I have 2007 Mercedes C230 the ignition system is broken, not the key or FOB. The repair quote is $1400 to fix that one problem. I need brakes and a few other things as well. Looking at Kelly Blue book the cars value is estimated at $3100.

My question is can I replace the electronic ignition system with just a key as a means to save money on the repair of this vehicle?

  • You can do just about anything with time, know-how, and money. In this situation, while I can't say for sure, I'm gonna guess it's more Time and Money than it's worth, even with the know-how. That said, you might be able to find a better price elsewhere, or trim it down by being explicit on only letting them fix the ignition system (The brakes you can do your self pretty easily actually) – Sidney Oct 3 '17 at 18:57

can I switch that electronic ignition starting with an old-school key?

No. At least, not anywhere near 'easily'.

That ignition switch, from what I can see, has about 13 low-current wires. At least a few of them are data lines (CAN bus!). It also directly controls the steering wheel lock (ESA lines).

2007 Mercedes C280 Ignition Switch iDatalink

And another snippet:

2007 Mercedes C280 Ignition Switch

That's very different from an old-school ignition setup, which typically has several high current wires that simply power up their respective circuits.

I've been quoted $1400. to fix that one problem

From a little Google-fu it seems this is a somewhat common problem, with some websites offering a repair service -- presumably at a lower cost than fully replacing the module. One of them is Sinspeed.

Alternatively, since the module itself runs about $600, it could be feasible to replace it yourself, although it's likely that dealership tools would be needed to get everything working.

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Yes it can be done. There are various options depending on the fault. I have got around every fault the ignition module can give someway or another.

If the key turns and but the steering lock doesn't unlock you can buy a emulator for this and wire it to ignition live or have it on a switch.

If the key turns, the ignition turns on and the starter turns over this is probably the easiest to overcome, the immobiliser can be removed from the engine ECU so the car will start all of the time.

If the key doesn't turn and everything is dead this is obviously the hardest to overcome but it is certainly doable. You need to remove the immobiliser from the engine ECU, feed each required ECU/module with an ignition live and sometimes you may need a CAN bus module/emulator to transmit the correct messages to let the other modules and ECUs know when to turn on and off.

Obviously a better solution would be to either get your unit repaired at the fraction of the cost of a new one, getting it repaired has the benefit of not needing programming so you can fit it yourself.

You could also fit a second hand unit, you would need to get it programmed and I'm not sure a main agent can do this but any good auto-electrician would be able to.

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