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Old 11-07-2010, 08:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Nov 2010
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1996 c220 won't start - please help!

Hello, I have a problem with my 1996 c220 Mercedes and was hoping I could benefit from the expertise of members. The issue is a significant one: I can't start my car. Here's the history:

The other day, my automatic lock key (switchblade fob key) stopped working. I replaced the battery and checked if it was working with a digital camera (it was, red and white lights were visible) but it would still not open the car door; consequently, I had to call CAA to get inside. Once inside, I couldn't start the car. I tried to reprogram the key as per the manual, but I don't think it is reading it. I should also note that the manual lock system (i.e. turning the key in the door lock) stopped working months ago, so I have been reliant on the key button to lock and unlock the key.

I thought perhaps that the fuse to the key reader system is blown, but I don't know which fuse it is. I also considered disconnecting the car battery to reboot the computer.

If anyone can help, I would really really appreciate it.
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Old 11-07-2010, 08:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Vehicle: 99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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It sounds like you don't have a second key to isolate the problem to one particular key. As I read, the battery is only for remote lock/unlock door/trunk. When the battery is dead, the switch blade is to unlock door to get inside. The key without battery still can be inserted in the ignition to turn to start the engine. But without battery, I still don't know how rolling codes can be synchronized between key and car's computer. I read of stories of owners of 1998 or older E-class who got problem with "can't start engine". The key in the ignition can't be turned due to broken "lock module" ($500-$700). Can you turn the key in the ignition?
If you suspect the fuse, look under the hood for the fuse box, there should be a diagram inside showing which fuse for what. If your car is like mine, there should be another fuse box on the left side of the dashboard, accessible when the driver's door is open.

Last edited by mbvis; 11-07-2010 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi - thanks for the reply.

I tried the other key (the valet key) and it won't start the engine either. I can turn the key in the lock, and the engine tries to turn over, but dies (sounds exactly like when the anti-theft system is engaged). I tried the fuse for the locks and it looked fine, tried replacing it with another anyway and still no luck.

The last time my key fob system worked I locked the doors from the outside. (When I went to get back in the car moments later the doors would not unlock). If the car's anti-theft system thinks the car is locked, will it disallow the engine from starting? Is there any way to override this?

Thanks for your help.
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