C230 engine running rough & stalling at idle - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation C230 engine running rough & stalling at idle

I've been enjoying my 2004 C230 for over 6 years until this week. I had the car taken in on-schedule for an A service a month ago and it left the ship with a clean bill of health.

When I fired her up after thanksgiving, I noticed that the car's engine was running a little rough and the car was shaking a bit at idle RPM, especially when in reverse gear. Once out of the garage, it drove normally and the problems went away after the car warmed up, so I thought it was just a bit of build-up in the engine and planned to take it in if the problem persisted for more than a few days.

A few days passed and the problem suddenly became much worse. The car's check engine light came on and the car started to shake much more violently with the RPM gauge not holding steady at idle RPM. The problem would no longer go away after the car was warmed up - whenever i was at idle, especially if the car was in reverse or drive gear, the shaking would be terrible and the engine started to seize on the road when I was accelerating from a stop or maneuvering in a parking garage. The car would even jolt (not crawl) forward by a foot or so when at idle in drive gear. The problem seems to be much worse in cooler weather.

I took it into the dealer here in the Seattle area - where I've had the car regularly serviced ever since I bought it. They pulled up the following codes:
2006-001 A16 knock sensor [P0325]
2054-001 Continuous camshaft adjustment. Incorrect position of the intake camshaft [P0010]
201B-001 Misfiring of cylinder 1 [P0301]
201B-002 Misfiring of cylinder 3 [P0303]
201B-004 Misfiring of cylinder 4 [P0304]
201B-008 Misfiring of cylinder 2 [P0302]
201B-016 Misfiring of cylinder 1 Fuel deficiency
201B-032 Misfiring of cylinder 3 Fuel deficiency
201B-064 Misfiring of cylinder 4 Fuel deficiency
201B-128 Misfiring of cylinder 2 Fuel deficiency

I spoke to the technician and the service adviser who tried several steps to clear the problem with no luck. They have basically told me the engine needs a major overhaul (complete replacement of the cylinder heads, timing chain, and tensioner) which would cost almost as much as the car is worth!

I am not confident that they have really understood what the problem is and may just be throwing in the full rebuild as the only sure-fire way they know will fix the problem. They still havent been able to explain what on earth could cause the engine to have such spectacular failures since I have taken excellent care of it (no "spirited" driving - 15K mi/yr and mostly highway miles, all service done).

I'm looking for some guidance on what the root cause of the issue is and if there are steps that are likely to fix my problem short of the massive overhaul they are proposing as I was hoping to enjoy this car for at least another couple years!

In addition, if anyone knows of a good mechanic in the Seattle area who can give a second opinion, I'd appreciate a reference!

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-06-2009, 04:18 AM
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I hate dealers. It probably only needs a tune up. Look for an Indy in your area. What a$$hole price did the dealer quote to overhaul the engine?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-07-2009, 06:16 AM
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vacuum hose?

make sure it's not the little vacuum hose between the supercharger and the block. that issue throws error codes similar to what you got and your engine idles very rough. hope it's as simple as that!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-11-2009, 10:02 AM
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check ground wires also .. could be corroted near that area causing a bad read on the sensors has happen to my past few cars in my life
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 07:58 AM
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I have a 2005 C230, and it does the same thing, although the shaking/jerking always goes away after I put the car in gear and press on the gas pedal. I've taken it to the dealer under warranty 3 times, and they noticed the problem, but they couldn't do anything to fix it. No engine codes for me, though.

Did you ever figure out the problem?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 08:17 AM
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For me,I will check first from :
Fuel pump and the power feed to pump.
Fuel filter.

If all is fine :
Check for engine intake pipe way for crack or leak.
Check for sign of any dirt or oil inside the intake hose, if you found oil may be you have problem with oil separator.
And that's blow the oil to the intake making contaminate the mass air flow sensor, lead to bad idle....
Clean the mass airflow sensor.

If you have all correct and normal working, clear the code and re-use the car again.

Hope you have some clue before getting paid big cash.
If you found the cause, may be you just pay only the wages to check at the freelance car repair shop.

W203 C200K M111 2002
Denso Iridium IK20
Ground wires SARD

Last edited by DangTH; 02-24-2010 at 08:21 AM.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 09:57 AM
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My dealer is the same. If the quick fix doesn't solve the problem, they recommend total overhaul. I think the technology built into our cars are beyond some of the dealers willingness to hire,train and pay service techs.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-09-2010, 10:03 PM
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Did you ever get to fix your car? Mine 230 has exactly same issue and throws EXACTLY same codes! 5 mechanics at the dealership have been trying to figure it out all day today and found nothing!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 06:38 PM
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If I had to guess, the timing chain tensioner went bad and the timing chain allowed the cam gear to skip, happens on these cars, rare, but happens. Figure that you'll need a new head if the valves are bent ($2K) and timing chain and tensioner and all the associated misc parts like gaskets. Probably $3-5K depending on who does it.

On the cheaper more unrealistically optimistic side, it could be a faulty intake camshaft positions sensor if it's the same exact code, but heck, I can unplug that from my engine and it still runs smooth, so I hate to say it, but it's an MB, and the heads on the M271 were designed by a drunken 1st year apprentice engine designer during the peak of Oktoberfest.

Don't drive it as you are causing serious damage if it skips another link and totally damages the head and pistons and when that happens, good luck getting it started again. What would be cool is if you can replace this engine with something more exotic, maybe a Chevy small block.

2004.5 C230K - Pewter/Charcoal - www.Buellwinkle.com

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 10:44 AM
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Vacuum hose(s)

Originally Posted by thehoodmeister View Post
make sure it's not the little vacuum hose between the supercharger and the block. that issue throws error codes similar to what you got and your engine idles very rough. hope it's as simple as that!
I have this issue, though the idle isn't super rough...just a little rougher than it used to be. My indy found the code as "idle adaptation values out of range" and recommended I take it to the dealer, or at least check with the dealer, for warranty work.

Dealer confirmed the code and diagnosed the issue as cracked vacuum hoses allowing unregulated air into the engine; which results in the engine running too rich; and the engine mgt system adjusting idle (constantly) in order to compensate.

These vacuum hoses per the dealer are not covered by warranty (factory, cpo, or emission), so the estimate was $400. I declined thinking it might be a simple DIY. Still cost me $100 for the dealer to even look at it. But that's a whole other problem/issue I have with those guys...

Has any one replaced these vacuum lines? They are under the intake manifold, but I have never taken this engine part, etc. Is it a DIY fix?


2005 230 K, 26k-77k (sold)
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