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2002 E430 Special Edition, Obsidian Black
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I am a first time poster that has browsed these boards for a few months now but now have an issue that I'm looking for a little advise/insight on.

I have a 2002 E430 with 156k that I got a great deal on this past summer and purchased for a 'toy' of sorts. I love the car and use it for the occasional long highway trip. Until now it doesn't have any major issues. A few weeks back on a cold morning about 20 miles in a 150 mile drive, I had the CEL randomly come on. I noticed the engine running sorta funny and pulled over / shut it off. When I restarted the car, the CEL light remained on but the engine was back to its normal, smooth self. I got to where I was going and ran the codes at a local Autozone, and while I don't remember what they were exactly, they all involved Random Cylinder Misfire, and a couple other misfires on certain Cylinder numbers. Well like I said, once I restarted the car when it initially happened, it went back to normal and after a couple of 'cycles' the light turned itself off. Then, about a week and a few hundred miles later, it shows back up about 100 miles into a trip, with the same symptoms as before. Just like before, I shut it off and restarted, which seemed to clear the engine stumbling, and like before the CEL turned itself off after sitting a while. Regardless, I got a can of MAF cleaner and cleaned my MAF and air filter hoping that was the cause of this random issue. Everything was good for a few weeks, until recently when not only did the light come on again randomly, but flashed about 10 times before staying solid. I pulled over immediately, restarted the car, which like always cleared the rough engine but left the CEL on.

This flashing CEL, and more frequent timing that this issue is showing up promped me to buy a new Bosch MAF from autohausaz which I replaced Monday. I unhooked the battery to reset the code and then took the car for an extended drive to 're-adapt' my transmission and let it 're-learn' its fuel curve. My 30-mile test drive went great, and car seemed smoother than ever. However, yesterday morning I was about 20-miles into a 150 mile trip when the CEL again illuminated and the same old symptoms had returned. I restarted, clearing the rough engine, and turned around for home not wanting to risk further damage. While the engine ran fine on the way home, I did have the CEL flash about 10-times while coasting down a hill with no throttle input, but the engine remained fine.

I have parked the car and don't plan to drive it for any long distances until I can resolve the problem or know how to direct my mechanic to start looking. I did remove each coil connector (while the engine was off) and reconnected to see if any were loose. I also pushed each of the spark plug boots I could reach to make sure they were seated correctly. I also put a bottle of Techron in the gas tank in case it was clogged injectors.

I'm puzzled what could be causing this problem. It seems 'electrical' or 'control based' in nature since it seems to happen at random times, issue clears itself upon engine restart, etc. I just don't know what could be causing this or where to start looking. I'm not thinking its the plugs, because they all function without issue 99% of the time, even though they are probably due to be replaced soon (they were done a little after 100k as well). Could it be a bad coil? If so, then why would I get 'Random Cylinder Misfire' codes and misfires on other cylinders, not just directed at one in particular? Is there a sensor or something that sends signal to the computer on the ignition/firing of the various cylinders that could be messed up causing these faults at random times? Oxygen sensors perhaps? Why would the issue 'clear' itself upon restart only to surface again randomly later?

I'm hoping it to be something simple (like an oxygen sensor or two) and not something major like the cats. I don't think my cats are burned up (at least not yet becuase I haven't driven it extensively with the engine running rough and always pull over to 'clear' the issue as soon as it happens.

I'm trying my best to avoid taking it in to the mechanic, but if its too complicated or not an easy diagnosis, I know of a Import Autohaus about 30 miles away that I might try. I hear they have more advanced OBD-II systems that can read further in-depth to help pinpoint the issue rather than the cheapo handheld units we shadetree mechanics have.

Thanks for any help or insight. I'd love to get this issue resolved ASAP so I can start driving my MB again.
 

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99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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Flashing CEL means the car computer is saying "whoah! I sense something wrong but I have to be sure ..."
Steady CEL means the computer got solid proof of the bad component. The error code gets logged.
You need to get yourself an OBDII code reader or ask the autoparts store guy to read the codes out one by one. The first code is usually the cause of the codes that follow.
I experienced the flashing CEL before. There were misfire codes all over but the first code was about the oxygen sensors. At your car mileage, the O2 sensors are likely gone bad.
 

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'01 E430 Sport
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What grade of gasoline do you run in the car? When you fill up the tank does the gas needle move all the way to the fill line?

As mbvis stated you really should have an OBDII code reader in your car for these occasions. I have a basic Actron code reader I bought a few years ago for about $30 ... pulling the battery cable to clear codes is for the birds if you have a code reader in your glove box.

I experienced your exact issue once or twice a few years back but I forgot what I did to remedy it. It wasn't anything major or I'd know... I think I put a high concentration of Techron (2 bottles in a half tank of gas) and the problem went away. It also solved the gas needle not showing completely full issue after a fillup. I'm guessing the previous owner ran inferior or lower grade gas causing the problems.

