Conclusion: Forensics Report on Mercedes R320 Explosion - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 07:38 AM
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Did anyone actually read the report...

...before posting messages here and blasting the poster? Two key points in the report - 1) tire damage consistent with high speed failure and, 2) The various monitoring systems in the vehicle failed to work as advertised.

As an R350 ownver, I would be very concerned - the laundry list of the various electrical failures documented in the report seem consistent with MB's weak spots.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ravinj
...before posting messages here and blasting the poster? Two key points in the report - 1) tire damage consistent with high speed failure and, 2) The various monitoring systems in the vehicle failed to work as advertised.

As an R350 ownver, I would be very concerned - the laundry list of the various electrical failures documented in the report seem consistent with MB's weak spots.

i dont think that anyone is saying not to be concerned nor is anyone 'blasting' the poster. i do however think that people are taking this incident with a grain of salt. The forensic report (and yes i read the whole thing) simply lacks any sort of evidence. there are no attached documents, no credentials, and nothing is really proven. anyone can write a 6 page report; its another thing for it to be true. what are the examiners credentials? he says he has done tire failure analysis but what does he know about the underlying mercedes systems. in court he would be deposed on all of these issues.

the real problem here is one of whether the tire failure is the result of a failure of some safety mechanism that should have stopped the driver from spining the tire at 200mph. keep in mind that i come from a time where i was taught that if you drive up on a snowdrift and get yourself stuck that you dig yourself out. manufacturers have been telling people for years that its not acceptable practice to attempt to spin the tires to get out a stuck vehicle.

here is another way of putting it: i buy a new r class, take it home, put it in park and florr the accelerator and hold it there so that the revs sit at redline banging on the rev limiter. i would think that any reasonable person would figure that the engine will sustain damage under these circumstances. does this mean that i can now blame mrecedes because the rev limiter somehow failed to keep me from destroying my car?

that is how it will be looked at in court... aside from the fact that the forensic report is highly suspect the main consideration was whether or not it is a wise course of action to gun the accelerator causing a free spinning tire to reach 200 mph. it would be a very different story if the vehicle accelerator stuck and caused this action but that is not the case here...
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 04:11 PM
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It is true, that back in the day, people would do this all the time in the Snow Belt - just keep gunning the engine until rubber chunks start flying off. Saw it all the time. Not a good idea then and definitely not a good idea now.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2007, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately It took hired guns just to get them to listen.

All we want is our money back and actual expenses and damages to house - nothing more. Mercedes knows this and still won't talk too us.

I work with high precision GPS equipment in the land surveying and have a hard time believing that MB would trust GPS data for anything except very approximate location and speed. Cheap car systems are very inaccurate, especially in close proximity to large buildings.

Because 3 wheel speed sensors failed the control module used the GPS data for speed, causing the car to think it was moving (which is was not). Numerous diagnostic entries indicate this was the case.

What really caused the over speeding-to-explosion, was the front tires were turned to the left about 10 degrees, which put ECS in control (car thought it was going 20KPH). ECS had 0MPH wheel speed indicated on 3 wheels but did on the free spinning wheel - thinking it was the only one with traction. The car though it was sliding off the road and applied all torque to the single wheel. 4x torque was applied to single free spinning wheel. That caused it to explode in 5-10 seconds. It happened so fast, no one could have prevented it.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 04:52 AM
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Thank You for your reply to all the guessing going on here. I still do not believe that GPS has any ability to apply input to safety related equipment except position reports which update too slowly to be a reliable source of safety related real time data.
Any failure of a wheel speed sensor is treated as a total systems failure by ESP, ASR, BAS, and ABS and will result in the electronic controls shutting down and the reversion to manual control. There is no backup GPS input to those systems.

