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Locks and Keys

This component is part of Interior.

If you are looking for information on keys for the locking gas cap go to this page:


Here's what the Classic Center said about key blanks for a 230SL. They are the one-sided version so you will have to check for a 280. This info was in an email from Jon Siggson on 2011-07-15. Hope this helps:

  • 000 462 03 32 9604 $83.00 ignition key
  • 000 766 20 06 9323 $12.50 trunk and glove box
  • 000 766 19 06 9422 $15.00 door and fuel flap

Also, Local Mercedes Benz authorized dealers can order keys cut from the codes on the Data Card. Proof of ownership and VIN / chassis number required. A locksmith told me that the 5-digit code actually tells how the key is cut. There are 4 depths of a cut and each digit refers to one of the peaks on the key, beginning with the first digit at the handle of the key.

Original keys

This is what the original keys should look like. The black plastic top is available from your MB dealer P/N 000 766 44 06 and installs over the metal key blank. The material of the original keys is steel. I got German keys from Broadway Locksmith here in town, but their supply is limited to a few blank numbers. These keys have the plastic top already attached, but on close examination it does not quite match the original MB in shape or texture. The top from MB is the real thing, the key on the left is the one from Broadway Locksmith and it is made from steel (Magnet sticks to it).

Basically, with a 280SL (did this start w/ the 250SL?) you have:

  • One key that does everything.
  • One spare key that does everything.
  • One valet key to give a valet parking person (does not open everything).

If you buy a lockset 113 893 0403, you will get:

  • ignition barrell
  • glove box lock
  • trunk lock
  • fuel cap and
  • 2x door handles
  • 2x Key (mine did not come with the valet's key but then it was NOS)

All above work with the same key.

Key Blanks


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Describe common maintenance procedures, and common faults that may occur. Describe how these may be diagnosed and resolved. Again, include diagrams, photographs and explanations. Where possible, include measures, tolerances, weights etc.

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Lock and key

Ignition Key Removal

You can take out the chrome surround and the key-barrel without taking the car apart. The pin sticking out from the side of the barrel can be pushed in when the key is turned 90 degrees clockwise. The procedure is as follows:

  • insert the key and turn 90 degrees clockwise.
  • slide the chrome surround out as far as it will go with the key in.
  • turn key to entry position, take it out, remove surround, put key back in.
  • turn key 90 degrees clockwise.
  • the pin which is now exposed, can be pushed in, and the barrel can then be removed, with the key.

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Hoping to demystify what keys originally came with my '67 (early) 250 SL Euro - I'm afraid I do not have the correct key set and may have a key that doesn't go to anything! Based on what the Owners Manual says, 3 keys were originally delivered with the car:

  1. A long one – ignition.
  2. A short one with square head – door locks and gas cap lock.
  3. A short one with round head – trunk and glove box.

Is the above correct? Does MB sell key blanks to match the original key shapes that were delivered with the car? I have heard that a complete set of new keys and locks may set me back around $500 but I'm hoping to find used matching keys and locks to create a complete set for much cheaper. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated ... thanks in advance for your replies.

I don't have answers to the rest of your questions, but that matches what my 1967 230 SL has: three keys. I would also like to know about getting replacements. I only have duplicates of the originals, and they are looking pretty worn down, so, someday I'll need to go through the same drill as you.

You can get replacement keys from your MB dealership if you provide them with a document showing the VIN and proving that you are the owner. Of course, this only helps if you're sure that you still have the original locks ... I forgot the exact cost, but I believe it was around $15 per key or so. My problem is that a piece of a broken key is stuck in my glovebox lock and I can't even get a key in ... 3 keys was standard for both my SL and my fintail, according to the manuals.

Will Samples says: if you don't mind a commercial plug I try to keep in stock just about every key blank for 50-60's Mercedes. These are blank, which means you have to find someone locally to cut the key. Claus is correct in that with the VIN, MB should be able to supply you with a key cut to code. They get it right about 50% of the time. If you give up on MB, and want me to try and supply a key blank, photocopy the key on both sides or make a very accurate drawing and send it to: Will Samples, 3303 Wendy Lane, Dallas,TX 75214.

Frank Mallory says: the ignition key for '67 250SL was different from '68 - the '68 has "teeth" on both sides and a padded handle. Your local MB dealer will either make keys for you or tell you where to go to get them made, upon proof of ownership. If the keys don't work as stated in the manual, it is probably because a door handle or the gas filler cap has been replaced.

Frank Mallory adds: nearly all the locks have their key number stamped on the back; so even if they don't match your VIN, you could still get them cut by a locksmith who has access to the key codes.

My brother-in-law locked my (only set of) keys in the trunk of my '71 280 SL. Called the locksmith, who was impressed by the fact that he couldn't get in, and he found a guy who had access to the code. Drove about 2 hours each way to pick up a key but it worked.