Good Luck
 

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Welcome aboard.

That's really a loooooong first post.

But it's a story that's only going to get longer and more frustrating until you get the codes read.

OBD-II exists for a reason: to help you. Think of it like this: there are thousands of prescription drugs. But you have to tell the doctor what's wrong so s/he can prescribe the right one.

Your post is like the doctor saying, "My patient will only tell me something is wrong, but not what it is. Nor will he let me examine him. Can you tell me what drugs I should give him?"

Get the codes read. (Read that sentence until you are firmly convinced that is the next step. Please don't read further until you accept you need to do that.)

It's also helpful if you will post more details about the car. Such as all engine-related maintenance you've done on it, assuming you've regularly changed the air filter, oil, and oil filter. At 156K you should have done plugs, O2 sensors, fuel filter and probably replaced a MAF previously. (If you did replace the MAF, where did you get it?)

For all we can tell, you may have ignored something basic like plugs, and they're worn down to little nubs.

But you should still get the codes read rather that just starting to throw parts at it.

You can buy a basic OBD-II reader on line for under $30, and I'm one of those who is a firm believer that even those who are barely DIY'ers should have one. If you have a small one you can keep it in the car so you always have it (I have one in a little pouch under the seat, I never leave home without it).

If you can't bring yourself to do that, some auto parts stores will read them for free (or will loan you a code reader for a refundable deposit) or Aamco shops will read them for free, too. WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE CODES, don't simply try to remember them, and don't just accept their "explanation" of them. Get the actual codes. You can then look them up on the post in the stickies or you can post them for assistance.

If you don't read the codes, then all you're going to do is waste time and worry about it. Or spend lots of money replacing parts and guessing at it.

You also mentioned that you cleaned your air filter? I'm assuming you misspoke and that you replaced your air filter. If not, then please do so.

Hope that helps.

Good luck and again, welcome aboard.
 

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2002 E430 Special Edition, Obsidian Black
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Discussion Starter #5
I am well verse in the OBD-II code game, but in the past had always relented to various Auto stores that would scan for free. I did that on my E430 when the light first came on a couple of weeks ago. I had all of the codes written down, and promptly searched this forum in which most of the responses dealt with faulty MAF units. That is why I first cleaned, then replaced my MAF (by the way, with a brand new Bosch unit from autohausaz.com). When the problem went away for a couple of weeks after I first ran the codes, I tossed the sheet of paper where I had them recorded. I was just going off recollection with the 'Random Cylinder Misfire' and others and was trying to avoid having to drive it 10 miles or so to the store to have the codes read again.

Having said that, reading the last response finally convinced me to go over to Amazon and pick up a nice code scanner for my own (Autel MaxiScan MS409) which has a few more features than the basic readers for $30. It should be on my doorstep by Friday. I'll read the codes / record them Friday night and post then back on this thread for further insight.

To answer your other concerns: yes, I'm very particular with my cars and am alwasy up to date with the routine maintenance. I believe the previous owner was as well since he has records of it being serviced either at the MB dealer or the local indy guy. It has always had Ow30 Mobil 1, filter, yada yada every 5 to 7k. As far as plugs, oxygen sensors, fuel filters, etc. I'm not quite sure as to their past history. Also, it has always been run with 93 octane, never the cheap stuff. I did put (1) bottle of Techron in the tank at the last fillup, but I've only been about 30 miles on that tank so I don't think its had a chance to fully go through the system yet.

Guess I'll just post the codes when I get them and start from there.
 

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I am well verse in the OBD-II code game, but in the past had always relented to various Auto stores that would scan for free. I did that on my E430 when the light first came on a couple of weeks ago. I had all of the codes written down, and promptly searched this forum in which most of the responses dealt with faulty MAF units. That is why I first cleaned, then replaced my MAF (by the way, with a brand new Bosch unit from autohausaz.com). When the problem went away for a couple of weeks after I first ran the codes, I tossed the sheet of paper where I had them recorded. I was just going off recollection with the 'Random Cylinder Misfire' and others and was trying to avoid having to drive it 10 miles or so to the store to have the codes read again.

Having said that, reading the last response finally convinced me to go over to Amazon and pick up a nice code scanner for my own (Autel MaxiScan MS409) which has a few more features than the basic readers for $30. It should be on my doorstep by Friday. I'll read the codes / record them Friday night and post then back on this thread for further insight.

