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2003 Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I know there are plenty of threads here but I read almost all and did not help me :(
I have a 2003 Mercedes C230 Kompressor sedan. I literally just bought it less than a month ago. Everything was totally fine, then a couple of weeks later the engine won't start. We tried to jump start it, and it would start at first but the next day even jump starting didn't work. The engine would stop completely just the moment jumper cables are taken off. There was no power at all, so the electronic key couldn't be used to lock the car. We asked a nearby mechanic, and he said it was the alternator or the battery. So, we had the car towed to the garage and they replaced the existing Valeo alternator with a remanufactured one and the battery with a Bosch battery.

Now when we went to pick up the car the supervisor pointed out that when they replaced the new battery, the parking lights and also the brake lights are always ON! Also, now even the trunk won't open using the electronic key, the door locks aren't working and the plastic part near the power steering (the part where the indicator wand is) seems loose. There is even a new error flashing that says "Display defective" or sth of that sort.
I have no idea what is going on........
Is it possible for the garage to introduce electrical problems while installing a new battery and alternator???

Thanks. Any help, advice or comments will be appreciated...
 

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2000 Mercedes-Benz S500. Sold: 2000 C230K, Sold: 1997 Porsche 944S
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There is a correct way to jump start a car and there is the typical way of jump starting a car and causing more damage than first started.
Today's car are loaded with electronics, gauges, solenoids, ECU's, digital displays, fuses etc.
If you happen to jump start a car wrong ( not what MB recommends ) you can fry the electronic system. ( alternator / battery/ ecu )

Putting that aside, immediately replace your Key FOB Battery.

Has anyone attempted to pull Codes from the car?
( Note-I doubt you will get any codes at this point. Pulling the Battery probably wiped out all the valuable data )

For now, do a visual inspection, see if something is loose or broken.
Check All your fuses, wires, connectors. Do the simple things.

And I would get the car over to an Independent, LOCALLY TRUSTED German Mechanic.

(psst-check the power packs on top, to make sure it is not wet. If they get wet, all power shuts down. I used to hand wash my engine and many times I forgot about
those and lo' and behold, dead power. )

Good Luck.
 
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It sounds as if the jump-starting and attempted starting with a low battery has damaged the front and rear SAMs. These modules are use in place of fuses to control certain functions such as lighting. They can be very sensitive to voltage surges.
 

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I've read of so many issues with the SAMS it is unclear to me why Mercedes uses them instead of 20 cent fuses. I guess I should read the Mercedes approved jump starting method. I've done it on my car a couple times the usual way and never had an issue.
 

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The reason for not using fuses is because the SAM is already a series of transistor-based relays use to activate the lighting circuits, so why make things more complicated with a fuse when you just need a larger transistor for the higher amp draw? The reason they fail is like any electronic component - give it a bunch of voltage spikes and it will die.
 

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2003 Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your suggestions.
We actually read the manual and jump started using Mercedes recommended method the first time. The second time I wasn't there, so dont know if the mechanic followed it properly... :confused:

What happens if the ECU is fried/damaged? Is it the electrical control unit?
If it is damaged, how can it be determined which part should be repaired or replaced? I shall check the power packs if they are dry, I think they are because the car/engine hasn't been washed very recently.

It's been at the mechanic's for over a week. I went there again this morning, but all they do is keep sending me in loops and don't say anything clearly, let alone fix the issue!! I am getting the car back from them tomorrow and thinking of driving it to a dealership.
Any suggestions on that matter?? do dealerships usually have good mechanics?

