83 240D ignition key lost

I just bought a fine '83 240D - 4 spd std - but minus all keys. The ignition switch has been replaced and it does not match the door keys - and no key
code can be found. The door key has now been made by a lock smith but no ignition key. They have just finished making an ignition key for someone else by drilling out the plug - tumbler unit without destroying any of the other parts in the switch, i.e. the steering lock and remainder of the parts. they have done this quite a few times and are confident they can do it again for time - $65 an hour about 4 -5 - hrs. then parts and assembly; tumbler plug at least maybe more. The part was provided by the customer which cost $110 - not clear if it was just the plug or the whole switch - my guess at the moment is it was in fact the whole switch.
Two other local mechanic shops tell me this is unlikely and they will do it but will replace the entire switch and it will be about $400 or more plus parts. I can get a used switch $100 or a new one $ unknown at the moment. I also have a very reputable local MB shop [Larry Daniels - Cincinnati, Ohio] that says it can get the original out without drilling and make a key for $250 total no parts required. This is fine since the switch is new anyway
My fear is he will discover he can not do it for that after starting and it will also be more like $600 +. Does he know something the others do not know or have a magic special factory tool that lets him turn the switch and release-remove the tumbler - which can only be done only if you have a key that turns the switch to accessory and releases all the various locking pins so the tumbler unit can be removed and a key made by a lock smith. If so it is worth the $250 price - plus towing.
Any experience with keyless cars being re-keyed? Removal of the entire unit or just the tumbler section ?
Pete
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I have messed around with the ignition lock. First of all... there is no way to remove the lock with the key in locked position...The pin will not allow it to slide out. Unless, you totally removed the steering panels so you have clear access to the pin and drill it out... which is most likely to be hard metal too.
Ignition tumbler is easily obtained from dealer wtih VIN and proof of ownership... for $35 with a new key... additional keys at $15 I think. Whole lock and tumbler is like $160 or so.
You can drill out the tumbler... just need hardened drill bit. (I haven't tried this yet). Dealer does the same work and charge the same amount of money as you mentioned so let the dealer do it right for you.
As far as the third guy? No way in the world.
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Thanks Tiger. The more I look the more consistent the information is with yours.
In case you did not see my other post - query:
I have heard in this group that the 300 turbo can be installed in the 240 [W123] but only with the 300 auto transmission - that is, not the 240 auto transmission. Can the 240D manual transmission be applied to the 300 turbo engine? specifically a 1983 240 D std 4 spd transmission ? Wish there was an overdrive transmission available ! in the US. std or auto.

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I really don't know about the tranny... I will assume it might fit... In Europe, that was an option. You have to try it to find out.
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I am a locksmith, and it should be no problem to fit a key for that car with out drilling the lock. If the locksmith you had could not do it, ask him if he knows a competent one.
--

Roger Shoaf

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I did't see the earlier parts of this thread, but I went through four lockesmiths locally with the same problem, and never did find one that could make a key for the ignition of my '75 240D. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind, or maybe somebody here suggested it, to call the dealer, who supplied a new key for my particular VIN for around $29.00.
--
Randall Brink
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How would you do it without a code for the key for a new ignition - i.e. does not match the car vin ?
I am curious, so is the lock smith and 2 mercedes shops [including the one that installed the new ignition switch in 1998 and no longer has the code records] and the local dealer. The lock smith could try to do an impression but was at the same time drilling another 240D because the impression technique failed and took just as long if it did work. thanks, Pete

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impression
A key can be fit by impression to your car. Sometimes this is tricky, but usually it can be done with the right technique. It should take the locksmith a half an hour or so to make this key.
Should be $100 to $150. Drilling out the lock cylinder is the last possible option I would pursue. If you have not yet scrapped the lock, try another locksmith.
--

Roger Shoaf

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Getting keys for the doors is no problem. The VIN # and proof of ownership at your local MB dealer will take care of that....if they are original equipment. As far as the ignition lock is concerned competent locksmiths can cut you a key that should work. However, MB keys are steel and not brass like most other manufacturers so you could face a problem should you ever break a brass key in the lock. There is new technology that allows locksmiths with the proper tools to determine just where the tumblers should be in order to turn the ignition. Check around until you find one that can do the job. If he wants $100 to do the job tear a $100 bill in half and hand him one half. Tell him he gets the other half when you see the key turn and the car start. Separates the men from the boys at that point.
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Why is having a steel key broken in a lock preferable to having a brass key broken in the lock?
Steel keys have only one advantage over brass keys. They do not ear as fast as brass keys do. The down side is they wear out the lock faster. A duplicate key for an 83 240D is about $3 to $5 at the local locksmith. It should last at least 2 to 3 years if you retire it at the first sign of wear. If you were to use it until failure it would be over 10 years.

I would hardly call the technology new. I learned the way to do it long before the OP's car was built.

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Unless I thought I was dealing with a complete flake, I always presented the bill after the service was rendered. If someone were to pull that stunt on me, I would be tempted to tear the half of the bill in little pieces and return it to the clown with the suggestion of what he could do with the little pieces.
--

Roger Shoaf

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ownership
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Have you ever heard of a steel key breaking off in a lock? Also, no locksmith I've ever talked to will cut a steel key because their machines are typically not capable of doing so. Tears 'em up. A little graphite sprayed into locks once a year or so keeps things working real nice.....as a rule.....which always has exceptions.

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I still have the original keys for both my '81 240D and '81 300D (non-turbo) and they all work great. Of course the 240 just turned 125k but the 300 has nearly 300k. These are the most bullet-proof vehicles I've ever owned.

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Yes I have. I have removed lots of them. Steel keys fail also, and they tend ro give a lot less warning than do the brass ones. Except for most Porsche's I think all of the German, Swedish, French and Itialian cars have had steel keys from the factory as they have their locks made by the same companies.
I have cut steel keys when folks have demanded it. Cutting steel just requires a slower speed on the cutter and a little slower feed rate than the brass keys. Unfortunately most key machines are not equipped to change the speed of the cutters so this is why they will smoke the cutters cutting steel keys.
Also if you go puffing graphite into a lock on a european car that is lubricated with thick grease you might induce a failure as when you mix graphite with sticky grease you can clog up the works.
I like the lubrication graphite provides, my 300D has graphite lubricated locks, but I have stripped them down and cleaned out all of the sticky crud. The trunk lock excepted, that still has the sticky crud inside and no graphite.
I have been a locksmith since Jimmy Carter was president and have always worked on European cars, so I have seen lots of the insides of locks. Brass keys are better.
--

Roger Shoaf

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I still use the original brass keys for my 1968 Buicks... Although they are a bit worn they still work fine...
marty
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