BenzWorld Junior Member
Date registered: Feb 2010
Vehicle: 1998 E320 wagon
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca.
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spilled coke on shifter console,first gear only
Hey Benz brothers and sisters, I read up on this and it's effects and the DIY into the shifter module on this forum and attempted to fix my debacle myself.
My shock at watching the coke fall over my console was eclipsed when the car wouldn't go past first gear and then tripled when the dealer (who happened to be right across the street when this happened) told me that it was a $942.72 repair. I kept saying "You realize it was just a coke...I didn't hit anything" and he smiled and said "we get this all the time."
I nursed it home at 20mph and read up from all the guys who did this before me (thank you!) and dove in.
What I wanted to report was that I took out the shifter module (part #140-260-4598 , $580 at dealer , $475 on line and found one used for $150) and since I was going to have to replace this whole unit anyway I took it apart. It was pretty easy, I mean Benz really does build stuff so it can be worked on. Inside there was a single module (part#210 545 13 32) that has two plugs in it and that was it. The rest of it was the gear shift mechanism, all mechanical parts and of course the coke didn't hurt them so logic says this one part is the problem. I took the module apart and it's a circuit board which I cleaned with alcohol and put back together, then reinstalled in the shifter case and put in the car and took for a test ride, but, still stuck in first gear.
I ordered the used (part#210 545 13 32) for $50 and installed that and it still had only first gear. So, defeated, I took it to my local MB mechanic and he put it on the computer and pronounced the new/used part no good. He told me to just buy the entire shifter module and install it, not to try to replace just the inner module. Then he said "after you get that part in, bring it back and I'll program it for you." It has to be programmed? Hmmm...
So I drove away and I was thinking about how to return the used part and get them to credit me against the bigger part and... uhh, I was doing 50mph and the car was back to normal. Shifting just fine.
He must have reset the code that was interfering with the inner module working. I then remembered someone on this forum saying "be sure you do the poor mans reset and remove the neg terminal" which I didn't do. It makes me wonder if my original part cleaned up might have worked if I had done a reset.
I'm not going to switch out the parts to check mind you, but I post this saying this somewhat common mistake doesn't have to be a $1000 repair. I found a used part for $50 and fixed it, but the new part is $90. The taking out of the shifter is really a 15 min job and the splitting of the shifter module case is also just a bit of tinkering...this is doable for anyone with a bit of patience.
$100 and a poor mans reset and you can stop scolding yourself for not replacing the cup holder.
By the way does anyone have an unused cupholder? I'd really like to avoid this repair again so it's no beverages until I get a cup holder, and who doesn't want a drink while they drive?