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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone! I recently posted about an issue I am having with the ignition on my Smart Car 451. Specifically; I ended up with the ignition on my Smart Car seized and the key will not turn. I tried absolutely everything mentioned in the forum's to get it to turn, but absolutely nothing works. I took it to Mercedes dealer and their solution was to remove and replace the entire shifts assembly to get the cylinder out! (It's a clamshell that you can seperate) this option will cost me a whopping $1900! No thanks. They are "not comfortable" drilling out the cylinder so I am planning to go at it DIY. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated. I have enquired with local local local lock Smith's who told me to go to the dealer. I am desperate need of help here lol
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Get a used ignition module from a junk yard?
Absolutely an option but however resolving the issue going down that road is like replacing an entire wall of your house because the window is broken. If I replace the entire module, then I also have to have the vehicle key reprogrammed anyways. Not to mention the labour involved in replacing the module. I should mention I was able to have the dealer order a vin specific lock cylinder matching my keys so it's just a matter of replacing the cylinder. In order to put the new one in, I have to get the old one out but can get it out without turning the key - which is not possible..so Im.left with drilling it out. Anyone ever done it before?
 

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Should have said used ignition switch assy. Not the whole electronic system. Do you have the new cylinder? If so, you should be able to estimate what size drill bits you need to drill out the old one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah I have the new one. In terms of drilling out the old one what part of the cylinder are you actually drilling out? More specifically - how much? I suppose enough to allow the cylinder to turn? So slowly increasing the size of bit? Also how deep do I go ?
 

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Here's how to remove the ignition cylinder:

All you really need to do is drill it out enough that the key turns. Don't drill too deep or else you risk damaging other parts. I'd probably recommend doing it with the battery disconnected.

Had to do a similar job with my Ford E-350 Power Stroke a couple of weeks ago. Not fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here's how to remove the ignition cylinder:

All you really need to do is drill it out enough that the key turns. Don't drill too deep or else you risk damaging other parts. I'd probably recommend doing it with the battery disconnected.

Had to do a similar job with my Ford E-350 Power Stroke a couple of weeks ago. Not fun.
I was thinking I'll put some electrical tape as a guide so I know where to stop depth. I assume I start with a smaller bit and work my way up?
 

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Were it my car, I'd probably remove the cylinder and fabricate a bit to work the mechanism. Without the fob it should be disabled, so the key itself is then really only needed for the doors, no?
I've condiered a number of times of removing the key from one of my fobs and 3D printing a knob to glue to it and just leave it in the car as if it were permanent, like this:
 

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I was thinking I'll put some electrical tape as a guide so I know where to stop depth. I assume I start with a smaller bit and work my way up?
I went in with the big guns from the start. lol

Granted, an old Ford E-Series has a thick ignition cylinder and no chip key to worry about. In my case, the van was stolen from me and the original ignition was hammered out, so I had to remove the guts to get a proper ignition switch back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well everyone; just wanted to provide an update to anyone that ventures into this post searching for a solution to this problem. Basically I was able to remove the old lock cylinder WITHOUT drilling it by sheer luck. Here is how I did it:

1) Remove the entire shifter cover assembly. (You can find instructions on Evolutions website on how to do that)
2) Remove the lock security assembly. It's plugged in and it's the plastic portion that sits around the lock cylinder itself.( When functioning, it senses your key fob and is programmed to your fob.)
3) With this removed, you can attempt to remove the lock cylinder by depressing the tab at the base, however this usually can't be pressed in until you are able to turn the key. Thus the cyclic issue of not being able to remove th cylinder. What I did here was originally plan to drill out the cylinder. When beginning that, I noticed that the plastic around the cylinder seperated into two sections that split in half. All I did was gently used a flathead screwdriver and pried the two halves apart while pulling up on the cylinder and eventually got it free. Be careful though because you can save the cylinder housing. Once you get the old one out, you can slip the new one in without issue.

Note: I didn't have the cylinder on hand, so I was forced to improve when driving the car. Of you want to be able to drive the care by using a screwdriver then this is what you can do:

  • Once the old cylinder is removed, reconnect the security assembly and plug it back in.
  • Place the key fob ON TOP of the cylinder housing hole. (it will not sense the key anywhere else)
  • Turn the ignition using a flathead screwdriver.

Note: Once the car starts you can set the fob aside. Your good to go.

I'm going to write up a tutorial for this repair because I've never found a suitable solution in any forums I scoured and I'm positive others will want help on this. Until then; just message me and I can assist you.

Glad to finally have the issue resolved!
 

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Just a thought....

Smarts have electronic starting, meaning that the start and run signals from the key tumbler assembly are low current. If the key tumbler is shot anyway, a simple button could be added to start and stop the car. Of course, the fob would still need to be placed near the ignition to have enough signal to reach the immobilizer to allow the car to start. Kane has instructions here (you will need a subscription, please support Evilution):

 

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Well everyone; just wanted to provide an update to anyone that ventures into this post searching for a solution to this problem. Basically I was able to remove the old lock cylinder WITHOUT drilling it by sheer luck. Here is how I did it:

1) Remove the entire shifter cover assembly. (You can find instructions on Evolutions website on how to do that)
2) Remove the lock security assembly. It's plugged in and it's the plastic portion that sits around the lock cylinder itself.( When functioning, it senses your key fob and is programmed to your fob.)
3) With this removed, you can attempt to remove the lock cylinder by depressing the tab at the base, however this usually can't be pressed in until you are able to turn the key. Thus the cyclic issue of not being able to remove th cylinder. What I did here was originally plan to drill out the cylinder. When beginning that, I noticed that the plastic around the cylinder seperated into two sections that split in half. All I did was gently used a flathead screwdriver and pried the two halves apart while pulling up on the cylinder and eventually got it free. Be careful though because you can save the cylinder housing. Once you get the old one out, you can slip the new one in without issue.

Note: I didn't have the cylinder on hand, so I was forced to improve when driving the car. Of you want to be able to drive the care by using a screwdriver then this is what you can do:

  • Once the old cylinder is removed, reconnect the security assembly and plug it back in.
  • Place the key fob ON TOP of the cylinder housing hole. (it will not sense the key anywhere else)
  • Turn the ignition using a flathead screwdriver.

Note: Once the car starts you can set the fob aside. Your good to go.

I'm going to write up a tutorial for this repair because I've never found a suitable solution in any forums I scoured and I'm positive others will want help on this. Until then; just message me and I can assist you.

Glad to finally have the issue resolved!
Thanks for the update and info. I was not aware that the key fob communicated when starting. Guess I wasn't paying attention in class...
 

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Do not drill out anything. Bad advice. Have a lock smith take a look at it. The tumbler is sink to the key electronic.
 
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