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Old 11-25-2007, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 2002 ML320 White
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 26
Ignition Key Problem

I have a 2002 ML320 – I am having a problem with my key not turning in the ignition. In the past it has only happened twice to me, I wiggled the steering wheel to lock the wheel and I could unlock and turn to ignition.

Yesterday, it happened again, this time I couldn’t do the same trick. I could lock steering wheel, when I inserted the key I couldn’t turn to ignition, but I could unlock the steering wheel. I let the car sits in the garage, and search for the solution.

Many posts said the owners turned the car to dealers, ended up costing close to $2K repair bill. The only post suggested only fix in spread WD-40 multiple times. http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163...t=key+ignition

In last year, I fixed an ignition keys on My 1985 BMW 325e and 1993 Nisson Quest with different ignition key problems. Both required a replacement of ignition barrel/switch, re-key the switch to use the old key. I am lucky I had a resourceful BMW and Quest forums to show how. I believe the same mechanism for my ML320 ignition switch.

Does any one know how to dissemble the ignition switch? Thank you.

Last edited by tanntheman; 11-25-2007 at 03:06 PM. Reason: insert post
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Date registered: Jul 2006
Vehicle: 2000 ML430, 2006 BMW 325i, 2007 BMW 328i Coupe
Location: South Florida
Posts: 2,982
Before you go through all that, let's try a low-tech solution. Occasionally if my wheel locks, the key sometimes won't turn. In this situation all I have to do is turn the wheel to the left as far as it will go (when wheel is still locked) and then the key turns quite nicely.

Try that before you start replacing things.

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Old 11-26-2007, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Date registered: Sep 2007
Vehicle: 2001 ML430, 1983 300SD
Location: Houston, TX, McAllen, TX
Posts: 884
Never use WD-40 on moving parts! It is not made for that. If there is not a factory recommended product I would use either graphite lubricant or a light machine oil.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 2002 ML320 White
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 26
bocabenz & Gene Horr, Thanks for replying my post and offered something to try and don'ts use WD-40.

I tried to turn the wheel (using the steering), all I could turn is 3/4 turn due to no power to assist me to turn. I didn't want to break the steering wheel. The key won't turn to ignition.

The condition is still the same, I can lock the steering wheel, and turn the key a little bit to unlock, but I cannot turn the key to ignition to start up the engine.

I wait for my service manual cd that I bought in ebay for the instructions to disassemble the ignition lock cylinder. While waiting, I welcome if anyone has any idea for this problem. Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2007
Vehicle: 2002 SLK 230 1986 560SL 2008 Honda CRV
Location: Rochester,NH USA
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What shape is your key in??? Do you have a spare??? if so try that first. If that doesn't work try lifting up on the key while you turn it. If that works then you know its the lock. One more question, do you have alot of stuff hanging on your key ring??? That will wear out a key fast ( all the extra weight hanging ). If your going to use silicone or wd 40 don't spray into the lock, instead spray the key then put into the lock. Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 2002 ML320 White
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 26
I ordered a brand new key for my wife one year ago. Both keys are stand alone by itself with no attachment. Both keys act the same, it can unlock the steering wheel but does not turn into ignition position.

The service manual said 'if the lock cylinder or key catches or binds, spray lock culinder with lock cylinder grease'. I wonder what kind of grease it is?

I do need 2 tools to remove the lock cylinder:
(1)a pair of pulling hooks (140 589 02 33 00) -I wonder that I can make the hooks out of a hanger!
(2)Sleeve (202 589 00 14 00) - to pull out the lock cylinder.

So, tomorow I will drop in the dealer for a Lock Cylinder Grease (001 989 26 51 10). If I cannot unbind that, then I will made my hands dirty to unassemble it. Wish me luck to save thousand dollars for Xmas!
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 2002 ML320 White
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 26
I went to dealer for the Lock Cylinder Grease, guess what - it is not in stock.

