C240 - Blown Engine due to Water entering through the Air Intake

Hello all,
I have a sad story to tell about the C240 that I used to own prowdly. I was driving on the west side highway by 95th street (NY City) when I ran into a puddle of water; I would estimate a few inches
at most. Every other vehicule went though the same puddle and made it home, I didn't. After hitting the puddle, the car stalled and wouldn't start again. The lights and radio worked but the car would just not start. It wasn't even trying to start...
I had the car towed to Mercedes in Long Island City NY. They tell me that the engine is blown due to water entering into the engine. They said that this was my problem and it would NOT be covered under waranty. I than called my insurance company to proceed with a write off as the total bill came to over 10 000$.
I have been waiting 5 weeks now and I am not any closer to getting the car back. Apparently the parts are back ordered and will have to come from Germany, they won't arrive until December or January. Guess what? The insurance company only covers rental cars for the first 30 days from the date of the claim. I must now rent a car at 35$/day which is 1085$ /month. Even when I get the car back I will be scared to take it out in the rain! Allstate didn't make it easier as they decided to rebuilt
Has anyone else had these issues with this car? The air intake is on the bottom of the bumper to maximise performance. However they neglected to use an Air Bypass valve to prevent water from entering into the engine. '
I have made repeated calls to Mercedes to no avail, I am just getting the run around saying the they will get the parts...
Any comments/suggestions??
Richard Disgruntled Mercedes Owner
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There's plenty of rain in Germany where this model was designed. This smells like old fish, IMHO.
Water entering the air intake would have to gush through the duct and through the air filter and on into the engine. If you hit a two foot deep puddle at speed that could happen but doubtful otherwise, IMHO.
Did Allstate examine the car as part of their adjustment process? Was Allstate satisfied that the engine is, in fact, ruined?
If I was convinced that the engine is ruined (you can hire an inspector to determine that) then I'd put pressure on Allstate to either total the car and pay me of get things moving on its repair.
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A further thought, for what it's worth:
Newer fuel injected engines have an air flow meter - it's called the Mass Air Sensor - and meters the air entering the engine. This device is located after the paper air filter and is VERY delicate. It's a critical input to the engine's computer and if it were to get wet the engine won't run, period. The air sensor consists of some wires in the air stream and it measures the air flow simply by the temperature difference between these wires. A bit of dirt on a wire causes the "check engine light" to come on so a bit of water might just shut down the engine.
I would NOT rely on the dealer's honesty in this matter - too much money is at stake. Yes, they WILL install another engine, that's not the honesty issue, the question is whether that's at all necessary. If this were my car I'd want to be convinced of that need.
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The more I think of it the more convinced I get that water hitting the Mass Air Sensor will absolutely stop the engine - the reading would be off the engine computer's scale.
You wrote that afterward it wouldn't start. The engine is not wrecked if it cranked.
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hmmmmm my friend (a mechanic) drove his 90's Jetta into and got stuck in a deep puddle. He went back to the shop, opened the valve cover and cranked the engine and water shot all over the garage; what happened to you shouldn't have caused any mechanical damage....IMHO
cp

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Water in engine = bent rods...
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"phat boy slim"
For a second there I thought I replied to myself, I use "phat boy slim" too! thought I was original then I realized it was common :\

hmmmm engine was fine in friend's car
cp
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On 14 Nov 2005 15:33:19 -0800, against all advice, something compelled snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com, to say:

Faced with that, I'd buy myself an $800 beater and sell it when I got my car back.
--




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The whole thing sounds pretty strange to me. Event the insurance part. I'd be very surprised that a normal auto insurance policy would even pay off on this kind of thing, given their ability to try to weasel out of stuff that they are clearly responsible for. As others have suggested, I'd take the car elsewhere for a second opinion. The cost of towing could even be offset by getting the work done at a more reasonable price elsewhere.
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I seriously doubt that the engine was "destroyed" with a small amount of water. The filter would block most of it and I think the engine would stall before enough water could enter the cylinder and bend a rod (through the magic of hydraulics).
Heck, before electronics, we used to clean the carbon off the top of pistons by spraying water (just a small trickle) from a hose into the intake with the engine running! There were some that recommended you use trans fluid to do the same, boy did that make a lot of smoke!!
All the best to you, Bob 95 S320
On 14 Nov 2005 15:33:19 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Even more smoke when you used brake fluid. I de-coked many an engine with brake fluid.
Bob wrote:

