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MBGuru, Mercedes Mechanic
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 594
Experience:  25 years on MB, diagnostic tech and trainer.
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I have an 82 380 sl with a locked up ignition switch

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I have an 82'' 380 sl with a locked up ignition switch. I need to find a site that will give me a step by step solution to this problem. I am very handy so I know I can fix this problem. Looking to save some time in R and R of the switch before I dive into this. I recently remove and repaired the dash in a Mitsubishi 3000 GT with a little help from a web site. Any help would be appreciated.
Well, a R107 is a tight little rascal bhind the cluster. Here is the deal, unless you can get that key to turn so the lock clyinder can be pulled, your faced with cutting the steering lock off.

Remove cluster, remove electrical portion of ignition switch IF you can get the key in position 2 (starting at 1 on that car, 3 is run) If the key won't turn for you, remove the electrical connector. If you can get into position 2, remove the bolt (early has a clamp and pin style) press the pin (early) and slide the lock out. If it has never has a ignition switch electrical portion, it too is locked in there. If thats the case, cut the lock about 1/8 th inch from the turn to the colum, then turn the remains. I've seen a few drill the clyinders, however, that burns a lot of bits up.

If it wont turn, grab a sawzall with a short, metal blade and cut the steering lock off the colum once you feel good about the room you have. Then slide the inside out of the colum and press the pin (early) to remove the remianing housing.

Install a new (your in there) electrical portion of the ignition switch into the new steering lock, set the lock in position 2 after installing the lock bolt from the old one (late style), insert the clyinder, test it and install in the colum. Again, position 2 to press the pin (early)

Yeah, sounds crazy but cutting the steering locks off is almost normal when they lock up. You can use a dremel but its slow to say the least. I have taken a carbide bit after the early styles and ground the pin down enough to clear the shank as well. Have fun and please dont break the bakolite plastic wire retainer for the ignition switch harness, I do not have any early R107 wireing doagrams anymore. The pins fall out and we have a problem.
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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I cannot move the key at all. The third sentence of your second paragraph need a little clarification. Reread it and rewrite it for me please.

Okay, I can do all that once I get into the dash however where do you start removing the dash cluster? There a number of access panels under the dash on the drivers side which one do you take off first and are there any hidden screw, wire ties, bolts or clips in there that are not very accessable like the Mitsi. Do I need to remove the steering wheel? Where can I look for an exploded view of the dash assembly on the net or do I need to go to the dealer and beg them to show me. The one dealer I talked to was not real helpful. Most MB owners are not like me and don't work on their cars. Is it a good idea to remove the column all together to work on the steering lock.
All of it is done through the cluster opening which is a pull out. The cluster floats on 4 rubber pads and is just shoved into the dash opening. There are pullers but you can work them out without them. The speedo cable is going to be the stumbling block for you, work the cluster out enough to unhook that. Should be a standard screw type on that year. Its snug but doable. In that age range, the less you remove, the better. All that stuff is really fragile now. Work through the cluster opening once its out.

The clamp is just that, the steering lock makes a 80 degree turn into the side of the colum. On the early version (which I think yours is) the barrel going into the colum is round and is retained by a pin and clamp arrangement. With a locked tumbler, drilling the lock is a option and then turning the remains to push the pin. Some also have a cable that simply screws into it further up. (again, your I do not think has that) Or you can take and drill~grind the pin off. (think of a tube the barrel slides into and the tube has a hole in it the pin sticks into. That pin needs to either be pressed or get cut down) Once you see that, it'll make a hell of a lot more sense.

1) Slide the cluster out, I have take and followed the speedo cable from the trans and pushed it into the car 6" or so after taking it off the trans.

2) Take time to examine how things are put together back there. If the connector will come off the electrical part of the switch, all the better, if not, conscider drilling that lock.

3) Order a coded tumbler, steering lock, retainer and electrical switch. Having those in hand will really make things easier to understand.
Also, being you did not even give me a chance to reply and walk you through this before you tossed a nuetral feedback out there I'm going to opt out and you can request a refund on the accept. No point in paying for something you are not 100% happy with.