A free spinning wheel should have been detected by the system by simple virtue of the great speed differential between the engine speed and that reported by the spinning wheel and the brake to that wheel should have been applied automatically. Although there is no mention of this in your owners manuals Mercedes cautions in the documents that come with other 4-matic vehicles that continued running with a slipping wheel will damage the vehicle and in some cases cause the traction control to disengage to prevent further damage.
The owners manuals with an editorial date of 2005 or later seem to have lost the wording about the system disingageing due to extended operation or overheating, but still warn of damage to the vehicle systems. I don't know if this is because the systems were improved or if they just simplified the written warnings.

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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 08:09 AM
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That forensics report is convoluted by gross inaccuracies regarding the operation and understanding of the vehicle.

The car will raise when in Park. She was hung up so bad, that it didnt help her.

She spun her wheels trying to get out of her situation, and left a child in the car when she tried to dig it out. She forgot to put it in Park, and left it Drive. The car knew that one wheel was turning, and assumed that the other speed sensors had gone bad, which is why it had fault codes for them. The car locked itself because it thought it had traveled fast enough to do so. The unlock feature did not work, because her car was in gear. Her child rolled down the window by pressing the button.

SHe got back in and tried spinning herself out again, at which time the heat build up was great enough to explode the tire.

It all boils down to poor decisions on her part.

Most of the fault codes are because of the explosion, and the rest are because of her spinning the wheels for an extended period of time.

THAT is why Mercedes will not help her. It was her fault.

The wheel speed sensors had not gone bad. The car just knew that it was seeing 1 wheel spin, and 3 others not spinning. It threw the fault codes, because it knows that is an implausibility. I imagine at that time, the ESP and ABS warnings started cycling on the center display. The car shut those systems down, because it could not trust the data it was getting from the speed sensors.

The car is not defective. It is full of driver assit features, but when it comes down to it, there is no substitue for common sense, and integrity. Mrs. Crews is lacking both.

Last edited by eddie4203; 03-19-2007 at 08:24 AM.
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie4203
That forensics report is convoluted by gross inaccuracies regarding the operation and understanding of the vehicle.

The car will raise when in Park. She was hung up so bad, that it didnt help her.

She spun her wheels trying to get out of her situation, and left a child in the car when she tried to dig it out. She forgot to put it in Park, and left it Drive. The car knew that one wheel was turning, and assumed that the other speed sensors had gone bad, which is why it had fault codes for them. The car locked itself because it thought it had traveled fast enough to do so. The unlock feature did not work, because her car was in gear. Her child rolled down the window by pressing the button.

SHe got back in and tried spinning herself out again, at which time the heat build up was great enough to explode the tire.

It all boils down to poor decisions on her part.

Most of the fault codes are because of the explosion, and the rest are because of her spinning the wheels for an extended period of time.

THAT is why Mercedes will not help her. It was her fault.

The wheel speed sensors had not gone bad. The car just knew that it was seeing 1 wheel spin, and 3 others not spinning. It threw the fault codes, because it knows that is an implausibility. I imagine at that time, the ESP and ABS warnings started cycling on the center display. The car shut those systems down, because it could not trust the data it was getting from the speed sensors.

The car is not defective. It is full of driver assit features, but when it comes down to it, there is no substitue for common sense, and integrity. Mrs. Crews is lacking both.
It is not as clear cut and dried as that. MB will not talk to her just like any corporation won't: Because this has potential to be a huge liability suit with them and their lawyers have told them to have no further contact with her. Any settlement with this party now will be construed as an admission of fault/guilt by MB and they'll fight it for all it's worth to prevent that from happening, and I can understand that. It certainly doesn't make the Crew's feel any better because they have been hung out to dry by their insurance and MB. They're stuck in the middle here with a car they can't drive that their insurance is unwilling to pay for (that's another subject) and MB is not willing to compensate them for.

Now, is it really her 'fault'? That depends on whether not it can be proven that the systems malfunctioned or not, regardless of what she may have done to precipitate the malfunction. It has been a known fact for YEARS by MB that if one wheel is off the ground and the other three are on the ground, even with your foot on the brake, the free wheel will still spin.

