Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my key started to have issues in not turning/unlocking the ESL. (W203 2002 C320 sport wagon) It was intermittent at first. After searching Youtube I came up with the conclusion that the ESL motor failed.(when key is inserted to ignition the ESL motor does not disengage.... but on removing the key the motor engages and locks the ESL). Luckily I was able to get it to unlock one last time so unhooked the battery to keep it in the unlocked position and easily removed the ESL(so much easier than W204's). I took the ESL unit apart and removed the motor. I bench tested the motor and it worked, so I decided to clean the motor but upon using some pure alcohol to clean the carbon brushes they just disintegrated. I surmised(wrongly I realize now) the ESL motor was working in one direction(locking) but not the other (unlocking). I found a Chinese motor on Ebay but didnt want to wait 19-45 days for shipping. I found a used ESL and shipped it in($175CAN). I took the board out of the original ESL and placed it in the new ESL and hooked it up, same issue, it would not unlock when key inserted but locked when key is taken out.(I left the ESL not installed to the column for testing). So now I realize this issue is probably NOT the ESL. Both the old and new(with old board) ESL's will not unlock when key is inserted but both lock when key is pulled out.(the old motor still works with both carbon brushes gone) I also, in frustration, tried the new board....which may have been a mistake....I dont know......nothing happened....which is what I figured. I tried setting the unit to the open position but no luck there either. I tried plugging in just the board and placing the locking pin on the open contact point, no luck. So my best guess now is possibly an issue with the key or the ignition. I already looked into emulators but a few places said they dont seem to work on US versions. Anyone experience this issue? I seems it's not the ESL motor.....so maybe the key is not communicating properly to unlock the ESL but communicates properly to lock it? Man I'm at my wits end here. I've contemplated getting a new key as the existing one is old, but it still functions properly with door locks/alarm and programming still works for locking drivers only or all doors. Love the 320....engine and tranny are pretty much bulletproof....but 2-3K at the dealership seems a bit steep. I think my only hope is to send the key/ESL and ignition plate off for servicing/reprogramming? Anyone know of any places in North America that do this?