Can't turn key - 2007, 2008 Sprinters (yahoo group repost)

lockrob

Member
MY 2 cents.
If you do not hear the steering lock disengage or attempt to, the computer is not picking up the transponder signal from the key.If you stick a key from another sprinter in the lock the steering lock makes no noise.The correct transponder key is needed to unlock steering.
If the steering lock makes any noise but doesnot unlock when key is inserted the the steering lock is binding up.This happens before you turn the key.It is not the cylinder that unlocks the steering.I had it happen in the "hood" started taking the steering lock under the dash apart.When I removed the first pin holding the cover on the lock let loose and i was able to drive away.I left it that way and have not had a issue since.
If the key cylinder is bad the steering will most likely unlock still ;then you will not be able to turn cylinder
 

wayneskid

New member
Sounds like a recurring issue for other Sprinter owners. Any grounds for recovering my $ on this?

Thanks
This relates to a different situation and a different problem but I was successful in getting $3400 back that I had fought for till I was about to explode. I pressured a dealer into giving me the contact information for a Regional Manager. I then contacted the RM directly, provided my detailed documentation and got my $$ within a couple of weeks. Detailed documentation will definitely be a key element for getting results.

Good luck,
Wayne
 

Compstall

New member
Reviving this thread as we have a van with this problem right now. Apparently the guys went through this same issue with another van. We have a trashed heap in the back of the shop that we'll be taking the parts from. We're going to drill out the steel anti-theft rivets and use bolts in their place in order to remove the shaft lock and not have to pull the whole steering column.
 

showkey

Well-known member
Reviving this thread as we have a van with this problem right now. Apparently the guys went through this same issue with another van. We have a trashed heap in the back of the shop that we'll be taking the parts from. We're going to drill out the steel anti-theft rivets and use bolts in their place in order to remove the shaft lock and not have to pull the whole steering column.
Pictures and detailed follow up would be very helpful and appreciated for reference in case we experience the problem in the middle of no where.
 

Compstall

New member
Pictures and detailed follow up would be very helpful and appreciated for reference in case we experience the problem in the middle of no where.
Yes that crossed my mind as I was doing it but I was in a time crunch and had to get it done before I went on vacation.



Initially after skimming the factory manual I was under the impression that if I took the shaft lock off our donor truck that I'd also need to pull the ignition tumbler, as they communicate to each other(?). I had enough time and went ahead and pulled the entire steering column and ignition key tumbler out and put them in the other truck. Once I got it all in, I turned the key to the 'on' position only - everything looked good on the dash, lights came on then off like they should, etc. but once I put it to the 'start' position I got nothing. My next thought was that the PCM was part of the team as well so I pulled the PCM from the donor truck and swapped it in too. Truck started right up. Old 'maintenance due' mileage and tripmeter read correct, but the odometer reads "--------". Truck runs and drives fine, but I'm suspecting there's another component in the system that isn't communicating properly, and the PCM isn't recognizing it to display the odometer mileage. Spoke with my brother-in-law (ASE Master Tech @ Kirkland Ford) and he said to try and put the original PCM and ignition key tumbler back in the truck and that most of the time the steering shaft locks don't have any circuitry to communicate back to the ignition key - the ignition key tumbler just sends the signal to the shaft lock to either lock or unlock and it just does what it's told.

Once I get back from vacation I plan on doing this as an experiment. Will follow up with results.

In the past the guys said they did actually drill out the rivets and were able to remove the shaft lock and continue on, but I cannot confirm this as I haven't seen/tried it myself.

One other piece of info - the book says the whole dash face, including gauge bezel needs to come out. Once I got to that point I realized there is a small vertical rectangular hole on each end of the gauge bezel, most likely which takes a special tool to jam in there to release a clip of some sort so the gauges come out. I didn't have this tool, but I figured out how to get the steering column out without removing all this. I did however remove all the screws to the dash on the driver's side. The dash is flexible enough that if you fiddle with the ignition tumbler and pull the dash out enough you CAN get the tumbler out of there. Once you get all the fasteners and nuts off the steering column it WILL come out the bottom without removing the dash, just twist it around until you can pull it out, kinda like a big puzzle piece.

This job overall was not terribly difficult, but it was tedius. There are two small square plugs on the ignition tumbler that are the same size, one black and one white. You can't screw them up and put them in the wrong holes because they are keyed slightly differently. Additionally, there is a flat connector, along with the plastic-coated steel cable to the shifter. One screw on each side (backside) of the steering wheel and the horn/airbag comes off. Make sure you disconnect the battery and wait about 10 minutes for the capacitor in the airbag system to bleed down before messing with it to be safe. One connector for the airbag, and another for the horn/steering wheel buttons. A single, fat hex bolt in the center of the steering wheel holds that on. Two 13mm nuts at the top of the steering column mount, a connector for the shaft lock mechanism, two 10mm bolts above that, four 10mm nuts holding the base plate to the firewall, and a single 13mm nut/bolt holds the steering shaft to the input rod of the steering rack.
 