To answer your other concerns: yes, I'm very particular with my cars and am alwasy up to date with the routine maintenance. I believe the previous owner was as well since he has records of it being serviced either at the MB dealer or the local indy guy. It has always had Ow30 Mobil 1, filter, yada yada every 5 to 7k. As far as plugs, oxygen sensors, fuel filters, etc. I'm not quite sure as to their past history. Also, it has always been run with 93 octane, never the cheap stuff. I did put (1) bottle of Techron in the tank at the last fillup, but I've only been about 30 miles on that tank so I don't think its had a chance to fully go through the system yet.

Guess I'll just post the codes when I get them and start from there.
While you're waiting for it you could pull a plug. If it's a nonresistor (or looks pretty shot), they've never been changed, so you can order a set of Bosch 7422 from autohausaz.com. Get the wire wrench from ebay to make the replacement easier. If you do have to change the plugs, test the wires while you're doing it, replace any that are over 25K resistance. If you don't have records, order a fuel filter, too, that should have last been done at 120K but since you don't know...

Good job on the code reader, hopefully you won't need it too much. (That's what I hoped when I bought my first, too...).

Not sure how long you've been running that oil, but it's not spec. The only flavor of Mobil1 that meets spec is 0W40, and the issue is not viscosity, but the additive pack.

Good luck, let us know on the codes.
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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Do a ECU/tranny soft reset (costs nothing), recheck to make sure the MAF is seated properly and intake connections are tight, Bosch fuel filter, a fresh Mann air filter, a bottle of good fuel treatment (Techron or Lucas), flip the gasket on your fuel filler cap... and Greg's good advice..I don't think you have any brain burning OBD freeze frame issues happening, just patient affordable ctach up maintenance.

You didn't happen to use a silicone spray or some type of engine cleaner in the engine compartment over the past few months - right ?
 

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What grade of gasoline do you run in the car? When you fill up the tank does the gas needle move all the way to the fill line?

What does that mean? I switched from BP to Shell gasoline and the BP always filled to the top of the line. So after coming across the top tier gasoline list, I decided to go to Shell instead. The Shell does not fill all the way to the top at all.

I never top off. When it clicks, it's put away. The needle just doesn't go all the way to the top.
 

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What does that mean? I switched from BP to Shell gasoline and the BP always filled to the top of the line. So after coming across the top tier gasoline list, I decided to go to Shell instead. The Shell does not fill all the way to the top at all.

I never top off. When it clicks, it's put away. The needle just doesn't go all the way to the top.
I was told the fuel sender needed to be replaced. Apparently it gets fouled if it doesn't like the gas you put in the tank. After some Techron and a couple of tanks of 93 octane fuel the problem went away. Do a search. You can pull the sender out and clean it and that may solve the problem.
 

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A flashing CEL is way worse than a steady. Flashing means severe misfires detected that can damage converters. This was put in all 96 and newer us cars OBD2 federal.

Have it scanned before you go swapping parts, but in my opinon you are going to have a bad coil pack, plug, mafs, or injector.

Should see a p0300 thru p0308 on this or an 1128.
 

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2002 E430 Special Edition, Obsidian Black
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Discussion Starter #11
So after 2 weeks I finally made it home where I had a new MaxiScan tool waiting for me. Here are the codes from my '02 E430 as well as the Freeze Frame' data (which is a snapshot of the vehicle operating parameters when an emissions related fault occurs). If you need further info on my particular symptoms, see my long original post.

I really hope this additional data helps to lead me in the right direction on finding and fixing whatever is causing my problems:

Stored Codes:
1: P0302 - Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
2: P0308 - Cylinder 8 Misfire Detected
3: P0300 - Random / Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected

Pending Codes:
1. P0300 - Random / Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
2. P0305 - Cylinder 5 Misfire Detected
3. P0303 - Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected
4. P0302 - Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
5. P0308 - Cylinder 8 Misfire Detected
6. P0304 - Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
7. P0307 - Cylinder 7 Misfire Detected

Note: All of these codes also display that they were set from 'Control Module #10'.

Freeze Frame Data:

DTCFRZF: P0300
FUELSYS1: CL
FUELSYS2: CL
LOAD_PCT(%): 18.4
ETC(*c): 176
SHRTFT1(%): -7.8
LONGFT1(%): -1.6
SHRTFT2(%): -8.6
LONGFT2(%): -1.6
MAP(kPa): 8.3
RPM(/min): 2025
VSS(km/h): 65

I/M Readiness:

MIL Status: On
Misfire Monitor: OK
Fuel System Mon: OK
Comp. Component: Ok
Catalyst Mon: OK
Htd Catalyst: N/A
Evap System Mon: OK
Sec Air System: OK
A/C Refrig Mon: N/A
Oxygen Sens Mon: OK
Oxygen Sens Htr: OK
ECR System: OK

I really hope this information is enough for someone to help me in the right direction to find/repair my issue.

