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Electronic Steering Lock Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Electronic Steering Lock Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$290

Talent:

***

Tools:

13mm, 10mm wrench, E12 socket, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz C250 (2012-14)
Mercedes-Benz C300 (2008-14)
Mercedes-Benz C350 (2008-14)

Parts Required:

Electronic steering lock

Hot Tip:

You need to work by feel, so be patient

Performance Gain:

Car starts

Complementary Modification:

Detail the interior

The electronic steering lock that Mercedes has installed in a wide variety of their vehicles has become a very well-known sore spot for owners. This simple theft prevention device fails and fails often, and when it does it can leave you with a stranded vehicle and a huge repair bill. If your ignition or steering lock are starting to go bad you should replace them right away, before they leave you stranded and while replacing them is still easy.

While the dealership can charge thousands of dollars for replacing this unit you can do the work yourself and save some serious money. The most difficult part of the job is that you will be working blind on one nut but the article will walk you through everything so you will be fine.

Make sure that the very first thing you do is install the key in the ignition and that it frees up the electronic steering lock. Then leave the key in even though you are disconnecting the battery. If the lock is not open when you start you will not be able to remove it from the steering column.

PLEASE NOTE: MBZ no longer sells these parts. They are considered Theft Relevant Parts (TRP). You must now buy them through the service dept where installation and programming is required by MBZ only.

Make sure that the very first thing you do is install the key in the ignition and that it frees up the electronic steering lock.
Figure 1

Make sure that the very first thing you do is install the key in the ignition and that it frees up the electronic steering lock. Then leave the key in even though you are disconnecting the battery. If the lock is not open when you start you will not be able to remove it from the steering column.

With the steering shaft unlocked leave the key in the ignition and disconnect the ground cable on the battery (red arrow).
Figure 2

With the steering shaft unlocked leave the key in the ignition and disconnect the ground cable on the battery (red arrow).

You will need to remove the gauge cluster so please see our article on gauge cluster removal.
Figure 3

You will need to remove the gauge cluster so please see our article on gauge cluster removal.

You also need to remove the airbag and steering wheel.
Figure 4

You also need to remove the airbag and steering wheel. Please see our article on steering wheel removal for additional assistance.

Next, remove the steering column switch module (red arrow) and trim surround.
Figure 5

Next, remove the steering column switch module (red arrow) and trim surround. This comes off as one unit so please see our article on this procedure for further information.

Working below the dash first remove the two bolts by the steering knuckle (red arrows) and then the bolts closer to the dash (yellow arrow) The steering shaft will be free once the bolts are removed so gently lower it while removing the last two bolts.
Figure 6

Working below the dash first remove the two bolts by the steering knuckle (red arrows) and then the bolts closer to the dash (yellow arrow) The steering shaft will be free once the bolts are removed so gently lower it while removing the last two bolts.

Disconnect the wiring connection for the lock along the left side of the shaft (red arrow).
Figure 7

Disconnect the wiring connection for the lock along the left side of the shaft (red arrow).

I found the easiest way to do this was to reach between the shaft assembly and dash (red arrow) with one hand and the other from below.
Figure 8

I found the easiest way to do this was to reach between the shaft assembly and dash (red arrow) with one hand and the other from below.

This photo illustrates the electronic steering lock off the shaft.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates the electronic steering lock off the shaft. The grub bolt (red arrow) will be facing towards the front of the vehicle while it is installed. You need to remove the 13mm nut that holds this grub bolt in place (red arrow). You will need to do this blind or by feel but it is the only nut back there.

With the nut off you will press the grub bolt into the lock assembly (red arrow), and then lift the locking assembly up and out from the steering column.
Figure 10

With the nut off you will press the grub bolt into the lock assembly (red arrow), and then lift the locking assembly up and out from the steering column. If the grub bolt will not press in the steering is locked, and you will have to start over making sure the steering is free and leave the key in place. Never hook up the battery unless the airbag is reinstalled. It is extremely dangerous and will throw an error code looking like a fault or airbag deployment that only a factory tech can clear.

You can remove the unit out the opening between the column and dash.
Figure 11

You can remove the unit out the opening between the column and dash.

