Engine start problems C- Class 1997 Auto

I have a 1997 C Class 180 automatic.
I have problems with the car not starting on the first time. The car also feels as if it is about to stall and has in fact stalled on a few
occassions. The times that it has stalled have been when reversing and manouvering at very low speeds.
It happens during hot or cold weather and even when the engine is hot or cold.
Various garages do not know what the problem is. Does anyone out there know of a possible cause and suggest a solution.
Cheers
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I believe your motor has a vacuum leak - that's air that enters the intake manifold without being having been metered by the mass air meter. The air meter measures the air quantity entering the motor so the engine's computer "knows" to supply the correct fuel quantity for that air quantity. A leak cheats that process and the motor is under fueled.
A vacuum leak could be a simple as a disconnected or leaking vacuum hose or less simple like a leaking manifold gasket but can be found in either case by listening for the leak's hissing sound. Or propane can be CAREFULLY applied to a suspected leak site(s) and when the motor picks up speed the leak is confirmed.
This suggestion assumes the motor is otherwise in specification and has been tuned up within the last 20,000 miles or so.
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Further thought: Check that the clamp(s) on the air duct to and from the mass air sensor are tight and the rubber boots thereof are intact.
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If it isn't a vacuum leak, then look at the MAF (mass airflow meter) itself. These are a common replacement item on these cars. Buy and install yourself in 10 minutes to save a bundle.
Doug
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