I put on a brand new Bosch Mass-Air Sensor prior to getting these codes (I had run into this issue a few weeks back, cleared the MIL and replaced my MAF and hoped that would take care of it..which it didn't). I also have a brand new Mann air filter, Mann fuel filter and gas cap seal (all from Autohausaz) that I'm going to install in the morning. Even if they are not the issue, i'm sure they need replacing anyway.

Thanks for any advice you may have,
-Clay
 

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Air+Fuel+Fire=CarRuns.
MAF is new. Almost all cylinders misfired. No O2 sensor code.
I think your fuel filter is 156k miles old.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Air+Fuel+Fire=CarRuns.
MAF is new. Almost all cylinders misfired. No O2 sensor code.
I think your fuel filter is 156k miles old.
When I get it up in the air tomorrow and drop the plastic cover, if I see those funky little clips they use from the factory we will know!

I really hope its as simple as a bad fuel filter.
 

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Plus one on the fuel filter. Did you pull a plug to inspect it and see if they'd been replaced?

Misfires on all cylinders are really rare. Clogged cats (or a clogged muffler/resonator) could do that.

But if you don't know the filter and plugs that's where I'd start.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
this might be a stupid question, but is there a difference in appearance between resistor and non-resistor spark plugs?

Just wondering what I should be looking for to tell if the plugs currently in the car have been in there for the past 156k or not. Any brand name in particular, marking, or something like that?

Regardless, I'm thinking I might go ahead and order the Bosch plugs from Autohausaz since they are priced pretty good. Are all of the plugs pretty easy to get to with basic hand/shop tools, or is it something I should have my mechanic do? Some of the ones in back look tough to get at.


As far as clogged cats or mufflers....that wouldnt be an intermittent problem like I am having would it? It would seem that would be more permanent symptom wise. (I'm obviously trying to avoid thinking it could be them since they are the most expensive part and ones I don't think I can replace/repair on my own). Also, no funny noises, rattling, etc. from the exhaust system. All sounds normal.
 

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You can pull a plug and see the general condition, the electrode wears away, thins out towards to tip, easiest to compare it to a fresh plug which can be shocking.

I would recommend the OE single electrode which is the FR8DPP33 - yep, the autohaus prices for that plug are quite reasonable.

Do a forum search for boot removal tool - avail thru a frequent poster here or from eBay about $30 - makes the whole job a lot smoother and less wear and tear on the boots/wires.

On the fuel filter, I personally use the Bosch which is the OE maker of the MB filter, and avoid the knock-off no brand tricksters.

Yep, those trickster MB fuel filter clamps need to go !

The hop is this - that cleaning up the fuel delivery, fresh plugs, and other misc it woun't turn out to be a cat problem - although in VA you can go aftermarket cat, unlike CA folks, or get OE cat or OE rebuilt cat at aftermarket discount.

Check the cats for signs of breaks and leaks,

One step at a time - keep the faith !
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yup....stock MB fuel filter with funky clamps.

Car is in the air and I'm ready with the replacement. Now, how in the heck do you get these funky clamps off without having the special tool?

I fully plan on running to the auto parts store and getting traditional hose clamps for the replacement.
 

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2001 SLK 320(217K Miles), 2002 E320 Special Edition(183K Miles)
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Screwdriver or pliers. Just force them open, not too difficult and no need to worry about breaking them. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm really starting to get fed up with this.

Replaced the fuel filter yesterday with a new Mann unit from Autohausaz. Reset the codes and took her for a test drive this morning. As usual, starts off great with plenty of power and its normal self. Within a few miles, the CEL comes back on (solid, not flashing) and I can tell its not knocking on all 8 cylinders. Pull over, shut her off, restart and while the CEL is still solid car runs normal while I turn for home.

Ran the codes again, here is what I now have:

Stored Codes:
P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
P0307 Cylinder 7 Misfire Detected
P0300 Random / Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected

Again, all from 'Control Module 10' whatever that is.

The same (3) codes are listed as Pending as well. I'm sure its the same thing as I had prior to the fuel filter, just I didn't drive far enough with the CEL light on this time for the other cylinders to have detected misfires as well.

Here is the freeze frame data:
DTCFRZF: P0300
FUELSYS1: CL
FUELSYS2: CL
LOAD_PCT(%): 24.7
ETC(*C): 149
SHRTFT1(%): -0.8
LONGFT1(%): -0.8
SHRTFT2(%): -0.8
LONGFT2(%): -0.8
MAP (kPa): 10.3
RPM(/min): 2175
VSS(km/h): 68

What other routes do I have? No strange noise from the cats or exhaust system...flow seems normal at idle and when I rev. I haven't checked the plugs yet, but are these symptoms even something that could be caused by the plugs being bad?

I feel like its something electronic, or a sensor, or something like that because of the way it will start off fine, then start misfiring, but when I restart it runs normal again for a while until the whole process starts over again a few miles later.
 
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