Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!! - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-24-2004, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

Teky, really appreciated your feedbacks.

I had my new ECU installed and re-programmed (using the basics, I think) in a local workshop A (not the dealer). Ever since it was installed, these intermittent problems started occurring for 5 months. During these 5 months;

1. I returned back to this the workshop A, they reprogrammed everything back again (twice) and assure that this problem will not happen again. The failure occurred again after seeing them.

2. I had brought the vehicle to the dealer, they inspected it and announced that there was nothing wrong with my car and advised that all wiring problems and electrical equipments are functioning as normal. The failure occurred again after seeing them.

3. The dealer advised to replace a new remote key. Did that, the failure occurred again within a week after using the new key.

4. Again, back to the dealer, they inspected and checked via their diagnostics and still claimed that there is nothing wrong with my car. They checked the electronics and claimed that the electrical charging was not sufficient for the car, so therefore I had to replace a new battery. The failure occurred again within a week after seeing them.

5. Went to workshop B, the mechanic claimed that the voltage regulator was faulty. It seems that the charging rate from the alternator is supposed to be 14 amps instead of 11.5 amps. So replaced the voltage regulator. The failure occurred again 9 days after seeing them. The mechanic advised to replace a new alternator.

6. Just last week, I brought the car to the dealer again and they inspected it for free; left the car there overnight and the next morning, they experience the starting failure. It took 6 hours for them to trace the fault and finally they conclude or presumed that the IFZ (Infrared Control Unit) was faulty but they could not guarantee that a new replacement of the IFZ would solve my intermittent problem.

7. Apparently, I suspected that it was a faulty alternator or some linked relay that caused this problem. I had the 2 items checked by mobile electricians and they are working fine. Some other mechanics advised that the initial workshop A did not install or re-programmed my ECU in an appropriate procedure or maybe they have overlooked some minor process.

This morning, the technical supervisor of the MB dealer called up and assure that IFZ is the main culprit and it cost USD500.00 to replace as it will be coded accordingly to my chassis.

I explained to him that the new ECU was installed by some other workshop instead of the MB dealer and he mentioned that if the ECU was not installed properly, it may cause some unexpectedly minor problems. He is willing to have a look at my new ECU and old one to check what went wrong (if there is).

My question to everyone is:

A) It possible that the performance of the ECU could affect the function of the IFZ? Say intermittent starting failure of the vehicle?

B) Could the faults from my new ECU be traced zero in via my old ECU even though they do not come out on the diagnosis screen? As Teky mentioned “checked to see if any codes are logged, even though the mil light isn't on doesn't mean there are no soft error codes logged�


really appreciate any comments
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-24-2004, 04:00 AM
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

it seems the alternator is the fault here, when they changed the regulator did they change the carbon brushes as well if not then the problem will persist also the armature is probably worn so what they should have done is changed the complete alternator or rebuilt it, just changing parts in the alternator is false economy "fit a new one" and have an end to your problem[:)]
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-24-2004, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Alternator Vs. {ECU ----> IFZ}

Teky,what are the basic/ symptoms of a failing alternator?

I must admit that I am an amateur in motor vehicles, though this is my first car. :)

Do you know of an equipment called Gunson's Start Check? My friend brought it from UK; it is use to test the condition of the cranking test, battery power and alternator.

I've used it to test my alternator and it also indicated that my alternator is faulty but no indication of replacement.

But according to the Technical Supervisor from the MB Dealer, he advised {ECU ----> IFZ}. Do you think this is feasible?


Appreciate your feedback
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-24-2004, 09:47 AM
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RE: Alternator Vs. {ECU ----> IFZ}

if the ECU had a problem then a code would be left on the computer which would prove if it were the ECU these things are too expensive just to have a guess, a multi meter is enough to test the alternator set it to dc volts and put the wires to each terminal on the battery and start the engine the reading should be aprox 14.5 volts, when the engine has stopped check the voltage and leave for 5 mins and check again without the engine running the battery should not have lost more than 3 volts also it should never drop below 12.5v minimum after a long rest this tells the battery is at fault, if they think its the ECU let them prove it first with a diagnostic and get a copy of the read out if any faults just post them here and i and other members will check it out for you
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-25-2004, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Alternator Vs. {ECU ----> IFZ}

Thank you for your reply Teky,

Yes, I have tested alternator via the multimeter. I maximized the electronics of the vehicle (Air con full blast, stereo & high headlights), the multimeter gave a reading of 12.6 – 12.5Volts. Is this a normal rate to see whether the alternator is faulty?

Oh yes, out of curiosity, what is the life span of an alternator for a w202 C280 and do you think the immobiliser has anything to do with the problem?

Thank you.

I really appreciate your kind assistance and time to help me solve my problem.
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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-25-2004, 07:35 AM
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

take your multimeter switch it on to measure volts, run the leades across the battery terminals engine running, if the alternator is pouring voltage back into the battery the normal reading should be about 14.7 volts. if your only reading like 12 something, no good.don't forget the battery is only 12 volts
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-25-2004, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

Thanks Bruce

I refer to your quote "if your only reading like 12 something, no good".

What would your recommendation be? Replace a new alternator? I'm sure the alternator cannot be repaired, I think?

I shall be sending my car for the Technical Supervisor at the MB Dealer to have my car re-diagnosed and I requested to have all programs in the ECU erased and re-programmed. Do you think this alternative method may be effective?

Appreciate your feedback
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 02:24 AM
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

You really can't test a battery and alternator simply by measuring the voltage. There are a variety of failure modes that can make the results misleading. Many auto supply stores, at least in the states, will test your battery and charging system for free. Getting the test done this way would be the easiest way to rule out the charging system and battery. So far, what you describe doesn't really sound like a charging system problem, but better to test than to wonder.

Intermittent problems can be hard to pin down. It is not true that there will always be a code. That obviously doesn't make it easier to find a problem.

So, why did you have the ECU replaced in the first place? While it may be a coincidence, the fact that the problem ocurred after you replaced the ECU does make it suspect.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

The reason why I replaced my ECU was that my old one was not working well, when i tried to drive my car using my previous ECU, the engine would vibrate and i couldn't even reach 80Km/h at all.

After the installation of the new ECU, everything was back to normal except for the intermittent starting failures. This failure to start began to occur on the second day after i installed my new ECU. And it has been occuring intermittently; sometimes once or twice a week, once or twice in 3 weeks. It is really uncomfortable and disappointing seeing a Mercedes Benz performing this way.

I really regretted have an non-MB dealer workshop re-programmed my ECU even i thought their computer was the same as a MB Dealer's.

I'm now in a dilemma between purchasing a new alternator or an infrared control unit. Both items could not even guarantee and resolution.

Unless there are possibilities that a reprogramming of the ECU would erase any possible faults.
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Starting Failures *URGENT HELP NEEDED!!

By the way, what is the life span of an alternator? My reading for the car’s electrical charging was 12.6 Volts
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