Date registered: Jun 2005
Vehicle: 2004 CL500
Location: New York
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I have several other posts about the numerous problems I had/have with the ABC system on my 2001 CL500. I haven't written since the spring but that isn’t because I haven’t had even worse problems...
March 2009 - First, It all started when at 38K miles I would hear and feel a vibration under the driver’s seat when I started the car. The vibration would go on for about 2 seconds when I started the car and then shut off. After a few weeks it got louder, stayed on longer, and then I also started noticing it when I was driving. It was so bad it would make the driver’s side mirror vibrate too, and, you could hear and see it vibrating from inside the car. After a bunch of research on the forums here I believed the ABC pump was about to fail. I heard horror stories of what could happen if the pump failed while you were driving and car crashed on to the wheel wells. I took the car to the dealer who proceeded to tell me in fact that the ABC pump needed to be replaced. The dealer said the pump cost is $1290 + tax.... labor is 3 hours x $135. Then there is all the other stuff like shop fees, recharging the AC which must be disconnected to replace, etc, etc..
I could not believe that this pump needed to be replaced so I wrote to Mercedes Benz corporate to gripe about this expensive head ache. Less than 24 hour after writing I get a call from corporate in New Jersey who tells me that my car has an extended warranty put on it by the previous owner that I was not aware of. I was livid to find out that my car had an extended warranty and the dealership did not tell me. I called them back up and they claim that they don't know that car is covered unless they specifically look it up. So I told them to go ahead and replace the pump now that is was completely covered. A day later I went to pick-up the car and when I looked at the invoice I see that the only thing changed was something called an ABC Pulse Dampner ($125 part). When I asked why the pump was not changed he said that previously you could not change this part without buying a whole new pump but now you suddenly can. (Sounds like if did not have an extended warranty they replace the entire pump but if its covered by MB you suddenly only need $300 repair instead of on that costs $2000. Additionally, I later found out, from the service manager that Mercedes Benz makes the dealer send back all parts changed under warranty and if they were changed without cause the dealer eats it). Better yet, when they replaced this part they supposedly now found that front and lower control arm bushing need to be replaced. This, of course, is not covered by the warranty!
April 2009 -The pulse dampner was changed in February and almost about 2 weeks after I heard and felt the vibration back. I took it back to the dealer again who checked it and told me the noise was normal from such a high pressure system that was now operating correctly. The noise only occurred for a few seconds right after the car was started.
June 2009 – By June the noise was louder and I knew that my extended warranty was running out at the end of June so I decided to take it back to the dealer to have it looked at one more time plus have a number of electrical issues fixed. The “dealership” when I first brought it in was just actually a service center for the main dealership. However, at this time they had opened a completely brand new complete dealership under new management. I had them check and sure enough they tell me that there are more problems with the ABC system and under warranty they replaced:
- 327576 – HYDR. LINE – (ABC) SUPLY PRES. VALVE
- 2220-320-43-72 LINE
This was a big job, because according to the description, the transmission had to be removed from the car to replace the leaking hydraulic line from the tandem pump to the valve unit. (Oh and remember those control arm bushings that weren’t covered under warranty? Well, miraculously they were suddenly covered and changed during this service too! I got my car back after 5 days in the shop and I was happy again that I had no vibration and happy that the dealership was able to get all of these repairs and few others covered for me before the warranty ran out.
Nov 2009 – While driving home from work I began to smell a burning and made a quick stop to see something was leaking. The ABC warning had come on and the car had lowered on the left front side. I restarted the car and the side went up but there was still something leaking. I made it home, about a mile. When I got home and looked under the car I saw hydraulic fluid leaking all over the garage floor. The dealer was notified, and I had the car flat bedded the next morning back ($145). A day later my service manager calls me and tells me “You have lots of problems.” His pitch was when the put the new hydraulic lines on and changed that pulse dampner that now this “high pressure” system was working correctly again and some of the old parts that were not use to handling such pressure were now failing too. This time the parts that needed to be replaced were:
- 327570 - Active body control hose
- 220-997-85-82 Hose
- 220-997-22-82 hose
Of course now my car is out of extended warranty and the cost for this repair is $1600 plus tax. After pondering I decided to write Mercedes Benz corporate again and, amazingly, within 24 hours I received a phone call from the service manager, a really nice guy I must say, and he told me that he was asked to review my service record by corporate and he realizes that the car is just out of warranty and based on the previous repairs so soon before, that Mercedes would possibly cover the repair. He tells me the most that I will have to pay would be $500. By this time my car had been sitting there for 3 days and $500 was much better than $1750 so I was happy to accept the offer. Unfortunately, the parts had to be ordered and it took another 4 days before the car was ready for pickup. Better yet again, I did not have to pay anything towards the repair! I was super duper happy by this time. I even went so far as to write corporate and tell them thank you for assisting me with the repair and I also praised the service manager for really helping me out.