PLUMMER

New member
just 2 days ago my 07 wouldnt let me put the key in without a lot of cycling noise going on in the column. when it did no turn allowed. i pulled on the wheel to turn the wheels and click all was fine. there was pressure on the steering from being against a parking block that never let the column lock fully when i pulled the key out. my case might be different , but at 100k miles it was the first time for me. good luck
 

kahuna66

New member
Hi All -

I ran into this exact problem today in my Springer 2008 3500 V6 chassis that lurks under my RV (a Winnebago View) Key won't turn, no dash lights, no cab lights, no nuttin'. Tried hitting the shift lever release and running it thru the gears to no avail.

At first it seemed like the battery was dead, but I put a charger on it and the charger said the battery was 80%+ charged.

I cracked open the chassis battery compartment under the driver's feet and pulled it out the battery. Turns out the battery had failed and wouldn't take a charge.

My little charger would hit it with a bit of voltage and it would instantly jump from 6V up to 14+. That would convince the charger that the battery only needed trickle so it would back off... and then the cycle would repeat. It's a pretty new battery so that's going back on warranty.

I didn't want to wait for a day, however, and the house batteries in my RV are under the steps by the door. I grabbed a set of jumpers and hooked the house batteries directly to the (now empty) chassis battery leads.

Dash comes alive instantly. Key goes in, click, turns, and vroom, vroom... away we go.

I've heard stories that in an emergency you can sometimes recover a battery like that by going all sparky on it -- tho I'd only do that with jumpers and doing the sparky bit far away from the battery itself. I haven't tried it myself so that part may be just a rumor.

Cheers,

Dan
 

Compstall

New member
Sorry Dan, unrelated issue you have.
 

shanemac

Active member
Well I'm the next victim van $h!t the bed this morning ignition key will not turn pretty sure from my reading I need steering control module 68054311AA one thing I can't find, is this a dealer only type job? or can my local mechanic do this? or I need the mother ship computer to program module?

Iam fairly mechanically inclined but is this repair chore way harder than I think it is?

I missed this.

"This job overall was not terribly difficult, but it was tedious. There are two small square plugs on the ignition tumbler that are the same size, one black and one white. You can't screw them up and put them in the wrong holes because they are keyed slightly differently. Additionally, there is a flat connector, along with the plastic-coated steel cable to the shifter. One screw on each side (backside) of the steering wheel and the horn/airbag comes off. Make sure you disconnect the battery and wait about 10 minutes for the capacitor in the airbag system to bleed down before messing with it to be safe. One connector for the airbag, and another for the horn/steering wheel buttons. A single, fat hex bolt in the center of the steering wheel holds that on. Two 13mm nuts at the top of the steering column mount, a connector for the shaft lock mechanism, two 10mm bolts above that, four 10mm nuts holding the base plate to the firewall, and a single 13mm nut/bolt holds the steering shaft to the input rod of the steering rack. "

so to change the control module the steering column has to come out?
 
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shanemac

Active member
Ok from reading a bunch of posts on the sight hear, The ignition keys do not have to be reprogramed. Also I found a post ware a member managed to salvage his old steering lock mech. I fixed a bit of the grammar not that mine is much better.

"I had experienced same problem , steering wheel lock, could not start or take out of gear. Mine was 2008 gas v6 model. It was the motor that was stuck to release the pin from steering column, was not turning because cam gear made of plastic was stuck. This is located and mounted to steering column, its also riveted to column.

Looking from bottom you will see a plug that has 4 wires, it's on the side of the motor which is in cased in soft metal casing. Looking at the front part of this you will notice a round circle shape, this is where the plastic cam gear is located that is stuck. When you insert you key it senses the chip in your key ring around your key hole. This is your antenna, it sends a signal from your key to the module which causes it to unlock the pin in steering column.

Then the kick will turn to start Van. When this does not work you will hear a small click coming from motor mounted to steering column, this is "very important that you hear this clicking sound" because if you don' t you may have other issues. I was able to repair this by purchasing a small metal cutter wheel attach to my drill. The cover over the cam gear needs to be cut off, only one side. There are four pins pushed in around this cam gear cover. Only cut cam gear cover on left side - towards the front of van. Be careful to cut just behind the edge of gear cover less 1/4 inch. You do not want to cut into the plastic cam gear, pay close attention to cutting the top, because it is closer to cam gear tan the bottom.

