key won't turn - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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key won't turn

I have a '93 190E. Drove it over the weekend and went to drive it first of the week and I can't get the ignition key to turn, shifter to move, and steering wheel is locked.

I have tried several things such as: lifting the rear wheels off the ground and turning each rear wheel, giggling the steering wheel, heating up the ignition switch (it has been cold here in Indianapolis), and giggling the gear shift.

Does anyone have any ideas?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2009, 11:39 PM
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If the ignition witch is gone, whatever you do, under no circumstance 'do not remove the key.'
You may need a new tumbler form the dealer (take a copy of your pink slip with VIN#), which can only be removed with the key in the lock.
IF you get the key out, it may not go in anymore, and you are looking at a massive repair bill (I have heard of $ 850).
An expert would have to drill out the tumbler.
Do a forum and site search with 'ignition tumbler stuck', or 'ignition lock' etc.
Don't use 'Key,' as the search function only recognizes words of more than 3 letters.
If you are not sure how to search, check the W126 'Welcome to the forum' announcement / tutorial sticky on top.
Cheers
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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First of all, thank you for your quick response! Secondly, I have no problem inserting or removing the key from the ignition switch. The problem seems to be that it simply won't turn in either direction using the key. I have never had any previous problem with this. Just one day it worked fine and the next day.......nothing.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 02:13 PM
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This is something that is going to happen to EVERY W124 and I imagine W201, too.

You need a new ignition tumbler.

Try turning key with LOTS of force to get it past the lock position. (Need of course to turn steering wheel a bit when doing this.) NEVER return it to lock position again after you succeed in doing this and of course then NEVER remove the key.

Go to a Mercedes mechanic with the tools to remove/replace ignition tumbler and have him order a replacement from a Mercedes dealer. Long time Mercedes mechanics will maybe have a "loaner" tumbler that can be temporarily installed until the one with the correct keying arrives at the dealer.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
'07 GL320CDI
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kent I will try this. Just seems odd that I have never had any problem or resistance of any kind before from the ignition switch B-4. Any poss of the neutral saftey switch or anything like that if your suggestion doesn't work?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 09:39 AM
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I had to replace deteriorating tumbler on 1997 W210. There is topic in the section describing other member troubles and my experience as well. I was actually able to find more info with dealing with bad tumblers on competition forum.
The first waring is, that if you force the tumbler, or pound on the column -the wheel blockade might click in permanent lockout. The only solution is such situation is cut it off and get new one from the dealer. Even the blockade is relatively cheap-that involve lot of work.
So start with spraying lot of WD40 with small tubing inserted deep into the hole. Hopefully all you have is piece of dirt. Another trick is using vibrator to turn the key. You don't need to steal it from your girlfriend, since any jigsaw works as well.
Good luck
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dsouder View Post
Thanks Kent I will try this. Just seems odd that I have never had any problem or resistance of any kind before from the ignition switch B-4. Any poss of the neutral saftey switch or anything like that if your suggestion doesn't work?
Neutral safety switch has no bearing on whether ignition key turns. The lock is mechanical and not electrical.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
'07 GL320CDI
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 05:50 PM
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I encounter this problem a few times a month. There are several little tricks that will get the key to turn that one last time so as to get the tumbler out

1.) get some dry graphite spray, spray just a little on the key and re-insert it into the tumbler. jiggle it a little, you may get lucky

2.) If graphite spray doesnt work. Get something that vibrates. I use an engraving tool. Put your "vibrator" on the key while its inside the lock cylinder. Sometimes this will free up the stuck tummbler

3.) If none of this works... well your in for some fun. Gotta drop the under dash panel. get some masking tape and layer it up on the vinal around the steel retaining collar. Get a drimel with a cutting disc and cut off the outside lip of the collar. This will take some time and some cutting discs.

Now if you dont have the cylinder removal tool, get two paper clips and straghten them out. There are two grooves down the side of the tumbler. Slide your paper clips down those grooves to release the retaing clips to the collar. You will now be able to slide the collar off and the tumbler will come right out.

You will need to get a new retaining collar along with your tumbler set

Reinstalation goes as follows. With a flat head screw driver, turn the ignition switch to position 2. one click. With the collar, key and tumbler assembled line up the grooves on the side of the lock cylinder with the two grooves on the face of the cylinder. Use your paper clips to pushl back the retaining clips. The paper clips will serve as a guide on those two groove. Slide the whole thing in and remove your paper clips. This will lock the collar into place.

Whenever your ignition lock cylinder starts to catch just a little bit, replace it immediatley. Its much less difficult to change those SOBs when the key will turn
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 06:00 PM
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"Lock Ease" is a great product. Its a graphite lubricant. Never ever ever ever drown that cylinder with lubricant, ask me how i know. The directions on the Lock Ease can will tell you the same thing. A little dab will do ya
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 07:12 PM
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The key not turning is nothing to do with lack of lubrication. Internal parts are broken.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
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