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Yes, the good ole days....... I hate to think of the toxic fumes or hydrocarbons we were releasing.......The county used to spray the old oil from the vehicle maintenance department on the dirt roads to keep the dust down back in the 60's and 70's here near Orlando, FL!!
On Tue, 15 Nov 2005 18:50:03 GMT, John Schofield

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John Schofield wrote:

Hopefully you did not breath any of that smoke.
It is highly toxic I think.
.
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Richard; Let me offer answers to some of the "parts" of your story as well as to some of the comments of your "well wishers".
The main issue at hand is "taking in water through the intake system". This is very possible in many vehicles, unfortunately it also includes M-Benz vehicles. I know, I am in the business. First of all, merely driving over a small puddle should not cause problems, that of course depends greatly on the speed you are driving at. Yes, water could be sucked up into the intake system, past the air filter and eventually past the "AIR MASS FLOW SENSOR". At this time the engine more than likely stalls. If only a small amount of water enters the cylinders [very small amount] you may get lucky. Plugs are to be removed, cylinders dried out. Replace air filter and very possibly the mass flow sensor. Reset engine parameters.
Now, if you have too much water enter the cylinders your engine "HYDROLOCKS" and it becomes next to impossible to crank, water cannot be compressed in the engine. Yes, connecting rods are bent, possibly valves [in some engines], and I have seen where a rod breaks and punches a hole on the side of the block.
As far as the recommended repairs go, it all depends on how much damage was done, and what parts are currently available from M-Benz. Based on the going labor rate at most dealerships, it is sometimes less expensive to replace the "short" or "long block" rather than attempt repairs. A new long block carries a 4 year factory warranty. Also, storm damaged areas of our country have placed great demands on parts suppliers. Prepare to experience delays in parts delivery.
You have another option to try and get your car back sooner. Unless it is a new car, you may want to consider a used engine from a salvage yard. These can also come with a warranty. Also, consider "monthly rental" vs "daily rental" [you may be able to deduct some of your losses at the end of the year] .
In the good 'ol days we may have added a water "spray" through the carburator to break down carbon deposits., but it was a "water spray" not a running faucet. Also, we did'nt have mass flow sensors, catalytic converters or oxygen sensors then.
Hope you have a good insurance company with a small deductible, because as you were told, "it is not a warranty issue".
Think of the bright side, you're safe! Good Luck! God Bless!
Monterey
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And on the new 112 and 113 engines, you CANNOT get 1 piston from MB by itself. You need 1 piston? You get a bare block fitted with pistons.
I believe his story 100%. The rods bend unbelieveably easy. Everything is lighter in weight to increase fuel economy. The days of 15 lb. connecting rods are long gone. It is all about CAFE, Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The higher the average, the bigger the tax credits. How do you think Ford can sell those gas-guzzling SUV's? By off-setting them with the POS Focus. Read about it here: http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/auto/cafe.html

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Monterey, You seem to be quite familiar with the Mercedes Benz procedures. Have you seen many other Mercedes that have had these types of "HYDROLOCK" issues? As for the car, Allstate inspected it and it they also concluded that the engine was gone. I have also gotten a monthly rental from Enterprise. Hopefully I'll have it back in January!
thanks, Richard
Monterey256 wrote:

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All engines will hydrolock if a bore fills up with water...
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Richard; I am glad to have been of some help. As "Phat Boy Slim" indicates...any "combustion" engine can "hydrolock". However, with the question you now ask me, it is not a matter of wether all or some M-Benzes hydrolock or not, but rather- which ones are more prone to "hydrolock". The response: any of the modernday US bound sedans or coupes can hydrolock a lot easier than will the SUV's [ML class & G-wagon]. Inherent design [placement] of intake system, that's all. Only time will tell about the new R- class.
Make sure you keep service records on your new engine in case warranty issues crop up.
PS- If you ever get a new "SLR' don't drive in the rain! :)
Thanks for your support Karl.
K.I.T.
Monterey
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Must be the post-merger Chrysler influence. I remember how, back in the Seventies and Eighties, I used to see disproportionate numbers of Chrysler vehicles that were stalled in the rain or after driving into puddles.
(Another, contemporary observation I made about Chrysler products was that old people always seemed to drive them. Today's crop of American crumblies now seems to favor Buicks.)
Geoff
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