Date registered: Nov 2009
Vehicle: 1999 E300 Turbodiesel
Location: SF Bay Area
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I am based in the San Francisco Bay area. For work, I am the chief engineer for a small start-up company that builds scientific instruments. My Mercedes is a 1999 E300 Turbodiesel that just turned over 100Kmiles. I bought this car three years ago with only 60K on the odometer. It took me 18 months to find an E300TD with low miles, no accidents and a documented dealer service history. We are very pleased with the car and I wouldn't hesitate to take off on a long road trip.
My wife and I spend a lot of enjoyable hours touring Northern California on weekends. We've driven to Las Vegas and Reno a few times. We've also made several trips out to visit my brother in Albuquerque.
Aside for routine maintenance, I've only had to replace the throttle cable, front rotors and two glow plugs. The throttle cable broke on US-395 just south of Tioga Pass. We were many miles from the nearest Benz dealer (Reno, NV) and AAA said it would take an hour to get a tow truck out to us. We were parked on the narrow shoulder of a steep uphill passing lane with a constant flow of semitrucks buffeting the car every few minutes. It wasn't safe to sit in the car so I helped my wife climb out the passenger window (door was 1" from the guardrail). My wife thinks I'm McGyver, so I popped the hood to look around. The cable had broken right at the ball end where it connects to the throttle sensor. Using an electrical connector I found in my laptop bag, with two rocks to crimp it in place, I had a tie point on the broken end of the cable. Then, we wrested staple from the guardrail support and tied the cable back on the ball joint. Vroom, we were out of there and back on the road. That fix lasted for over a week until the shop got the cable.
Typically, I have my car serviced at Mercedes Werkstadt in Mountain View. They charged me $250 for the first glow plug and $150 for the second (2nd GP did not require removal of the manifold). I had my rotors replaced during a scheduled dealer service in Bakersfield. With our Christmas budget in mind, I'm joining this group looking for advice on fixing a minor electrical problem.
We had a rare cold morning last week and the front window fogged up. The defroster would not come on - at all. According to the wife, the A/C quit coming on right away last summer. She said it always came on eventually. I've been driving the car every day for the last two months and didn't notice anything wrong with the heater. I get warm air out of the ducts when I'm on the freeway, but the blower is not working in any mode of operation. The climate control/display appears to be working the way it should. If you adjust the temperature in auto mode, the fan indicator changes.
The behavior she described with the A/C having a delayed start that got longer over time sounds like a relay going bad. I want to do an out-of-circuit test on the relay before I take to the shop for expensive troubleshooting. Only problem is, I can't find the relay for the blower motor. Does anyone know where it is?