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Ignition Switch Lock Cylinder Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Ignition Switch Lock Cylinder Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

30 minutes30 mins

Tab:

$12 to $87

Talent:

*

Tools:

Flatblade screwdriver, lock cover tool

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement lock cylinder and key

Hot Tip:

Replace the cylinder and key when the key action gets notchy

Performance Gain:

Car starts

Complementary Modification:

Grease the lock cylinder

Like all moving parts that are subjected to friction, the ignition lock cylinder eventually wears out. Under normal operation, the cylinder rotates when the key is turned -- the cylinder's pins retract, allowing it to move. Both the key's teeth and the cylinder's spring-loaded pins wear out over time. The fix is fairly affordable if corrected while the key still moves the cylinder in the steering lock.

Sometimes, cleaning and lubricating the cylinder can prolong their lifespan. Mercedes-Benz offers a product for this (#001-989-26-51-10-MBZ). Unlike silicone spray or dry graphite, this grease is formulated specifically for the lock tumbler. Removing the cylinder is the recommended way to thoroughly clean it, as opposed to blasting brake cleaner into the dash panel.

The removal process is fairly straightforward. The aluminum cylinder cover ring needs to be rotated a quarter turn counter-clockwise while the key is in the "1" (Accessory) position. The barbaric way to do this is with large channel locks, which will likely mar the lock cover. A better method is with a purpose-specific Lock Cover Tool (Pelican Parts #BM-202-0014). Once the cover is released, the key and tumbler can be pulled out of the steering lock.

The one drawback to ordering a new cylinder and key is that the trunk lock will still require the original key. If this is a deal-breaker, see a locksmith or a Mercedes-Benz dealer for possible re-keying options.

First, remove the trim ring/transponder coil.
Figure 1

First, remove the trim ring/transponder coil. Mercedes-Benz makes a special hook tool for the job (#140-589-02-33-00-MBZ). Alternately, it can be pried off carefully using a small flatblade screwdriver. For reassembly, the ring's clips (arrow) grab the slot in the dash panel directly under the key cylinder.

The special Lock Cover Tool catches the key's remote fob, causing the key to move with the tool.
Figure 2

The special Lock Cover Tool catches the key's remote fob, causing the key to move with the tool.

So, I detached the key from the fob by pushing out the rollpin (arrow) with a jeweler's screwdriver.
Figure 3

So, I detached the key from the fob by pushing out the rollpin (arrow) with a jeweler's screwdriver.

Here are the key components and the screwdriver used to remove the rollpin.
Figure 4

Here are the key components and the screwdriver used to remove the rollpin.

The key is rotated clockwise to the
Figure 5

The key is rotated clockwise to the "1" (Accessory) position. I used a crescent wrench to gently turn the key.

The tool is used to rotate the lock cover a quarter turn counter-clockwise.
Figure 6

The tool is used to rotate the lock cover a quarter turn counter-clockwise. If the cover doesn't budge, the key likely isn't retracting the cylinder's pins all the way. Fine-tune the key position until the cover spins free by hand using the tool.

The lock cover is made from billet aluminum and has a flat edge on one side.
Figure 7

The lock cover is made from billet aluminum and has a flat edge on one side. For reinstallation, begin with the flat edge in the 9:00 position and then spin it to 12:00 using the tool.

The key remains in the
Figure 8

The key remains in the "1" position, retracting the cylinder's spring-loaded pins. This allows the cylinder to be pulled out of the steering lock. For installation, the cylinder's white plastic piece (arrow) orients in approximately the 5:00 position.

In its resting state, the cylinder's pins are out, preventing it from being turned in the steering lock.
Figure 9

In its resting state, the cylinder's pins are out, preventing it from being turned in the steering lock.

When functioning properly, the key catches the pins inside the cylinder, retracting them when the key is turned clockwise.
Figure 10

When functioning properly, the key catches the pins inside the cylinder, retracting them when the key is turned clockwise.

This job's players are the lock cover, cylinder, key, cover tool and key fob.
Figure 11

