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1998 CL600
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

First post and I'm sure this is a familiar line. I have found a 98 CL600 for cheap because it has no keys. In this case, none at all as the owner died and the daughter lost them. From the research I've done, this appears to be a fatal problem to getting the car on the road again. I'd love to do so but I'm not throwing $1-3k at the problem as I can't even tell if there are other problems till solving that one.

If anyone has a solution for less, even at the hack level, I'm all ears to keep it intact.

However I could really use a lot of the parts from the car on my 64 Buick Riviera as restro-modding that car to basically be what the C140 was. The one thing I'd like to check for that project is I'm not going to get caught in the same trap of a master computer to enable all of the seat electronics. Can I use the power seats with just feeding them with 12VDC, ground, and the appropriate signals (door open/close, etc)? Same with the seatbelt presenters?

Thanks
 

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Premium Member
'99 S420 116K
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1,405 Posts
This is a forum where most of us are trying to preserve these vehicles, not cut them into pieces, but if that is your intention, I suppose it's your time and money, go for it.

It would be helpful to know Where you are, the Condition of the vehicle, Mileage, Provenance, VIN, and maybe some PICS so we could advise you further. This all matters since they didn't make a whole lot of these units. WIKI this model W140 and see what you stumbled upon, the Holy Grail. These are special cars, and only special people could afford these, WHO owned this?

If it's just a beater with everything bad or broken, ratted interior, mega miles, etc., it's junk. But if it's not, I know there are serious enthusiasts here that would possibly make it worth your while to flip this, or help you understand what you have, and get you running around in the finest vehicle ever built. You could never make that Buick anywhere near what this Benz is about.

With a title the Mercedes Dealer can try to get a key for you, and yes, they may be in limited supply if available at all.

I'd imagine the proposed swap over to a '64 Buick would be a nightmare electronically(computer!), but maybe someone else could offer better advice on that. Wouldn't you be better off dropping some sort of Vette engine in that Buick? I see a lot of resto-mods at the numerous car shows I attend, and those monster MOPAR, Chevy and Ford engines seem to be the powerplants of choice, jes sayin'.

Thanks for posting this, I hope this works out for you, and if it doesn't please post back to us so maybe an enthusiast can take up the cause. :cool:
 

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1998 CL600
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your response. I am well aware of what a C140 is and it is on my radar as a car I'd love to own which is why I started with reaching out to see if there is a way to get it back on the road. However it's also a potential source of parts for a car I already have been working on for a while so I have dual levels of interest in it.
I am not trying to cut the car up if it's truly savable by someone and if it's not, there are only a handful of parts that I'm interested in (largely seats and the associated wiring) and I am not going on a wrecking crusade to get what I want out of it if it comes to that. I'll be taking it apart carefully to hopefully keep someone else's car that is operational but shabby on the road.
Here's what I know as it's not close enough for me to just hop on down and take a look at it so I only have a handful of pictures from the seller who is just the property manager trying to clear the place up. The interior and underhood potential for wiring nightmares were my first requests so all I have pictures of.
It's a Maroon/Burgundy 98 CL600 with the tan and light greyish interior with minimal to no wear on the seating surfaces. Underhood is dusty but not visibly infested with vermin nor has it been cleaned up to hide such a mess. Car was owned by a salvage yard owner as his personal car but when he passed it sat in the parking lot of the yard and his daughter had the keys. However in the words of the property manager "is a hoarder and has no idea where the keys would be in her house". Estimates are that it was sitting around for 3yrs as that is what the back fees on the title are (CA requires continuous registration). They have tried to power it up to test things like the windows but without the keys nothing happens. No idea on miles nor if they can even get them without any keys, all questions I can ask with some guidance towards the idea of putting this thing back on the road with me or another.