Dec 5, 2009 – This is today and it is exactly one month since the last ABC system repair. My car has been sitting at the dealer since it was flat bedded back there 3 days ago. As I backed out of my driveway to go to work both the front and rear of the right side dropped onto the wheel wells causing a terrible noise. I was unable to turn the front wheels of course, the paint cracked around the edges of the wheel wells and it looked like some damage to the front right tire. The car had dropped so low that that flatbed operator could not get the car on the truck without several wooden blocks to raise the wheel and try to keep the front ground effects from scraping. Unfortunately he was not that successful and ended up cracking the right front bottom. He also tells me that he brings in at least 4-6 Benz’s a month with ABC system problems. The towing cost was again $145 + special services fee of $50 for the trouble getting it on the flatbed. After more than 24 hours in the shop the dealer called me to tell me that this time two level sensors have failed and they need to be replaced - $765 plus tax. I have not authorized this repair and even if I did the parts have to be ordered again so it will be a while to be fixed. I mean really what are the chances that not only 1 but 2 level sensors in both the front and rear would fail at exactly the same time, exactly a month after the last repair? I seriously find this hard to believe so I once again wrote Mercedes corporate to complain and I am awaiting a response. Looks like no car for two more weekends and I will surely update this post as soon as we get to the next step.
Dec 8, 2009- I got no where with Mercedes corporate who said that previous repair less than a month ago was not related to problem with the faulty level sensors I authorized the repair. I did make it a point to bring up to both corporate and the dealer that the chances of both level sensors failing at exactly the same time was nearly impossible. I authorized the repair and my car was fixed by 8am. After work i went and picked up the car and my service manager had "Good News!". Only one sensor had to be changed instead of two! Imagine that! The part that was replaced was:
010-542-77-17 Sender Unit : $215.81 (labor was $165.81 + plus $118 for towing + $192 for 6 days rental car)
I paid at the cashier and then got in my car. Started it and put it and gear and what do I see.. the dreaded red screen of death.. "ABC failure Be careful". Unreal can these guys fix anything right? So, I was told that the pressure is not reading right and the car had to stay again. They did give me a new c300 to use for a loaner car but I am sure they will get their money back in this new repair bill. One more thing I tried presenting the recall letter for the ABC level sensors that was attached in the beginning of this thread to both the dealer and he said if the recall is not listed on my VIN then I don't have defective parts in my car... Yeah right again...
Dec 9, 2009 - Just got the call from the service assistant... Guess what it is this time?? ABC pump! $4600 plus tax is repair estimate.... There is some good news... the service manager got Mercedes to cover the repair based on the repair record for the ABC system, and because my car just came out of extended warranty and i was experiencing these same issues while it was under warranty....
To be continued...
If someone asked me would I buy another CL500 I would highly recommend against it. This would be based on the ABC problem, fueled by an assortment of non-stop electrical sensor issues, 2 new alternators, defective driver door glass, defective driver door rubber seal, defective mirror tint on the drivers mirror, outside air temp reader that always reads 20 degrees warmer than it is and cannot be fixed for some reason, defective left and right front head lamp assemblies that cause a left and right parking light failed message to appear for the last 5 months combined with the questionable repair service tactics from the local dealership. I swore after I purchased my CLK55 that I would never buy another car accept Mercedes I was so happy with that car. Now, with all of these problems on a $112K vehicle with only 40K miles on it I think I may reconsider and look at BMW’s or Porsche’s. I also can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I was driving on the interstate at 80 miles per hour a mere 5 minutes later when the suspension dropped onto the wheel wells. The car would have certainly locked up, I would have never been able to steer and there is a good chance that a horrific crash could have occurred both killing me and other drivers around me. It is very obvious from the huge number of posts about this issue that there is a engineering defect by Mercedes Benz on this ABC system for this model. A class action law suit really needs to brought on the behalf anyone who has been injured and anyone who has paid massively to repair this issue….
Last edited by Erotic1; 12-09-2009 at 09:52 AM.