Stuck W116 ignition barrel – part 3

I’ve ben grappling with a stuck ignition key on my 280SE W116 for some time.   In part 1 I finally managed to move the key to position 1, but could not unscrew the collar to remove the tumbler.   In part 2, I tried a special tool, and then attempted to remove the whole steering lock.   As the collar and tumbler was still on the steering lock, I was unable to get it past the dashboard.   At that point I rigged up a temporary solution to take it to mechanic.

I was hoping he would find something I missed and get it out quickly.   It turned out not to be the case.

He first tried removing the collar and was unable to make it turn.   Next, he even got to the point of using a dremel to make a notch in the collar and using a big hammer and chisel.    He also tried cutting the collar, but the dash of the W116 gives little clearance and after making a mark in the dash wood (even after covering everything with tape) he was worried about destroying the dash.

In the end, to get the steering lock out, he dropped the steering box down to create enough clearance to then slide out the steering lock.     He then fitted my used steering lock and raised up the steering box.

Steering lock

I got the car back yesterday and fitted the instrument cluster and lower dash panel back myself.   The W116 instrument cluster is far more fiddly than the W126 version.  The speedo cable and oil pressure line don’t have a lot of slack.   At least it can be removed without taking off the steering wheel – in contrast to the 107 models.

After I got all that back in, I took the car for a short test drive around my area.    There is a W116 280SE D-Jet in a Coles carpark nearby.  Its not moved since May so is probably dumped.   A sad way to go for such a brilliant car.   I thought it would be interesting to get a few photos of the two 280SEs together while it’s still there.


This whole saga with the steering lock and ignition barrel in my 280SE illustrates why the easiest way to steal a Mercedes is to steal the key.   It also prompts a thought that with so many of these parts now no longer available, what the long term solution is here.   Perhaps a simpler ignition switch that removes the steering lock?  That would need to be backed up by some other kind of anti-theft feature.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>