As to your comments on my Buick... I'm going to largely just let them slide and just say that it's a long term and very subtly extensive project that the drivetrain of the CL600 doesn't play into. I've already taken care of that with what I want that's still Buick. The idea of a luxury touring car with that you drive vs. ride in, a big four seater coupe, and the radically improved safety and comfort levels from the what was extremely advanced for the 60's is what I'm saying is what I'm trying to equal with the car. The electronic integration would be the seats, front and back, and the seat belt presenters as I have not seen a better way to integrate shoulder belts into a pillarless hardtop than that.
2618420
2618421
 

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Premium Member
'99 S420 116K
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1,405 Posts
Holy heck, that looks like a very salvageable piece!

The known bad years for biodegradable wiring issues are '93-'97, you should be good there.

It's good to know you researched this vehicle, and you'd like to keep it intact and drive it. I have to wonder if the salvage yard owner bought it new, that was a very pricey unit in '98. It would take crazy money like sports star money to buy that. Color is also a +++.

One of my personal fav cars of all time is a '64 Riviera, triple black, dual 4 barrels on a high rise manifold. Had a dental surgeon in the family that let me drive his, and it was love at 100 mph. In no way did I try to slur that Buick.
Sounds like you know exactly what yer doin'. Best of luck to ya'!

I think someone on the forum can help you with the specific questions you asked, just give them a few days to respond.

Saw this at a show in 2018... :love:


Gamble Plantation Car Show Shake Station Skyway Motors 149.jpg
 

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Premium Member
'97 CL600
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2,915 Posts
Am I correct in saying that one can get a key for the older Benz's but not a key fob? If CTX is serious he (or the seller) can go to the dealer with the title and order a key and hope that one day the fobs will be available again. Seems to me that the seller should be pressured to provide a key. The car will not sell until then.
Anziani
 

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Registered
1999 S500; W140.051
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734 Posts
At MY 1998, the car has a DAS-X system.

This means that mechanical (metal) key available from dealer will only turn the ignition cylinder, but start of vehicle will be blocked by DAS (Drive Authorization System) aka "immobilizer' in street lingo.

DAS-X system requires RFID type chip in addition to metal key for car to start.

There is a user in the W140 forum who has just started doing full remote keys, but I think he is in AU or NZ and that would pose a problem as whoever is doing the keys has to have the vehicle there.

Regarding the 'hacking' approach, Yes there is a hacking method. It does involve some de-soldering/soldering of chips on one or two PCB's in the vehicle to install an emulator to essentially bypass the DAS system's usual 'magnetic handshaking' with the RFID that happens when you try to start the car. The transmit/receive coil is at the ignition cylinder and the DAS-X W140's have a chrome ring around the ignition cylinder perimeter.

With the DAS-X emualtor installed, a simple metal key will start the car and open the doors. It wouldn't have the RF/IR remote action to open the doors. That is yet another part of the usual "remote key" for a DAS-X car.

3 parts of those keys are: a) Metal Key; b)RF/IR Remote for doors that uses a battery for power; c) RFID transponder chip that uses no battery but gets its energy from magnetic coupling (handshaking) with Xmit/Rec coil at ignition cyl.

For info on the emulator 'hack' search "Julie Emulator W140". There is a PDF and some youtubes that show how it is done. I'd attach the PDF, but it is 15MB so that might not be OK here.

Pics attached show the RFID chip and the inside of the KR55 remote key. That device is the source of all the current 'pain' with keys for DAS-X cars; the last few years of W140 & R129.

If your motivated and capable enough for the emulator, then you'll also want to watch some youtubes on "Fast Chip Desoldering" using low temp Bismuth alloy solder.

After they are desoldered, there is also some hex read/write to the chips of the DAS boards, then they are re-installed on the boards (PCB's) and go back in the car.

For 'car mechanics', this is pretty 'deep geek', but is still pretty straightforward.

With the emulator, you would use the replacement metal key from the dealer to make other metal keys by milling/copying to key blanks. This is not uncommon now at locksmiths.

So there you go; that's the Good, the Bad & the Ugly.
 

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1999 S500; W140.051
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One other note that may be slightly helpful is that with a replacement metal key from the dealer you would be able to turn the ignition to ON and you could connect to Star System to read whatever errors are stored from whenever the car was run.

