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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry for this newbie question but I must ask. I recently broke the shank on one of my smartkeys and inquired at the dealer for a replacement. They stated that since my remote portion is fully functional that I should simply buy a valet key. I ran the search on this topic here but what turned up was mostly about glove box lokcout. So here are my questions and hopefully someone will be kind enough to explain:

Can the valet key be used to drive the car or is what's left of my smartkey required to tag along if the car is to start? The car is a 2000 ML320.

Also is it possible to remove the shank from the smartkey and have a new one put in? If so could I get a reference please?

Thanks in advance.
 

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The valet key in an ML is mostly useless because it just doesn't have the remote unlock feature (there is no trunk to lock and it doesn't have a rev limiter like I heard a Corvette's has) - this is why 2002+ MLs don't have one. I'm sure you can replace the cut metal on the remote key, but getting the metal cut is the hard part.

The dealer was trying to save you money (*gasp*! Was it really a Mercedes dealer?) by offering to order you a valet key instead of a more expensive remote key. The valet key will start the car by itself (it has it's own chip for the security system).
 

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The valet key is useful for people who have parking garages and don't want the attendant to be accidentally triggering the alarm system. Using the valet key prevents the alarm from being turned on. Additionally, the key is tough and cheap while the remote is much more fragile and expensive to replace.

As for the original posters question. The valet key cannot be easily transferred to replace the broken remote key. I suppose someone with a good cutting tool can do anything and perhaps it is a thought.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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A new “switchblade� key should cost you around $150 retail to purchase and have it programmed into the system. I believe what the dealer is suggesting is that you buy a valet key (which I’m not sure you can as it is actually a by-product of the initial AAM programming on pre-2002 models, but that’s another topic of discussion). After you get the valet key, you cannibalize its blade and install it on the switchblade fob. If you look at your switchblade fob, you will see that the cut blade is actually a separate part from the deployment mechanism, held in place by a small pin.

- RODNEY
 

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2002 ML320, 2005 S430 4MATIC RIP, 2010 F150 Crew Cab
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I just bought a remote key from the Birmingham AL dealer for 109.00 plus tax. The dealer said since I bought from them, they would program for free! Also finally got my rear door lock actuator/handle. They stocked them (Go figure!)
 

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You may not need to even have them program it. When I ordered mine, it was already coded to my AAM for DAS (starting the engine). All that was needed was RCL (remote control locking) programming, which can be done by the user (search here for instructions, I’ve posted them at least twice).

Unfortunately, I did not have the instructions handy when I picked up my key because I assumed they would need to program the AAM for DAS, so I’d let them do RCL, too. When I discovered that the new key started the engine with no programming, I told JW (the SA) that I could program it myself, but he bet I could not. Of course I had not memorized the instructions and I was in a hurry, so I let them do it.

If you want to have some fun, take the instructions with you (or memorize them). Pick up your key from parts before seeing the SA, and then assuming it starts the engine, tell JW you are going to program RCL yourself and try it. If it works, tell him "I told you so!" :)

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the explanation guys, I wonder though why the valet key would have a chip. If I'm not mistaken my doors automatically lock after 10 minutes or so and without a smart key you'd never get inside the car to use it. (Probably something I don't know here but all the door key holes are blocked off) Some of you were thinking exactly what I was, I will attempt to swap the shank from the valet key to the smartkey. Hope this works otherwise I'll need another valet key LOL.
 

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your key holes are only blocked by a piece of plastic which can be removed.

The door won't relock in 10 minutes unless it was unlocked by the remote and then nothing is touched. If you use the valet key to unlock it will not relock automatically.

When you open a car with the valet key that has been locked with a remote the alarm will sound but can be turned off by starting the car.

Have fun cutting that key and let us know how it goes.
 

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JoeBlow - 7/13/2005 6:36 PM

Thanks for the explanation guys, I wonder though why the valet key would have a chip. If I'm not mistaken my doors automatically lock after 10 minutes or so and without a smart key you'd never get inside the car to use it. (Probably something I don't know here but all the door key holes are blocked off) Some of you were thinking exactly what I was, I will attempt to swap the shank from the valet key to the smartkey. Hope this works otherwise I'll need another valet key LOL.
The valet has a chip because it is required of the Drive Authorization System. Not only that, it appears to support the same rolling code encryption as the fob-mounted keys. Note that the battery in the fobs is only used to power the remote locking function; power for the DAS function of the key (including the re-writing of the rolling code) comes from an RFID-like EMF field in the ignition switch.

- RODNEY
 

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rudeney - 7/13/2005 3:49 PM

You may not need to even have them program it. When I ordered mine, it was already coded to my AAM for DAS (starting the engine). All that was needed was RCL (remote control locking) programming, which can be done by the user (search here for instructions, I’ve posted them at least twice).

- RODNEY
I guess it's off to the dealer! It starts car but it will not program per instructions.
 

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cmitchprint - 7/16/2005 3:54 PM

rudeney - 7/13/2005 3:49 PM

You may not need to even have them program it. When I ordered mine, it was already coded to my AAM for DAS (starting the engine). All that was needed was RCL (remote control locking) programming, which can be done by the user (search here for instructions, I’ve posted them at least twice).

- RODNEY
I guess it's off to the dealer! It starts car but it will not program per instructions.
The instructions are for the newer cars. Your year is not user programmable. Rudeney has an 01
 

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my problem with the valet key is that itcan start the car but it dies right away. Also if i use it to open the car, the car alarms and i can,t shut it off even if i put the key in the ignition. I have to go back to the place i got it from and have them bring it to the dealership to have it reprogramed. one new question, can the dealer proveide me the key to the safety box beneath the passenger seat?
 

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@bigcatny: I have been told conflicting stories about programming RCL. On the one hand, the dealer states that they must do all initial RCL programming, but if the rolling code gets out of sync (by a dead battery or the remote being activate more than 256 times when out of range of the truck), the user can re-program the key. According to WIS and other shop documentation, there is no difference between the “initial� RCL programming performed through the dealer’s HHT and the user programmed that I have posted here. Unfortunately, I have never tried programming a virgin key for RCL, so I can’t say what is correct.

@John Mars: If the alarm is set, unlocking the door with a blade (valet key or even the blade on a fob) will activate the alarm. Since your valet key does turn the ignition switch but does not allow the engine to start and also does not disarm the alarm, it sounds as if this key is either defective, or has somehow become “deprogrammed� in the AAM. My guess is that the key is defective (unless you are having any other odd problems with AAM-controlled functions?). AS for the lockbox key, I believe they will have to order a new lock and key set, which you may find less expensive at a locksmith.

- RODNEY
 

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rudeney - 7/18/2005 3:35 PM

@bigcatny: I have been told conflicting stories about programming RCL. On the one hand, the dealer states that they must do all initial RCL programming, but if the rolling code gets out of sync (by a dead battery or the remote being activate more than 256 times when out of range of the truck), the user can re-program the key. According to WIS and other shop documentation, there is no difference between the “initial� RCL programming performed through the dealer’s HHT and the user programmed that I have posted here. Unfortunately, I have never tried programming a virgin key for RCL, so I can’t say what is correct.

- RODNEY
Rodney,

The synching of the remote without the use of the dealer laptop is not possible in the early models. I believe that's one of the many updates between 99 and 00. I'm sure the documentation is conflicted if it does not specifically address the model year.
Anyway, just trying to save the other guy from wasting his time trying the procedure.

Let me add that your help on the boards issues are always appreciated.
 
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