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

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!
I just removed the entire lock assembly. No need to remove the steering column. The wires are still connected and it still operates, it just doesn't lock anything. It's actually pretty easy once you figure out how to find and turn the magic locking pin. There are other threads with photos that I looked at, and still had a heck of a time figuring out where the lock pin is. I've forgotten by now, but for somebody who hasn't forgotten, it pretty fast and simple.
 

Ogo

New member
I'm joining the club! All of a sudden the key won't turn in my 2007 sprinter. Nothing happens when inserted. Panic of course. By the time I know nothing of how it works. But now months later I have read everything about how the electronic steering lock (ESL) and the electronic ignition switch (EIS) talk to each other over the can bus every time you stick in or remove the key. After a while I manage to get over a Delphi code reader which showed lots of steering lock error codes. I bought an ESL emulator and managed to plug it in instead of the ESL. The emulator did nothing but blink when I pulled the key out, nothing when I put it in, so it didn't help. The key was still impossible to turn. I suspected that it might be the EIS itself and opened the whole dash to get it out. I knew it talked to the ESL emulator in some way, while it could make it blink pulling the key out. After weeks of my sorrow testing every once in a while I was almost giving up. Charging the battery didn't help, none of the two keys worked, changing key batteries didn't help, trying to unplug some cables and wiring a separate data cable from the EIS to the ESL emulator didn't help, just caused heaps of useless work. Two different mechanics had said that the EIS can loose it's memory and would need to be reprogrammed, expensive at the dealer. I also realized that while my steering lock had it's plug inserted into the steering column, the ESL emulator wouldn't help me even if it worked, while the steering would be jammed until I manage to drill it open and force the plug out. By the time I had not read this thread so I know nothing about how it looked inside. While testing a thousand things I had to unscrew the whole dash board and measured voltages on the EIS connectors and everywhere I could find. So many hours wasted and I was so sick of this van.

Weeks turned into months, car dead, but one day I was just there again. Charging the battery again, I just came up with the idea of trying while the charger was still on, mating the system with 14,7 volts. I plugged back the stupid steering lock that had beed dead for such a long time, and plugged in the EIS and the key in it which I already did a hundred times with no response. If anyone could imagine my happiness for hearing a little "zzzzt" from underneath the steering wheel!!! And I could turn the key! The EIS was working, and I could move the steering wheel! A high voltage had kicked the ESL to life again.

I realized that if I unplug the key now, it will jam the steering wheel again, so I immediately removed the cable from the ESL and thought: never every put that cable back again. I plugged in the emulator. And now it worked! It blinked both when I removed the key and when I put it in. And now I could hear the EIS make a little click every time I insert the key.

My van fires up and I hope you all can join in on my happiness. I knew nothing about this thread until months after this happened :)
 

monkeyboy

New member
After 10 years of near misses on starting my 2008, the dreaded no key turn / steering lock happened to me. Unfortunately, it happened as we were headed out for a long weekend camping trip. Fortunately, the van was still parked on the nearly flat quiet street out in front of my house. After the obligatory cursing etc., I tried short towing the van with another vehicle and having my partner try turning/unlocking the steering to no avail. I then found this thread online and after many re-reads and with some trepidation, took the Dremel to the ESL thingy. As with previous folks, that did the trick... hard to imagine taking a dremel and zip ties to a MB product... but you do what you gotta do. Still a little concerned it could be problematic tho.

Regardless... Much appreciation to Shane and others who contributed to this thread!

Some questions for any predecessors still around or others following...

  1. Is everyone’s dremel surgery repair still hanging in there? Ie.: no issues?
  2. Does MB offer an updated solution that does not involve replacing the whole steering column?
  3. If so, how much?
  4. Does anyone know what MB is currently charging for a full steering column replacement?
  5. I see the posts about the emulator... I guess that is another solution? Are there others?
  6. Or do I just carry bunched of long zip ties around for the life of the vehicle?
Thanks!
 

Sparkx

2007 Frghtlnr Sprinter
Hey guys
I have had this happen to me. I learned to charge the battery and the key turned fine. Really thats all it was.
 

kylesw

New member
Thank you to shanemac and all those who have contributed to this thread.

This last weekend my steering column lock pin jammed just as others described. Upon inserting the key, I didn't get that familiar "zippp" of the motor pulling out the the locking pin.

After reading this thread I followed the instructions on page 4. I just cut the two roll pins on the wiring harness side off, and was able to pry open the cover. I think it would have been easier had I cut all four pins, but your results may vary.

All I had to do is remove and re-position the pin and plastic drive gear, zip tie the cover on, and presto, it worked!

This saved me a $2500 tow and ~$1000 at the dealer. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

FYI - this happened to my 2007 Sprinter with 192,000 miles on it. Notably, I previously had heard the steering column lock struggle to extract the pin (zippp zippp zipp until I moved the steering wheel) when parked with stress on the wheels, but never had it fully fail to unlock until now.
 

will902

Waldo_Sprinter_Van
Hello everyone,
2007 Frieghtliner Sprinter 3500.
Had the steering column lock pin jammed. I hit the metal plate with a hammer while taking the key in and out and the motor finally engaged. I'm guessing this is a temporary fix, but thanks to all the valuable information to troubleshoot getting home.

Wondering if anyone has had any success with an emulator that they have used?


