“You Killed the Car” or Jump Start Idiot - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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“You Killed the Car” or Jump Start Idiot

The image of that Ferrari in Ferris Bueller, smoldering in the ravine is a prominent thought in my mind as I contemplate what I may have done to my 98 SL500.

I keep the car in the airplane hangar. I am lucky that way in that I have 2 vehicles that are great fun to drive. In one I am literally riding on a cushion of air and in the other I feel like I am flying on a cushion of air.

I bought the car in 2007 after finding it in the used lot of a Subaru dealer in San Diego. By the time the R129 came out, I was in my late 20s. I couldn't believe that a car maker, even Mercedes, had come up with such an amazing looking car. I remembered those first visions of that car in my head for the next 17 or 18 years until I was able to get my hands on one. Even today, after having owned an R129 for some 12 years, I still feel exactly the same. There is no other car that I had seen before or have seen since that can compete.

The only place in the hanger that the car fits is in front of the wing of the airplane. The last year has been really busy so both driving and flying have taken a back seat to life and work. Any chance that I have to go to the hanger has to be used for the airplane. Airplanes die a horrible death on the ground. They have to be exercised. I want to drive the car too but it has a better ability to survive while parked than the airplane does while sitting on the ground.

A few months back, all the way back in December, I had a chance to fly. I went to the hangar and sure enough the battery in the car was very low. I whipped the Explorer around, broke out the cables, and the car started right up. Even when I was hooking up the cables, I had something itching in the back of my brain about jump starting. Of course, I did it anyway.

When I came back, I put the airplane away, started the car normally (without jump), and parked it away. Before leaving, I hooked up the Battery Minder trickle charger just as I have done countless times.

I have been to the hangar numerous times in the last 4 months but I have not been able to even touch the car or airplane except for battery charging. Beginning about 2 weeks ago I finally started to get a few windows here and there to pay attention to vehicles. The battery in the car appears to be in good shape and cranks with authority. Unfortunately, the normal immediate roar to life is not there. Here are the facts...

There is no fuel in the fuel rail. There is also no pressure in the fuel rail (as quickly as I can get there after cranking) I added a few gallons of premium just in case.
I can not hear the fuel pumps. The truth is, I am not sure that I ever heard the fuel pumps.
I pulled the fuel pump relay and fuse. The fuse is fine and I bench tested the relay. It is ok as well.
I started to dig into the fuel pump area under the car but then stopped in favor of figuring out the fault code system.

Using some of the sticky threads and the experiences of others, I constructed a code reader light.
On the 38 pin diagnostic connector in my car and not including terminals 1-3 for ground and 12v, there are contacts in terminal positions 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 21, 23, 30, 31, and 35. All other terminal positions do not have contacts. I received a response from ONLY 1 terminal position, #23. I received codes 2 and 6 which are ATA codes for the driver door and for the trunk. I cleared them both. After that, I received a 1 flash response from 23, the no faults code.
I do not even receive the 1 flash response from any of the other terminals.

That is as far as I got in troubleshooting so far. Tomorrow (Sunday), I have to fly for a few hours. Before I go, I will disconnect the battery to see if there is any “resetting” that might take place. I sort of doubt it. When I get back, I am going to check all fuses under the hood, in the trunk, and most especially the over-voltage fuse. I think I know where it is located – in the box with all of the control modules.

Also, when the key is in position 2 for testing, all of the trouble lights on the dash are on except SRS. Do all of them always stay on during the entire start sequence? I don't remember.

If those things fail, I hate to think what might be next. My car is in fine condition but do I want to spend $4k to repair a $7000 car? Makes me sick to my stomach.

Why did it start normally during the jumping incident and again a couple of hours later?

Any ideas beyond what I have written will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 01:06 AM
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From what you are writing I wouldn't think that the jump start did any damage. I had to jump start my '98 SL500 last year when the battery failed at a filling station with out any problems, I've also done the same with my '93 SL500.

You may have a problem with the fuel pump. Again with my '98 SL500 I had to change the fuel pump (twice) through lack of use, the fuel had gone stale and sediment from tank had siezed the pump. I have now fitted a pre-filter before the pump

If you can get under the car, get someone to go through the starting process whilst you feel/hear if there is noise from the fuel pump, if just hums/vibrates, then it's probably siezed.
If nothing with the above test, without removing any fuel lines, inject 12V DC into the fuel pump + - terminals. If there is still no noise or vibrations, the pump has gone AWOL.
Important If you have to remove the pump look up the topic on how to remove it safely.

Another question, when the ignition is on, can you hear the throttle body under the bonnet/hood?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 08:22 AM
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With no codes, engine cranking properly but not starting, I'd suspect the security system. Is there a transponder in the keys for '98? Got another key?

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/r12...r129-keys.html
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 01:39 PM
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You need to drive these cars at least once a month under normal circumstances, but if you have to store over winter then there will be a stale fuel problem. Batteries are critical and charging with an auto trickle charger is the way to go.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 03:51 PM
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98 Sl600 has a transponder. I have never seen a key fail but always a first time. Try another key if you have one, even the flat key will start it.

