190E turns over for a long time, won't start - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Sep 2011
Vehicle: 1989 190E
Location: Australia
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190E turns over for a long time, won't start


This is my first car and so I don't know much about cars, however, I would like some information if possible so I know that I am not being screwed over at the mechanic when I'll be taking it in for repairs.

I bought my 1989 190E in April 2011. It was approx 124,000kms when I purchased it (I think the odometer had been tampered with, seems too good to be true that it is low kms and 22 years old) and I didn't have any troubles with the car, unless I left it in the garage 3 - 4 days, then it would struggle to start until the second or third try. If I drove it everyday, it ALWAYS started first try.
In June I decided to get a safety check and service to make sure the car was fine before I left it with my boyfriend since I was leaving for Europe for 2 months. Everything was ok with the car, I was told sometimes mercs have a tough time starting when its cold (since it was approaching winter).

During my trip away, my boyfriend didn't drive my car for 10 days and then was unable to start the car after many, many attempts. He called roadside assistance to help. They jump started the car, saying the battery was flat and left. The next day, the car didn't start again. He called roadside assistance for the second time and they took a better look at the battery. They diagnosed the problem as 'no water in the battery'. They changed the battery to a new one, which does not need water in it. (Sorry if my terminology or explanations are basic).

The car now works since the battery issue, but I have serious problems starting it for the first time. The car seems to turn over, but I need to keep the key turned continuously for about 20 - 40 seconds. Sometimes after I've done that, it starts and 5 seconds later it stalls and I need to start the process all over again.
All the lights in the dash turn on and stay on as I keep the key turned, until finally the car starts and only the brake light is showing. The thing is, the car starts instantly once I've used it more than 5 minutes. It's only when it's been in the garage overnight or parked somewhere for more than approx 4 hours that it begins to struggle and I begin to encounter the same issue.

Can anyone explain what might be wrong? Sorry that I'm not used to the terminology, this is my first car, this has been quite a learning experience for me. My boyfriend and I have had many fights over the battery because in my mind, the dead battery and the car starting are now tied together, because I never had these problems before I left the car in his care. I'm more than willing to admit I don't know much about cars and the two instances might not be tied together, but I just thought I'd seek some advice.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by veturia; 09-13-2011 at 11:35 AM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 01:51 PM
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Date registered: Aug 2010
Vehicle: '87 190E 2.3 Manual, '81 500SEL 4whl SLS, '91 300SEL
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It sounds to me like it may be the fuel accumulator. I would search for methods on how to test it.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 05:13 PM
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Date registered: Mar 2011
Vehicle: 1986 2.3 A/T 102.985 vin DA28D5HF284301
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Ive been owning my first merc, a 190e for four months now. I would check on fuel and spark. Check if you have fuel on your cold start valve by lossening it a bit, crank it and see if fuel fills the valve. Check ignition. Mine just recently had a hard starting trouble in the past week. When I tested the ignition, i pulled one of the engine harness, placed it on top of the engine, cranked the engine and looked for spark. If there is none, check ignition coil harness that goes to the distributor and check for spark. I there is none, you now narrow your problem to either the ignition coil, EZL (ignition module) or the crank position sensor. Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2011, 05:16 PM
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sorry, not engine harness, I meant high tension wires...
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-14-2011, 02:13 AM
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Date registered: Feb 2011
Vehicle: 1985 190 E
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Ah the old cold start issues. First few things to check is your fuel pump priming, should hear a buzz when you turn the key, next check the fuel filter (mine was clogged and didn't want to start, replaced and now it works) also check all of your spark plugs and leads, also check your cold start valve to see if that is working.

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