Yet another ABS/ESP malfunction thread (2006 C230 W203 V6 Automatic) - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Yet another ABS/ESP malfunction thread (2006 C230 W203 V6 Automatic)

ABS/ESP malfunctions started coming 10 minutes after I picked up the car for the first time, about 2 months ago. When the engine was turned off and back on they would both go away after moving a few meters.They would come back about every 1 or 2 days. When they're on, the cruise control DOES NOT RESPOND, meaning pressing the stick does absolutely nothing, no sound, no message, no effect. I had the car scanned and it came up with a few codes pertaining to the esp and abs, but at least half were due to an alignment which the car needed badly. I think one of the codes was about not being able to read from the front right sensor. Since then, following some of the things I did (detailed below), the malfunctions now show up a lot more often, and even after turning the engine off and on they come back within a few kilometers. That MAY be due to the average temperatures rising by about 10C, just a thought.

I've done the following since that first scan:
- erased all codes completely - seems to keep the problem at bay for at most a day
- did the steering wheel right to left reset thing - absolutely nothing
- tried 2 different new ABS speed sensors on the front right - no lasting effect
- checked brake light switch - don't have an electric one behind the gas pedal, my model seems to have the pressure one connected to the main brake cylinder
- checked and monitored the battery voltage - solid 12 when idling and 14 when driving
- disconnected the battery and held the brake pedal for a minute - no effect

I will have the car scanned again soon and come back with more specific details.

I know that without the detailed (and more current) codes you can't be of much help, but I could use some more ideas/brainstorming of what I could be looking at. The main ABS/ESP control module? Some grounding issue? (I notice often the AC starts working and blowing a little when starting the car, even though the fan speed is set to 0. Not a real problem, just an observation.)

I was also thinking, maybe for my road trip I could buy a cheap scanner with which to erase codes every day, to hopefully allow me to have cruise control for 5500-6000km I'll be traveling.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 07:57 PM
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There has probably been more than 10 ABS/BAS/ESP threads posted in the last 30 days.

If you read them, then you know that a battery test is STEP #1 . This is not just checking voltage at idle and while driving! Do a STATIC battery voltage check (after car sit overnight or several hours). Very minimum voltage should be 12.2 to 12.3 volts (I would replace battery at this range). You MUST (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) do a load test on the battery! Most auto part stores will do it for free (even WalMart).

In your list of item done, I did NOT see alignment. Was this done? You did mentioned it was needed badly. Was steering wheel off center going straight down the road?

FYI: Cruise control will NOT work if ESP malfunction light is on.
If you decide to buy one, you will need a scanner CAPABLE of reading Mercedes ABS/BAS/ESP codes.

Last edited by 260e crusier; 07-13-2016 at 08:10 PM.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 260e crusier View Post
There has probably been more than 10 ABS/BAS/ESP threads posted in the last 30 days.

If you read them, then you know that a battery test is STEP #1 . This is not just checking voltage idling and driving! Do a STATIC battery voltage check (after car sit overnight or several hours). Very minimum voltage should be 12.2 to 12.3 volts (I would replace battery at this range). You MUST (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) do a load test on the battery! Most auto part stores will do it for free (even WalMart).

In your list of item done, I did NOT see alignment. Was this done?
Yes the alignment was done basically right away, since then all that remained was the described problems. The minimum voltage IS 12.2/3 volts when the engine is off I believe. I'll confirm tomorrow morning before starting the engine.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 08:11 PM
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Based on a few cars I've had with some really bad (i.e. almost un-driveable) alignment issues, I can tell you that is NOT an alignment issue. A bad alignment will not cause ESP faults. Get the codes - then we can help.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Since I can't edit the original post I'll say it again - the alignment was done just after the first scan 2 months ago, it's irrelevant.

This morning before starting the engine (sitting all night) the dash read 12.5V, while driving it's a solid 14.2V.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 06:28 AM
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Since I can't edit the original post I'll say it again - the alignment was done just after the first scan 2 months ago, it's irrelevant.

This morning before starting the engine (sitting all night) the dash read 12.5V, while driving it's a solid 14.2V.
To rule out battery completely, do a LOAD test. I had two batteries that show good voltage but failed the load test (bad cells) that were to blame for my BAS/ABS/ESP malfunctions. Do the free stuff first

Step #2 : Reread codes.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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I had two batteries that show good voltage but failed the load test (bad cells) that were to blame for my BAS/ABS/ESP malfunctions.
And in your case the codes disappeared and did not show up as soon as you hooked up a good battery? Did they also use to vanish upon an engine restart (often to return soon after while driving)?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 05:31 PM
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And in your case the codes disappeared and did not show up as soon as you hooked up a good battery? Did they also use to vanish upon an engine restart (often to return soon after while driving)?
Vehicle #1 :

Battery tested. Voltage was fine, but failed load test.

Before I replaced the battery, the ESP/BAS malfunction lights did go off after a engine restart. I believe this happens because the alternator increased the marginal voltage/amperage of the battery. It would come back on sometimes later while driving (possibly caused by accessories turning on and increasing the electrical load).

After I replaced the battery, the malfunction light did not return. Codes are stored and do not disappear. I erased mine with a scanner.



Vehicle #2 :

Battery tested. Again voltage was fine, but failed load test.

Battery replaced, but ESP malfunction light remained on. Did a code scan and a defective steering angle sensor was indicated. Replaced sensor & erased code and all is fine now.

If you want to resolve your problem, you have to do these two steps first.

1) Test battery and ELIMINATE this as a possibility of your problem. As I mentioned before, a LOAD test is critical.

2) Re scan after erasing existing codes to see which one return.

Last edited by 260e crusier; 07-15-2016 at 07:40 AM.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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To rule out battery completely, do a LOAD test. I had two batteries that show good voltage but failed the load test (bad cells) that were to blame for my BAS/ABS/ESP malfunctions. Do the free stuff first

Step #2 : Reread codes.
The battery passes the LOAD test with flying colors. Went from just over 12V down to about 11V when the loading tool was used (using its volt meter). So the battery is fine

I scanned the car with a scanner which struggled a bit to read the codes, but had many options for tests and one of them turned up some results. Attached are images of the codes and their descriptions, but the codes are:
P1425 (implausible wheel speed signal)
U1401 front right wheel traction RPM not available on the CAN
XXXXA (messed up the photo) but basically no ESP (due to the above obviously)

These all point to the ABS speed sensor, which I've cleaned once (the original) and replaced with 2 brand new ones.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 07:34 PM
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Maybe it's not the sensor - maybe it's the pulse ring that's bad. Was any work done on the hub or wheel bearings?

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