Date registered: May 2009
Vehicle: 2002 M-class ML 320
Location: Wilmington NC
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heat and air problem
The automatic climate system stopped working on my 2002 ML 320 about a month after I purchased it (secondhand, obviously). Prior to it ceasing to function, I had noticed an odd chemical smell. It concerned me enough that I shut off the automatic climate control. When I tried to use it again, it failed to work. Here's what happens:
1. Side and floor vents blow air, but nothing comes out of the center vents or windshield vents.
2. The air that comes out of those working vents is not conditioned. The system will neither cool nor heat the air.
I took the vehicle to a repair shop specializing in foreign cars, the shop I have regularly used for past cars. The mechanic says the refrigerant is fully charged and the fuses are okay. He thinks it's electrical and that the dash needs to come off. He does not do that kind of work, so recommended another shop.
I had previously taken the vehicle to the Honda/Acura dealership where I bought it and they were admittedly clueless.
Since most shops charge for diagnostic time, I don't want to take it some place else where again I will be referred to the Mercedes dealer. Why not just go there, you are probably asking. The answer is that I may very well do that, but beforehand I was hoping to get a little better educated. My hope is that someone will read this who recognizes the symptoms I describe and can give me an idea of what to expect. I'm also a little hesitant to take it to the dealer because they have a reputation for costing more and not having good customer service. This particular dealer in Wilmington NC, also is the dealer for VW, and it's main business has been Buick, Pontiac and GMC. That said, I don't know if the service dept has a lot of experience with Benz.
I'm not conversant in technical car talk, but I'd like to be well enough informed about this issue, so as not to be taken advantage of. I know what a condenser is, I'm familiar with the relays on the fuse panel and know that one of these relates to the function of the climate control system. I understand how the operator controls for the climate system are supposed to work and that there is a sensor on the control panel that functions like a brain, cueing the system on what to do. That's the extent of my knowledge.
From what I've read on this forum, AC repairs on these SUVs can be very pricey depending on what the problem is. It would be helpful to have a ballpark idea of how much the repair should cost, in the event this is a recognizable syndrome. Thanks in advance for your help.