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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 1999 ML 320 (sold) 2008 C350 4Matic amg pack
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody. Three day ago I got into this bad situation. Read almost each and every thread concerning this problem, but couldn't find all the info needed...Or maybe I missed it. Here it is: For the first time, the key wouldn't turn in tumbler. I spent many hours trying to turn the key/unlock steering. Finally I had it turning with pliers. Then could start the car only in neutral. The key was still hard to turn, but did. I thought it'll be best to remove tumbler ASAP, before it's too late. I put the key in position 1, trying to insert the wire to release the mechanism (lock pin). But, for some reason, I intended to get the key back in position 0, but broke it inside:crybaby2:. I'm still trying to get the tumbler out, since the hole is still in the right position. Do I have to unscrew the black plastic ring first? Do I have to just pull it? Will it come with the tumbler as soon as I get the lock pin inside the tumbler ? Do I have to push this lock pin towards the center or towards the outside with the wire? Meaning push it inside the tumbler (down) or outside the tumbler (up, inside lock cylinder)? :confused:Any help appreciated. Looking to change tumbler without changing everything.
 

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'82 Euro 500SEL, '85 Euro 500SEC AMG WB Cabriolet,'86 Euro 500SEC RUF
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9,487 Posts
Remove the rubber lock/collar surround first. Use a small stiff wire, like a large paper clip. with the key already in the 1 position insert the wire into the hole and push. You might want to file the end to a 45 degree slant so it will fit into the hole on the collar lock. Once the collar lock is lowered, wire pushed in, then screw off the collar. Hint it may take vise grips to turn the collar. Remember left to loosey, righty tighty, I know someone that tried to turn the collar to the right...no work so well.
 

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 1999 ML 320 (sold) 2008 C350 4Matic amg pack
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both of you. So far I've been using a small allen key, sharpened at one end to push in with no significant result. So the lock has to be kept pressed in to unscrew the black collar? I'll give it tries untill i get the thing out. I prefer to change the tumbler than to have the car towed...
 

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'82 Euro 500SEL, '85 Euro 500SEC AMG WB Cabriolet,'86 Euro 500SEC RUF
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9,487 Posts
The collar lock will depress with the correct wire gauge wire inserted into the lock, it retracts enough to pass the lock channel in the collar. Yes the wire has to remain inserted to be able to unscrew the collar. The collar lock is spring loaded so if the wire is removed the lock returns to the lock channel in the collar.
 

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126: 1981 300SD, 1987 300SDL
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119 Posts
You may want to make sure the "pin" is not an allen wrench/key because of the usual bend they have. When the collar is unscrewed a certain amount, it might require that the key be pulled out enough that it allows the spring-loaded metal chunk to push into the collar's channel and lock again.

You're better off with a strong paper clip, or even stronger disposable cotter pin you can file on the end and that will be straight and long enough to allow the collar to unscrew all the way so you can take it off and the cylinder for re-locksmithing.
 

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 1999 ML 320 (sold) 2008 C350 4Matic amg pack
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to everyone for those wise advices. Here's the picture: when the key broke inside, some metal piece just behind the front part of the tumbler also broke and could rotate freely, which made it a real pain (it's the first time I extract a tumbler) to aline the holes... Finally, using your precious recommandations, I straightened a large paper clip wire and beveled the end of it (45 degrees or so) and found the exact spot. I used long nose pliers to push farther the wire, which bent a little, but got through... It released the black metal surrounding of the tumbler and I unscrewed it with no problem. I suddenly felt like I killed the golden-seven-headed-dragon-of-adversity, with a paper clip... Anyhow, due to the condition of the remainings of the tumbler, I ordered a new one from my local stealer (more or less than 150$). Waiting for it tomorrow. In fact, I think I have to reinstall it in ACC position, right? Then remove the lock pin, or do I insert the tumbler in 0 position? I'm going back to review the previous threads I guess. Thanks again for your help!:thumbsup: Also, when I broke the key in, I was once able to start the car, but only in neutral. Never had this issue before. Do you think I'll be ok with the new tumbler? I know the neutral safety switch has to do with it, but it only happened as I was fighting with the tumbler...
 

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'82 Euro 500SEL, '85 Euro 500SEC AMG WB Cabriolet,'86 Euro 500SEC RUF
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Yes you have to reinstall in the No.1 position, insert the wire to lower the collar lock, Kind of a bear as you need the tumbler inside the collar with the key in the lock turned to No,1. insert rear of tumbler into the tumbler housing, then tighten the collar until tight or almost to where the collar lock can raise into the slot with the wire removed.

Good Luck!!
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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40,725 Posts
Hanger wire is a bit soft, but a bicycle spoke works well
 

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 1999 ML 320 (sold) 2008 C350 4Matic amg pack
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for the advice. Now I've received my new tumbler, and installed it, I'm havin issues like it refuses most of the time to come back to position 0 or 1 after I get the car started. I have a hard time repositioning it to ACC, to remove it and see what's wrong. It seems like the little sliding «lock» in the middle of the lock housing (which is depressed by the tip of the key when inserted) tends to jam or something, as I said to go back to position 1 or 0. Any idea? Maybe some graphite would help? I think it slides hardly in it's channel... Something else than replacing the lock housing? Help! I need this car to go to work and it's been a pain for a while now:(... Almost gave up. But I won't.
 

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126: 1981 300SD, 1987 300SDL
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119 Posts
Thanks again for the advice. Now I've received my new tumbler, and installed it, I'm havin issues like it refuses most of the time to come back to position 0 or 1 after I get the car started. I have a hard time repositioning it to ACC, to remove it and see what's wrong. It seems like the little sliding «lock» in the middle of the lock housing (which is depressed by the tip of the key when inserted) tends to jam or something, as I said to go back to position 1 or 0. Any idea?
Did you get a new key made? If the tumbler was from the dealer or locksmith based on the vin number and not your key, your old key may be too worn to work as well with the new tumber set. A new key (or new copy) might work if you can find a place that does the special, "high security" Benz keys.
 

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1981 300 SD, 1991 Geo Metro 4-door Automatic
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487 Posts
Wow! You got your tumbler fast! Took me over two months for mine to come...guess the elves had to forge mine from kryptonite, unobtanium and pieces of the one true Ring...
 
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