Autoelectrics problem MB C320

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hello all,
I have been lurking in this newsgroup for little while. Last year, a family member wanted to sell a 2001 model C320. It was a four-year-old
car, but only had 14,000 kilometres on the clock (used as a weekend car to weddings and parties etc...). He asked me to advertise it for him, but since the depreciation made the car a huge bargain, I bought it off him.
It has now 22,000 km on the clock. Last week, it developed a problem whereby 4 errors appeared on the dash: 1- brake pad wear fault, 2 - fault with ABS, 3 - fault with ESP, 4 - fault with BAS.
The car would then lock into the one gear that it was in at the time (it can be first gear or any other gear that it was in at the time). Initially, stopping the car and restarting the car would see the errors disappear and the car would be drivable (which made me think that the engine heat may have helped improve on some of the electrical connection). However every day since then, the problem would take longer to disappear. Today, I had to limp home from work in second gear at 60 km per hour all the way home.
I did take the car to Mercedes-Benz for a diagnostic. It was hooked up to a computer, and I was told that the fault lies in the ESP control module.
Now here is the cruel part, the part can be replaced as a second-hand unit for about $2500, or a new unit around about $4000 !!!!
Now for all the mechanics in this group, is this a common fault, and is this a reasonable repair bill? Could the component be removed and repaired by an electrician for less?
This is my first foray into a luxury car, previously being an owner for eight years of a Subaru WRX. The Subaru did throw a fault in the odometer, which cost me $1300 to replace. However, after this experience, I'm thinking of going back to Japanese quality (now looking at the Lexus IS range - much prefer the value of the Liberty range but the missus does not like the interior :-((( ).
Although the car is now five years old, the low kilometres makes the experience very bitter. Do you think, that time can be blamed for the unreliability, and should I get rid of the car? In fact, the six CD stacker died only six months into the ownership (and still remained broken). I did find information on the net that the 2001 MB C class can be quite unreliable (apparently especially so in the electrics), but I would have thought that that I could get more mileage out of the car before things like this happen.
Although I was told that due to the low mileage, that MB will consider giving me a special price for the part. This is not yet confirmed, however could this be expected from the manufacturer?
Cheers
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< snip etc >

< more snipping involving tales of Teutonic woe >
Sorry to digress, but I am not at all surprised by this story. Why do people think Germans make the best vehicles when you frequently hear stories like this?
I recall reading an article that talked about Mercedes rushing a bunch of new technologies to the market not so long ago - 2001 era would be about right, and finding chronic reliability problems shortly afterwards.
Occam's Razor says that (basically) the simplest solution to a problem is the most likely answer. In terms of automotive design, I feel the Germans could learn a thing or two from applying simple design now and then. [Ford probably could too when it comes to the design of their current V8 (why have double overhead bump sticks when you have an engine so chronically undersquare that spinning beyond 5000 rpm requires massive feats of metallurgy?)]
As for your particular problem, I'd be stirring up some action from Mercedes. Start with a dealer and then work up to the state distributor. Once it's fixed, sell the bastard of a vehicle and get a Subaru. Tell your missus she can have the car she pays for.
Brett
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The Interceptor wrote:

The wood-ducks, thats who, they dont sell the car per-se, they sell the image and ego boost instead
German cars have taken a nose dive in quality BIG time, esp. Benz [the other German brands have never been at that level anyway] they fail just as well as any other brand.
Frankly they where never that good anyway, the Germans where to busy making propaganda making people *think* that they are better than they actually are.Its ok Holden does that too;-)
The difference when a Krut car fails u need to sell your kidney to pay for the repair.
You want quality, buy Made In Japan, its the best PERIOD [J.D.Powers anyone], hard to walk away from Japanese quality/engineering etc
I still like the 450SEL, it was the last of the super bullet proof Benzs
OUT!

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Utter nonsense.

Thet explains all the 20, 30 and 40 year old Japanese cars you see all the time.

