I thought I post this link in case you need to know how to replace the ignition tumbler in W202 models. I finally found an excellent diagram (or link to it):
There is a pdf file which you can download. I did not buy the removal tool (USD 80) but used a jar opening rubber with a hole in the middle to accommodate the key and use a regular pair of pliers to turn it. Did it in 10 minutes! (Also thanks to all those who had offered help before).