Installation is the reverse of removal.
Figure 12

Installation is the reverse of removal. When remounting the steering shaft make sure to seat the forward bolts first (red arrows, bolts not shown) and then the rears. Once the bolts are in place you can torque them to spec.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Kris Comments: Forgot the hyperlink
http://mbworld.org/forums/c-class-w204/640328-esl-steering-lock-motor-replacement-lots-pics.html#post6978792
November 30, 2016
Kris Comments: To Greg, who sounds as though he's in a predicament with an ESL module stuck in the locked position, read through this thread, it is same method I had to use to remove mine.

Nick, please shoot me an email and we can continue the torque spec conversation off line. Thanks.
November 30, 2016
Greg Comments: I have followed your instructions step by step and now l am at the stage of removing the control module.But the steering locking mechanism will not retract. So how else can l remove the module? Any ideas would be extremely helpful.Thanks.
November 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you {Make sure that the very first thing you do is install the key in the ignition and that it frees up the electronic steering lock. Then leave the key in even though you are disconnecting the battery. If the lock is not open when you start you will not be able to remove it from the steering column.}? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kris Comments: I'm working through this same problem with the ESL module. One question I do have relative to this tutorial but also applies to other tutorials I've read on the W204 is I don't see any torque specifications provided in the steps only reassemble in reverse order. Now there may be some nuts/bolts that do not have critical torque values but hardware that secures the steering wheel and column are more important than the screws that hold the under-body tray.
November 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info. Mercedes-Benz will have the proper torque specs.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John Comments: It happened to me. Steering lock problem 2008 C-350 immobilized car in 2016. Glad I was not in the wilderness. Will the replacement from MB last longer? I hope MB will reimburse since it appears to be happening to a lot of their cars.
November 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The new part should last longer. I imagine it has been updated since it is an issue with them failing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Frank Comments: I have a steering lock problem which is likely to cost £525.00 [$700]. The data transfer is £170 [ $240] alone. Why so expensive. Re-thinking whether I move out of Mercedes Benz
October 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Cost is what it is due to parts and labor. Ask shop for a detailed break down. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
stilo Comments: I need to change the evaporator temperature sensor. I searched under the steering wheel but can not find. You can help me?
w204, c300, 2010.
October 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is located in the evaporator fins. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Stabo Comments: I have 2008 C300 With the key not in the switch the steering wheel is not locked. I can put the key in the switch and turn it the engine will not crankturn over the radio or any of the acc.won't work the windows will not work. The battery has been taken out and tested and is good. Head lights and tail lights will come on. When I put the key in the switch the dash immediately displays remove key from switch. I just wanted to ask if replacing the steering wheel lock module or what ever locks it would solve the no cranking no acc.problem. Thanks in advance for any light you might shine on my problem.
October 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would try a spare key. It could be an issue with the key not being read correctly.Reading fault codes can also help with direction. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
elkale Comments: Hello, I just bought a used 2008 c300 from a dealer and I am having the same issues with the EIS, What should I do? I called the dealer and they want to take the car to a mechanic but I refuse to pay a penny for a car I just bought.
October 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the problem was present when you bought it, return the car to them to fix it for you. Tell them to handle it for you, then you won't have to cover the bill. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cb Comments: Hello. I have same problem as many. Ran in store for 15 minutes got out and car wouldn't start. No dash lights and Windows will not work. I also noticed my steering wheel will not lock where most it's locked. I can't get mine to lock. I also removed the 7.5 fuse with the key on then put it back and dash lights came on and I could roll up window. But no start and when I removed key it went back to same problem. I'm thinking it's the els. Seems esi is when wheel is locked. Is there anything else to do
Thanks
Chris
September 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can check for fault codes, other than that you have to guess if it is the culprit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ericka Comments: I parked my car 4 2 hrs came out and it wouldnt start. The key didnt work. So i ordered a key and now the steering wheel is locked. Is this a security feature...and is it common and is it able to be fixed...i have a 08 c300
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the key is from Mercedes-Benz and ordered for your vehicle, it should work. If it isn't the right key,a fault will be set and the vehicle will not unlock the wheel or start. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jaguarxk4.2l Comments: Sorry I forgot to mention the car is 2012 E class convertible year 2012 Thanks.
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jaguarxk4.2l Comments: What causes a booming noise when driving or stationary put the car in neutral it goes.
August 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sound an internal issue with the transmission. Possible broken drum or gear. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jaguarxk4.2l Comments: You say the steering lock goes bad what do you mean by goes bad. Thanks
August 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It stops working. The failure is usually in the electronics, not serviceable as parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Wasim Comments: I want the steering lock
August 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 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
 