Once I cut the back end of cam gear cover, I was able to slip cover back with small screw driver to get the two front pins to slip out. Be careful at this point because the plastic cam gear is under spring tension and it will spring out. I just put my finger in the middle to hold cam gear and rotate it slightly pressing back up to seat gear groves on motor shaft gear. While holding tension in the middle of cam gear with my left hand, I stuck my key in and saw motor turn, then i turn my key and "VAN STARTED" .

To put back together I removed the front two sliding pins closets to the plug and found two small coarse screws and treading them in to replace the two pins. For the two back pins that was cut off, I tied a tie strap around the back part. And put all my covers back together. Its been 1 year and 7 months, and still working. This is common failure usually caused by parking against curb with wheel turned to left or right. So stay of curb and keep you steering wheel straight will help from cam gear getting stuck.

After so many times it eats the edge of plastic cam gear teeth. Also when I did this I notice i could hear the cam gear motor spinning and not unlocking pin. So I remove cover and rotate gear until it corrected this, It took a few tries until it was normal. When I inquired about cost to do this work, $2200 steering column with ignition module , recoding key, labor. My cost 2 screws, 1 tie strap, metal cutting wheel Total $6.00 / I will post photos once I figure out how to resize photos , new Mac not familiar with system - don't have paint as with my pc. Hope this helps someone..... John"

There was also this blog post hear.

http://rvtalk.blogspot.ca/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=50

With mine i'am 99% positive my is stripped/jammed. Today I parked on a hill with my front wheels turned in. and then I had problems. But before that I had 3-4 times I had to wiggle the steering wheel back and forth the get ignition to turn all, there was some nasty clicking bussing noises as well.. Also my remote door locking was acting real fussy too another sign I read that's related to this module device.

I just might try and get this small cover off above the gear and try and get the steering unlock so I can get the tires straight if I do decide to get it towed to dealer or not.
 

henrywatts

New member
I recently had the issue with the failed security lock on the steering wheel. Key was recognized, but the lock wouldn't move. Went through the tow, got it fixed at a good local independent shop in Sunnyvale. Some points:

If you're short enough to get on a flatbed (I'm 9' 8", with vents but no A/C and that worked around here) the towtruck drivers, if they are good, can do that with 4"-wide skids they pound underneath the tire tread. The tires just slide along on top of them. In my case the truck was stuck in park and the front wheels were locked and slightly turned.

For my 2008 it was not necessary to replace the steering wheel. It did, however, require drilling out that challenging locking device, which took some effort.

/hank
 

shanemac

Active member
Thanks...this morning I took a Dremel with a metal cut off wheel and sliced through the roll pins closest to the wire harness. I cut some slots in the other two roll pins but after doing so I think I could have worked the cover off without more grinding.

Once the cover was off I was expecting to see a black gear stripped my gear seemed fine I think mine the release pin was just stuck/sticky and wouldn't slide back causing steering column to be jammed... trust me I tried everything to get the wheel unjammed rocking steering back and forth etc etc. After I inspected everything put it back together,everything worked fine I got the usual noise when you put key in and out the van started and I could turn the steering wheel :tongue:

I will say this if a person had a Dremel with a fiberglass reinforced cut-off wheel a cordless model or access to power and your were stranded you could cut through the pins get the cover off pull the gear and at least get the steering column to move and straighten out front tires if they happened to be turned all the way left or right...like mine was turned to the right...gives the tow truck drivers a headache.

It might just be possible after inspecting and reassembling the gear and cover and using tie wraps to hold the cover on you could get things to work again and at least get yourself home.

Items needed Dremel
Cut-off wheel
Tie wraps 10-12 inch or so
A smaller file to clean burs so cover slips on
I suppose a good thin sharp chisel and hammer could do the same job

I saved myself about 240 dollars in towing and who the hell knows what the dealer would have charged...a whole new steering column.:bash: and for now a 600 dollar steering control module that I will probably order down the road. it's still a bit of a mystery how the module is attached to the bracket, I do see one bolt that looks removable but I never tried taking it out to see if module drops off, I didn't want to push my luck today.

I plan on getting some new longer roll pins to install and if need be I can pull the pins and access gear again in need be. I suppose some screws would work too.

With my failure just like another post I read you need to hear some slight clicking noises from steering module it will only make the clicking noises for about 8 seconds or so but you can repeat the clicking by removing the key and reinstalling. With mine after I got the cover and gear out I installed key, the motor and metal gear turned but it will just keep turning around and around until key is removed.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlzaSiANjBM
 
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henrywatts

New member
Shanemac, note that you do not have to have this unit functioning to drive the car, you just need to convince the truck it's functioning. I've heard that there is consideration of dropping the requirement that turning the key of lock the steering wheel. For one thing, if some child or malicious person turns the key off while you're moving, you lose steering. Obviously that's a corner case but, really, what function does this locking serve?

