Mercedes-Benz made an engineering blunder of gigantic proportions when it decided to use an inferior and unsuitable material for the insulation on the electrical wires of their vehicles. This insulation prematurely disintegrates under normal use causing the wires it is designed to protect and insulate, to short causing many problems.Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 1 The company continued using used this unsuitable material for many years, even on replacements and repairs. It is not yet known how many vehicles are affected, but it is estimated the number exceeds 1.5 million vehicles manufactured after 1991. It is not a matter of IF the insulation will fail, but of WHEN.
The engine Harness and how a simple harness can kill people...
This harness contains hundreds of wires bundled inside tightly wrapped tape. The wires communicate information from the many sensors of the vehicle’s engine and accessories back to the computer modules. The modules use this information to regulate critical functions such as engine idle speeds, RPM, fuel mixture, fuel injection, ignition and many more..Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 2
When the information received by these computers is garbled or erroneous the engine will run rough, accelerate unexpectedly or quit altogether. In addition when the wires short it could cause engine fires, sudden stalls on the highway and other failures that could cause death or serious injury.
Repairing these defects have been a bonanza to Mercedes Dealers, the typical cost of a harness exceeds $2,500, in many cases much more due to collateral damage (see below)... Most of the “repairs” were made with the same defective wires, so a few years later the failures reappear. Innocent victims have forked hundreds of millions of dollars to repair a safety defect that should have been covered by the company that created the problem, erroneously thinking that if the vehicle is out of warranty. Mercedes, aware of the seriousness of the problem, selectively and quietly replaced the harnesses at no cost only to the loudest complainers. They refused to effect a safety recall presumably due to the huge number of vehicles affected.
It gets better...
To add insult to the injury, the very dangerous safety defect also causes collateral damage in other parts of the engines. The expenses of there repairs may exceed the value of the vehicle. The collateral damage extends to very expensive and critical components of the vehicle such as the various computer modules and ECU’s (Electronic Control Units) that regulate the engine’s operation and the microprocessor-controlled fuel injection system,Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, C280 Sensor including the PMS (Pressurized Engine Control) Control Unit, the Engine System Power Control Unit, The HFM (Hot Film Air Mass Sensor) control unit and many others. Replacing these modules cost in excess of $10,000 in many cases. The computer modules get fatally damaged by the shorted wires in the harness.
In effect, the vehicle self-destructs.
The question is not one of IF they will fail but of WHEN – All vehicles manufactured in those years (at least ’91-’96) have the defective insulation and will fail sooner or later, thus you can understand Mercedes’ reluctance to own up to the problem:
A 3 BILLION DOLLARS problem…
.The main wiring harness on my 2006 E350 has disintegrated due to a manufacturing defect. The manufacturer has used an inferior and unsuitable insulation for the wires, which, is brittle, cracking and falling off exposing bare wires, creating an extremely hazardous situation. The wire insulation deterioration is causing the wires to short and prevents the vehicle from functioning correctly. This is creating a serious safety hazard. (possible, fire in engine, etc). Due to the seriousness, I recommended the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration order the manufacture to properly investigate and issue a safety recall. The manufacturer is aware of the defect but refuses to provide a solution. I purchased this vehicle new and operated under normal conditions. The Vehicle has been regularly serviced and maintained by Mercedes Benz authorized dealers since it was new. The Vehicle has been well kept and maintained.
August 28, 2008
President of Mercedes-Benz
3 Mercedes Drive
Mont Vale, NJ 07645
Dear Mr. Lieb,
I have been the proud owner of a Mercedes-Benz since November of 2006. We purchased a 2007 GL450 from the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Wilmington, Delaware. We bought this car to transport our busy family of five. My husband and I have three active young children that play sports; therefore we travel thousands of miles by car each year to sporting events and for family vacations.
Until now, I have been very happy with my vehicle. Unfortunately, a recent experience has tainted my view of Mercedes-Benz.
