'98 ML320 Ignition and Start problem
Hoping you folks will be able to help with my (new to me) ML320! I'm new here and anything I know came from reading your helpful posts...thanks in advance!
Issue started with
1) Ignition key not turning in cylinder.
4) I have tried all 3 keys, including two which seemed to have low usage. Battery multimeters at 12.43. Related fuses look good.
2) Followed someone's advice here, and sprayed a little WD40 on the original key
3) After that, key will turn in ignition 2 out of 10 times without locked steering wheel (I gather from reading here that it's critical that I change the cylinder/tumbler before it locks up completely)
4) Initially, once the key turned and I got the dash lights, it did start for a second over two tries and then died.
5) Trying again, I get the dash lights, but now each time, I get no crank
5) Had non-Mercedes mechanic make house-call... he put something on starter to attempt to get it going...it cranked, but wouldn't catch.
6) Called Mercedes mechanic of previous owner...he says the key not turning is 99% the ignition tumbler. He says the no crank is 99% caused by a bad electric switch.
7) Went to local Mercedes mechanic and picked his brain. He said that ONLY the dealer can change out the ignition tumbler/switch, and that it would be a pain for me to have the car towed to him, he diagnoses the tumbler problem, then I have to re-tow to dealer. He suggested I go to local locksmith before going to dealer.
8) Locksmith said car was too old for him to work on and foolproof fix was taking it to the dealer.
My question is, are these two problems caused by a bad tumbler and ignition switch?
Since I'm low on AAA tows, can I just have the ignition switch installed by house-call mechanic (or do it myself) to get the car started, then drive it to Mercedes mechanic to change tumbler?
If it's not the tumbler and ignition switch, might you offer suggestions as to what else it could be?
If it is tumbler and ignition switch, MUST it go to the dealer-stealer for repair?
I'm not worried about keeping keys the same, or that they fit into the black remote, I would just like to get it fixed inexpensively.
If it is a bad tumbler and ignition switch and it can be changed by a regular mechanic, could you please provide the proper names for these parts so I can source on eBay? Mercedes dealer told me it was $165 for the ignition cylinder but couldn't provide labor cost.
Sorry for the long wind, and thanks a million!