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Marty, Mercedes Technician
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 53941
Experience:  Bosch Certified Master Tech. Over 35 years experience.
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1998 e320 I was getting an error message that lamp is out.

Customer Question

1998 e320 I was getting an error message that lamp is out. When I turn on the lights the error pops up on the first click. So this morning I began checking for burned bulbs but could not find any. I was cleaning the car with the radio on and was still checking the lights. When I insert the key I can hear the steering wheel lock release. The key turns but there is no crank. The instrument lights do not dim when trying to start. There was an instance when the doors locked and would not open. I tried the actual key in the door and it would not open the door. I went to the passenger side and after multiple pushes on the fob the door opened. I have disconnected the battery and waited several minutes and it still will not crank. All lights and radio work. I am able to go from part to neutral. Five months ago the steering wheel lock, ignition key module and the computer were replaced. The problem at that time was the steering wheel lock. Since then there have been two times when the key would not turn. I'd disconnect the battery, wait a couple of minutes and the key would turn, crank and start.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Mercedes
Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

Hi, the first thing I would do is remove the starter relay and jump from terminal 30 to 87 in the relay connector to see if the starter operates. You might just have a bad starter. If the starter works when you jump the relay you might have a bad starter relay. The relay is located in the module box under the hood on the passenger side. I've attached a picture below. Let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I am going outside to perform the test. Fortunately it happened in my driveway.
Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

Okay. Let me know what you find.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Marty, I jumped between 30 and 87 and nothing happened. I replaced the relay, went inside the car and now the key will not turn.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi Marty, I'm responding on my iPhone instead of my laptop in my bedroom. I jumped between 87 and 30 and nothing happened I left the jumping place and tried to start the car but the key would not turn. I disconnected the jump and put the relay in its place. I disconnected the battery waited a few minutes and try it again. Once the key did turn and when I turn to start I noticed that the fuel gauge jumped all the way past full
Now the key will not turn again.
Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

First I would make sure that your battery is good. It sounds like it could be borderline. If the starter still will not operate with a good battery and the jumper in place you will need to replace the starter.

Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

You have some strange electrical things going on with the key and the gauges. That's why I would make sure the battery is good. Connect a set of jumpers from another car to be sure.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Marty, the battery is good. There is no response or clicking . I can't turn the key. All lights are bright
Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

Jumping the relay is a direct connection to the starter. You should make sure that the jumper is a good jumper and is making connection in the slots. You should also make sure that there is 12V at one of the two terminals you are jumping. If you have 12V at one of the terminals and nothing happens when you jump to the other terminal that would indicate a bad starter.

It's not good if you can't turn the key. That could be a problem with the key or with the lock or switch that you already replaced. Try disconnecting both battery cables and jumping the two cable ends together for 5 minutes then reconnect them to the battery and see if the key will turn. I'm going to be out of touch until later this evening. Let me know how you make out and I will reply back asap.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Marty, I won't be able to work on the car till perhaps Thur-Sat.
I did disconnect the cables from both terminals together. I was able to turn the key but there wasn't any cranking. When I tried it a second time the key would not turn.
It's strange that it started acting up when I was working on lights.
I am beginning to think that the ignition, lock and computer need to be changed
Do the three have to be paired or could you possibly use a matched ignition switch and lock with a different computer (I forgot the name) ? Thanks, Ron
Expert:  Marty replied 6 months ago.

The lock, switch and ECU all need to be from the same vehicle. I'd perform the last tests I gave you so we can see if you are getting 12V to the starter. I wouldn't worry about the key not turning at the moment. Let's first find out if the starter is bad then we will deal with the switch.

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