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123 300D driver 06-06-2002 04:46 PM

Gonna cut W123 ignition lock...key won't turn
Bad news. My ignition won't turn past the zero position after many hours of trying every which way. I have to cut the ignition lock out and replace with a new one and new tumbler. The tumbler mechanism has a lot of "slop" in it so no wonder.

Does anyone have any suggestions about where to cut the old ign lock, say near the 10 mm clamp area? Will the parts just fall out when the ign lock is cut in two, or does it somehow stay connected to the steering column? This job looks do-able, but I need to know how the ign lock is connected to the steering lock before I begin cutting. I plan to use the 1.5" dremel cuttoff disk.

Thanks a million for any help.

I will post my results and pics when I get through with this.

'79 300D

Jim Anderson 06-06-2002 05:19 PM

I want to see some pictures of it when you get the old one out, I came real close of doing that myself. I thought of stuffing the old tumbler with plastic explosive, that stuff is pretty shapeable.

Did you try some, or any, form of vibration? Something like the handle of an orbital sander. I heard that has worked and makes some sense to me.

123 300D driver 06-06-2002 05:39 PM

Thanks Jim, I tried an engraver vibrating from the face of the tumbler, but that didn't help. Maybe I will try the sander, but apply the vibration from below. Maybe it will rattle something loose in there and allow me to turn the key to position 1. Maybe a vertical rattling is better than horizontal because gravity would pull a broken part downwards if that were possible in this case. Worth a try.



Billybob 06-06-2002 09:49 PM

Try applying the vibration to the key itself while simultaneously applying turning clockwise turning pressure to the key!

Do a search and check out similar threads, start here

The problem is usually the tumbler pins are not being lifted to the proper height and therefore the tumbler is unable to rotate. Vibrating the key while set the pins to moving and at some point they will all be at or near the proper height and if you are applying a slight clockwise force to the key the tumbler will turn! Higher frequency vibration is better!


the_good_fellow 06-07-2002 03:00 AM

You might have to try it with a new key and some wd-40.

Holson Adi 06-07-2002 08:58 AM

Try a new key with it first.
My ignition lock was getting kinda hard to turn and after I bought a new key it now works perfectly. I didn't even think the new key looked like the old one when I got it!

stevebfl 06-07-2002 12:14 PM

When you have given up hope, get your new parts and look at them. You will need a new steering lock and tumbler and the hardened black ring that surrounds them. Once you have the pieces you can put it all together in your hands and see how it works.

There is a pin that holds the steering lock in. It can be drilled, but you need to know where it is. This can be best viewed from the new one.

With the steering lock hanging under the dash from the harness the electrical part of the switch can be removed by strategic incisions through the switch cutting the three mounting bolts. It is probably best then to just throw away what is left - the steering lock/tumbler/retainer arrangment (less electrical switch).

123 300D driver 06-07-2002 12:24 PM

I'm not gonna cut the ign lock
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I tried the orbital sander trick, and after about 1 min of vibrating, the key turned!. I applied the vibes from directly below the ign lock using a short piece of wood in between the sander pad (held vertically) and the ign lock body. The vertical vibes must have rattled everything back into place one more time. This trick helped a bundle!

I pulled the plastic tumbler cover off that has the 0 I II key positions. Then I removed a snap ring that collered the part that the key fits into. See my attached pic. The red arrow shows where the snap ring was located. From here I have no idea how the tumbler comes out. I did a search on tumbler removal, and there is lots of stuff about inserting a large paperclip into a hole and then withdrawing the tumbler from the lock. I don't see any way that that would work here, as you can see there are no 2mm dia holes to be seen on my pic.

Any ideas about how to get this 1979 W123 tumbler out? Vehicle chassis # is 119208.



123 300D driver 06-25-2002 12:37 PM

The new tumbler is in!
I ordered a new original-keyed tumbler...took about 2 weeks. I found out that I have an old style tumbler that doesn't have the release pinhole from the front, like just about everyone else on this message board. Mine has the release pinhole on the ignition lock body. It is located at right angles to the key axis, about 1.5 cm underneath the dash at about the 1 o'clock position. The detent on the tumbler can be depressed when the key is on position 1, which allows you to withdraw the tumbler and key.

My previous post mentions a snap ring. All it does is hold the tumber assembly together. Nothing to do with withdrawing it from the lock.

gastropodus 09-21-2011 05:10 PM

Good news and bad news
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I thought I would add a picture to this thread for the benefit of those who follow on down this path. The arrow shows the location of the hole that you have to poke to get the key cylinder / tumbler to release and come out. I was able to use a large size stiff paper clip to accomplish this. Note that you can't see the hole directly: it is pretty close to the back side of the dash surround, so I had to use the mirror to get the clip into the hole. But it works, so that is all the good news.

The bad news is that when I tried to order a replacement cylinder from the dealer here in Portland, Oregon they told me (eventually, after I had placed the order and driven to work) that they can no longer sell me a coded (meaning coded to my VIN number) cylinder. They only have what they call a "workshop" version tumbler / key cylinder for these early 123's. The workshop version comes with a key that doesn't match your doors; you have pay some third party to code it to your door locks. Oh, and the workshop version costs nearly double to boot! $165 or something like that, versus $90 for the coded. For all that trouble and expense I will probably just order the Peachparts generic tumbler.

By the way, the VIN number break between old (pictured here, with pull-off tumbler cover) and new (with screw-off tumbler and release detent on the face) is 110xxx on the 240D (may be different for the 300 series).


Breeze-Benz 240 D 08-13-2012 04:46 AM

my lock
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Like this!

Breeze-Benz 240 D 08-13-2012 05:14 AM

where is the pin???
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I have the early style w 123 style lock.the tumbler is removed,but i can't seem to get the lock asembley out of the i have to drop my steering column to see it or what?:confused:

smiffy6four 08-13-2012 07:53 AM

I have purchased similar "workshop" locks for Fords in the past.
The lock barrel came with uncut tumblers and all that was needed was a good file and some elbow grease. Your key goes into the new barrel and the tumblers are ground level with the barrel.
Best done with a new key if you can get one.

I just got 2 spare keys made for 83 240D and they made me realize how worn my original key is!

My 240D was imported from the USA to Canada and the Canadian Mercedes dealers won't talk to me, since my car has a USA vin. I got a set from Romano Motors in Fayetville, NY. The parts guys were great! They spent a lot of time making sure I got the keys I needed.

Breeze-Benz 240 D 08-13-2012 09:56 AM

After taking out my tumbler and cleaned it up a bit, it's now working smooth ,but i still need my lock asembley out!!!!

Breeze-Benz 240 D 08-15-2012 07:05 AM

Im still looking for a new asembley,got mine out and rebuilt it.working smooth for now!!!

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