This job's players are the lock cover, cylinder, key, cover tool and key fob. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Tim Comments: I changed the whole ignition switch and transponder and it started and shut off and says start error and wont start what next
November 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Probably in theft. Check for fault codes to confirm. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Craig Comments: There is a very necessary part that is overlooked very easily. Under the red light and under the white plastic piece is a small metal piece. Took it out of old phone and car now starts and runs great but I Hanover instrumentation or dash light mileage fuel gauge sped tach nothing not even turn signals. All fuses are good and you can hear the fan running under hood for the k-40 I'm stuck! So is local MB stealer.
October 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm having trouble making sens of your request. What is wrong with the vehicle? What type of vehicle? What have you fixed / replaced? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Craig Sanford Comments: Have installed new key and tumbler assembly. Had removed all the dash components that might have been in the way as I wasn't sure I was going to get the key to move to position 1. Installed new key and tumbler re-installed all dash components. Key fob works great locks doors and security system as should. With everything installed turn key to on position radio will play and all lights work. But when try to start it in in initially will act like it's going to start but never does. None of the mileage or any of the led lights work on instrument cluster. Help????
October 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possible the key is not recognized. Are any fault codes stored? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ellerjucs1 Comments: where do you buy the lock cover tool?
October 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can get you the tool.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tamara Comments: Hello. My parts arrived today and I am trying to replace the ignition tumbler. But my key will not turn to the 1 St position. Where do I need to drill to get old timber out?? I've got a new cover, removal tool and tumbler with key. 2004 SLK 320
August 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to drill the center of the tumbler. Measure the new one so you don't drill deeper than it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Richard Comments: I am replacing the ignition switch/steering lock on a 2004 silk and need to remove the 2 wire switch on the housing.how does it release?
August 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share a photo of the connector? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Grant Comments: The ignition switch on my 2002 R170 has a sticking issue but only when inserting the key and turning it to the 1 position. It moves freely to the other positions after that. If I turn it to off, but do not remove the key, it then moves freely to position 1 and all other positions. Moving the steering wheel slightly does not have any effect. Is this a lock cylinder issue or something else?
August 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the lock cylinder or key is at fault. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hurls Comments: I have a 2004 SLK 320 key won't turn if I drill it out tumbler .Put in new key tumbler will I have to have new key programmed
August 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The key should come programmed for your vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tamara Comments: If my key wont turn and I drill out the tumbler, what other part will have to be replaced? 2004 SLK320
August 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The mechanical lock cylinder. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Fatty Comments: hello, i cant turn the key the last couple of mm to remove key , ive checked the barrel/tunbler and it is ok, i can turn the key but cant remove the key from tumbler as it wont turn the last 1 or 2 mm to the left ??
July 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to push in the locking tabs on the lock cylinder. Look for something on the lock cylinder body to push in while you rotate. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Godwin Comments: I have slk230 1999 model, the key box became old and couldn't hold the key so I changed the key plus the units in to another key housing and the refused to start.what do I do?
June 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to program the new keys to the vehicle using a Mercedes-Benz scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
earnestricks Comments: I have a 1997 mercades bens c230 I replaced the cylinder switch but it will not drop into place and start car it seems to turn to one but does no engage to start
March 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try rotating the key a little when installing it. It may not be in the unlocked position, to drop in and lock into place. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mightycpa Comments: Hi, Thanks, but I'm actually trying to replace the transponder cover. It is held hostage to the wire connection of the transponder itself.

I got brave and I cut the wire, replaced the cover, and then reconnected the wire, taking care to keep as much shielding around the connection as I could.

It worked, and I didn't have to take my dash off to do it.

Thanks
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
RickSLK230 Comments: Mighty CPA - The transponder goes into a switch attached to the steering lock assembly. It's going to be difficult to remove without taking off the lower dash. However, if you are only removing the tumbler, you shouldn't have to disconnect the transponder. Just remove it and let it hang there by the cable.
February 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
mightycpa Comments: What needs to be done to remove the transponder? The wire appears to go behind the dash cluster.

I'm trying to change the transponder cover.
February 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll have to pull the lower part of the instrument panel apart to access the connector. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Elvis Comments: after removing the dash panels I could wiggle my switch up and down and turn the key at the same time and got it to turn ! thank God! thanks for the Help Pelican! thank you thank you very much" very helpful saved me $600
December 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Shari Comments: My follow up question...we had to replace the steering lock too and it went right back into place and we inserted the new key/switch but can't seem to get it to drop into place? Can only turn it to one position...do we need that special tool or is that just for the black cap? Here's another picture does the metal flap I circled need to someone fit into that plastic sleeve with the arrow? ugh =
November 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Rotating the key should allow that to drop in. If you tell me what vehicle you are working on, year and model, I can confirm this to be the case. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Shari Comments: Ok now we're reinstalling the switch and cant get it to turn enough in the steering lock....is the switch suppose to fall into that plastic grove
November 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Rotating the key should allow that to drop in. If you tell me what vehicle you are working on, year and model, I can confirm this to be the case. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Carlos Comments: Unfortunately because i couldn't move the key at all i had to replace the entire steering lock. Which is what i meant on my previous post. But thanks for all the How-to's you guys have saved me thousands of dollars in repairs.
November 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up and sharing your experience
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Shari Comments: This article only covers when you can turn the key...we couldn't turn as our key was broke inside we had to remove entire steering lock etc....
November 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is correct. When the key is broken or the tumbler won't turn, you have to remove the whole unit or drill it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Carlos Comments: It would be awesome if you guys could include a How-to for the removal of the entire lock assembly. I'm currently facing the issue where i can't even turn the key to first position.
November 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Looks like it covered to me. See the steps toward the end of the article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shair Comments: what if you can't turn the key!! my key broke off half way in and I can't turn it
October 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Get out your drill. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:39:54 AM