One of my door locks is erratic in it's operation with the key. After playing with it for quite some time it is apparant to me that the brass "wafers" inside the lock have worn to the point that they do not move into place far enough when the key is inserted. The ten brass "wafers" in each lock I'm referring to for lack of a better description are rectangular donuts ... how's that for a mental picture! You know ... a rectangular hole in the middle of a rectangular piece of brass.

Each of these wafers has a number stamped on them. Mine are 41, 44, 37 and on and on (the numbers must ID the size of the piece for the key way). When your key goes in the lock, the key goes into the inside of each of these waffers so that the lock can turn. THE QUESTION ... Does anyone know where we can get these replacement wafers? With these new brass things we would have "like new" locks.

You can buy virtually anything for these cars from the dealer. Would not be surprised that the brass wafers are available. I elected to purchase new door handles, keyed to my ignition so that I would be able to use one key for all locks. The thumb part of the door handle was worn to the brass and could not be rechromed and had no "spring effect" when engaged. The new handle has a nice spring action when engaging the key. If you have your data card, you can order this from the dealer by providing your master key number from box #24 on the data card.

You might try cannibalising a few door handle locks from other MB's of the same years. You can find one that fits yours and put it in. Also be careful for the small springs too, they could also be worn.

How exactly was the 1969 280SL keyed? How many keys were delivered with the car as new, and what did they open? The restorer says he thinks there was a separate ignition key from everything else.

I am used to (on different marques like BMW etc.) one key that controls everything, and then a separate "valet" key to do just the doors and ignition, NOT the trunk and glovebox. Anyone have ideas or experience on this? What should I try to do here? This is an early 1969, and the keys are single cut. I understand that they changed the style of the key to a double-cut in 1970 but can't be sure. We are working with single-cut lock cylinders.

The locksmith can't re-key my new door handles properly because one of them has a TA code (like the new trunk lock) and the other has a TV code, and apparently are not keyable together. Anybody have a source for key cylinders? The locksmith's source is only random (yes that's what their catalog states!!) which means no guarantee we'd get what we need.

There were three keys originally. The owner's manual will confirm this, but I think it's one for the ignition, one for the doors, and one for the trunk, glove box, and gas cap. I'm not sure what TA and TV mean. Does your gas cap and/or glove box have a TV code to match the trunk? Do you have lock codes stamped/cut into the keys? I have heard that MB dealerships are the difinitive place to go for keys and locks. Helpful and fast turnaround. It may benefit you to get new locks and keys all the way around the car.

I had a new ignition key cut at the MB dealer and mailed to me for around $25. I have not considered re-keying all the locks...but that sounds like a good idea.

I've been into the key blanks a couple of times, once when I first got the car, I ordered a complete set of Blanks (about $15 each from Star Quality) and again about a year ago, when my wife's set disappeared, I made 2 extra sets. On My 67 230 SL, here are the blank descriptions: Ignition (The big Key) DL; Door Locks KW or TW; Luggage & Glove Box KV (this is a mirror immage of the KW or TW) (This key is not as pictured in my owners manual, but has a square head like the door lock key.) My Gas Cap was replaced by the PO so I carry four keys (yes thats 4) for my car. (This key blank is not stamped, and does not match any of the above.)

I went down to my local locksmith; he charged me $3 each for the keys including cutting them there. Not MB OEM but they work.

Achim writes: our SLs had/should still have only one type of gas cap. This is the beautiful heavy diecast chrome plated one with the Mercedes star on it. It is basically the one that the 190 SL had. The spare part number is 000 471 20 30 and it is expensive (currently DM 188.51 in Germany). This type of fuel filler cap is unvented as every other MB gas cap.

Everything else (aluminium finish or so) is just plain not original and comes from another MB car or aftermarket. Later 280 SLs had a slightly different gas cap for the "one-key-for-all system" (see below) but this is only the key lock cylinder, the whole (unvented) gas cap looks the same. All 230 and 250 SLs as well as the early 280 SLs had three keys:

  • The large one (single cut or from 250 SL VIN 002980 on double side cut with plastic handle) for the ignition;
  • the one with the square like handle with "T" code (Türen und Tank) for the doors and the gas cap;
  • the one with the round handle with "K" code (Kofferraum und Handschuhfach) for the trunk and glove compartment.

Local MB dealers can get/make you the correct key if you know your key numbers (on the key or see data card). If you have more and different keys, at least cylinders or the whole door handles, gas caps, etc. have been replaced once throughout the lifetime or your car. This is a normal process for a 30+ year old car and not the "fault" of a preowner.

