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Discussion Starter #1
I've looked at several tutorials, and maybe I'm just having a bad day, but nothing works.

I've sanded multiple perfectly sized pieces of wire to a one-sided point to push the locking dowel down, tested it on the replacement, yet the one in the dash continues to give me the finger, and it's snickering while doing so.

Damn.

It.

Literally, I've been jiggling, bending, sanding, bending the wire some more, trying Allen keys (and I'd SWEAR I can feel the key being 'unlocked'), making the wire perfectly straight, trying both access holes (even though the replacement has only one Woodruff key), more bending of the release wire...everything, for two freakin' hours, and the ultra-cheesy aftermarket tumbler is not letting go. I want to not only put the car right, but having only one key is the way it should be.

I know it can be done, 'cause this is an aftermarket tumbler in the switch, now.

This is step one to getting said W124 to 300+K miles.

I thought I'd start my weekend of front-end rebuilding easy, but no....

I've watched the 300D video on youtube, and man, that dude must've done it about a zillion times before filming, 'cause it don't work like that.

As it is, my next step is to try and find a 2mm drill bit.

Help?
 

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1955 300SL, 93 300SE, 91 500SL, 1989 190E2.6
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I don't know how you can get an aftermarket tumbler, I thought you had to order them from the dealer and get factory made for your specific car. That's what I did, I just replaced mine last week. You first have the new tumbler in hand, then make sure your tool slides in and out of the grooves easily; if it won't slide in the new one it won't slide in & out on the old one. My first tool was made from copper wire, didn't work: too soft metal. Second tool was made from a coat hanger steel, and I had to file on it for a long time then checking the wire diameter with a caliper until it was down to 2.0mm as the wire started out at 2.6mm thickness. Note the tips must have the ends filed as shown in photo to activate the spring release. Put a little ring or wire on your key that you can pull on while inserting the tool. I had read that it can take 15 minutes and it can take 45 minutes, to get it; you just cannot be in a hurry. Just go slow, if you need to take a break and come back to it, it can be done. I did it on a rainy day in the garage and decided if it took all day, so what. It took me about 40 minutes of jiggling, you have to get the feel of a locksmith sort of, you will feel the spring release once you get it right and the old lock tumbler will let go and come out with the key. Both tips of your tool have to be in there just right depth-wise. When ready to put the new one, Using the tool inserted in the new tumbler you insert the new tumbler until it clicks in and you pull out the tool. Make sure to get the new tumbler aligned right when you insert it. I put lights in the back seat aimed at the switch to help. Takes patience but afterward you will be happy. My new tumbler came ordered from dealership for $95 and came with a brand new key. Good luck.
 

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1991 300D 116,000m
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Just to make sure, you HAVE turned the key to ACC position (radio comes on) before you started putting the wire into the holes.....and I believe you have to do both holes at once.

And yes you can buy tumblers from Ebay cheap but they are not key matched to your vin number. Just what I need, ANOTHER key, lol I took in a copy of my title front and back and they asked for my Driver's License, pretty painless once I got someone to answer the DING from the counter bell. Mine is rolling around in the trunk well until I need it....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, y'all. I appreciate the confirmation that, while I've not gotten it finished, I'm doing it correctly.

The tumbler in there now was done by the ultra-lame PO. I've put up with it for almost two years. I tired of it, and I have only the one key...danger, Will Robinson.

$87 to the dealer, after 8.25% tax, and I have not only a dupe key, but the proper tumbler. Works for me.

I've been able to feel the 'lip' which the wire drops down off of when you go past the Woodruff key (the retainer part), then pull it back out just a little bit. I've been working with the new one to actually see what I'm feeling. It helps a helluva lot, but it's still not coming out.

I made a second wire release for the bottom-left hole, but there doesn't seem to be anything in there. I even marked the wires, using the new one as the guide, so I know when they're the exact depth they need to be.

Sigh.

I even happen to have wire which is the perfect diameter. Found it in a storage closet, yesterday, while cleaning out the garage so I could get the car in its bay. We've lived here only 8 months, so I figured it was about time to get after what the prior owners left.

After extended playing with the ignition switch and getting positively nowhere, I decided to take the tie-rods & center link off. Nothing some beating on a pickle fork with a small sledgehammer can't fix!!! Four of them came off, no problem. The other two, OTOH....