So, if you get it cut off but the thing can still move it's parts and is happy, I think you could just duct tape it to the side of the steering column or somewhere else and be done with it. I seriously considered this when I was having mine fixed.

/hank
 

shanemac

Active member
That crossed my mind, after I got the cover off and the pin and gear pulled I thought why not just leave the guts out...but in my video the gear just keeps spinning over and over.

If the whole assembly is pulled off the mounting bracket attached to steering column and tied up as you say I think that would work. Another option I think is just removing the end of the plunger(there is a roll pin). It's a spring loaded item almost looks like a magnet material its what fits in the slot to stop steering.

It's not actually that hard to get this item apart with a small dremel it could certainly save a person some money and grief to at least get your a$$ home.

i'll try and get some pics up.

https://plus.google.com/116895290322144841464/posts/j6g7d8gsyeN
 
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Rabid Hamster

New member
Just performed the Shanemac surgery on my 07. Worked as advertised, using a Dremel with cutting wheel. I only cut two pins, then used a screwdriver to pry open the cover. The third pin popped off with the cover and the fourth somehow remained. I pushed the fourth pin out of its hole with the sharp end of a screw. After removing the locking plunger and plastic cog for inspection, I put them back in and tried my key. No luck!!!! No sounds, no click, no nothing; maybe some choice language as I became concerned that my surgeon's touch somehow made things worse. But, that was quickly corrected as I saw the power supply to the steering lock module was still disconnected. Whew! Plugged it in, tried again and the glorious but short sound of the solenoid driving the lock plunger out of my steering column was heard. I tested key in and out a few times, then zip tied the cover on and drove home.

A couple of tips:
1. Try not to strand yourself on a busy street. Some of the work would probably have been easier if you can attack from an open driver's side door.
2. If you are going to strand yourself on a busy street, try to do it with a delicious breakfast bakery place right next to you, in order to fuel your mind. For bonus points, have a local microbrewery with BBQ food truck on the other side of the street to use for solace when your first round of troubleshooting doesn't work.
 

Froggy

Member
ShaneMac: You indicated the motor continues to spin if the cogwheel is not installed. Did you see any kind of limit switches that tells the motor when to stop spinning?

For safety, I think I am going to cut open my perfectly good module (it has given no problems thus far) and tie up the cogwheel cover with zip ties or long pins. Being able to pop that module open at any time and pull the cogwheel to regain control of the steering wheel within 5 minutes seems prudent given the fact that 2007s are getting some age on them.

Have you tried the module with the business end of the cogwheel removed? Thanks for the excellent photos, too!

EDit: Just read: http://www.justanswer.com/dodge/5ktvz-dodge-sprinter-2500-working-2007-dodge-sprinter.html#

Appears this module is more complicated than I first thought.

Larry
 
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jfreeth

Member
Froggy: As ShaneMac suggested I would recommend you replace the roll pins with allen head bolts, with the threaded end ground down slightly to act as locking tapered pins. It is relatively easy to cleanly drill out the roll pins if you have the unit removed from the steering column and then tap the holes to the next appropriate size. This then makes the removal/replacement of the cover, and un-jamming the cam, a matter of moments. I did this a couple of years ago and the cam hasn't jammed since, maybe because I no longer park the vehicle with the steering on full lock, ever.
 

Froggy

Member
Thank you jfreeth. Will do this when I have a little time to fool with the vehicle. For now, I am trying to remember to park with my wheels straight ahead.
 

kazozako

Member
Well, I am joining "the club", thanks to Shane's dremel solution got truck going, trick is to line up second sensor with the tiny magnet on the lock pin. Once is running you can actually disconnect harness and put lock away till next start.
Looking for permanent solution I was facing dilemma hand over my valet to the dealer
- insisting on replacement of the whole column in tune of $3000 or find someone to program new lock to work with the van, or figure it out!.
Analyzing actual problem - burned out $10-20 tiny motor I realized that the brain - PC board on the lock (programed with the system) should be fine and I need just transplant it to the new lock. Bought new original lock of E-bay ($250-300), performed transplant and everything works!, only part from Mercedes you will need is small pin to mount lock back to the column ($5)!

Note: for clean transplant you will need solder pump to suck tin out from solder points whole board will come off easily see attached pics...

Well I am old-timer and won't give up to the stealership robbery attempts, and for everyone this is just the variation of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfbbF3oxf-E

Attached pics: whole steering column with the lock, box-part no. new lock, removal points on PC board, open lock, pin with the part number.
 

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