When our beauties were still "(old) used cars", not everybody spent that time, money and love that we do today. Furthermore, there was (and still is) a substantial lack of knowledge on specific problems and attempts to solve them among owners, repair shops and even MB dealership in those days and still today.

So, it is not always right to blame the preowner. They only tried to keep the car alive and running and often they didn't know how to do this correctly when they replaced parts or got this done by any local dealerships. Re-keying your cars (and mine of course too) is a difficult task. If there is only the correct gas cap missing and your door handles still carry the correct lock, go to the MB dealer, order the new gas cap with your correct key number, wait a couple of months, pay a lot (approx. $ 130.00 or so) and get your desired gas cap.

This method is basically possible for all locks you have but sometimes MB dealers just keep telling you "this is no longer available" often due to the lack of personal knowledge. Contact MB Classic Center then or let them do. You can exchange the lock cylinders in the door handles or the other locks and put in matching ones.

But it is absolutely necessary that you take cylinders of the same type of code which means for example (door and gas cap cylinders) all three must have TA or TW or TV or so (T for doors/gas cap and the other code letters are for the shape of your key).

So, a TA key won't fit a TV lock and so on. Of course you can try to find a matching set of lock cylinders from any other MB of that age (W110, 111 108), but try to find them! It won't be easy. Especially not for the gas cap cylinders. During the production time of the 280 SL in 1969 or so, the pagoda locking system was updated according to all other MB passenger cars and the "three-keys system" was replaced by the "one-key-for-all system" where the double-side cut key for the ignition fits all other logs.

An additional key (with round handle) was delivered too with the car that only fits into door locks and ignition in order to keep the trunk and glove box unaccessible during garage service, hotels, etc. You can exchange from the earlier 3-key system to the later 1-key system on your late 250 or (all) 280 SLs if you like. You can get all the parts new from MB (or Star Quality or so if you prefer these sources) but you always have to buy the whole door handles, gas cap, etc.

Separate cylinders are not available, at least not from MB.

The three keys were replaced by a single key (double sided) in August 1969. I don't know the chassis number but I'd guess around 20,000. The new key had the black plastic head that was used through to the late 1980's. Early cars could have all the locks changed to facilitate using only one key, notwithstanding the issues of price and originality. Data Cards also show the key numbers that were supplied with the car.

I have a 69 280 SL - the previous owner only had the ignition key. A short trip to the dealer with my registration and an ID and they sent me the 3 keys for the car in about 3-4 days. One key is for the ignition - they supplied me the one with the black plastic cover on top. A small squared head one that locks the doors and gas cap and a small round head one that locks the trunk and the glovebox. I was amazed they all worked perfectly and my key problems were solved - I guess I also found that all the cylinders are original.

My trunk lid is stuck the key will turn about 170 degrees and stop will not unlock. I have tried several lubricants to no avail. Any suggestion on how to open if I can get lock smith to open.

I had a similar issue and solved as follows: I used the felt covered "hooks" for my hard top hoist that fit nicely around the edge of the trunk. These were ideal as they:

  • are about 3 inches wide
  • have a lip on them covered with felt to safely grab the edge of lid
  • these "hooks" distributed the tension well.

With someone (my lovely wife who also cheerfully assists me in bleeding brakes, etc.) turning the key, I pulled up on the trunk and it released. This is because the latch was almost fully dis-engaged and slight pressure allowed it to release. I then fixed the problem, which was related to the spring and cast retainer ring that had become separated. I don't know if this will help or my description is understandable, but caution about the "tool" used to put upward pressure on the trunk lid is important to avoid damage to the trunk lid.

Mine has the same problem sometimes. Key turns but not all the way. It hits something inside. My guess is that the lever or pivot actually hits the thing it is supposed to engage into. One can then push the knob but it does not engage and stays locked. I get past it by moving the key back and forth while wiggling the knob in and out hard till the key suddenly turns that last little bit and engages.

Does anyone know how to disassemble the locking mechanism? My locksmith is stumped and so is his father who is a retired locksmith! My key will turn only 20 degrees and even a blank key will also do that. He believes he needs to drill tiny holes on the side of the cylinder to get at a hidden circlip inside the mechanism to release it. Anyone with any experience with this issue?

I had my locksmith look at mine, not for repair but to possibly re-key it since it is not in the key sequence of my car. He wouldn't try it; there are two little tabs on the back that hold the locking mechanism in place, and it looks like they would easily break if you bent them back in order to try and remove the lock assembly. If you did manage to get them bent back, they'd surely break when you went to reassemble it.

I ordered a new , original cap from Tom Hanson. It was correctly keyed to my keys, based on my card and came from Germany. It was not cheap (appr. $200), but it works perfectly and looks great. I also, got my second key from Tom. It is rounded slightly on the edges and is a so called "valet" key and while I would never let a valet park the car, it is part of the total package.
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