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  #1  
Old 08-16-2003, 08:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Posts: 6
Question ignition key all of a sudden will not turn 400E HELP!!!

I just went out and tried to turn the ignition key on my 92 400E,
- it did not move. I tried a back up key with no results also.
So I have a locked steering column - I have removed the lower cover and now have access to the steering lock mechanism
I have it so I can at least put the car in neutral . Problem is the Mercedes manual gives great directions on removing the steering lock -BUT ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE THE KEY IN THE NUMBER one position!!!!!!!!!!!! Since I can not get the key in this position
it seems that the steering lock PIN that I must push in to remove the steering lock assembly WILL NOT PUSH IN ---- Now I am looking at removing the tumbler assembly but GUESS WHAT --The directions say to TURN THE KEY TO NUM 1 POSITION --Yeah sure
because if I could I would not be in this mess. Anyone out there
have any answers to how I can get this thing to get back on the road????? The car is a 1992 400e --- It would be nice to have a car that works ---- I have my daughters car up in the air and am doing a brake repair on that one and my other Mercedes is in the hands of my son. Please help an old pirate
Thanks
PIRATERACER -next step is to drill the pin out so I can remove the locking ignition. ?? how much damage will that do
CAR HAs 180,000 miles on it
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2003, 09:37 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
Bounce the wheel on the stop while working the key back and forth and you may be lucky and get it to turn one more time.

This is usually preceded by reluctant key operation for a while, my usual advice it to replace the tumbler and keys the instant it gets ratchety so you don't get stuck like you are.

A NEW key from the dealer or your indy mechanic may work well enough to get the tumbler out. If not, you will have to grind the pin off so you can remove the lock assembly, which will then need to be replaced -- order it with the new tumbler and key. There is also a plastic part that usually breaks, too.

Try the new key, you can usually get one in a couple days.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2003, 10:10 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
When faced with this problem, what I find works best is to remove the whole upper steering jacket and remove the steering lock with it on a bench instead of doing it installed in the car. Very little risk of doing damage to anything else in this manner.
It does happen quite a bit.

Gilly

Last edited by Gilly; 08-16-2003 at 10:18 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2003, 10:38 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Posts: 6
Thanks for the advice . I have the column hanging down now and have started to cut the ignition (black) housing cover off -I tried all the other hints I could find on the forum with no luck . I have covered the car up for the night because I can not get my windows up ! That is one of the nice things about my 88 300TE
european car - you do not need a key or the ignition on to raise the electric windows. Well I will continue to grind away tomorrow .
The car is going to be a part time track car so I am going to make the steering lock inoperable after I remove it. Thanks
again for taking the time to reply
PIRATERACER
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2003, 11:02 PM
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Location: Evansville WI
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Take the clamp off that clamps the steering lock to the steering jacket. Spread it open enough to get it out of the way, you may need to use a pair of screwdrivers.
Then (and I know this sounds a little crude) you can use an old screwdriver to slightly pry the jacket tube back where the small locking nub holds the steering lock into the tube. I've found this to be a faster better repair then attempting to grind down that little locking nub.

Gilly
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2003, 04:23 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 700
What if you....

This is something I came up with when I had a similar problem and closely examined the tumbler.

It would also make stealing a benz with this type of ingition a snap, but here goes, feedback will be appreciated.

The tumbler is basically two tubular pieces of metal one inside the other, with a metal cap on top, where you put the key in.

In order to remove the tumbler, you have to turn the cap to position one so that the two holes in it align with the pins.

In reality, or at least in my car, both the old and new tumbler had only ONE locking pin, on top of the tumbler, the bottom was blank and posed no problems when removing the tumbler.

What if you simply take a drill of some similar size to what the hole to the pin is and drill right through the metal cap. Of course, you would have to have the drill aligned with the hole to the pin but this should not be that big a deal. Once you drill through it, simply stick in the recommended wire and remove the tumbler with pliers or something similar.

I have not tested this, but this is again why I'm asking for feedback.

The entire process if done right should not take more then 5 minutes, and I think it would be a much better alternative to griding down half the tumbler to get it out.

xp
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2003, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 599
Stuck Ignition Lock

If the tumbler is exposed try tapping it with a hammer several times. This repetative impact should jar the tumblers enough to drop into position which may allow one turn of the key.

If you have access to Air and you have an Air Hammer place your pin bit in the hammer. Spray some tri-flow (or equivalent) into tumbler, slide the key in and out several times, insert the key and place the point of the hammer bit next to the key. With very controlled air release on the tool begin hammering while rotating the key at the same time............key should turn within a few seconds.

I developed this technique several years back, works on 90% of them. If you are unable to get the key to rotate within 15 to 20 seconds go to option two.

R&R A1 (Instrument Cluster) do not forget to unclip the speedometer cable from the under-dash panel.
R&R lower dash panel, remove clamping ring, with a Die Grinder and a dental style bit grind the hardened pin. With the right tooling you should be through the pin in under a minute.

Avoid using a drill unless you hate your drill bits!

Good Luck
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2003, 09:09 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
The material used for the tumbler is HARD -- probably going to eat a standard drill bit.

You won't see a theif using a screw-it-in-and-yank tool to steal a benz, either -- the gizmo won't screw in, and the lock cylinder won't yank out, either.

Peter
__________________
1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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