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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 23131
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 17 years dealership experience
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I'm working on a 1999 ML320 Mercedes. I have a no start

Customer Question

I'm working on a 1999 ML320 Mercedes. I have a no start condition. Battery is good no sound whatsoever from starter. I had a key break off, so I ordered a replacement from the dealer. I drilled out the broken part from the round blade holder and inserted the new key blade. I tried a synching method I found online, but that didn't help at all. Right befor the key broke it would start but immediately cut off. Then it went to no start no starter sound condition.
Need help on this.ThanksThe current codes I'm getting are:C1204-001
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Mercedes
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

It sounds as if the no start condition is being caused by the unprogrammed key. There are dozens of possible causes for a no start condition but it definitely isn't going to start if you have a new key that isn't programmed, and that needs to be addressed first. A new replacement key needs to be programmed to the vehicle at your dealer.

I hope that helps! My goal is your satisfaction today. If you feel I've been professional and helpful, your 5-star rating at this time is most appreciated. However, if you still need my help you can reply back here and I'll respond as soon as possible! Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have tried jumpering the starter relay (30& 87) and I am able to get the starter to spin. Can you give me the power path from ignition switch to starter? It appears the problem is between the starter relay and the ignition switch.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

As I mentioned it will not start with the unprogrammed key, the starter is locked out. You need to have the key programmed to the car with a dealer scan tool.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I ordered 2 "Micky Mouse " keys. They are supposed to be serialized to the car.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

A replacement key is programmed to the vehicle with a scan tool. A scan tool initiates the programming procedure and data is exchanged between the key and vehicle to program it.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I was told by the dealership that it was pre-programed. Is that not true?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
There is no response when attempting to start the car. The engine does not spin at all. My understanding is that if it was just a key problem it would still spin the engine over. Is that not correct?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

The vehicle needs to be at a dealer for programming of a new key with their scan tool.

It started and died and then locked the starter out because you tried to start it without a programmed key repeatedly.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I do appreciate your timely responses to my questions.I am not satisfied that a prestigious car manufacturer like Daimler Benz would so monopolize something as basic as the ability to drive one's own car, after having purchased "pre-programed" keys, just because a key broke. I will contact them directly.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

It's a security system and this is common among all manufacturers which use transponder keys, all the way back to the early 90's. The system is designed to prevent theft, if anyone could simply get a VIN and order a key then the system wouldn't be useful.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
In order to get a replacement key, one must show proof of ownership of the vehicle, as well as a valid (NC) driver's license. So this, now when a vehicle is 18 years old, is no longer about theft, rather, it's about the money and control.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

Yes, it's about theft. It's a theft deterrent system. The operation of the system doesn't change because the vehicle has aged.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
what you're saying is that although an owner of a vehicle, having shown proof of ownership of a car, and ordering replacement keys is going to then.. what, steal his own car?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

No. The system prevents theft by only allowing valid, programmed keys to start the engine. If you could simply order a key using the VIN that would start the car then anyone could purchase a key and steal any car. The reason that immobilizer keys have been used on nearly every vehicle built in the last three decades is to curb exactly this theft that was possible by having a $3 key cut at a hardware stored to steal a car. Just because it's a corporate or legal requirement to provide proof of ownership to have a key cut doesn't mean it is upheld in the field.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I appreciate the back and forth on the subject. I have read a few forums on the subject, and there are some who claim that there is a way to synch the new key without the WIS system.Now, If I may, I'd like to get Marty's take on it. If I have to pay an additional fee I'm willing to do that.Thank you.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

You could open another question seeking a second opinion and request him if you'd like.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
OK I'll do that.Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 month ago.

You're welcome.