Faulty Mercedes boot lock and mechanism.

Some older Mercedes cars have a boot mechanism that operates remotely using a vacuum pump. The pump can fail and the vacuum tubes can perish or disconnect. When that system fails it’s not normally a problem because the boot can still be opened using the key. If the boot lock is also faulty or damaged – then it is a problem problem. You can’t open the boot.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock. Visible signs of damage to the cover plate from previous attempts to unlock it.

In this example the boot mechanism could be heard clicking when the switch was operated. That indicated the vacuum pump was working OK so the likely fault was the actual actuator mechanism on the boot lid itself. The seats don’t fold down on this car – you can’t get into the boot that way. There are 2 ways to open the boot in this situation – one is to drill a hole through the skin of the boot to access the linkage. The other is to extract the lock barrel. Because this lock wasn’t working and needed replacing it was best to extract the lock and save drilling through the boot lid.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock removed – in parts.

Once the boot lock is removed the release linkage can be pulled, opening the boot and allowing the faulty mechanism to be swapped out.

Mercedes boot lid

A quirk of this Mercedes is that the battery is in the boot. If your key doesn’t work the locks and you get a flat battery you will struggle to get into the boot. There are ways around this if you know how.

Another vehicle with a weird boot/battery setup is a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. They have a quirk where it can be difficult to tow an automatic with a flat battery. Again, there is a way around it.

If you can’t open your vehicle or have locked your keys in the boot / car in Forest of Dean and Ross on Wye areas give us a call.

Car Remote Repairs.

Car remotes can stop working for several reasons. First thing to check is the battery. These can almost always be easily DIY replaced by popping the back off and swapping the battery out. If that doesn’t work then car key repair may be an option.

Some vehicles (particularly BMW/Land Rover and the blue Transit remotes) can have a rechargeable battery soldered to the circuit board. These are not quickly replaced. Like all re-chargeable batteries they have a limited lifespan and will eventually stop charging. We can replace these batteries when the time comes. For the blue Transit remotes it may be better to replace the remote for a newer type where the battery can be swapped out in seconds.

If the remote won’t work on all the buttons it’s probable that one of them is damaged or the solder joint has cracked. The flat Renault key cards are particularly prone to damage because the fit nicely in the back pocket and they get sat on. Replacing faulty or missing buttons can normally be achieved by anybody who can use a soldering iron. Old perished rubber centre buttons can be upgraded with ceramic buttons.

Land Rover remote battery replacement
Land rover remote battery replacement. Checking operating frequency.
Land Rover Freelander remote repair
Renault remote repairs

Even if your remote is working – check that your key actually works in the door locks. Sometimes remotes go flat but customers still can’t open the car because the locks have been changed or are faulty. If you don’t have the correct key for the lock you could be locked out if the remote or vehicle battery go flat.

VW Passat Remote repairs
VW Passat remote in for repair. Button had failed, was loose and rattling around in the case.

Key snapped in lock – Triumph Acclaim.

This venerable Triumph suffered a key snapped in the ignition. The key was so old and worn it was only a matter of time before it broke. Customer had a spare key but it only worked one way up. Anyway, the spare couldn’t be used until the snapped part was extracted.

Triumph Acclaim badge

The snapped part of the key was well and truly embedded in the lock. What I thought would be a 5 minute job took significantly longer.

Key snapped in lock
Snapped part of key finally extracted.

If your key is worn or cracking, getting another copied on the high street will just give you another worn key that is shinier. An auto locksmith will be able to cut you a key to original depths and spacings by using a CNC cutting machine.

This Triumph is basically a rebadged Honda Ballade. Triumph and Rover made several ‘Japanese’ cars in UK. Cars have come a long way since then.

If you’re in need about to search for “auto locksmith in my area” when you’re in Forest of Dean, give us a call.

Land Rover Freelander 2 remote battery.

The battery in this Freelander 2 remote is a rechargeable type that is soldered to the circuit board. It should charge automatically from the vehicle. Like most rechargeable batteries it has a limited lifespan and will eventually fail and stop working. The blue Ford Transit remote batteries and many BMW remote batteries stop charging after a few years too.

It is not beyond anyone competent with a soldering iron to replace the battery themselves. The remote below is one that we repaired for a customer who preferred not to DIY.

Land Rover Freelander remote repair
New battery soldered onto Freelander 2 remote.
Land Rover remote battery replacement

Remote tested and correctly transmitting.

Below is a double glazed unit that we replaced recently. That is water sloshing around but it is not a fish tank – it was a customer’s window. Not only is this unsightly but the insulation properties of the glass are severely reduced.

Double glazing replacement

If you need your double glazed doors are windows repairing anywhere near Forest of Dean or Ross on Wye then give us a call for a quote.

Non destructive padlock opening.

Padlock non destructive entry
Non destructively opened padlocks near Ross on Wye. Shutter style padlock (left) with covered shackle and drill protection. Discus style padlock (right) with boron shackle and drill protection.

The keys to the above steel ISO storage container had been mislaid. We opened both locks without damaging them. This means when the keys are found the locks can continue to be used. If the keys had been lost permanently it can be quicker just to cut the locks off.

If you’ve lost keys to cheap padlocks it may be easy enough for you to cut or twist the locks off yourself. A good padlock like those pictured here will be too strong or located in a position that household tools may not be able to cut them off. In both the padlocks above and the puck lock below the shackle is completely enclosed when fitted correctly. This prevents bolt croppers or a saw being used to easily cut the lock off.

Puck style padlock we opened on an industrial storage container near Ross on Wye.

Below is a link to another padlock job – this time there was no option to NDE (non destructive entry).