*cough*HVAC*cough*. There's a few later chassis - up to and including the 126 - that still gave the DIY mechanic a fighting chance.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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I see plenty of 20 year old Japanese cars around - probably moreso than cars from any other country, and as for 30 and 40 year old cars, how many do you see regularly from any country?
Marco
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[...]
Well, in Central Indiana, you see a bunch of 30,40 and 50+ year old American cars being driven. And dare I mention Cuba where a '57 Chevy is still thought of as being a new car? <G>
--
Cheers,
Kurt
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Just old Mercedes and detroit iron. It's rare here to see a Japanese car older than 10 years.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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So they're as cheap as the average Holden or Falcon then? (That's average Australian family hacks to you). They might be cheap to repair in your part of the world, but down here they're horrendously expensive.
Why anyone would *want* one is beyond me, as they've always been one of the most over-rated heaps of shit on the planet in my opinion.
-- Regards, Noddy.
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I dunno I was looking at a late 80's MB 280SE it was in great nick beautiful black exterior. But then again I thought if I did buy it the first thing would go would be that little 2.8 litre 6 and in goes a V8 but of course without telling you what V8 would be in there. :-)
--
Regards
Dan



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You're just giong to the wrong people. Seek out John Greene or Davide Frada. The diesels are as chea to maintin as a Holden (and break less) the gas ones probably a bit more dear.
--
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That's your problem right there mate.

No shit.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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Actually this is a simple fix. Our E320 had this quirky error message that would disappear upon restart... Error Messages would say BAS Failure, ESP Failure,... visit workshop... then we also had a SOS Malfunction... visit workshop.
The solution was very simple... change that battery. Weak battery gives computer false readings hence false errors.
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I would vote for battery too. Our 96 C280 had some weird electric symptoms, including clock reset, radio locked, and one warning light (forget which one) a few weeks before the battery could not start the car. They never re-appear after changing battery.
Tiger wrote:

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Wan-ning Tan wrote:

Those are very bizarre symptoms indeed. At least your car kept on going, whereas mine would going to a limp home mode locking into one gear, which is very annoying if you only have one car in the family. I wonder how a manual version would be affected (Does Mercedes Benz have manual cars???) in my case.
Cheers.
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The 96 C280 does not have electronic controlled transmission so there is no limp home. But the interesting thing was, when I replaced the battery, the old one (7 years old age) still had 12+ volts at no load so at first I was not sure if I did the right fix. Then after sitting another few weeks, the battery had less than 10 volts by itself. Recharging did not help. I did not know battery can self-destroy :-)
x_d wrote:

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x_d wrote:

Does it have a genuine service history that's up to date? If so, you'll need to battle with the dealer who serviced it. The advisors themselves are usually pretty willing to hound MB Aus. for some sort of concession, something like they supply the parts and you pay the labour (meaning the dealer still gets paid the usual). Make a big enough song and dance about it and they will definately come around. If the history is non-genuine, get ready to be made an example of...........
Keep us posted?
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jackbadger56 wrote:

Yes it does have a full service history.
I live in Brisbane QLD, and I have approached both the MB Fortitude Valley and also the Mt Gravatt service centre.
The central service centre is very flashy but their customer service is not up to the same standard as the Mt Gravatt branch.
They stated that I might get a 25% discount for the part but has anyone ever got a part of that price free when a car is out of warranty (but low mileage?)
Cheers.
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x_d wrote:

Family bought a new V6 VW Passat in January 1999, with a 3yr/100,000km warranty. Transmission completely let go in 2004 with 130,000 km on it. Because it had always been serviced on time and at the same VW service, we ended up paying for half the labour of fitting the NEW transmission that was supplied FOC by VW Australia (about $600). It took a fair bit of haggling to get there but we felt we got quite a good result.
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jackbadger56 wrote:

That's not bad haggling at all there, considering that it was out of warranty and reasonably high mileage.
I have yet to hear from Mercedes-Benz Australia. The service manager stated that he has e-mailed Mercedes-Benz Australia to request a special price. That was two or three days ago. I wonder how long it would take unless I do some pushing. However, I don't think they would give me a part which they would normally charge $4000.
Now that puts the costs for me into perspective, i.e. $4000 for a computer part against $600 for whole new transmission!!!
Cheers.
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x_d wrote:

Discussing this thread with my step-dad last night - apparently from 30,000 he'd mentioned to the service advisor that the transmission didn't feel right and asked the advisor to check it out. He did this at each subsequent service and they kept coming back saying there was nothing wrong. Luckily though, they'd kept records of his concerns (which, BTW, were completely un-related to what caused it to eventually fail) and these records were used by the dealer to show VW Aus. that a problem existed from well within the warranty period. Either way, it was the dealer that did all the haggling on our behalf. I'm sure a suggested offer of a bottle of Wild Turkey or similar to the advisor might have an influence! ; )
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