1980 450SLC - Problem!

Discussion in 'Engine' started by SG1, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. SG1

    SG1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Right I recently bought a 1980 450SLC which has been stored in a garage for years unused as a project.

    I got the car home, went to start it and the key won't turn in the ignition. The steering wheel is also locked and I can't move it!

    Don't have a clue what to do or how to move it onto my driveway?
     
  2. Druk

    Druk Administrator Staff Member

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    You got the dreaded knackered tumbler syndrome. If you've had the key turned previously you can try turning it repeatedly and you might get lucky. Sometimes it works 1 in 100. You have to steel yourself for when it does turn because you're then going to drive or trailer it to the nearest Merc garage and get them to remove the barrel from the lock and fit a new one. The trick is going to be to not turn the key off when you get there because the barrel/key has to be in position 1 for the release tools to enter. Turn it off by accident and it may never turn again. This means the steering column has to be removed to get it all out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  3. OP
    OP
    SG1

    SG1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    That's exactly what a mechanic has told me! It did turn once but I stupidly didn't keep it there as I didn't know this then!

    I guess I'll have to keep trying. Thanks for the excellent advice.
     
  4. Scott_F

    Scott_F Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Would a good squirt of WD40 and a few hours to let it penetrate be worth a punt ?
     
  5. Druk

    Druk Administrator Staff Member

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    ^ Possibly. Certainly worth a try. It's also been said that a vibrator of some sort :dk: held against the key while it's being turned can sometimes make it release. Where you would get one of them I have no idea. :wallbash::D



    Maybe you wouldn't be too popular if you returned it smelling of WD40?
     
  6. V12

    V12 MB Club Veteran

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    No. Worst thing to put in a pre-greased lock. The wd40 will drive out any grease in hard to reach places and putting grease back there will be extremely difficult.

    You want a graphite based grease for locks.
     
  7. V12

    V12 MB Club Veteran

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    If you get it to position 1 then you can use many household items to remove the key barrel. My favourite is the wife's hair grip clip things. Straighten one out and cut the rounded end off...works a treat.

    Once the barrel is out you can turn the ignition switch with a flat screwdriver on demand without damaging anything and safely move the car without any fear of not getting it going again!
     
  8. Scott_F

    Scott_F Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Even a knackered pre-greased lock ??

    By the sound of it he wouldn't have much to lose by giving it a try.
     
  9. V12

    V12 MB Club Veteran

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    Usually when someone uses wd40 in an intermittent lock it becomes a totally useless lock in 60 seconds and all chance of success is lost.

    When I used to sell ignition locks this was a recurring story from customers.

    Then the fun begins with drills and chisels...
     
  10. stwat

    stwat Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mine seized up last year. I was told by an an auto locksmith to clean out the old crusty grease with WD40 and then re-grease it using Vaseline. Keep dipping the key in the vaseline then working it into the lock tumblers until they free up and the lock turns.

    It worked a treat and the lock is still working like a new lock to this day. I used it in the door locks and freed them up too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  11. John Jones Jr

    John Jones Jr Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Had the exact same problem on a W201 & W124 and did exactly the same to cure it - WD40 & Vaso. Bingo. Then every so often I'd apply a very mild smear of vaso to the key, made a point of keeping the key clean at all times too.
     
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  12. V12

    V12 MB Club Veteran

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    Good to hear of positive experiences. Interesting tip on the Vaseline. I've heard both good and bad about using it but you can't beat first hand experiences!

    Some old school auto locksmiths will tell you to rub your key on the tip of a pencil to treat it to a bit of graphite.
     
  13. John Jones Jr

    John Jones Jr Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I've that heard too, makes sense but I don't think it would do for those ignition barrels as I think they need something like WD40 to work it's way all round initially, to act as a sort of flush.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    SG1

    SG1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for everyones advice, it is much appreciated.

    I tried the WD40/Vaseline method today with no luck. Looks like I'll have to keep trying or find another solution!
     
  15. stwat

    stwat Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    It does take quite a while so patience is needed. You need lots of Vaseline and wiggle it around shaking it around at the same time.

    And yes, I do know that sound's unbelievably rude:D
     

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