Some jobs from this week.

A random selection of locksmith jobs from Forest of Dean this week.

Kia Sorento replacement key

Lost key replaced for Kia Sorento in Coleford. In between being purchased and collected the original key had been lost. It is normally much cheaper to get an existing key/transponder duplicated than cut and programme a new one from scratch.

VW Sprinter replacement key

Cutting a duplicate key for VW Crafter. Actually for this collaboration between VW and Mercedes the key is a Mercedes blank, but the transponder chip inside the key is VW. The advantage of using a computerised cutting machine such as the one above is that the duplicate key isn’t just a shiny copy of a worn key – the key is cut to correct depths.

Snapped UPVC door hinge replacement

Broken uPVC door hinge being replaced. A broken door hinge typically occurs when the door is allowed to swing open in the wind. Sometimes if the same hinge cannot be sourced all 3 or 4 hinges on the door will need replacing. The reason why you can’t just replace one hinge is that unless the centreline of the hinges is the same. If off centre there will be twisting/shearing forces in the hinges.

Audi keys locked in boot

This is the lock for an Audi with keys locked in the boot in Gloucester. The vehicle is deadlocked (putting a tool down the side of the door to pull a handle/lift a button won’t work). In this case the locks don’t even work (even with the key). Somebody had either replaced them incorrectly or the connecting links had come off No option here for the customer apart from wave goodbye to one of their windows.

2 days later we had another example of a client unable to get into their Audi. They couldn’t use the remote (it had lost synch during battery change), the linkages had again come off the lock so the keys couldn’t be used either. Fortunately it was an older vehicle with manual window winders.

Saab remote repair

This is the remote PCB for a Saab that was not unlocking. The button has clearly disintegrated. We replaced the button for a new ceramic centred button and it now works fine. These black rubber centre buttons often fall to bits or the rubber perishes.

Saab remote code

Above is the ASK (amplitude shift keyed) locking signal for the Saab remote. You can see the highs and lows of the signal trace correspond to the decoded binary sequence below. The remote repeats the signal several times for a single button press. The actual binary sequence will change each time the button is pressed. This ‘rolling code’ makes the illicit capture and replay of the signal to open the vehicle more difficult to achieve. There are ways to do it – but why would you unless you’re a criminal?

Very secure lock – but not if it’s like this.

This lock was fitted to a commercial premises. It is a Chubb 3G110 which is an excellent detainer lock. (Detainers are a bit like levers). This lock costs several times more than a normal mortise lock.

The lock was opened to change the detainers so it operated with a different key. It was immediately obvious that somebody in the past had removed all the detainers. In this condition the lock could be opened by any key that fitted into the keyhole – or even just a screwdriver or lolly stick. What would have been presumed to be a very secure lock actually had no more security than a garden gate latch.

chubb 3g100
Detainers missing from the lock case on the right. Detainers about to be fitted on the left.

New detainers were fitted to the lock and it now secure – as it was designed to be.

This lock is closely related to the Chubb 3R3F that we saw in a previous post. Access control system repair | Ross-Dean Locksmiths (ross-deanlocksmiths.co.uk) There are also other versions which use the same detainer system but with roller or spring latches.

On an unrelated subject, we’ve been called to open 3 separate Mercedes cars this week with keys locked in the boot. One of them was at 3am on the M5. Normally we might open one Merc in a whole year. Not sure why Mercedes owners are being more careless than usual at the moment.

Our current COVID policy (2021)

Ross Dean Locksmiths remain open for emergency work. This includes persons locked in/out, unable to secure a property, or essential maintenance (e.g. difficulty locking/unlocking doors). Routine maintenance (e.g. misty windows or blown glass) should be postponed if possible until restrictions are eased.

In order to protect our customers masks/PPE will be worn where necessary. Surfaces we touch will be disinfected upon completion.

CNC car key cutting.

As usual NHS and blue light customers receive 10% discount.

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locksmith Forest of Dean, Ross on Wye | Ross-Dean Locksmiths (ross-deanlocksmiths.co.uk)

Ford Transit lock replacement and matched to existing key

In a previous post a customer had to smash their Transit side window. Their remote had lost synchronisation with the vehicle and the door lock was broken.

ford transit door lock
Ford Transit door lock components awaiting assembly.

The customer subsequently asked us to make up a new door lock to match the existing locks. A disassembled lock from Ford comes in a box containing hundreds of individual parts that need to be put together in a certain order.

Below is the old and new lock. The springs and wafers in front are leftover as they were not required to match this particular key code. Ignition locks are one of the parts that we prefer to use genuine parts where possible. Aftermarket locks can tend to cause problems.

Completed Transit lock with un-used wafers.

If you need a replacement key or remote in Ross on Wye, or Forest of Dean area then ask us for or quote. Now matter where you in the country an independent auto locksmith will normally be significantly cheaper than a main dealer.

Broken mortise lock.

Customer was unable to unlock a British Standard 5 lever mortise lock. Original keys were present. The keys were turning but the bolt was not being withdrawn. This is an indication that the bolt thrower has broken off the curtain. Normally you can manually withdraw the bolt back into the lock, but not on this occasion. The bolt was jammed solid, and the door securely locked shut.

Mortice lock opening
Faulty mortise lock with the laminated bolt cut off.

In this situation the only option was to cut spread the door/frame and cut the bolt off. The bolts in these ERA Fortress are incredibly tough. It takes a long, long time with a large disc cutter. This requires frequent dousing of the bolt with water to prevent heat building up and setting fire to surrounding woodwork.

Broken mortice lock

Curtain spring jamming the bolt in the open position.