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Old 10-10-2009, 09:56 AM
Keep Right Except To Pass
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burlington County, NJ
Posts: 31
Ventng About My Ingnition Swith - W124 1989

Last Saturday morning, I ran my neighbor to the DMV and afterwards we went to a few of dealerships looking at cars. Needless to say there was some stopping and starting with my 300E because of our moving around.

Not once did my ignition switch hint at a problem during these starts. I make it back home later that morning, do some errands around the house and now I 'm ready to head out to my toy store (Best Buy). I unlock the door, sit down, attempt to slide my key into the ignition, but my key only goes into the ignition halfway. Bewildered I slide the key out and try inserting the key again. Same thing. I reluctantly forced the key in and it went in with just a little force. Now the key will not turn. After trying to start the car for about 15 minutes, I give up, get in the other car and then I'm off to Best Buy.

While I'm out, I'm thinking about what could be the cause, so I'm going through my mind about resolutions on unsticking the ignition. I get back home and I am back to trying.

To shorten the story, it is now a week later, and still no movement. However I have contacted several mechanics regarding my situation. My 1st mechanic contacted is excellent and reliable, he does the majority of the work that I cannot do myself (which is most), but he informs me that he would have to see the car. I then call my Indy shop nearby and he tells me pretty much the same, but warns me to get the key at least into Position 1 because it will make things easier and less expensive, but if not he'll be able to do it but I will have a separate key for the ignition than the rest of the car (I don't want that).

Then I contact the dealership and I'm throwed back about the cost. They quoted me $396 just to drill the ignition to get it out and $150 for the assembly. $550 just to replace my inginition in a 20 year old car! I love my car but, D!@#m!

This morning, I have tried everything again, turning the steering wheel left & right, up & down while turning the ignition along with any other trick I've read on and off forum but with no success.

I just can't believe I have to shell out this amount of money, but after seeing the DIY's on this forum about how to do this, I may be getting off good because I am not that confident in my DIY skillset.

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Old 10-10-2009, 11:38 AM
ps2cho's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Posts: 3,523
Heres my thread on it...

Think the tumbler has gone on 88 300TE

If you want to go DIY on it, you'll save yourself $396. You'll need a dremel, time and lots of patience!
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:22 PM
Keep Right Except To Pass
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burlington County, NJ
Posts: 31
Thanks for the reply ps2cho.

While looking through the forum, most of the help I've run across is for the consideration that I have the ignition in Position 1.

I like yourself, cannot move. I may have to go out and by the necessary tools to get this job done in leiu of $396.

I'll keep posted.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:46 PM
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 15,243
If you have a tool like a sander to place on the key while putting it in the ignition, the vibration may allow it to enter the tumbler and get it to position 1.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cicero, Hamilton County, Indiana about 30 miles north of downtown Indianapolis
Posts: 2,623
Do you ever lube the lock?

I think a lot of this ignition switch/key problem could be avoided if once or even twice a year you would lube the inside of the cylinder with a just off the counter tube of powdered graphite that you can "blow" into the lock when you squeeze the tube. On my 86 300E the ignition lock was very stiff after being in storage for 9 years. I lubed it immediatley and it has turned very easy ever since. I think Monday I will give both cars a shot.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:46 PM
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Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
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Originally Posted by mcameron View Post
I just can't believe I have to shell out this amount of money, but after seeing the DIY's on this forum about how to do this, I may be getting off good because I am not that confident in my DIY skillset.
It's 20 years old and 100% of them eventually fail.

This means the independent Mercedes mechanics know how to do it, too. Try to find one with a "loaner" cylinder, so you can drive while you wait for the replacement--which your independent will order through a dealer.

Also, don't fixate on "drilling." None was required to remove ours, just the proper special tools.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:56 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northeast Indiana
Posts: 10,767
1 - do not use dry graphite in a lock, it can become impacted with the stuff and the lock will jamb. Do use a good lock lube, at this point however I'd suggest a good spray lube to get it loosened up.

2 - As Pawosd says, use a vibrating sander or something on the head of the key as you attempt to turn it (with the steering lock NOT bearing against it of course), it will likely eventually move. This method has been used MANY times by folks on this forum, and will save you most of that $400 plus possible damage to your dash.


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