be hosed out with some cleaner and then some compressed air shot in through the slot to blow out any accumulated crud. I have not read of anyone doing that.

If it were my Car I would be curious to see if putting some tape over the Key hole when you get home at night keeps water out. An easy cheap experiment.
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2018, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allenying View Post
hey, i'm repeatedly running into 2 separate key lock issues with my 85 300D, and thought i'd try to get a more definite answer than the various past posts i read.


1) frozen door locks.
i've been locked out in 20įF weather a couple times this winter.
iíve read:
- maybe the o ring is letting water in, but changing it seems to be a bit much.
- well lubed locks donít freeze.
- WD-40 is not a true lubricant and more of a water displacing solvent.
- graphite, but that would end up in the ignition tumbler, and wouldn't it rinse away in rain anyway?
- so what is the proper lube for door lock that wonít attract dirt? all purpose grease? white lithium?
- also to note i've used rubbing alcohol to unfreeze, and it seemed to help. but the other day, after rain, i got in my car, moved it to another parking spot, and then somehow the tumbler was frozen when i tried to lock it.
- i prefer manual entry over remote
- i've also had my bicycle locks freeze, so i'm hoping the same lube will work for that.

also while i'm at it,
- the right lube for door checks, grease?
- is it possible to lube your seatbelt so it doesnít jam, without taking it apart? it only happens now and then.

-

2) steel keys.
i've kind of given up on this.
- the MB plastic heads always break.
- i've read that brass copies leaving shavings.
- the locksmiths say thatís nonsense, citing the fact that apt door tumblers dontí get jammed with shavings, but car locks are exposed to dirt/soot which is more likely to jam them up. and that steel keys would damage a tumblr faster. however they donít know w123s.
- also iíve had brass blanks stop working after just a few months, so i tried to use all steel keys.
- i found silca YM23 steel blanks on ebay, made in italy, german ebay seller. i've gone through 4 of them, 2 different locksmiths copied my master key from the classic center, and none of the copies worked on the passenger door or trunk, just the driver door and ignition. (earlier this winter my propane tent heater, which i use as my cordless city block heater, was locked in the trunk when the 20į weather didn't allow vacuums to unlock the trunk, and then it took a bit longer to start the engine)
- i saw one post that some originals were MB39, some were MB41. one of my brass blanks is MB41/X82, the other is YM31, they both work. makes me wonder if the silca YM23 is slightly wrong one, but i found no other all steel blanks.

thanks!
This happens to me periodically in Michigan.
To resolve, when it happens, I heat a steel key with a large butane lighter and force it into the lock slowly.
Typically , doing this twice cleans everything for the year.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2018, 01:44 PM
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The idea of a wet lube then air pressure to blow out the dust sounds like the best way to deal with a door lock. Perhaps a yearly job to maintain them.

Purchasing a new tumbler for the ignition is on my todo list this spring. It's not that expensive.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2018, 11:03 PM
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Graphite lube was always my go to. Then again, the key lock could be unlocked with a flat headed screwdriver.

I ultimately bypassed the entire problem by getting a keyless door lock system. You wire the power to the clock in the instrument panel.

The system worked surprisingly well. I didn't even have to drill anything.
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2018, 12:22 AM
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Carry a lighter. The door locks freeze on both my 116 and 123 when it gets really cold here. So I keep a lighter in the garage and in my desk at work. Just let the flame lick the underside of the door handle key housing and it will warm up the lock just enough to turn it. Only problem is if you live in an area where the wind blows it might be tougher. Been doing it for years.
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  #13  
Old 02-09-2018, 12:56 AM
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I would never introduce a wet lubricant. They are known to retain dust and grit which will accelerate wear. Powered graphite will make the nastiest lock smooth as silk, and when used from new, will make a lock last forever.

If your lock already is contaminated with dirt or brass key shavings, I would use only compressed air to blow it out, not any liquid product.
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  #14  
Old 02-09-2018, 07:50 AM
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cho cho is offline
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.

after two harsh winters here I got fed up with carrying lighter on me...so
installed keyless/remote for 20 bucks ... never looked back... never regretted

cheers

chO

.
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2018, 04:58 PM
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keyless for only 20 bucks. i'll see if my issue gets severe as it was last month before i got it slightly better w/ alcohol.

seems like there are mixed experiences w/ graphite vs wet lube, if the wet lubes that claim to not attract dirt, because they're non-ionic, actually don't attract dirt, then that seems better than graphite that some say will gunk up.

__________________
1985 w123 300D turbo
jan 2018 - ~176,000 miles.
nov 2015 - mar 2017 running tri-state biodiesel, commercially made from restaurant waste veggie oil
looking to start a biodiesel buying club in nyc, brooklyn, queens.
just need somewhere to stash a 100+ gallon drum or tank.
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