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Old 11-12-2002, 09:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
Replacing plastic heads of keys

Here's probably the simplest mechanical question to be asked in ShopForum for the entire year of 2002:

The former owner of our household's 380SL managed to twist the plastic head of the car's master key hard enough to tear it, way back when. He had bought but not installed a new key head (which I would call a "fob", and which the bag calls a "bow") when we picked up the car.

I promptly lost the replacement, and as a quick fix, simply glued the old head back together with cyanoacrylate. But that's been giving up the ghost, and the key is increasingly loose in its seat. It's fallen out once -- very fortunately, in a well lighted place where I was paying attention! Time for a permanent fix.

Just found the replacement again, in the nick of time, and was trying to get the key into it. Well, the key goes right in, but there's a little plastic retaining tang that's obviously designed to snap in behind it, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to get the tang in without applying potentially damaging levels of force.


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Old 11-12-2002, 09:57 PM
Limited Edition's Avatar
190E LimitedEdition Owner
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Virginia Beach, Va
Posts: 1,036
I would get a new key made and keep that one in my wallet for emergencies. A spare key is always helpful


1998 C43 ///AMG
1999 C230 Custom 5-Speed Manual
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Old 11-12-2002, 10:10 PM
Crowe's Avatar
Benz Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 366
I have fixed two keys using the replacement head. It can be a puzzle at first but once done it is like a new key. No need to spend big bucks at the dealer for a new key when you can repair you existing key. If you start one side of the piece that goes into the head and then press the key against a table top it will slide into place. No problem. Give it a try.
  • 2001 E320
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:43 PM
Holson Adi's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,561
I just bought a pair for myself (dont know why I bought two).

I just cut the old one out and after the metal key is in the plastic head, I put the top part in by doing it at an angle as everybody else has said and just push it in against the wall or something.

Part number is A 000 766 44 06 -> For my W123.
It could be different for yours.
Do note: My original key is definitely different in design and is much more solid even though it's badly worn out. The original key's head can't be replaced unless *maybe* if I cut the plastic off.
2008 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 11-16-2002, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
Right-o, got the holder on the key with the above advice. Thanks, guys. The tab does indeed have to go in at an angle with moderate pressure.

And yes, the new key holder is thin plastic, and it's obviously less durable than the original hard rubber. MBZ ain't upgrading every replacement component; some of them are being de-contented.

I went and bought another one of these for my primary 500E key, which was just starting to tear across as well. The dealer didn't have a part number for the holder on a 500E, but I just bought another 380SL holder. Seemed as though it would fit okay.

Cut off the old hard rubber holder from the 500E key, as I did before. But when I went to insert it into the new plastic holder, I found that the base tang is too big for the 500E key to fit the 380SL holder.

Drat! I've just ruined this key until I get a holder that fits. Back to the parts department to get the right holder.

Uh, er, turns out that there -is- no holder that fits. MBZ doesn't offer replacement key holders on the W124. If your key holder tears, they generously offer you the option of having a new key cut.

I'm displeased, both with them and with myself. Any suggestions?

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Old 11-16-2002, 08:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 1,006
What did they want for a new set of keys? I thought they were relatively inexpensive.
Brian Toscano
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