Tonight, I went to internet to buy the two tools:
(1)A pair of pulling hooks (140 589 02 33 00)
(2)Sleeve (202 589 00 14 00)
Total cost is $120 for these simple tools.

I must be waiting for tools to arrive, minimum 7 days, let the car sits for another week...meanwhile.

Does any body do the removal of the lock cylinder before. I wonder the how easy to pull the transponder out of the lock cylinder using the pulling hook.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 2002 ML320 White
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 26
This the instruction to Remove Lock Cylinder

1. Pull the transponder coil out of the lock cylinder using pulling hook.
2. Push sleeve onto cap.
3. Rotate lock cylinder into position “1” using the key and on further slightly to the next audible detent.
4. Unlock and remove lock by turning the cap counterclockwise through 90◦.

I am stuck at step 3 due my key can't turn in position "1". The original problem is I can't turn the key. I don't understand what it is meant by 'next audible detent'.

In this case, what can I break in order to remove the lock cylinder for repair or replacement. Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Date registered: Nov 2007
Posts: 3
I have the same problem in my 98 C-230. I am going to take mine the rest of the way out after my morning coffee in the yard. I couldn't find much info on mine, so I will take and post some pictures,..... maybe of how to fix it, maybe pictures of what a broke one looks like on the inside. I don't have a puller, I have the unit most of the way out of the car, and the wires disconnected. Mine has a steel cable I think I need to reconsider. I am going to hook the wires back up and try adjusting the tension on the cable first.
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Date registered: Aug 2006
Vehicle: 02 ML320
Location: Bronx, New York
Posts: 10,453
What happens with any ignition lock cylinder is sometimes one of wafers/pins in the cylinder gets "hung up". Depending which pin it is determines whether you can partially turn the cylinder or not turn the cylinder at all. The only thing that will possibly make the lock work again is lubrication and a little shock therapy.

What you need is a 6-7 in. long wooden or plastic dowel, the diameter of which must be smaller than the diameter of the lock face and a spray can of Lock-Easehttp://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/(1berypmlmgmhuwvg32ab1d45)/ProductDetails.aspx?SKU=10716. When buying the Lock-Ease make sure that it has the red flexible straw taped to the can.

The first order of business is to bend the tip of the straw to a 45 degree angle, with the help of a hair dryer.

1. With the straw inserted in the spray nozzle, insert the straw into the keyslot with the 45 degree tip facing upwards until it reaches the back of the cylinder.

2. Press the nozzle and slowly pull the can and straw outwards until the full length of the keyway has been sprayed. Do this once more. Don't worry about the bottom part of the lock as the residual spray will lubricate it.

3. Wait about 15 mins.

4. Then insert the key in and out of the lock cyl. approx. ten times and then attempt to turn the cyl. in the normal fashion. Repeat the process 2-3 times if the cyl. does not turn.

5. If the above does not work, spray the inside with Lock-Ease, take the wooden or plastic dowel and hold the end of it 1/4 inch away from the face of the lock cyl. Then strike the dowel with a light hammer 2-3 times., each timeholding the dowel away from the face. Light taps with the hammer will not do the trick. Don't over do it, but believe me more force is necessary than light taps.

6. Then insert the key and attempt to turn the cyl. You might be successful on the first try or you might have to do this 10 times but the lock will eventually turn. Patience is necessary. My longest encounter with a Mercedes lock was 45 mins. Don't be afraid to strike the lock. Nothing will happen to it since it is made of tempered steel. Patience, patience, patience. Keep at it and the lock will turn.

For those who want to replace the lock cyl. it will be necessary to have a new CODED cyl. ready and the cap removal tool (202 589 00 14 00) handy. The tool must be in place before the striking of the lock procedure is done. There have been times that you only get "one bite of the apple" in turning the cylinder. The car would start but then when it is returned to the lock position, the key would not turn on subsequent tries, and I then had to repeat the process of making the lock turn again.

Below are instructions from M/B for lock removal and installation.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf R&I Ign. Lock Cyl..pdf (71.8 KB, 676 views)
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