John;
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dam29 View Post


There is no fuel in the fuel rail. There is also no pressure in the fuel rail (as quickly as I can get there after cranking) I added a few gallons of premium just in case.
I can not hear the fuel pumps. The truth is, I am not sure that I ever heard the fuel pumps.
I pulled the fuel pump relay and fuse. The fuse is fine and I bench tested the relay. It is ok as well.
I started to dig into the fuel pump area under the car but then stopped in favor of figuring out the fault code system.



That is as far as I got in troubleshooting so far. Tomorrow (Sunday), I have to fly for a few hours. Before I go, I will disconnect the battery to see if there is any “resetting” that might take place. I sort of doubt it. When I get back, I am going to check all fuses under the hood, in the trunk, and most especially the over-voltage fuse. I think I know where it is located – in the box with all of the control modules.

Also, when the key is in position 2 for testing, all of the trouble lights on the dash are on except SRS. Do all of them always stay on during the entire start sequence? I don't remember.

If those things fail, I hate to think what might be next. My car is in fine condition but do I want to spend $4k to repair a $7000 car? Makes me sick to my stomach.

Why did it start normally during the jumping incident and again a couple of hours later?

Any ideas beyond what I have written will be appreciated.
You being a pilot, shame on you.

Key in position 1 SRS light stays on for 9 seconds. If no problem found it extinguishes. Key in position 2 fuel pump comes on for one second to prime fuel rail. Position 3 starter engages and engine starts.

If it does not go back to position 2 and find out why fuel pump is not running. Jump fuel pump relay and check for 12V at the pump.

Theft prevention disables injectors, it does not disable fuel pump.

1972 280SEL 4.5
1999 ML320
2000 E320
2003 ML350
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Today, I disconnected the battery for a few hours while I was away. When I got back, I checked all of the fuses that I could find and there was not a single one that was blown. I found the 7 or so fuses in the trunk, 34 in the fuse compartment under the hood, and 3 with the control module. There are an additional 2 located near the battery with their respective relays. I know that the green one is for the fuel pump assembly.

I reconnected the battery and the windows behaved correctly in that they lowered half way at first so as to clear the door jamb material. Once inside the car, I closed the doors and rolled up the windows to their stop positions. Opening the doors after that, the windows correctly roll down that 1/4" or so necessary to clear the door jamb material.

Tried to start but with the same result. Normal cranking but no starting. I did not really expect any kind of 'reset' anyway.

With the key on, there is a humming noise in the engine compartment. I have always heard that noise but I have never put my ear down near the throttle body with the air cleaner removed to check where the noise is coming from.

Good to hear that the SRS light appears to be operating correctly.

I do have a second key. It was working correctly the last time that I used it. I will make sure to take it with me just to check if the security system might be working overtime.

Other than trying the second key, I am going to return my focus back to the fuel pumps and away from the doom and gloom of a blown out control module.

Does anyone have a suggestion for fuel pumps and vendors. The first place that I usually go is autohausaz. They did a good job for me on a new radiator, water pump, and rebuild kit for the power steering pump.

Dave
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dam29 View Post
Other than trying the second key, I am going to return my focus back to the fuel pumps and away from the doom and gloom of a blown out control module.

Does anyone have a suggestion for fuel pumps and vendors. The first place that I usually go is autohausaz. They did a good job for me on a new radiator, water pump, and rebuild kit for the power steering pump.

Dave
There is only one pump on a 1998 SL500!

Here are the topics relating to my 1998 SL500 fuel pump problems that may help in what you are experiencing?

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/r12...ont-start.html

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/r12...er-system.html

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips Redliner.

I had previously seen your post 'cranks but wont start.' What a mess. I especially liked the part about driving behind other cars in a cloud of fart...

I had not seen your post about the filter until now. Now I have an opportunity to add a pre-filter.

All of the schematics that I have seen show 2 pumps, a filter, and a regulator. I do not know for sure because I have not been able to remove the plastic cover. I removed the 4 plastic nuts but the plastic cover is molded around and over the stabilizer bar. That last bolt nearest the stabilizer bar will not allow the plastic to slide, rotate, or move in any direction so it is still trapped by the bar. I don't want to start hacking up the plastic cover.

Is it a big deal to remove the stabilizer bar while up on jack stands? That does not seem like a good idea to me but I have never disassembled this area before either - and especially not structural members.

Dave
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by dam29 View Post
Thanks for the tips Redliner.

I had previously seen your post 'cranks but wont start.' What a mess. I especially liked the part about driving behind other cars in a cloud of fart...

I had not seen your post about the filter until now. Now I have an opportunity to add a pre-filter.

All of the schematics that I have seen show 2 pumps, a filter, and a regulator. I do not know for sure because I have not been able to remove the plastic cover. I removed the 4 plastic nuts but the plastic cover is molded around and over the stabilizer bar. That last bolt nearest the stabilizer bar will not allow the plastic to slide, rotate, or move in any direction so it is still trapped by the bar. I don't want to start hacking up the plastic cover.

Is it a big deal to remove the stabilizer bar while up on jack stands? That does not seem like a good idea to me but I have never disassembled this area before either - and especially not structural members.

Dave
Dave,
I didn't have any trouble to remove the plastic cover on my '98 or '93 SL500s. are you sure you're looking in the right place?
If you look at my photo there's nothing in the way!



The last nut is a bit fiddly to get at but once all removed the cover comes off.
Do you have a car lift or an inspection pit, or are you just using a jack and crawling underneath?

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