Ed Comments: Hello Nick thanks for the great tutorial,

Just a question, I didn't replace the ESL I just opened it up and cleaned the motor and parts the motor was still working.... Put everything back together and no luck. Any suggestions what to do from here? I didn't replace the ESL completely because I wasn't sure if I needed to reprogram things like the board or key. Greatly appreciated, don't want to spend 1300-1900 at the Dealer,
August 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The failure is usually in the electronics, not serviceable as parts. If you reassemble, you can use a Mercedes-Benz scan tool to run a system test on the lock. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mik Comments: Hi,
The ESL not locking the steering and the car does not start, I took the car to repair shop. They have test the ESL and the ignition they work perfect, but the car still not starting, Even i have try my another key same issue. I can turn my key in the ignition but nothing show in the dashboard, stays the same.
August 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the vehicle battery voltage, then check the voltage coming out of the switch for the vehicle to power on. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Maxedout Comments: We have a 2009 mercedes c300 and steering esl is lock in the column and we cant remove it with out damaging the esl bolt. My question is will we have to take it to the dealer or will we be able to use you parts and all will work ok after installing you esl form pelican parts
August 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If just replacing the mechanical lock, you can remove and replace with no worry. New fasteners will be needed. 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
 
IGB Comments: There are two possible causes as to why a key may not be recognized. Either the key needs to be reprogrammed, or the Electronic Ignition switch which is the part that actually authenticates the key, allowes ESL to unlock the steering wheel and then continues through with activating other circuits and procedures to finally allowing for the engine starting procedure.

Diagnosing which of those issues is causing the key not to be recognized can ony be poperly diagnosed by using Mercedes Benz's proprietary STAR diagnostic system... Only authorized MB dealers and some independent repair shops who have invested in the equipment and the cost to subscribe to the STAR program can do so.

It should be noted that if the steering wheel will not unlock, that does not necessarily mean that the steering wheel lock is faulty. Especially if that happens in conjunction with the key not being recognized in which case, it is possible that the Electronic Ignition Swith is faulty and is unable to authenticate the key. So it displays the message indicating the key is not recognized but it also fails to issue the command to acivate the process of unlocking the steering wheel.
June 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: STAR is not the only tool that can be used to diagnose. Autologic makes dealer level tools that work as well.

Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sheezyman Comments: Hello you mentioned to luigee that it's possible the key is not being recognized, what do you do in that instance? I have the exact same case
June 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a Mercedes-benz scan tool to confirm the key is not recognized. If this is the case, replace key. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
luigee09 Comments: So what would be the best thing to do in that case? Just reprogram the key? I can turn my key in the ignition but the steering wheel stays locked and no power goes thru at all when i turn the key.
Thanks
June 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Confirm the key is the issue. If it is, replace it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
luigee09 Comments: what if my smart key doesn't free up the electronic steering switch?.
I've been having some problems with my Mercedes ignition for like about 3 months already.
June 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The key may not be recognized by the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Wayne Comments: Is this part still available? I can't seem to find it on the website.
June 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would think so. You didn't mention your vehicle info, so I can't be sure.

For an instant response, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Curious Comments: I'm confused about the need to order new keys your comment in reply to Mac on January 10, 2016...

1Are the cost for ordering new keys included in the $290 "Tab price" as indicated at the top of this article?

2 Also, if the job of EIS is to properly identify the SmartKey as being the actual key for the vehicle, then send a signal to ESL to unlock the steering wheel, then why would you need to replace keys when replacing ESL?
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: key cost is not included.

You would need keys if they are faulty. If only replacing the unit, the old keys will work. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Christina Comments: I need the steering wheel lock shipped to Texas. Can you tell me how to order?
May 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 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
 
Peter Comments: I need the steering lock full unit for C200 kompressor in Kenya. Kindly advise on availability and cost to Kenya.
May 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure if we ship to you.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-310-626-8765 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mac Comments: will keys have to be reprogrammed?
January 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Keys from Mercedes-Benz are ordered for your vehicle and should work immediately. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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