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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Benzworld, hope everyone enjoying the summer and Benz rides.
I have 1999 E320 regular sedan and I am the first owner. The car has been well maintained (dealer serviced all the time) and has about 108 K miles. I pretty much use this car and sometimes my wife drives.
A few days back, we went for a local drive and stopped for lunch at a sandwich shop. When returned to car and tried to start the car, there was NO cranking, NO click (that I can hear) and it did NOT start at all (neither cranked). It was dead and I couldn’t believe it was dead just like that without any precursors.

I had AAA and also Mercedes-Benz roadside techs checked the battery and a few things and they told me to tow it dealer.
I read extensively on this and others to learn, analyze and possible pin point the root cause. The following are things I did:
1. Had the battery triple checked and it seemed to be good, though it has almost 12+ years and never had any issue so far. I also, checked turning head lamps (high and low beams), rolling down and up a few times of power windows, horn etc. and they all worked pretty good
2. I opened/closed all doors/trunk a few times and tried to start and the car doesn’t start/crank
3. I disconnected the battery cables and reconnected and the car doesn’t start/crank
4. I tried cranking moving the drive shift a few times back and forth and also keeping it neutral but the car doesn’t start/crank
5. I used all the 3 keys (2 battery operated Fobs and the manual/flat key without battery and the car doesn’t start/crank

Reading various experiences/issues in the forum, it does not seem it is a CPS (crank position sensor). It looks like if CPS is an issue, it should at least try to crank but my car does not even crank.
The Mercedes roadside tech thinks it could be a starter issue (like not grounding properly, etc.) though he did not attempt check if the voltage is there at solenoid while attempting to start the car.
The Mercedes roadside tech does not think the problem with ignition switch as he said he can see when the key is inserted it is reading (cannot explain beyond this).

I plan on keeping my car long term. Here is what I am looking for and would greatly appreciate any help:

(1) Anybody has experienced this kind of a problem, if so what was your root cause and how was it solved and by who (DIY, Dealer, local mechanic, etc.)? Based on your experience what would you suggest?

(2) Could anyone suggest for any additional tests/procedures to eliminate and pinpoint the root cause?

(3) Am I better off towing the car to my dealer and hope for the best?
 

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1999 E320
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your input. The battery has been tested by different techs and they all said it is good.

What else can be thought of? What are the symptoms of a faulty starter?
Is the starter a DIY job or am I better of getting it done by dealer/local mechanic?

Thanks again.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,707 Posts
Bad CPS will not stop the starter.
The battery is the first suspect and battery testing is not the skill too many mechanics know well, so I think you don't have anything to loose by buying a new one.
The starter on this car is computer controlled. You will never hear a click.
 

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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Kajtek1 and SkippyJasper for your inputs.
What would be the recomendation to buy a new battery for 1999 E320 (dealer, OEM, after market, used ones, etc.)?

I decided to buy a battery and start from there.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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Few years ago I bought battery at Costco for about $80 with 100 months warranty. It died after 49 months and I got prorated refund. Bad news Costco no longer carry it.
MB marked batteries are good, but only 24 months warranty sucks for the high price.
Since you have the car immobile, I would call MB road assistance if you qualify for free service. They will charge you only battery cost, but will do all the necessary steps.
 

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1959 220S cabriolet, 1983 240D original owner, 1999 E300 turbo diesel, 1988 560SL, 2003 SLK320
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3,513 Posts
Optima has worked well for me for seven years and I like the sealed battery since it is under the seat. However their prices seem to have skyrocketed.
 

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1999 E320
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I had my battery checked and charged fully by autozone. I connected the battery back again and tried to start and the engine doesn't start, not even crank.

It seemed a starter problem. I was wondering if I could access the DIY pictures/video on checking the solenoid and replacement of the starter. Is the dealer's part (starter) recommeneded? If some one can list some reliable websites to buy the OEMs.
 

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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #10
I had 2 techs from Mercedes roadside assistance and a AAA tech checked the voltage and they all have siad it was not the battery. In addintion to that, I had the battery tested and fully charged at Autozone and tried it again. It doesn't look like this is CPS problem and neither was EIS (per Mercedes roadside assistance tech).
Per the techs input and reading the forum, it sounded/looked like starter is the place I need to check if the power is there and I am looking for some help to check that out.
I would appreciate if anyone can share that info/pictures/videos.
Thanks again.
 

