How I repaired and Improved my ETA. - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up How I repaired and Improved my ETA.

ETA - Electronic Throttle Actuator

Pictures to follow in a day or two...

My 95 E320 Cabroilet had the infamous deteriorating insulation in the harness leading out of it. I've just finished my repair and although I have not yet installed it, here's what I've done. I mapped out the harness and removed all the bad wiring and replaced it with new (not easy, but not impossible). The biggest problem with wiring in a new harness is getting a plug for the end of the harness. While looking at some other ETA's at the shop where I usually go for repairs, we noticed that one of the old ones they had taken from another car had the OPPOSITE connector on it. It turns out that Mercedes seems to wire some with a female on the harness and some with the male (I assume so that you cannot put the wrong one on different models). This made my search for a plug easy. We just went through the boneyard looking for a donor car that had the plug I needed hanging from the wiring harness. We cut that off with about 3" of wire hanging out (checking of course to see that it did not also have the crappy insulation).

I went home with my plug and bought three spools of wire (blue 14ga, white 18 ga and red 18 ga (you can use any colors you wish, it's not likely you will find the colors MB uses). The bigger wire is used for the two wires leading to the motor, the other wires are for sensors. With a soldering iron and a solder-sucker it's not too difficult to remove the old wires and solder in new leads (after carefully mapping out the pin positions of each wire). Then you must clip the wires to the right length to mate with the leads on the plug (placing shrink wrap around everything and shrinking in place after each joint is soldered). All this is tedious but not that hard.

Here's the "improvement" that I made to my ETA. The ETA provides for "fly-by-wire" throttle advance (and cruise control). When you press the accelerator pedal, it merely moves a sensor in the ETA which tells the computer how much throttle you want. The computer then sends a signal to the motor in the ETA that moves the throttle plate. I've noticed that my car has a small amount of lag time between my input and the computer response. It's just enough to annoy me. Also, there are times when the engine seems to surge at rates that don't match my desires.

We have heard about the "Limp home" mode that comes into play when the computer or other electronic failure occurs. This LH mode is extremely simple. It's nothing more than a metal tang bent out on the inside of the actuator and this tang will contact the actual throttle plate assembly after you depress the throttle about half-way. When you press the throttle all the way to the floor, you only get about half-throttle. It will "get you home" but it's no way to drive.

What I did was build a spacer inside the housing that takes up most of the distance from the tang to the throttle plate assembly. In this way, my LH mode is now almost exactly in sync with what the computer would be telling the throttle to do.

I have yet to install this ETA with my "improvement", but I will soon and I will post my results (good or bad).

Last edited by ChristianAnarchist; 04-05-2011 at 08:26 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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This is what it looks like after rewiring the harness.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Here's two views of the wires internally. The blue wires to the motor are hard to see with the board screwed in place.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2011, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Here's what my crude "spacer" looks like to take up the gap between the Limp Home tang and the throttle plate. It took a couple of tries to get the right size for the spacer. If this works out well, I'll machine a better looking (and better fitting) part for the job.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Update: I've been driving with my "fixed" ETA now for a few days but I'm still having problems with the idle being too fast and codes relating to the Idle Control System. I've bought a used ICS on ebay and I'm waiting for it to see if that takes care of the problem. Still no cruise control. Code 02 shows which isn't much help because it lists pretty much every component as being a possible problem.

I'll post more after I try out the ICS...
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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I don't yet have my used ISC module but I've been doing some head scratching in regards to the codes I've been getting...

First the built in diagnostic module (pushbutton and LED under hood)
When it works, I get code 6 and 17. It's strange because after I've read the codes once, I cannot get it to do anything afterwards, even after shutting off the key or restarting the engine and shutting down and switching the key back on. Very strange. Anyway, 6 is Idle speed control faulty and 17 is Data exchange malfunction.

Pin 8 gives code 8. I can clear this code and get a single flash but after a restart it returns. Code 8 is Idle speed control system at upper or lower control stop or CC or EA indicates limp home mode.

Pin 14 give code 2 and 3 and these codes can be cleared but they return after restart. Code 2 is "EA/CC/ISC control module or Safety contact switch or stop lamp switch or cruise control switch or actual value potentiometer or starter lock-out/back-up lamp switch or engine speed signal or vehicle speed signal or closed throttle position switch or safety relay in EA/CC/ISC control module" (whew!). Code 3 is "right EA/CC/ISC actuator".

Here's my problem. Other than the control modules and the ETA, I don't know where any of these things are or how to test them. Also, one code indicates that there could be a data problem over the CAN, how do I test that? I have an ohmmeter and could use it to test for voltages and resistances, but how do I find the values (and where to test for them)?

Most of the info I've found are for the SL500 and my car has a different layout for components. I'd like to test the idle speed control and these "upper or lower control stops" but I don't know what that refers to. I do not see any "stops" on the linkage or on the ETA...

Thanks all...
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-29-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Latest update... My ASR light still is on most of the time. There are times when the ASR light goes out and the idle goes back to normal, cruise control works, etc. This is what has me baffled. I'm sure that the ETA is not the problem even though that's what the codes point to. One time we were under the car and moving some wires to the wheel speed censors and after moving the wires on the left front, the ASR light went out and stayed out for more than a day. I figured that was the problem so we replaced that front wheel sensor but that was not it. Damn thing cost me $200...
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