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  #1  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:55 PM
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Question Electric lock actuators or stay with vacuum?

Okay, so disassembly of my interior has begun (to replace the carpet and add noise insulation as mentioned in my Recarpeting a 300TD post, among other things).

It just occurred to me that now would be the time to install electric door lock actuators if I wanted to; I'm rewiring a lot of other stuff and it wouldn't really be much extra work.

Pros that I've though of so far:
* The current vacuum actuators are aging and may fail/need replacement soon anyway
* Instant lock/unlock of all five doors, no more waiting a few seconds for the passenger doors to unlock and five or six seconds for the hatch to unlock.
* No more vacuum leak problems (I do have a leak at the moment, and yes, I have heard they're "easy" to find and fix)

Cons that I've thought of so far:
* I'll have to buy the electric actuators (not too expensive, but still...).
* Potential electrical problems in the future (though no more or less likely than vacuum problems I imagine).
* No power, no power locks
* It will actually become possible for me to lock the keys in the car without doing something purposefully and insanely stupid like locking the car from outside and slipping the keys back into the car through a slightly open window.

What do you think? Should I do it?

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  #2  
Old 12-13-2003, 06:19 PM
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The vac lock system on MB's is actually a pretty stout system when you consider how old all the rubber is. Sounds like you might have a leak somewhere if everything takes that long to unlock?

Anyway, what I did when I installed a cheapo alarm with remote door locks is just mount ONE solenoid (bought from mandsenterprise on ebay for $3.99 each, bought a few of them, HIGHLY recommend these sellers) in the drivers door and kept the vac system intact.

This gives me power door locks that remote lock/unlock everything (the solenoid operates the unlock on the drivers door and that vacuum unlocks the rest of the doors and vice-versa).

Here's the solenoid mounted in the lower portion of the drivers door:



And here's how I mounted to the upper lock knob rod (took some creative re-forming of the rod to miss everything in the door):



Since I had my interior apart just like you, running the wiring was cake, but I wouldn't want to do it on all four doors!

Good luck, email if you have any questions I can help with in regards to the above.
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2003, 07:12 PM
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I've already done the same; the keyless entry works wonderfully this way. It was fairly easy, and i imagine doing four more doors like that wouldn't take me more than a couple hours (especially if i don't have to worry about getting in the way of the vacuum actuators). Well, the rear hatch might be troublesome, but I love a good puzzle :-).

Thanks for the input!
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2003, 07:19 PM
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"* No power, no power locks
* It will actually become possible for me to lock the keys in the car without doing something purposefully and insanely stupid like locking the car from outside and slipping the keys back into the car through a slightly open window."

Just keep reading these two over and over again......

I find the inability to lock my keys in the car one of the nicest features of a Mercedes... and the first cars I ever had that had that feature....
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2003, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by leathermang

I find the inability to lock my keys in the car one of the nicest features of a Mercedes... and the first cars I ever had that had that feature....
I managed to lock the keys in Marlene. Once.
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2003, 08:56 PM
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How in the world did you do that ?
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Old 12-14-2003, 12:32 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, it's possible to lock the driver's door (while it's closed) from one of the other doors.
Doing this causes all the other locks to go down. Then, you can close that door you had open...et voila....you're locked out
...at least, I believe this is how my SD works. Not sure about other models.
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  #8  
Old 12-14-2003, 01:11 AM
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I, too, managed to lock them in once. Or rather a "helpful" friend did - as he was getting out he noticed I'd forgotten to lock the doors and reached over to the driver's side to lock them before getting out and closing his door. D'oh.

No power, no locks I'm not too worried about. If for some reason the battery is dead I can still use the key, and at that point I'd have a bigger problem to deal with ;-).

One more thing I just through of; as it stands at the moment, no vacuum, no locks. Rarely a problem, but sometimes I'll have the car parked out on the street and I'll go back and forth to get stuff a few times over the course of the day (or two) before driving again and at some point the vacuum runs out...
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  #9  
Old 12-14-2003, 02:13 AM
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Re: Electric lock actuators or stay with vacuum?

Quote:
Originally posted by 81Wagon
* No power, no power locks
The W123 was the last MB (maybe R107?) to have full vacuum locks. The W126, W124 and everything since has at least an electric vacuum pump if not fully electric locks.