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I've never heard of a battery lasting that long. My last E320 battery lasted an amazing six and a half years. The guys at the shop were amazed. It still worked too but it was just sluggish. Never had any other battery last longer than four years. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't your current problem. If it isn't your current problem, it will be very soon!
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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The battery on our ML320 lasted 12 years as well, but have never hear about one lasting 13 or more.
I understand that 3 technicians testing the battery good points you into the starter problem, but I am very skeptic about technicians skills and statistically starters on those engines last forever. Batteries don't. Did you try to boost your battery from other car?
 

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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #13
I just got a call from a service advisor from my Mercedes dealer and based on their diagnostics (cost is $124.00), the starter is bad with wires/connections rotted/corroded.
The estimate to fix is approximately $1000.00 ($520 parts + 480 labor). The dealer is running a special, 15% discount on service bill (parts and labor) and I am hoping the total cost for starter replacement would be about $850 + tax.

I called a few dealers and the starter part alone costs about $425.00. I am assuming the dealer quoted parts ($520) includes wires and other misc. items in addition to starter itself.

Here are my follow ups/ questions:
Is $850.00 reasonable for starter replacement and am I better of getting this done at a dealer ?

I saw some posts the steps for starter replacemnt DIY (do it yourself) but couldn’t find any pictures/videos on this. I would appreciate if anyone could send those pictures/videos or at least a link to those.

I have a handy man who is willing to help me replace the starter. I am thinking of buying this part from dealer and have it replaced by myself and my handy man (who has some tools). Is this a good idea or am I going to be inviting more issues while doing this. In other words, is starter replacement complicated?

Any other suggestions/ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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I had to do the same repair on a Toyota Supra (corroded cables and a bad starter) and all the parts total were under $100.

It may be more for a Mercedes, but for perspective, you can get a highly invasive head gasket job done at a reputable Mercedes specialist for about $1400 (give or take). My opinion is that $1000 on an external bolt-on part with just a couple of bolts is too much.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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I've been doing starters on several vehicles in the past, but never needed one on MB.
The job is technically easy as most of them hang on 2 or 3 bolts + easy electrical connectors, but the access is always the hard part.
Still remember Fiat 125 had one bolt that would allow only 1/12 turn at the time and long bolt took like 30 turns to remove.
I was looking at the starter on my diesel and it doesn't look too hard. Can't believe the job is worth over $400 on 3.2l.
 

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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #17
I took my car to a different dealer after putting a brand new battery (from Mercedes-Benz dealer) and based on their diagnosis, the starter needs to be replaced. Based on their estimate (parts, labor and tax: $800.00), I authorized the dealer to have the starter replaced.

I just got an email from my service advisor that they found a broken bolt for one of the engine mounts (I am assuming this was on driver side).

The engine has to be lifted to replace the starter and when they did so, they found a broken bolt for one of the engine mounts. They said they have not touched the other side yet (there is one on each side of engine) as there is a possibility of the bolt breaking (due to age). The motor mounts are an additional expense of $389.56 + tax. l am assuming the quote is for replacing both mounts (motor). I am so frustrated with these back and forth as it looked the jobs are being added.
Here are my questions:
(1) If a bolt is broken for one of the mounts, is the entire mount needs to be replaced or both mounts need to be replaced? Is it a safety issue? If I differ this repair, am I damaging it further and could become more expensive repairs later?
(2) Is this a "do it yourself" job.
(3) Is this job can be done with the help of handy man?
(4) What would be reasonable estimate to replace both mounts (parts and labor)?
(5) Am I better of getting this done dealer?

Thanks in advance!
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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Those big bolts don't break because of age, especially if you consider they are threaded into aluminum.
Would the bolt broke it would be found in the belly pan before they even touch the engine.
MM cost about $100 a piece and since they are unbolting them for starter job, there is no additional labor required.
I think they are trying to milk you, but that is what stealers are about.
I would go and take good look on the parts. Agree on new mounts, but no additional labor cost.
 

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1999 E320
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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you Kajtek1! That is exactly what feel. It makes sense to me that they should not DOUBLE charge the labor.
How many bolts are there on each mount? Why can't the broken bolt only be replaced instead of both mounts? If I don't replace the the broken bolt, are there safety issues?
Am I damaging it further and could be more expensive repairs later if I don't replace now?

The reason I am asking these questions, this car was well maintained with dealer only services and I start to think should I even consider spending any money on tis car due to age, rust and other reasons. I keep getting repairs/service more frequently and looks like I am better of getting another car.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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2 bolts on each mount. First holding the top, the second the bottom. Once you have crane hook up to the engine, this takes only few minutes to replace.
Motor mounts on those cars have limited life, so if the old ones are older than 60k, you might want them replaced anyway as this is convenient time. Still $389 is a rip off.
 
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