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

LuckyEarthling

New member
Hi everybody.. I have a 2007 NCV3 Sprinter 2500 170wb. All of a sudden my keys won't turn in the ignition. I do hear a clicking sound which indicates my key is detected but the key won't turn in the ignition at all. I've tried moving my steering wheel but it won't budge. I've tried changing gears and made sure it's in Park. The lights turn on inside so I know the battery isn't drained. I've also tried using my spare key but the same thing happens. I'm not too mechanically savvy so I'm hoping there's a simple solution. Any assistance greatly appreciated.
 
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BC61

Member
Simple solution is have it towed to dealership and let them repair it or you can cut the key lock module open as mentioned in previous post. I did the latter about a year ago, still works fine.
 

henrywatts

New member
Do be aware that some dealers and official MB sources indicate that replacement of the steering column is the correct fix. This approach is unnecessary and horribly expensive. You'll want to avoid anyone who is trying to take that path. The electronic lock can be cut off and a new one installed, or, if you fear a repeat of this, the new one can be hooked into the circuit but left disconnected from the steering column. You're steering wheel will no longer lock when the key is out, but I'm thinking that's not a really big deal.

/hank
 

shanemac

Active member
I still have my tie wraps holding mine together, like was mentioned i try and keep my front wheels pointing forward when i park but a few times i almost had to pop things apart because i was on slight incline with wheels turned. One of these days it will likely implode and i will have to doing something as kazozako as done. I just want to get a few more years out of my sprinter and maybe pop on the cough...cough promaster...cough
 

jgomez

New member
This happen about 3-4 years ago , went to post office , got out locked the van. When return key would not unlock steering wheel. Figure out sticking screwdriver into hole that had plastic cover unlock steering wheel so tow truck could load van onto flatbed and take it home. Once I started reading and researching info about this , I knew the problem was the locking pin was not moving to unlock steering wheel. The clue that wil tell you this is the problem / is when key is inserted into key hole listen for the sound of motor trying to SPIN, it may sound like a relay click to you because motor rotates until it jams then it stops , this noise only last about 1second. So this is what I learn the key has a chip in it when key is inserted into key hole the round ring around keyhole is the antenna that picks up signal from key and sends it to ignition module that triggers motor to spin which rotates plastic or teflon gear to move unlocking pin out of steering colum to unlock steering wheel. The proper fix is to replace this motor which is attach to steering colum with rivets , once that's done it has to be reprogram with scan tool. And of coarse this involves going to dealer for service most of time . This is my fix for about $10 - went to harbor freight bought a metal cutting wheel that attaches to my drill and a bag of 8" tie straps. Had to removed some of plastic covers under steering wheel and a part of the duct for ac , it exposed the motor attached to steering colum there is a plate on bottom of this motor that i cut towards the back of the plate. There are 4 pins that holds this plate that could not be remove. So by cutting across this plate towards the rear two pins , be careful not to cut towards middle so not to damage this round plastic / teflon gear. Once this was done I was able to slip this plate off. when this plate is off MAKE SURE TO HOLD THIS GEAR WITH YOUR FINGER NOT TO LET IT SLIP OFF! Just for giggles I let gear drop just enough to turn about a couple of tooth place gear back up into position inserted key into key hole turn key " Walla It STARTED !" So I turn van off and put a tie strap around motor to hold gear into position pulled out the front two pins and found two small screws that fit into the holes where the front two pins came out , placed motor plate back and screw the small two screws onto the front of plate then wrap a tie strap towards the rear of plate and pulled it tight . As far as this gear I think there are markings on it for proper position/ it may or may not . Reason I mention this is because it reminds me of timing gears in older VCR's . Did a lot of repair back in the day. It's been running with this temporary fix for last 3-4 years . From time to Time it makes a noise like motor is jamming all I have to do is move steering wheel usually to left and it unlocks the steering pin and van starts , this usually happens when my wheels are turn instead of being straight or tires are up against parking curb , so I try to be sure when I park with no tension on tires . I will try to post photos , first time trying to post photos . So this would be my advice is to carry these items in case this happens to you this fix can be done 30-45 minutes or less if you already know how to get to locking motor attach to steeering colum . Hope this helps - As a side side note I have read many mechanic's say that this happens often even after replacing steering colum with motor , Mecerdes, BMW, and others also have same problem.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member

FJ_Amos

New member
Wow, not the initial post I was hoping for but here goes:
2011 170WB Crew 150k miles
Purchased 2 weeks ago and drove home to OR from NJ 3100 miles in 3days- all smooth sailing

Father's Day weekend initial excursion went well, pack up camp this morning and attempt to start sprinter to leave, no dice. My heart sinks...
Currently reading this thread, and others, while my wife, kids and friends drive back into town to grab the 3 other keys that came with the vehicle. One of which is the key I used across country.
 

FJ_Amos

New member
Have tried thus far:
Steering wheel turns to left a bit, wheels are straight and not wedged.
12.5V at battery
Jumped battery now 12.9V
and disconnected at pedals to reset computers (5mins)
Dash lights up with doors, overhead/ headlights work fine

Popped battery cover from FOB and cleaned up/ reinstalled batteries
Door locks work with FOB

When inserting key there is no noise response from vehicle... and of course I can't turn it.
Having a beer and crossing fingers a spare key works.:hmmm:
 

nosweat

New member
I would like to just thank you all for this thread. I was visiting an Island with my Sprinter and "IT HAPPENED".
I googled it on my phone and found this thread. I was able to follow the instructions and within a reasonable timeline I was able to drive home. YIPPEE!!!!

