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Discussion Starter #1
My ignition switch/tumbler is starting to go, 1998 E320. To be able to turn the key after inserting it has to be wiggled a bit. I want to fix this before it becomes permanently broke.

I have searched Google and this forum, but can't find a DIY. All the ones I found were for cars with metal keys. I have one of the plastic electronic ones. Is it as simple as unscrewing the bezel around the tumbler and then removing the trim piece it's attached to? If so, someone kind enough to tell me how that trim comes off?

Also, I found some used switch/key combos on eBay, I assume since they come with the key it would be plug n play?

Lastly, I did run across in my searches about key chains. My g/f drives this car mostly (I also have an ML320) and she has a pound of junk hanging off her key chain. Is this a big no-no?

I thank y'all for any help and insight ☺
 

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You need a special tool to remove the ignition switch, some had success using common tools (pliers, etc.).

You should first check if the ignition switch is loose. If so, try tightening it and see if it solves your problem.

Also make sure that it is not key that causes the problem. If you have a spare key, try the spare and see if it works better.

You need more than switch / key combo. You need ESL+ EIS + key + ECU combo for plug and play.

ESL = Electronic Steering Lock (you can use an emulator instead)
EIS = Electronic Ignition Switch
ECU = Engine Computer Unit.

All has to match due to authorization requirements.

Having a bundle of keys on a key chain in the ignition is always a no-no.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
By special tool, do you mean the one that tightens/loosens the trim ring that actually holds the ignition switch? Cause mine has come loose before and I used a homemade spanner wrench that works great.

So if I do need a new switch/tumbler, I assume it will need reprogramming since I'm not gonna replace all the stuff you mentioned. I do have a spare key, but it has never worked in it since I got it. I don't believe it even goes to this car. The PO gave it to me.
 

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Yes.

You can get the EIS reprogrammed, but for your model year EIS, I have heard it is hard to do. Deplore can answer this. And it will probably cost you more than just getting the whole matching set from a donor car, and install it, before too late (when your ESL locks the steering wheel and you cannot even unlock it to remove).

I would just check if it is the key issue first.

Use the gizmo to find out.

https://www.amazon.com/Baynne-US-Induction-Signal-Detection-Diagnostic/dp/B07VBXWRL9/ref=alp_dpwidget_a_w_?th=1&psc=1&smid=A2Y19Q6BZCFTKY

Just ordered and received. This is the second one I bought at this price (just in case I lose the first one).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, thank you much for that info. I will order one of them to check the signal.

Idk if this info would help, but what I just found out messing with it is if I tighten the switch to where it should be, it don't work at all. If I totally remove the trim ring, it works much better???
 

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No idea. It may be something to do with the coil that energizes the key via induction. When you receive and use the gizmo, you will see if the coil has energy or not.
 

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Ok, thank you much for that info. I will order one of them to check the signal.

Idk if this info would help, but what I just found out messing with it is if I tighten the switch to where it should be, it don't work at all. If I totally remove the trim ring, it works much better???
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Good advice from these two SME's Deplore and MrBoca on the W210...

I did purchase an inexpensive custom tool Chinese made light aluminum to unsecure the ring on the EIS and an ignition ring checker to verify the status

Not sure where you are are located, but best ROI on the dollar for a complete set can be had in mid upper State NY and Pennsylvania Manheim (depressed economic areas all the Germans are here if you search in these areas great savings)

I had a friend in Britain purchase what I believe to be a quality emulator manufactured in Poland vs. the Chinese manufactured he shipped via Royal Mail in Britain $28.00 + $14.00 USD total exchanged to GBP and shipped to Northern Virginia

If you think you might ever sell the vehicle the Emulator may not be the way to go and working with Deplore may be a better option, but verify that from these two SME's
 

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98 E320 EIS reprogramming is a total crapshoot, you have about 50/50 chances of being either successful or totally bricking the replacement EIS. I've actually never been successful on any 210/202/208 EIS reprogramming -- it's easier to just replace the steering lock, EIS and ECU as a set than it is to just reprogram the EIS.

Try another key first. If you're tightening the EIS trim and it doesn't work anymore, it's more than likely your key. The fact that you have to wiggle it to make it turn seems to be an issue in the induction coil in your key. What key do you have?

A new EIS is about $1000-1300 at the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is the key I have, and I don't have another that works. I assume I can get one programmed to my vehicle? I wish I would remember all the little details at one time, but something else I remember it doing odd last night was when I put the key in, it didn't make the chime and say "remove key" on the dash display until I would jiggle it around. Maybe power supply issue at the switch?

I thank you guys for all your help. I know my ML inside and out, but this car we haven't had to do anything repair wise since my g/f bought it a few years ago
2607238
 

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Yeah, I have the same key, and at some point it was temperamental. I had to do some repair on the induction coil wiring inside the key at the tip. I have two keys and the gizmo, so it was easier for me to diagnose that it was the key.

If you do not address the problem soon, it may get worse, and you may get stuck at an inconvenient location.

When you insert the key, the switch has a micro-switch that closes its contacts which energizes the coil in the switch to power the key electronics. The mechanism may get stuck, or worn out too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lol, key ( no pun intended) word- soon. I ordered one of them test coil thingy and unless I opted to pay 39.95 for shipping, it's estimated arrival is Nov. 27th.

I may just take it to an Indy Mercedes shop down in Fort Myers to diagnose before I go buying all the switches, locks, ecu's, keys, etc.

Btw, I was looking at parts on car-part.com, and for a 1998 they had to options: up to Vin ending in Axxxxxx and from Vin Axxxxxx. But my Vin doesn't end with an A, but in X006xxx. I'd that b/c it's a 4matic?
 

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You can get it faster from the USA by paying the extra.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Lock-Coil-Easy-Checker-EZS-EIS-CAS-Diagnostic-Tool-Fit-For-BMW-Benz-AUDI-VW/383061984293?hash=item5930460425:g:t3gAAOSwJTddNJ2B

The VIN 11th character specifies where the car was manufactured.
A-E Sindelfingen
F-H Bremen
J Rastatt
X Graz
T Karmann
V Valmet Automotive, Finland
M Woking, England

So yours was manufactured in Graz, it seems.

The original EIS had some issues, and replaced with "new and improved" versions when failed. Yours may be the original. You can check the part number. With the new EIS version, you cannot use the old key, but the new generation key could be used in both new and old design EISs.

So, if you go to a dealer, and they say the EIS is the problem. In all likelihood, they will replace it with a new design, as the old design stock must have been depleted by now. You would also pay for, and get one or two shiny chrome keys, at a premium.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Lol, I gotta get better at searching. I looked on eBay, and found some hokey looking ones, but didn't find those ones. Thank you. Got one of them on the way now too.

Oh, and as long as there has been a Mercedes in the family, I've never actually been to a dealer. I use a good independent shop that specializes in them.
 
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