Here is picture proof of this that Wolfgang posted on ***************** demonstrating this very anomoly.
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cmitch
It has been a known fact for YEARS by MB that if one wheel is off the ground and the other three are on the ground, even with your foot on the brake, the free wheel will still spin.
4ETS will not spin the wheel when one is in the air, as long as the driver allows it to work with the foot on the gas pedal. It will maintain small wheel speed differences of 3 MPH. That's how the 4MATIC works.

But when the driver places the foot on the brake pedal the system switches off. Like the picture you posted from the demo shows.

It should be covered in the owner's manual. More info is here:

R-Class Interactive Owner's Manual [Start]
http://www.4x4abc.com
Wolfgang's ML Page: 4x4/ASR/ETS/4MATIC

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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 10:03 AM
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They're stuck in the middle here with a car they can't drive that their insurance is unwilling to pay for (that's another subject) and MB is not willing to compensate them for.
In which case, it is the insurance company who should pay,then go after the manufacturer, if they think it was some sort of engineering issue. That is what you pay your premium for.

I don't agree that with what you said that it does not matter what she did to precipitate the situation, just so long as it can be proven that the car malfunctioned. I think that her hand in this matter the most. Regardless of her intent, she made some VERY poor decisions once her car became stuck, which caused the "malfunctions" and catastropic tire failure.

Life lessons can be very expensive. I think she should just be grateful that nobody was hurt, and the only damage was to a car and to her house, both which are repairable.

I still think that forensics report is BS, and littered with innacuracies and non-essiential information, especially like the wagon example.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-19-2007, 10:41 AM
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I would not blame Mercedes for being very reluctant to part with any information regarding your incident given the fact that the hired guns you have brought in to represent you are clearly going to ask for a much bigger settlement than the cost of replacing the vehicle and repairs to your property.

Expert: Criminal Litigation Experts, Insurance Claims Experts in Insurance Claims and Criminal Litigation.

I still want to know why you think you had no culpable part in the incident. I consider it quite reckless to leave a vehicle running unattended and in gear. The fact that you and the tele-aid operator could not get the doors to unlock clearly indicates the vehicle systems were aware the vehicle had wheels moving at speed and were overriding the attempts to open the doors for that reason. Putting the transmission in "Park" is a mechanical action that cannot be undone by any of the vehicle electronics because you have to move the shift lever past a mechanical gate by pushing the lever to one side in order to select another gear setting and your car like every newer model also requires you to have the service brakes firmly applied to release an electrical interlock that also blocks movement of the gear selector. The vehicle report says the ISP reported car was shifted to "N" at a speed greater than 5KPH and that is not "P for Park". I also am not aware of the vehicle using GPS data to determine speed for the purposes of input to the vehicle drivers aid systems such as ESP, ASR, ABS, or BAS. Those functions are done by angle and rate sensing gyros and the individual ABS wheel speed sensors. Since GPS cannot be relied on to be functional 24/7 due to any number of known factors such as having GPS signal reception blocked by being in an underground area or garage, blocked by tall buildings or government induced scrambling of GPS signals, no system should ever be designed to solely depend on GPS as a primary source of safety related data. I for one would be very surprised to find that Mercedes uses GPS data as a data source for anything other than navigation and tele-aid position reports. If in fact the GPS signals are only used for position reports like I suspect they are, the comments made in the forensics report on how the erroneous GPS data contributed to failure of the drivers aid systems to correct for the spinning wheel would call into question the validity of the entire report since it would be expected that your forensics expert should be fully informed as to how the systems are supposed to function properly before any failure mode can postulated.

I would expect that any forensics report contracted by your legal representatives will favor your position so I would really be interested in what the other parties involved in this affair will have to say to back up their position. Please don't take any of my remarks here as a personal attack. They are simply questions I would need to have settled for my own satisfaction were I to serve on a jury involved in what is going to be a very interesting piece of litigation.
Just as a little nit-picky thing, the R class gear selecter isn't mechanical, it is electronic, therefore no mechanical gate. Also, forward gears aren't selected on the steering column, but via buttons on the back of the wheel. I'm not making a claim for/against mercedes or the car owners, just pointing something out.
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