Need help in the outer banks NC ASAP. Key won't turn - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Need help in the outer banks NC ASAP. Key won't turn

Does anyone on here live anywhere near the outer banks in North Carolina? My family and I are on vacation at a rental home and after arriving safely on Saturday night, I hadn't touched the car again until Tuesday. The key will not turn in the ignition now! It's the old bad tumbler issue and it appears that I am now in the dreadful situation that so many have warned about.
I have my spare keys being shipped to me and a new tumbler, ignition switch and steering lock mechanism on the way from Pelican Parts. The problem is, if I can't get any of the other keys to turn, I am totally screwed.
If there is a forum member anywhere near 27949, I would try to have the car towed to them for extra help. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 08:41 AM
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So the tumbler is stuck in position 0???

If so, that usually means that the steering lock deadbolt is against the steering column and cannot retract properly, preventing you from turning the key. The steering wheel needs to be wiggled as you try to turn to position 1.

And if your current key looks worn, don't do anything until your spare keys arrive.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 10:09 AM
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oh man,
that sucks

wiggle the shifter too. If its not centered on park it may be engaging the shift lock.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 10:17 AM
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Does the battery need some level of charge or is it strictly mechanical at the tumbler/lock? Just wondering if the battery went flat while it was sitting. I don't think the car needs power to turn the key, but I'm not 100% certain.

My only other suggestion would be to get some keyway lube (graphite) and squirt it in there to make sure the tumblers are free.

Good luck.

Last edited by E320Project; 07-07-2016 at 10:21 AM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 10:26 AM
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The key and steering lock is fully mechanical, as you'll find out when you R&R your tumbler at some point.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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@sbaert , yep, I've tried everything to try and get it to turn. The tumbler has been slowly getting loose over the past couple of months and I'm an idiot for not making it priority #1 . I've tried graphite lubricant, the "personal massager" trick, shaking and doing anything I can to the steering wheel and shifter. The car drove great the entire trip from NY to NC, we parked it Saturday night and then Tuesday afternoon went to run errands with it and that's when we discovered it.
I should be getting the spare keys hopefully today. I will update later.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 07:19 AM
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Any luck?

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 826363 View Post
Any luck?
Yes! The new tumbler assembly and the steering lock out mechanism showed up yesterday, which obviously made no difference because I still couldn't turn the key.
Thankfully, the valet key just showed up today along with a new ignition switch and the tumbler cover within minutes of each other. My wife grabbed the valet key with a pair of pliers and after a couple of tries, she got the key to turn! I quickly disconnected the battery and she left the key right where it was.
I installed the new tumbler and cover, reconnected the battery and started the car! It's been insanely stressful the last couple of days to say the least.

So it looks like we will be able to get home no problem. However, with the new tumbler, the steering wheel lock no longer engages and the door buzzer continues to go off even when the key is out of the ignition. Also, the blower motor is not working. It has never had an issue before.

Is it possible that we brute forced the tumbler to turn into position instead of it turning properly therefore leaving the steering lock in an unusual position?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Well, we made it home back to western NY late Saturday night. The trip was brutal with no AC driving for hours through states where the temperatures were above 90 degrees.

This morning I started looking into how much a MB tumbler and key (VIN specific) are going to cost me through the dealer. $160....ouch. This would be on top of the $300 I already spent this week ordering a new steering lock, ignition switch, tumbler housing cover and having my daughter 2-day ship my valet key from NY to NC. The one I put in on Friday was a Meyle part since it was the only brand I could order and receive quickly. Since Meyle is cheap Chinese junk, I have no intentions of leaving it in there, especially for such a critical part!
I'm trying to decide if it's worth spending almost 2x the money on the VIN specific setup vs buying a non-specific MB brand set through ECS Tuning or the like for $89 and just using 2 keys. Is it possible to have a tumbler re-coded?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2016, 07:53 AM
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Only genuine MB key & locks use hardened steel, which is the key to longevity.

Get it back to the way it should be with vin # specific parts
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