1999 E300 W210, Key turns but starter wont engage


A leaky sunroof caused water droplets to fall on my floor shift lever frying it is so only can drive in Limp mode (No check engine light)
i installed a used shifter bought online, can start and drive the car but still in limp mode, it may have been defective out of the box.

I bought another shifter and installed it but somehow it seemed to trip the immobilizer as now I can turn the key, but nothing but silence.
I crawled under the car and was able to short the starter solenoid to engage and crank the engine in a healthy matter.
Seems immobilizer is preventing the signal to apply voltage to the solenoid.
Putting back original floor shifter does not resolve the no crank issue.
please help troubleshoot probable remedies,
Thank you.