On August 23, 2008, my two-year-old Mercedes-Benz broke down leaving my husband and three kids stranded on the side of the road. I called your roadside assistance, and two hours later a tow truck towed the vehicle to Mercedes-Benz in Pleasanton, California. We were later informed that the servicemen found an empty small cooler of water in the trunk. They assumed that the water leaked out of the small cooler and caused water damage.
The cooler was in the trunk, because my son had football practice Friday night. In fact at least three nights a week, we take a full cooler of ice and water to the practices. By the end of the two-hour practice most of the water is gone, because he drinks it and pours some of the cold water on his head to cool off. Therefore, there could not have been a lot of water remaining to spill out Saturday morning.
Although I cannot say for sure how much water dripped out, I can intelligently estimate that less than 32 ounces could have spilled into the trunk.
Ultimately, Mike Marino, the Service Manager at Mercedes-Benz in Pleasanton, California has informed us that we are responsible for more than $1500 dollars worth of damage. He has also informed us that the interior of all Mercedes-Benz have electrical panels throughout the car that can be easily be damaged by water. Claudia, an Escalation Specialist from Mercedes-Benz verified this information as well.
Imagine my surprise? Why was I never told this information before? Why are these panels not better protected or made water proof with a simple plastic cover over the panels to protect them from moisture? Imagine the disappointment of millions of Mercedes-Benz owners, if they knew that simply spilling a cup of Starbucks in their luxury car could cost them thousands of dollars.
This is an unacceptable quality standard for a family vehicle, especially a Mercedes-Benz. I am no engineer, but I know the technology to waterproof electrical panels exists. Please explain to me why these electrical panels are not protected? And if there is no way to protect the panels, why are consumers not informed and warned of this possibility.
I am an educated and informed consumer, I have searched the Service and Warranty information and the Operator’s Manual and I do not see a warning to consumers! This information should be plastered everywhere, not hidden in the fine print of an automobile manual.
Your highly trained and skilled sales team should tell customers. Yet, no one attempted to warn us of the exposed electrical systems that cannot withstand even one quart of water. My family drinks beverages in our car while traveling, we transport groceries, we practically live in our Mercedes-Benz, and therefore we need a car that can withstand an accidental spill.
From the beginning, if we were told that this car could not withstand a small spill, we would have never written the check for over $65,000.
I am also very disappointed in my service experience. It has been six long days of waiting and inconvenience. The service department is still waiting for parts from Germany. Therefore, we do not know when we will receive the car back. We were not offered a loaner. Yesterday, after several calls and insisting that we be given a loaner, Lance, the serviceman called Enterprise and gave us an Impala to drive. Is that a comparable replacement? Once again, this has been a huge inconvenience. VERY POOR SERVICE!
Moreover, we had our first multi-family camping trip planned for this weekend. The camping gear barely fits into the rental car. We had to revise our plans, because our Mercedes-Benz truck broke down and our replacement Impala does NOT have space for everything. Unacceptable!
And finally, my husband has had his sights set on a Mercedes 500SL for his 40th Birthday, my two best friends and I all bought a GL450 within a few months apart, because we considered it the best in class. My neighbor just asked me about for my insight, because she is considering the GL450 also. But I can honestly say, this incident has made me feel like a Mercedes-Benz is not appropriate for the majority of commuters, like my husband who drives 35 miles into the city every morning with a cup of coffee or busy soccer moms who have to drive around town carpooling, transporting children, and occasionally driving through McDonalds to feed the kids on the way to practice or ball games. With the escalating cost of air travel, more consumers are taking road trips. Consumers should be warned that a small spill during that road trip could cost you much more than airline tickets.
The bottom line, I consider this problem a defect in the design and manufacturing of your vehicle. I am not willing to take responsibility for this damage, because no reasonable person would assume that a fairly small spill of water could possibly cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. After all, I am not talking about a window or sunroof being left open during torrential rains or God forbid, horrible flooding. This was a small spill from a water cooler… in a luxury car.
I hope you will address my concerns.
Thank you for your time.
Disappointed GL450 Owner