safety problems due to water spill on shifter area - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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safety problems due to water spill on shifter area

Over the weekend I had a horrid experience when some water spilled over the shifter area and brought the car (01 CLK320) from ~65mph on the highway to a complete halt in seconds. Fortunately, there were no cars in the next lane as the car skidded towards the shoulder and stopped at a safe spot so I managed to avoid any accident. Though the thought of meeting with an accident shook me besides putting a big hole in my pocket for the repair!

After doing a search it seems that this problem has been known for a while but MB never put out any warning signs or used better sealants/cover for the center console/shifter area.

Wouldn't this problem be construed as a safety hazard problem that MB should have put out an adequate warning at the least? Has anyone contacted MB for such issues and if so then what has been their response?

Last edited by dealhunter; 12-02-2008 at 09:32 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 11:39 AM
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Am I missing something here??? Am I correct in understanding that when some liquid was spilled in the shifter area the car STOPPED ITSELF?


Did some other malfunction occur and YOU brought the car to an emergency stop?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, the car stopped after the water spilled over. The shifter got jammed and I could not even move the car. After trying for a bit I was able to move the shifter to "Drive" but car wouldn't drive above 20-25 mph as the shifter control unit probably got fried.

It seems like a serious problem with the safety design aspect of the car. There is no warning about it either!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:35 PM
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If you search around someone posted the denial by the NHTSA to mandate a recall on this as a safety issue. The TCM on the sedans with the 5-speed auto is directly under the console and it shorts out when liquids hit it, engaging limp-home mode (second gear).

My favorite thing about it is that they placed the cup holders directly over that location. Amazing that no one ever put two and two together.

Some folks have talked about opening the console and spraying the circuit boards (the windows often short out too) with a non-conductive insulating sealant spray as a preventative, but to my knowledge no one here has yet tried that.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
My favorite thing about it is that they placed the cup holders directly over that location. Amazing that no one ever put two and two together.

Amazing, most cupholders involve the holding of containers containing liquids. Sounds like cupholders were an afterthought.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-07-2008, 07:32 PM
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That is some messed up stuff there. Atleast you avoided being hurt or in an accident. I think I would have sold the car after that experience.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 02:09 PM
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To "recall" would require a relocation, which would require a new harness and bracket mounted somewhere it wasn't designed to be, the tech bulletin would leave it up to the techs to be trained enough to improvise on each interior installation when installing the new harness and relocating the unit........ then the labor of it all........ Yeah, that isn't happening.

They can't seal it, they put it there due to the heat is generates and it actually needs the cup holder venting to stay cool. If it were to pass a certain temp it would go into shut down and do this all the time in hot weather causing an even more widespread issue.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 04:10 PM
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Cool The Cup Holder is....

an American option.

I have fried 2 of these, but I still love the car.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2009, 01:09 PM
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I just replaced mine of my SLK just went out out of the blue.Luckily i was slowing down when it decided to kick 2nd.Like the other folks here say it really isnt a "recall" matter so much as if u have to have a beverage in your benz keep it away from the shifters though in an slk.. thats a task and a half.Also in my research the levers with the touch shift option are more suseptible to this because of incresed electronics for that
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2009, 03:38 PM
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pigmat sells cupholder size circles that fit in there just dandy and could possibly cprevent this problem, go to New Pig - industrial absorbents, absorbent mats, absorbent socks, wipers, oil spill response, material handling, containment, plant and personal safety products from New Pig Corporation. for info
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