There would probably also be "Low Battery Voltage" related errors as well, but a scan is really THE place to start if you can get it.
 

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Premium Member
'99 S420 116K
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1,405 Posts
Am I correct in saying that one can get a key for the older Benz's but not a key fob? If CTX is serious he (or the seller) can go to the dealer with the title and order a key and hope that one day the fobs will be available again. Seems to me that the seller should be pressured to provide a key. The car will not sell until then.
Anziani
I think the OP said it was inexpensive BECAUSE it has no key.
 

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Registered
1998 CL600
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
At MY 1998, the car has a DAS-X system.

This means that mechanical (metal) key available from dealer will only turn the ignition cylinder, but start of vehicle will be blocked by DAS (Drive Authorization System) aka "immobilizer' in street lingo.

DAS-X system requires RFID type chip in addition to metal key for car to start.

There is a user in the W140 forum who has just started doing full remote keys, but I think he is in AU or NZ and that would pose a problem as whoever is doing the keys has to have the vehicle there.

Regarding the 'hacking' approach, Yes there is a hacking method. It does involve some de-soldering/soldering of chips on one or two PCB's in the vehicle to install an emulator to essentially bypass the DAS system's usual 'magnetic handshaking' with the RFID that happens when you try to start the car. The transmit/receive coil is at the ignition cylinder and the DAS-X W140's have a chrome ring around the ignition cylinder perimeter.

With the DAS-X emualtor installed, a simple metal key will start the car and open the doors. It wouldn't have the RF/IR remote action to open the doors. That is yet another part of the usual "remote key" for a DAS-X car.

3 parts of those keys are: a) Metal Key; b)RF/IR Remote for doors that uses a battery for power; c) RFID transponder chip that uses no battery but gets its energy from magnetic coupling (handshaking) with Xmit/Rec coil at ignition cyl.

For info on the emulator 'hack' search "Julie Emulator W140". There is a PDF and some youtubes that show how it is done. I'd attach the PDF, but it is 15MB so that might not be OK here.

Pics attached show the RFID chip and the inside of the KR55 remote key. That device is the source of all the current 'pain' with keys for DAS-X cars; the last few years of W140 & R129.

If your motivated and capable enough for the emulator, then you'll also want to watch some youtubes on "Fast Chip Desoldering" using low temp Bismuth alloy solder.

After they are desoldered, there is also some hex read/write to the chips of the DAS boards, then they are re-installed on the boards (PCB's) and go back in the car.

For 'car mechanics', this is pretty 'deep geek', but is still pretty straightforward.

With the emulator, you would use the replacement metal key from the dealer to make other metal keys by milling/copying to key blanks. This is not uncommon now at locksmiths.

So there you go; that's the Good, the Bad & the Ugly.
While indepth this doesn't sound outside of what I can do. If I condense this a bit. I could potentially get a physical key for the car from Mercedes (title required) to bring the electrical system of the car back to life to see if things like the windows, seats, etc come to life. The emulator would require pulling the module out and replacing the chip which would then allow the engine to start.
 

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1999 S500; W140.051
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First part correct about replacement metal key "blade" from MB enabling you to get to 'Power On/Key On, Engine Off' state to read codes; check power windows; blower motor and other electrics.

Second part not exactly correct. Chips are removed from PCB assy; Some specific register locations are re-coded to different values; Chips are re-installed back on the boards WITH the Julie emulator wired in as well (just a couple of wires 'jumpered in' with the emulator attached.

Then metal key blade can start the car without the RFID chip present; emulator gives it the value it expects to see every time or something to that effect.

The desoldering of the chip is not insignificant as I think it is a 40-pin Motorola processor at 0.5mm pitch (lead spacing) which is shown in the youtubes assoc with the Julie Emulator for W140.

That's where the Fast Chip Bismuth alloy solder comes in.

There is a thread in the W140 forum from someone who did what "Nzruthless (I think) is doing now with the make the "real" new key approach and he said it was tough and requires more specialized equipment AND the desoldering/hex editing, etc. He said the Julie Emulator is definitely more cost-effective & less difficult.