I am so lucky to have people like you to save me $$$. It was gonna be a huge expense and inconvenience to get the Sprinter off the Island repaired or towed.

Cheers From Victoria BC
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
I would like to just thank you all for this thread. I was visiting an Island with my Sprinter and "IT HAPPENED".
I googled it on my phone and found this thread. I was able to follow the instructions and within a reasonable timeline I was able to drive home. YIPPEE!!!!

I am so lucky to have people like you to save me $$$. It was gonna be a huge expense and inconvenience to get the Sprinter off the Island repaired or towed.

Cheers From Victoria BC
I'm glad it worked out well for you.

Would you mind elaborating briefly on which instructions you followed and had success with?
 

sprinter602

New member
I am back to this same thread as I did the surgery about 2 years ago? That time it left me stranded I was able to cut the cover and get it to release, never taking the gear out. Today I got in and it had the clicking and ignition not turning over. This time when I was opening it up the plastic gear and cam fell out, steering wheel moves freely and electric motor spins freely. The key will still not turn though! Does anyone know what would be causing this? I have tried to put this gear and pin back in but I think one of the roll pins is preventing me getting the plastic gear back in there.


Update: I was able to put the plastic gear and cam back in and my van did start. The key would not turn with the black gear out of there with electric motor running. back on the road!! What a huge relief.
 
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Cheyenne

UK 2004 T1N 313CDi
Any idea if this trick will work for an 04??
No, an '04 will be totally different.

You have a bicycle brake style cable linking gearchange mech to ignition switch so key can only be removed in Park, this is more likely your fault.

Keith.
 

alarat

New member
Sprinter U.S- ESL Emulator from LA Car Tech, Made by MBE engineering , U.S. Sprinters need a different Emulator , Nothing wrong with my steering yet. I am looking for reliability , Easy to install, Just turn key to unlock steering wheel and unplug electronic steering lock . Turn key off plug in emulator. wire tie under dash. left ESL in place. Works great . W906 only. U.S. models. $85.00 shipped to house. Coded key still needed to start van. 2008 Sprinter Freightliner , Roadtrek RS , 53K miles
 
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Who8TheHam

New member
Okay. It is December 22nd, 2018 and once again my ignition key will not turn. This happens every few months in my 2007 Sprinter 2500 Deisel family van and I usually just wiggle the steering wheel or even force it back and forth until the key engages and the van starts. Not this time! Nothing worked and I’m stuck in a Costco parking lot with Christmas dinner and gifts waiting to get home. I’m panicking! I call my local Sprinter guy and he won’t touch it because he doesn’t have the “million dollar computer to reprogram the locking mechanism.” I call local Mercedes Dealerships and no one can even look at my Sprinter until December 29th but I’m scheduled to leave for vacation on December 28th!! Ugh!!! And I need my SPRINTER for the trip!! So, like I always do when I need Sprinter repair advice, I logged into Sprinter Source. Thank the lord for SHANE!!!

I followed his instructions to the tee and the van started immediately. Awesome. It took me about 2 hours which included digging out all the tools and stuff I needed for the job.

Some hints:
1. Only the bottom dash panel had to be removed (2 screws) so that a ventilation tube could be moved (1 screw). With that done, I was able to lay on my back and grind the cover off (I weigh 300 lbs. and I was still able to comfortably complete this job. :rad:

2. Don’t hassle with trying to drill the pins out. The Dremel with standard cutting wheel works great.

3. Use long tie straps. 12” or longer. Makes securing the lid back on much easier and cleaner.

Once again, kudos to Shane for this most excellent hack.
 
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phsorensen

2009 Winnebago Era 170XL
Quick question, is there a simple way to disable the steering lock completely? I had to perform the ignition lock surgery about a year ago and had a reoccurrence yesterday. Fortunately, yesterday was only a 25 minute procedure, but on a very hot day. The reality is that I have NEVER had anyone even attempt to steal any vehicle of mine for the last 40 years and I certainly don’t think anyone would attempt to steal a Sprinter RV. The point is, I don’t really need my steering to lock every time I park. Must be a simple solution. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!
 

mywildstove

New member
Sprinter U.S- ESL Emulator from LA Car Tech, Made by MBE engineering , U.S. Sprinters need a different Emulator , Nothing wrong with my steering yet. I am looking for reliability , Easy to install, Just turn key to unlock steering wheel and unplug electronic steering lock . Turn key off plug in emulator. wire tie under dash. left ESL in place. Works great . W906 only. U.S. models. $85.00 shipped to house. Coded key still needed to start van. 2008 Sprinter Freightliner , Roadtrek RS , 53K miles
My steering wheel lock just started acting funny. I put in my key and the ignition would not turn. The steering wheel lock loudly engaged/disengaged a few times with key in the ignition. After about 5 attempts, my van started up okay. It sounds like the steering wheel lock is about to die and I don't want to get stuck.

Can you explain in more details how the emulator works and how to install it? The manufacturers website doesn't explain much of anything. Thanks!
 
Out of fear of this problem happening to me, I removed the steering column lock from the column, and have it zip-tied to the column. Not as good as having an emulator, but I figure it has less risk of failing this way, and if it does, there's no cutting or grinding to remove it.
 

mywildstove

New member
Tigerwillow1,

Did you remove the entire metal housing steering lock assembly?
Did you have to remove the steering column to remove the steering lock?
Did you have to make any electrical adjustments besides unplugging the steering lock?

I'm having a hard time following much of the write ups without photos.
Thanks!
 

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