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Old 02-05-2009, 12:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Feb 2009
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Bad Bose Amp

I bought a pre-owned 2004 S500 about two months ago. After four weeks of ownership, I hear a loud screeching noise followed by no audio. I went to a local high-end car audio shop, and the owner sees what kind of car I drive and says "let me guess, high pitch squeal and no sound?" I say "yes," and he says "bad Bose amp. Happens all the time. You have to go to the dealer -- two grand for the part."

Incensed, I start to do research. This problem, I learn, is very common. I sent the amp to a repair facility in Florida who tests and says the amp is bad, but can't be fixed with parts readily available. Apparently, Bose will not sell replacement parts for "newer" products (only old ones, go figure!), and my amp requires a microprocessor only available from Bose. I talked to other repair facilities in Florida, Texas and San Diego who all told the same story. They all say Bose and MB are trying to steer customers into purchasing new replacement amps from the dealers, rather than making them repairable, which they easily would be if parts were available. BTW there were no signs of water damage to my amp.

The car is just out of warranty, and the dealer wants $2,140 for the part not including installation! The bottom line is I don't want to pay this to fix a car I've owned for two months. I've spoken to dozens of parts suppliers across the country and no one seems to have this part used. All have indicated it is a popular item -- very high failure rate. The local dealers and MBUSA have been most unhelpful. I would swear the people I spoke to have never driven, let alone fixed a car. MBUSA claims they have never heard about a problem with Bose amps (a bald-faced lie if you ask me, based on the amount of information out there.)

In any event, I am flabbergasted that such an expensive piece of electronics can have such a high failure rate at such a young age, and more how MB can be so deliberately obtuse and refuse to do anything about it. It seems to me, I am now stuck going to the dealer and paying and arm and a leg.

Sorry to make my first post here so negative, but I would have never sold my (trouble free) Audi, had I known what I was getting into. My sense is that this is just the start of things with this car.

Anybody have any suggestions where to find a used amp? Or, does anybody know if MBUSA has any kind of consumer advocate program? Seems to me this is a defective product, and there are many people in similar situations.

Any feedback (other than telling me to go pound sand -- I've heard that enough lately) would be greatly appreciated.

From,
A frustrated (new) S500 owner.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2006
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In my opinion, the Bose system in the W220 is not very good. I have been trying to replace the Bose speakers but no replacement was found. If my amp were out, I will replace the amp with a different brand and replace speakers. It is cheaper and you get a much better system than Bose.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am told it is much more expensive to replace the entire system. It is not just the amp and speakers, but the entire sound system. Everything is optical and all parts "talk" to each other. I believe that the amps, speakers, head unit and CD changer must be replaced as well.
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2006
Vehicle: 2006 MB S430, 2013 MB S350 Bluetec, 2012 E350 4 Matic, 2002 Jaguar XJ8 VDP
Location: Boston, MA
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Sorry to hear!

PJSC,
Have you tried this website?
Factory Car Audio Repair For All Makes and Models - Mercedes S/SL/SLK, C/CL/CLK, Car Stereo Repair Estimates and Bose Car Stereo, Speaker / Amp Repair

They have a fix for the amp, and they are well regarded on the Lexus forums I used to frequent for repairs. They say it's around $550 to repair a similar problem and have DIY instructions.

Hopefully it helps. It stinks you haven't been able to enjoy your S Class.
- Sam
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Sam. They were the first place I sent it to and said they need Bose parts to fix it.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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While I was searching for the replacement speakers. The stereo shop (recommended by the Mercedes dealer at Oakland CA) gave me an estimate of $5000 to replace the whole system with Focal components (speakers and amps). I did not want to spend that much money for my 06 S350. I purchased Infinity Kappa (2 ohms) speakers but have not installed it yet. I did not quite like the Infinity but I have not found any better options. If my amp were out, I will definitely replace the whole system. It is much safer to find a shop that really knows the Mercedes system.
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i by mistake, had cut one of the orange wires, that run from the cd to the amp, can some one point me to the direction of how to join the wires, they are optical.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Vehicle: 2006 S320 cdi, 2000 mercedes benz s430l (sold), 1996 S320L (sold) 1990 mercedes 300se (given away)
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i have a 2000 mercedes s430l and about to replace all of the stereo i got the audio 10 cassete player so i dont know yet if i have a amp but if i do i will be selling the whole kit with the radio and all the speakers send me a message if ur interested
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