The essential problem is that without MB support and their proprietary tools (not in Star or Xentry), you have to operate on the processor memory directly 'out of the ckt', then put it back in.

They (MB) are definitely not making this easy, but if the car has a good drivetrain and the price is cheap, why not dive into 'deep geekdom'? Others have done it and there is a roadmap.

You could probably also get replacement remote keys as that part is easier than the troublesome RFID. Nzruthless should know about that. If you got that, then everything would be just like it was in the beginning; only you would know about the emulator trick. There would be no sign of it in the 'user interface'.
 

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1998 CL600
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Discussion Starter #14
To those asking me how much, it's not mine yet. I've just found it and am talking with the seller. Hopefully after a few more pictures she accepts my offer I'll go and bring it home. After it and the title are in my hand I'll start responding to offers about it with a direct answer as right now I can't even flip it as it's not mine yet.

Daidnik,

Thanks for the detailed responses. I searched and found this post of yours with more information on the specifics of the process. My wife used to do this but it's been over a decade, however my neighbor does this far more regularly so I'm asking him if it's in his wheelhouse. This will get me into position to find a key somehow to get the car on.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
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Go to the dealer with the title and ask to see if you can order either a valet or master key. It is a key with RFID chip inside and nothing else. These should still be available for sale. It's the key fob (as in the flip key with remote and stuff) that's NLA.

I was able to order a master key for my 1997 E320 couple months ago, and that year E320 is the last year of the blade key. It uses largely the same technology as the 140, so same principles apply. That means whoever makes these keys is able to program it for 140. Das2 vs DasX.
 

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99 CL500
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I
To those asking me how much, it's not mine yet. I've just found it and am talking with the seller. Hopefully after a few more pictures she accepts my offer I'll go and bring it home. After it and the title are in my hand I'll start responding to offers about it with a direct answer as right now I can't even flip it as it's not mine yet.

Daidnik,

Thanks for the detailed responses. I searched and found this post of yours with more information on the specifics of the process. My wife used to do this but it's been over a decade, however my neighbor does this far more regularly so I'm asking him if it's in his wheelhouse. This will get me into position to find a key somehow to get the car on.
I was at the dealer yesterday with my 99CL500 looking for the latest on keys. He took my info and ID and was on the phone for awhile with whomever. The status is still the same was told no keys, fob or blades are available from mercedes presently. Got the same answer, 'they' are working on a fix, bit it's not available presently and showing NLA and worldwide stock depletion (or something along that quote)

This was from Worldwide Mercedes in Indianapolis
 

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1998 CL600
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I called my local dealer and actually got through to someone this time. The answer was I "might" be able to get a "Secondary" key if it's on the correct side of a VIN split for $50 but he'd need the VIN to do it.

I've made an offer on the car and am waiting to see if it motivates the daughter of the last owner to dig a bit more for the keys.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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The dealer thought they had a key blank but they do not - once he ran my vin. "Same principles apply" as the 97 e320 - yes, I agree, but the mb dealer will not be able to order you the exact same part (ridiculous) because he has to order by vin and the mb parts system says "the" part is nla. I agree this is a freakin 98 low-production and judging by the seats, it's got less than 120k and likely under 100k. Rare exterior color as well. Buy the damn thing and mothball it til you get a key. Mine had 176k and was a "tow yard owners" car for 3 years going 300 miles and was a basket case with "rotten leather" and all. $20k later I have resurrected a masterpiece and I'm still on borrowed time with one key. Your car won't need half the work mine did. Oh, and "93-97" is incorrect as far as years with wiring harness problems. How these myths persist despite so much valid info here is beyond me. Wiring harness issues ended with the 96 model year for ALL benzes. The facelift 140s 96-99 do not have the issue
 

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1998 CL600
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Discussion Starter #20
Lady with the keys is not playing nice. She's pretty much refusing my offers for them so I'm going to push forward with getting the car as is and figure it out from there.
 
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