Cheers
 

Earp

Jake - 2008 Frieghtliner 3500 170ext Mega Roof
So much excellent information here. I have lots of things to try tomorrow morning.
-My situation as follows-

2008 3500 153k
Van doesn’t recognize key. I can turn the key and the wheel, but no start. I can even jump the starter and get the starter to turn the engine while the key is turned on to the start position, but ECM seems to keep engine from starting.

All happened when I drove to store and went to lock doorswith key fob but it did nothing. Figured it was time for new batteries. Key makes little red blink when hitting button, but does not respond.

I did leave the van on the charger over night, and it started one time, then nothing (but still did not make the noise when you place the key into the ignition) everything told me bad battery but doesn’t seem to be the case either.

seems to me I have a key that isn’t being recognized. For what it’s with the scanner I have seems to think that the key is always in :thinking:
 

Attachments

Hello everyone,
2007 Frieghtliner Sprinter 3500.
Had the steering column lock pin jammed. I hit the metal plate with a hammer while taking the key in and out and the motor finally engaged. I'm guessing this is a temporary fix, but thanks to all the valuable information to troubleshoot getting home.

Wondering if anyone has had any success with an emulator that they have used?


Cheers

Mine has locked up three times within the first year of ownership on my 07' 2500. Each time I've been stuck without a cutting wheel to do the Dremel surgery and have fixed it by whacking the module with a chisel and hammer as I try to punch through the roll pins. I've done some significant cosmetic damage to the module at this point, but it works most of the time.

I had the van in the shop (independent shop) this week for a flex pipe repair and the module locked up on them setting the repair back a half day. They eventually freed it up, and claim that all I need to fix this is the $300 module from the dealer + an hour of labor to install and initialize. Not a new steering column. Has anyone gone this route? I'm pretty tired of the ignition locking up and this is my daily driver, so I'm considering biting the bullet and purchasing the lock module from the dealer to end this nonsense.
 

will902

Waldo_Sprinter_Van
Mine has locked up three times within the first year of ownership on my 07' 2500. Each time I've been stuck without a cutting wheel to do the Dremel surgery and have fixed it by whacking the module with a chisel and hammer as I try to punch through the roll pins. I've done some significant cosmetic damage to the module at this point, but it works most of the time.

I had the van in the shop (independent shop) this week for a flex pipe repair and the module locked up on them setting the repair back a half day. They eventually freed it up, and claim that all I need to fix this is the $300 module from the dealer + an hour of labor to install and initialize. Not a new steering column. Has anyone gone this route? I'm pretty tired of the ignition locking up and this is my daily driver, so I'm considering biting the bullet and purchasing the lock module from the dealer to end this nonsense.
Just installed my ESL emulator, it was $120 CAD, shipped from California.
Plug and Play, pretty happy with that.
 
Just installed my ESL emulator, it was $120 CAD, shipped from California.
Plug and Play, pretty happy with that.
Awesome! I wonder if the emulator or the new module from the dealer is a better long term fix. Mine just locked up again on me this week while I was playing hooky from work to surf. Not the best timing to have to pull out all the tools and free it up.
 

johnvill

New member
Might be joining the club....

2007 gas Sprinter, key is unlocking the doors maybe 50 percent of the time. Van battery replaced, and that helped for awhile and key FOB battery replaced. Still intermittent on FOB unlocking doors. I’m thinking I am going to get stuck somewhere with steering wheel locked and key not turning.

Any update on emulators working?

I am considering getting the LA Car Tech - US model emulator....


Any feedback is truly appreciated!!

Johnny V.
 

will902

Waldo_Sprinter_Van
Ive got a 2007 3500
I got order the LA CarTech. It worked for me, just plug and play.

I never had an issue with the fob not working correctly to open doors.. sounds like that might be a whole other issue?
 
Ive got a 2007 3500
I got order the LA CarTech. It worked for me, just plug and play.

I never had an issue with the fob not working correctly to open doors.. sounds like that might be a whole other issue?
Can you explain what the emulator actually does for this issue? I'm debating whether to spend $300 on a new module and programming from the dealer, or a fraction of that to purchase an emulator.
 

will902

Waldo_Sprinter_Van
The ESL remains unlocked with the emulator plugged in. This means the steering wheel can rotate freely without the key in the ignition I’m sure there is an electrical component to it as well, however I’m unaware of it’s inner workings
 

Cheyenne

UK 2004 T1N 313CDi
Another forum member recently posted the instructions for an emulator and they said to first unlock the steering column using the key then to unplug the ESL and plug in the emulator.

The emulator CANNOT unlock the ESL, it MUST be unlocked before switching the wiring from the ESL to the emulator. All the emulator does is trick the ECM in to thinking the ESL has been unlocked successfully.

Keith.
 
Ahh, so technically it removes an added layer of security if someone were to try to steal the vehicle? Probably not a huge deal, but something to be aware of.
 

Cheyenne

UK 2004 T1N 313CDi
Ahh, so technically it removes an added layer of security if someone were to try to steal the vehicle? Probably not a huge deal, but something to be aware of.
In the UK that would be classified as a modification that would have to be notified to your insurance company as you have in effect made the vehicle easier to steal or even tow away and hence have increased their risk. And if you did not notify them and the modification came to light after ANY claim or inspection your insurance would be null and void. Think yourself lucky that insurance companies in the USA are not so demanding!

Keith.
 

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