BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Nov 2009
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I don't know I should consider myself very lucky or unlucky. My car is 96 C220. Over 200,000 miles now! I noticed that the wires looked bad may be since a couple of years back. But I seldom open the hood and trying to use extended oil and filter to change every 10,000. The car never gave me much problems. The vacuum leaks but I just need to shut off the central vent and use the others. But after the last smog check the engine check light is on. If I have time I would have looked into it more, or if I have the budget I would have taken it into a mechanic's shop and fix it. There's is always the possiblity of having to junk it because it's worth about $1000 depending on where you look.
Now it's running on check engine light for about 2 years now.
The side story is that I replaced the engine. Because when the engine broke, there's no way not to fix it or not to junk it. It doesn't make a lot of sense but it's a long story (posted) if you are interested. I asked my mechanic to guarantee that I can pass smog after engine replacement but he couldn't. That's understandable.
After the engine replaced, my mechanic replaced a few things such as MAF and spark plug. That's long overdue because I don't want to junk the car with a couple of new parts in it. The engine check light is still on. Then the bomb came. He suggest that I have to replace the engine harness. The engine and power train is running "fine" he said, the problem is electrical.
The MBZ engine wire harness is now some $1000 to $1200. Rebuild ones are a couple of hundred if you can find one.
Many years ago I added a CD player in the trunk. Silly me. I thought it would be like making an extra electrical outlet but now I know it's a bad idea. Circuit city techs took a long time and I think they have to drill holes and unbundle the harness wires. I blame them for moving the harness in the trunk. It wasn't secured and got close to the trunk hinge. There was a short but a short electrical tape did fix it. I think it just affected the lights at the back.
Since the engine change, it seems that the harness went downhill. Now my engine has a lot of black electrical tapes around it. Again long story. I seems to have all the symptoms of soy bean harness without realizing it and thought the engine was the problem. The car might stall when accelerate from low speed but not total loss of power. The car may not run smooth after a few miles and shakes badly when idle. A simple turning off the engine will cure everything and nothing may happen for the rest of the day. It will start fine the next but something will happen once a day to a couple of times. The other way is to hard accelerate from almost stalling. It will run normally after picking up speed or a little shakey but not bad at normal speed. So it could be MAF wire shorting and cylinder misfire. BTW the cruise control stopped working long ago. The ABS light comes one once in a blue moon for a while but the anti-long brakes seem to work still. The "bulb light" comes on when I turn on the headlight when all the lights are working as far as I know. My windshield washer tank empty indicater is on but it has plenty of water in it. Other than these, I still dash across freeways everyday on the fast lane. Now that I read about soy bean harness, I am not so sure ...
What are my options? I am still recovering from the engine change this summer, financially. (and from the trauma) I also suffered a total blow out and brought 4 new tires. The ride became very rough at high speed. The tread depth were barely legal to illegal. They were telling me to replace them for a long time but I thought it was the engine.
If I buy new or rebuild harness, can I put on it myself? Are the plugs reasonably accessible without taking off major components? I'm still in good terms with my mechanic. He offers to put it on if I get something from eBay. But still he didn't give me quotes. I didn't push because I can't afford any harness at the time. What is the "going rate" for labor, how may hours? Here the starting is $90/hr.
If I were to put on the harness, I may just as well consider repair / rebuild myself. For soldering the nightmare for me is surface mount electronic components and copper pipes in the dry wall. Can harness be worse? I read that you can get connector pins from MBZ? In that case there could be no show stopper. You can repair or replace inidividual connectors. Are the documents / part numbers easy to find? (Finally after years, I manage to buy the exact vacuum connector plug that I broke. But I still haven't find good enough you-tube video to join vacuum lines.)
I can also re-insulate / repair the wires in situ, if only for a temporary fix to pass smog. Can someone comment on these?
Color coded electrical tapes are mostly rated to 80 deg C. Are they used on autos? I would think they need some outer wrap with higher temperature resistence.
Liquid electrical tape seems pretty good. I think it's rated over 125 deg C. It takes 4 hr per coat but I have time. Any other catches?
I have tried magic tapes for plumbing and they are awesome. They are rated at higher temperature with excellent insulation properties and of course they seal out moisture. I can use it when liquid electrical tape is insufficient, instead of shrink wrap, and for cable tie.
As for whether to junk the car still, the current situation is that 3 out of 4 shocks need replacement. The engine consumes quite a lot of oil even with the addictive my "master mechanic" suggested.