What you'll lose is the ability to lock the fuel filler door unless you work a solenoid into that lock. Imagine that - you'll be able to read the tire pressure chart without unlocking the car

A safety feature that might be available with aftermarket electric locks these days is unlocking the driver's door with one press of the fob and unlocking the rest of the car with a second press. I like how Toyota built that feature into the central locking way back when - one twist of the key unlocks the driver's door, a second twist unlocks the rest of the car. Many 92-up Camry owners don't know this.

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  #10  
Old 12-14-2003, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
What you'll lose is the ability to lock the fuel filler door unless you work a solenoid into that lock.
Ah, there's something I didn't think of! I'm sure I could figure out how to do that (probably easier than the hatch!).

Quote:
A safety feature that might be available with aftermarket electric locks these days is unlocking the driver's door with one press of the fob and unlocking the rest of the car with a second press.
My keyless entry system has this option, and I briefly considered adding this to the "pros", but then I decided I probably wouldn't use it anyway. I'm lazy (an extra button press to let my friends in or load up groceries? That's TWICE the work! ) and I can't imagine that feature ever helping me in any way...

Here's another thing I just thought of: if I get rid of the vacuum locks, does that mean I can remove the funny egg-carton device underneath the rear of the car? Not that I'm desperate to be rid of it or anything, but hey... less clutter :-).
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  #11  
Old 12-14-2003, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by leathermang
How in the world did you do that ?
Easy. While in the countryside in summer at a friend's summer home we used to relax and party a lot. With all the side-effects such a fiesta brings to one. Anyhow, in the middle of the party I needed to get something from the car. I unlocked the car from the passenger side. Kept looking for that something I came to the car to look for. In the meantime I put the key on the seat so that I didn't have to hold it in my hand. Finally found what I was looking for, full with joy (and plum brandy), leaning over, I quickly pushed the lock down on the driver's side and slammed the passenger door.

It wasn't until the next day that I noticed I could not find the key. Remembering was difficult but after all I found the key - looking at it through the window. Eww!

It took me 40 seconds to unlock the car - without causing a single scratch or damage. I - a person who never stole a car. From then on I have my own opinion about the Mercedes safety. Oh well.

Btw - keep the vac system - one of my colleagues here was right - all you need is one electric actuator and you can remotely lock/unlock the whole vehicle. A superb feature. On a W124 you don't even need an actuator to remotely do that.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2003, 04:27 PM
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Prithee...share the 40 second, no scratches, technique.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2003, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jbaj007
Prithee...share the 40 second, no scratches, technique.
Most certainly. Took a long, wide flat screwdriver, forced the window pane down with it just a fraction of an inch. Easily done with no damage to the system. Left the screwdriver in the gap to keep the window from coming up. That fraction of an inch was just enough to enable to insert a hard wire, long enough to catch the opposite door handle with a hook formed on one end of the wire. One pull, the whole car opened.
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2003, 03:19 AM
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Wink

About the vacuum locking system-

Correct me if I'm wrong...but I was always under the impression that....especially on a W123...the door lock is pressed down from the passenger rather than the driver side door, that eventually it will mess up the vacuum system....and the same went for unlocking the car. As a child I was always told to unlock the car (we had a W123 wagon) from the driver's side only...any thoughts?

Now that I drive a W201, and I don't have remote keyless, I have always found that if I unlock the car from the trunk, by the time I walk myself around to the driver's door, it's opened.

On the locking the keys in the car note-

I always carry two sets of keys on me, and one always stays clipped to my belt loop. Every now and then I'll give someone a ride that's not acquainted with the Mercedes system and will push their door lock on the way out, which almost made me lock the keys in the car one time. I usually always ask people not to lock the door because it'll tear up the vacuum system.

I think the vacuum system is genious, because it really takes a lot of going out of your way (or a habitual door locking passenger) to lock your keys in the car. Though the remote keyless entry WOULD be nice
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2003, 09:18 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by deezuhl
[B]About the vacuum locking system-

Correct me if I'm wrong...but I was always under the impression that....especially on a W123...the door lock is pressed down from the passenger rather than the driver side door, that eventually it will mess up the vacuum system....

Hmm thinking of it now (been a few years when I had my 123), the passenger door could be opened but only that particular door would open. Opening the driver's door would open the whole vehicle. Right? I think locks work that way on a 123 but as I said it has been a few years back. One way or the other, I managed the lock my keys the way I described, I feel no need to invent stories here. Maybe I unlocked the driver's door and then decided to use the passenger door. Hard to say, then I was in a heavy party mood, now it is too late to remember everything.

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