Date registered: Dec 2003
Vehicle: 2004 SLK32 AMG
Location: San Diego, CA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
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That is one of the most frightening I have heard in terms of an auto system failure. Like Andy said, the definition describes a brake by wire system. It shouldn't be able to fail. Kirill's suggestion to contact the NHTSA and Andy suggesting to write to the president of MBUSA are excellent.
One thought I had, though I have never tried to do this as an end consumer, is demand a failure analysis of the SBC. I would think MB woud want to do this as soon as possible. If the SBC unit actually went bad and caused this problem, then it should be possible to find exactly what in the unit failed and caused you to be at risk. This could take some time but there should be more than sufficient motivation. Make sure that the service center doesn't just throw the replaced SBC away. I know in many states, if you have a repair done, the old part is yours, but that assumes you paid for the repair I think. I wonder how it applies in the case of a warranty repair.
I can understand you not wanting to be in that car. However, I would feel better about it if the car had been completely tested specifically for this issue than rolling the dice on a replacement. You might want to ask the service center to outline how the repair will be done and the test procedure they are going to use to insure you that you will not see this failure in your car again. I'd ask for written procedures or any documentation they have. They could say no to that request but doesn't hurt to try. Just asking for things like that can prompt more focus on the issue.
I'd sure like to know what is supposed to happen if this system fails. I can't believe that it would leave your vehicle coasting. Infant mortality of anything is tough to deal with. It probably passed whatever final screening test and then failed. Could be a loose component, a bad component, a semiconductor part could have been exposed to static discharge just enough that it dies later. Scarey.
Ultimately, glad that you, Vman, were safe. Hope you can get this dealt with to your satisfaction.