I felt better, but now I'm sore. It's amazing how tight pieces can be after 15 years, yet still work mostly okay. I'm dementedly pleased to find the steering damper has the resistance of me around dark M&M's.

After I get this tumbler out, it's going on eBay. I don't want to see it again...ever. If I find a trick, I'll post it.

I think you're right, sammywater, it's a "feel" thing. I'd swear I've got the latch pushed down, but somethin' just ain't right.

I have an odd feeling, tomorrow, I'll go out there to do it, and I'll hit it right off, yet not be able to figure out what I did differently.
 

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PLEASE don't put the old one on Ebay. Why would you want another person to go through what you are going through? Just put it in the garbage. It's Karma Kramer....lol
 

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1955 300SL, 93 300SE, 91 500SL, 1989 190E2.6
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Usually when the tumbler isn't working right any longer, it will come out of the dash in two or three pieces; mine did. Either way, it should be tossed in the trash. Who would be crazy enough to buy a used one!! When a new one matched to your car is so cheap at the dealership, why buy anything else? After installing the replacement, It's nice having it work like brand new again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Usually when the tumbler isn't working right any longer, it will come out of the dash in two or three pieces; mine did. Either way, it should be tossed in the trash. Who would be crazy enough to buy a used one!! When a new one matched to your car is so cheap at the dealership, why buy anything else? After installing the replacement, It's nice having it work like brand new again.
I tried some more, today...no luck. Didn't spend too much time on it 'cause I've got a front-end in about a dozen pieces in the garage.

I did find the RF corner was OEM, but the LF had been replaced, by MB parts, in the past. Looks like someone smacked a curb, 'cause the tie-rod and control arm weren't factory, but replacement MB parts. Still tired, however.

However, it occurred to me, does the metal collar unscrew or just pull off?

The eBay reference was a joke, really. I do my best to not pawn junk off on others.
 

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Who'd buy a used one? 50% of the people who use this forum. I respect frugality, but that's the last thing I'm interested in when I am looking for reliable transportation. That's why I have a spare lock cylinder in my trunk.
 

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I was hoping that was a joke...When you put the wires in, the tumbler is supposed to pop and then you unscrew the retaining ring. Could be over the years, it's just sticking from spilled soda or something. Might try putting windex behind the ring to loosen it and prying the ring towards you at the same time the wires are going in. Worth a try, wish I could help physically
 

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On mine the collar comes off with the tumbler, prying it or trying to unscrew it will mess it up. On a W201 (190E) it is pried off with a small screwdriver, but not on a 300E.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Who'd buy a used one? 50% of the people who use this forum. I respect frugality, but that's the last thing I'm interested in when I am looking for reliable transportation. That's why I have a spare lock cylinder in my trunk.

There is a radical difference between 'frugal' and 'cheap', however. This is often overlooked, as they've become synonymous.

There is a similar difference between 'cheap' and 'inexpensive'. A Yugo was cheap. A base Toyota Corrolla was inexpensive.

Our old MB's are inexpensive, but they are still of very high quality. Wal-Mart shoppers may learn the difference, someday, but I doubt it.

I'm frugal, hence, I'm rebuilding the front-end, myself. Probably gonna save $500-$700 doing the struts, control arms, tie-rods, center link, some bushings, and steering damper, myself. Plus, I know good quality parts are being used. As a bonus, I learn about the car's history and more about how to do things.

Parts cost me $950, shipped. While this is 1/3 of my cost of the vehicle, it's "smart money", IMO.

Hmmm, I hadn't thought about it being crud-adhered to the switch. That's an idea. Nothing feels sticky, but y'never know.

Were I ultra-pressed for $'s, I'd have put it off, but postponing safety items can bite you, badly. Plus, I don't want to chew up tires, the clunks are the 'bad' kind, and I know it's time.

I can see why people'd throw a $50 lock into a beater car, which is the realm most of the 124's are in, right now, but I was tired of having both two keys and knowing the tumbler was junk.

I may throw it in my spare parts pile as an emergency backup, but I hope the new one lasts 'till I part with the car. Current plan is sometime after 300K miles.
 
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