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Pelican Technical Article:

Ignition Tumbler Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

15 minutes - 4 hours

Tab:

$15 to $115

Talent:

*

Tools:

A small piece of firm wire, trim removal tool

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)

Parts Required:

New tumbler

Hot Tip:

File the wire down to 60 degrees

Performance Gain:

Your car will start

Complementary Modification:

Lubricate your other locks

Mercedes-Benz W124 models are known to have sudden and catastrophic ignition tumbler failure that can leave you stranded at the side of the road and looking at a lengthy and costly repair. The tumbler itself can be changed out with relative ease when working, but is a complete pain to replace when it will not turn. If your ignition tumbler is starting to act balky, do yourself a huge favor and change it out right away. Once the key will no longer turn in the lock you have just made a simple job a very difficult and costly job and will be forever kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. You can buy a new key and tumbler for around $15 that will fit and work, but the key will only fit the ignition. You will need to carry the original keys for the doors and trunk. Or, you can order an originally keyed new tumbler along with a new key that will fit the original locks directly from a Mercedes-Benz dealer.

If your key does not turn, before you start cutting things out of the car, try placing a palm sander or other small vibrating tool against the lock while turning the key. This will sometimes help free up the tumbler and get the key to move.

Before you begin any work, make sure the transmission is securely in Park. I know it sounds simple, but the ignition mechanism is directly attached to the transmission linkage and if the car in not in Park, you can have problems with the key and tumbler.

If your key works in the ignition it is relatively easy to change it out.

Use a trim removal tool or a small screw driver and remove the trim piece surrounding the lock (red arrow).
Figure 1

Use a trim removal tool or a small screw driver and remove the trim piece surrounding the lock (red arrow).

Move the key to the number 1 position.
Figure 2

Move the key to the number 1 position. In this position both bore holes should line up with the channels behind them (red arrows).

Here is a picture of what you are trying to do.
Figure 3

Here is a picture of what you are trying to do. I have the tumbler out of the housing so you can see better what needs to happen. The yellow arrow shows the filed point of the metal wire. The red arrow shows the detent clip. When you push the wire into the bore hole you are trying to get the wire to go over the detent clip and squeeze it into the tumbler. This will release the tumbler from the housing.

Here is the tumbler and cover coming off the ignition housing.
Figure 4

Here is the tumbler and cover coming off the ignition housing. Once you get the metal wires to release the detent pin you can just pull it straight back and out. Note: you can see two metal wires here (red arrows). The top pin releases the tumbler while the bottom releases the cover-retaining clip.

With the tumbler out you can see where the tumbler sits in the electrical portion of the switch (red arrow), the groove the tumbler needs to sit in within the housing (green arrow) and the notch the metal cover needs to be aligned to (yellow arrow).
Figure 5

With the tumbler out you can see where the tumbler sits in the electrical portion of the switch (red arrow), the groove the tumbler needs to sit in within the housing (green arrow) and the notch the metal cover needs to be aligned to (yellow arrow). The blue arrow shows the detent pin that holds the metal cover in place.

Here is the bottom bore line on the tumbler; you can see there is no detent clip.
Figure 6

Here is the bottom bore line on the tumbler; you can see there is no detent clip. Installation is the reverse of removal.







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Comments and Suggestions:
luisbugsy Comments: a whant to buy a ignition tunbler the fibi brand for my 92mercedez 300e w124 3.0 v6 but I live in mexico but I have family in los angeles c.a what can I dow do you guys ship to mexico or my people need to buy it and then ship it to mexico
April 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pelican Parts can get the part shipped to the US for you.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-310-626-8765 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
raymond Comments: if i turn the car off the red engine light stays on. it is on all the time and of course wont pass smog with the engine light on. i wiggle the key in the ignition switch and it dims down. after awhile with the car still of it will go out. or stay on and drain the battery. i had to jump it and it has a new bosch battery.. so, changing the tumbler is all that is required? or is something else besides the tumbler in the ignition switch faulty and needs replacing as well..also, is the price of the exact same tumbler from the dealer approximately $400? i could live swapping keys to start the car and lock the doors and trunk if this is the case..i enjoy watching all of your shows on how to do repairs. you guys are excellent and that alone makes me buy parts from pelican parts.. sincerely, raymond j. rios
January 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What kind of car are you working on? This could be a component remaining powered up.

You may have a parasitic draw. You'll want to monitor the draw on the battery when the vehicle is asleep.

Once you confirm there is a draw. You will have to isolate the circuit with the draw. Then determine which components on that circuit is causing the draw You can isolate by removing fuses. be sure to have all the latches on the doors and hood closed (pin switches) so the vehicle will sleep during testing. If it wakes up, you will have to wait until it goes to sleep again.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Amber Comments: I am wondering if it is anyway possible for one to be able yo buy any individual parts that go to the tumbler ignition switch itself. I am missing the part that unlocks the parking brake. So my car is still stuck in park with a brand new tumbler. Help.
December 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If availabel, we can get them for you. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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