Help! W201 Ignition barrel won't turn!

Discussion in 'Interior' started by neilrr, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    The curse of the key / ignition barrel has struck me today.

    When I went to turn the car on, after just turning it off 5 minutes before, the key would not turn the barrel at all and the steering lock is on. The key comes out of the ignition & is working all the door locks as before.

    I tried squirting WD40 in the key hole & jiggled the bloody key while moving the steering wheel back & forth until my fingers were raw, but no joy.

    I already have a good used barrel & key from my 190D 2.5 donor car (is this the same as a 190E 2.6 key & barrel?) so what do I do next?

    The car is still parked, immobile, steering lock on & stuck in Park where I turned it off & I'd prefer not to leave it there too long!
     
  2. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    If you really can't get the lock to turn then either drill it out or hammer a large screwdriver in and turn it with a spanner.
    AFAIK the lock units are the same and you could even sweet-key the replacement to suit the original key.

    Have you tried the spare key, just in case.
     
  3. stevesey

    stevesey Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    From experience with Vauxhalls when the barrels/levers wear they go from working to not very quickly.

    You'll need to be able to turn the key to get the barrel out (without having to drill it), so if you do get it to turn don't turn it back to 0!!

    Assming it's worn try moving the key in/out marginally while trying to turn this may just be enough to align the levers.
     
  4. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Common fault on those type of ignition barrels. If you're lucky and patient, you MAY be able to get it to turn, it's not a case of force and determination, more patience and technique. Try pulling the key gently back and forth, whilst rocking the steering wheel slightly and turning as usual.

    IIRC they're bloody awkward to remove in the locked position.

    I've just cursed myself, haven't I?...

    WIll
     
  5. 94mattda

    94mattda Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had a similar proble on my 190 a few years back.... it would work fineone minute then the next time it took ages to work if at all....mine you had to push all the way in and then pull it out ever so slightly before turning it. Then it worked every time.... adds character i think
     
  6. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    I had the same thing on my CE.

    You need to get a dremel or similar and carefully cut through the outer surround of the barrel (the black bit) this will allow you access to the hole where you need to stick the pin to remove the barrell without needing to turn the key to position 1.

    The surround and replacement barrel to match my other locks cost me about £70 for them both.

    BTW, you can get 12v dremel type tools that will run off the cigar socket should you not have electricity where the car is.
     
  7. Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I CAN HELP!!!

    I had this happen, and having spent 8 hours (!!!!) trying to sort it, when I did get it done, it turned out to be a 5 minute job (IF you know what you are doing...!).

    Buy a replacement barrel (I got one from GSF for £27) and they keep them in stock.

    Removal of the original barrel is very easy, once you know how and can be done without removing any trim etc.

    You need to fabricate a tool from a metal coathanger (stick with me, it is worth it..!). I'll find a picture, hold on....


    :)
     
  8. Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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  9. jimti

    jimti Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    As I remember when it happened to my 190 I had to get the key and barrel replaced by Mercedes dealer so the key was the same, I seem to remember that it was fairly cheep and when I got the new key it was very obvious that the old key was very worn, I think it took about 2 days for the correct parts to arrive, as Swiss Toni points out, you can do it yourself, but if you want the key and lock to be the same as your doors you will have to order them through MB
     
  10. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    The caveat to this is you have to be able to turn the key to position 1 first - only then is it easy.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Toni,

    That's the problem - I can't move the key at all.

    The sander vibration idea is ingenious. I'll give that a try.

    I have only one key for this car & comparing the key to the one in my spare barrel it does looks very worn.

    I wonder if it's worth getting a new key & trying that first. Anyone know how long it would take & how much a new key from MB would be?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  12. bigstuff

    bigstuff Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    stick youre foot on the brake & rock the steering with some vigor & turn the key
     
  13. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Hi Neil,

    New keys are £10+VAT (what I paid about 12 months back), and have to be ordered. With the bank holiday, I guess you're looking at sometime around the end of next week before it would arrive.

    Will
     
  14. OP
    OP
    neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Will,

    Sod's law that this would happen on a Saturday morning of a Bank Holiday weekend so I suspect you're correct & it'll take anothe 10 days from ordering the key until it arrives.

    I'll try the vibration technique in the meantime. The car is locked in a compound & I can't get access until the business it's parked outside of re-opens on Tuesday morning.
     
  15. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Get all your documents together in the meantime, V5, driving license etc etc and order a replacement first thing tuesday morning if possible.

    BTW, the parts staff are supposed to see the car, in person, at the dealership before releasing the key - you might have to twist their arm or assure them thoroughly - or you might be stuck if you get a jobsworth!

    Good luck,

    Will
     
  16. Smiley

    Smiley Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Sorry to say that the problem is in the barrel not the key - its a common problem on w124 and 201. You need to get the key to position 1 - then it is easy to remove the barrel - once removed you will most likely see it fall apart in your hands. Without getting the key to position 1 then it is a PITA - which is why the locksmith mentioned did not want the job.
    These can refuse to turn for a while then when you think all is lost suddenly it turns - so keep wiggling and trying it - and whatever you do dont turn it back past position 1.
    You can also order a matching barrel from MB - no need for a new key.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Well today I went to retrieve the car. Miraculously, the key unfroze and turned to Position 1 after less than 5 minutes of wiggling & jiggling & without having to resort to the vibrating technique. I decided to drive it home immediately & do any barrel removing there.

    I tried for about 3 hours to remove the barrel with no success. I tried wires of different sizes, different lengths, with kinks, with ridges, with swearing & with prayers. The ignition is in Position 1 and I can get the wire to slide into & down the appropriate holes but the barrel isn't even looking like budging.

    Looking at the spare barrel I have I wonder if it's possible that the metal spring which needs to be depressed for the barrel to come out is somehow broken or at least not responding to the piece of metal I'm using to move it.

    Any ideas or solutions welcome, either to free it delicately or to blast the bloody thing out so I can slide in the replacement & get on with my life.


    The photo shows the key in Position 1 with two bits of metal down each of the holes & a coat hanger around the neck of the key to pull on.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. del320

    del320 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Our very own Mr Ian B Walker supplied the definitive 'How to' HERE.

    Critical to the operation is the tool:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. stevesey

    stevesey Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Did you look at the pic's on post 8 of the link swiss toni posted (need to register to view). Post 13 also mentions you can feel the point where the wire clicks in (and coat hanger is mentioned as a suitable wire).

    Previously I've used allen keys for the same task on VX's as they provide a nice handle to push against.

    Steve

    Edit: Ian's HOWTO is even better
     
  20. OP
    OP
    neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Yes, we made several tools of varying thickness, all pointy just like the diagram.
    Started out with two seperate pieces of wire, then used a spare 190 bonnet strut spring with the kinked ends cut off & ground down as per the diagram, then cut that into two pieces, then a coat hanger.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008

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