Brake Sensor/ABS/ESP/Cluster Failure - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 2002 C320 Estate Wagon, 2003 230SLK, 2005 Sprinter Van, a few Brand-X BMWs and other stray dogs.
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Brake Sensor/ABS/ESP/Cluster Failure

2002 C320 Wagon
85,000 mi

I apologize for the LONG story, but maybe it has clues to an answer?

I just took my car out of indoor storage after 6mo on non-use (due to a move). It was not started or driven during that period.

The battery was stone dead (it was 7 years old, after-all), and he key would not even turn, so I replaced the battery with a fresh brand new charged one.

The engine started immediately, and as I drove off I had an "ESP Program" warning on the cluster, but otherwise the car drove fine. I figured he ESP would clear eventually.

I did NOT do a "steering sensor re-sync" procedure before driving the car (someone later said that should have been done).

I drove the car about 8mi and parked it. Later I re-started it to drive to dinner, and after about a mile, I got the following warnings (as memory recalls) all at once, together:
"Brake Pad Wear Sensor Visit Shop/ESP Malfunction/ABS Malfunction/Gauge Cluster Malfunction"

At least the brake pad warning test was flashing. My ABS warning light was illuminated, and the car felt like it lost a bit of power (but was smooth). It felt like it either had a dragging brake (but it coasted fine), so it may have gone into safe/limp home mode though. The transmission gear display on the cluster didn't show my gear, nor did it show W or S selection. My speedometer was dead.

The car ran smoothly, and steered normally. All for rotors and pad sets were replaced 7000mi ago, so I am sure it's not a mechanical brake problem (they work normally and smoothly w/o noise).

I stopped and put the car into Park to figure things out (but it would not come out of Park even w/ the brake pedal depressed).

I shut off the ignition switch and re-started it. It seemed fine (no flashing warnings, and the ABS light was out). The transmission and engine felt normal, and the speedometer worked normally.

We had dinner, and I started the car and drove home (normally) w/ no warnings.

I hooked up a generic OBD II scanner and it showed no DTCs set, though it showed 3 pending codes-ALL were the same P0600 ("Communications Link Error"). With the engine running, the cluster now shows "No Malfunctions" where before it had more than one (I can't remember how many at the worst point).

We are scheduled to drive the car 1500 miles to our new home starting Wednesday morning, and I don't have much confidence in it even though it now shows "No Malfunctions" (essentially no "Check Engine Light").

Someone offered that this ALL could have been precipitated because I didn't do a "steering sync procedure" and maybe now it accidentally re-synced itself during my driving and it's "ALL FIXED."

I have to admit the car seems perfectly normal now, but have a nagging feeling all is NOT well.

Is it possible that the combination of not being operated for 6mo plus the battery change, and then no re-syncing the steering after the battery change have resulted in what I described, or what should I do to ensure that the car is safe to drive the 1500mi w/o problems?

I called my MB Tech (where I will be driving the car 1500mi from where I now am), and he said he has SEEN these symptoms before, especially with cars that hadn't been driven for a long period, and that they have "fixed themselves" with some use (or by changing a relay he called a 'multi-function relay' I was unable to locate).

If I went to a shop here, would a MB Star computer show what faults it DID have, and diagnose any remaining problems even though it may not now HAVE/SHOW any problems on it's cluster diagnosis?

In other words, if the cluster says, "No Malfunctions," does it mean it really has NO malfunctions that even a Star Computer won't be able to find?

The final "suggestion" was that if I DO have an ABS/ESP problem, simply removing the fuse will disable the systems and allow the vehicle to be driven (with the caveat that one would not have the safety of ABS or Stability Control). WOULD this allow normal driving w/o a dead speedo, flashing warnings, and going into limp-home mode? This would allow me to get the vehicle to my own technician for diagnosis and repair.

Thanks for listening-
Bob

*Note- I did find a post with a somewhat similar problem, but the car did not go back to normal like mine, and it was an ABS module and ESC/ESP that caused he problem

Last edited by bobinyelm; 10-03-2016 at 11:40 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 05:46 PM
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I suspect this was all voltage related. Six months of sitting will drain a battery and many of the car's systems are very susceptible to voltage fluctuations.

As for the "no malfunctions" message, that just means there are no malfunctions that would display on the MFD. There could still be stored codes. In fact, many of the car's systems can have errors that won't show anything on the cluster - no MIL, no messages. SDS can scan all of those and give a full report.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-04-2016, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Jul 2011
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Today in preparation for the 1500mi drive starting in a few hours, I drove the car extensively (over 100mi) and while I MAY have non-generic codes stored in the computer, at least the car performed flawlessly, giving me confidence that at least I'll make it to my destination.

I am inclined to agree completely that the dying/dead battery started all of these problems. Not sure if disconnecting the battery is better than charging it periodically. In my case, I put a 2amp charger on it every month (as I have done in eh past when not using the car), but I guess this time the battery was just too close to the end of its life. I was surprised that it was made in Jan of 2009. I had swapped this battery from my Sprinter van when I replace its battery a few years back (no adverse consequences that time).

When I get to Olympia, WA I will have a friend with a Launch 431 check for codes. I've been toying w/ the idea of getting a good scan tool (with two way communication) like an Autel DS 708 or such since I have 3 Mercedes plus several other vehicles with sophisticated electronics. At some point, it's just the "cost of doing business" these days.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 07:05 PM
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For a diagnostic tool, you can get a Chinese clone of SDS for as little as $250 if you are VERY savvy with technology and willing to do some research (basically, you buy the multiplexer from China, find a free source for the software, and install and configure it yourself). For about $500 you can get a turn-key SDS clone. If you don;t need to do any coding and just need diagnostics, then iCarsoft i980 seems to be a very good option for about $120.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-06-2016, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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