I was actually inclined towards independent mechanics, but don't know any specializing on German cars in this city. I spoke to someone who claimed to have experience on BMWs and Volkswagen... bt the guy didn't even show up the day he was supposed to do the repairs :-|
I am going to change the key fob battery, but I should mention that even the mechanical key (the one that can be slid out from the electrical key) doesn't lock the door. I try to turn the lock like usual, but all it does is turn it to a point, but NOT lock it.
There is a correct way to jump start a car and there is the typical way of jump starting a car and causing more damage than first started.
Today's car are loaded with electronics, gauges, solenoids, ECU's, digital displays, fuses etc.
If you happen to jump start a car wrong ( not what MB recommends ) you can fry the electronic system. ( alternator / battery/ ecu )

Putting that aside, immediately replace your Key FOB Battery.

Has anyone attempted to pull Codes from the car?
( Note-I doubt you will get any codes at this point. Pulling the Battery probably wiped out all the valuable data )

For now, do a visual inspection, see if something is loose or broken.
Check All your fuses, wires, connectors. Do the simple things.

And I would get the car over to an Independent, LOCALLY TRUSTED German Mechanic.

(psst-check the power packs on top, to make sure it is not wet. If they get wet, all power shuts down. I used to hand wash my engine and many times I forgot about
those and lo' and behold, dead power. )

Good Luck.
 

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2003 Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Rodney.
I have two questions.
Is there any way to know/make sure that the SAM or any part of it is burnt out? If it is indeed damaged, how much would it cost to repair (if possible) or replace it?

The reason for not using fuses is because the SAM is already a series of transistor-based relays use to activate the lighting circuits, so why make things more complicated with a fuse when you just need a larger transistor for the higher amp draw? The reason they fail is like any electronic component - give it a bunch of voltage spikes and it will die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Rodney,
I have two questions.
Is there any way to know/make sure that the SAM or any part of it is burnt out? If it is indeed damaged, how much would it cost to repair (if possible) or replace it?

And this might be a silly one...... bt where is the SAM located and how does it look like? I would like to check if there is any visible physical damage on it (or burning smell maybe..)


It sounds as if the jump-starting and attempted starting with a low battery has damaged the front and rear SAMs. These modules are use in place of fuses to control certain functions such as lighting. They can be very sensitive to voltage surges.
 

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You can actually swap in a used SAM if you can find one that is the exact part number as yours AND the donor car has the exact same options. If not, then a used SAM (of the appropriate part number) can be re-programmed to match your car using SDS.

As for the door locks, check fuse #8 (it's on the rear SAM in the trunk). If it's blown, and you replace it and it blows immediately, then you most likely have a bad ATA alarm horn. If it's good, then do try new batteries int he fob (though if the LED light on the fob blinks, that's likely not going to help). If that still doesn't fix it, then it's likely a bad antrenna amp which may or may not be a coincidence with the other SAM issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok.. I shall try to find out the part number of my SAM and check the fuse. Do you think if the fuse is blown, it can cause even the mechanical key (it's a regular key, non-electric) to not be able to lock/unlock the door?

Lastly, do you think taking the car to a dealer for service is a good option? I have no clear idea.
Several people have warned me that they overcharge you. Also, does dealerships typically have highly experienced mechanics?


You can actually swap in a used SAM if you can find one that is the exact part number as yours AND the donor car has the exact same options. If not, then a used SAM (of the appropriate part number) can be re-programmed to match your car using SDS.

As for the door locks, check fuse #8 (it's on the rear SAM in the trunk). If it's blown, and you replace it and it blows immediately, then you most likely have a bad ATA alarm horn. If it's good, then do try new batteries int he fob (though if the LED light on the fob blinks, that's likely not going to help). If that still doesn't fix it, then it's likely a bad antrenna amp which may or may not be a coincidence with the other SAM issues.
 

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Hello fellow MB owners.. sorry to chime in on soeone elses thread but i find it better then starting anew considering im having similar issues.

My issue is that i also have a car that will not start. I jumped it the Mercedes way and it worked. drove it to work .. started it up at lunch and went home. Then it wouldnt start.. This is a day after i replaced #52 with a 20A fuse. It has since been sitting for about 2 days not starting. Readinh the OP's post im wondering if this could be the alternator. I had a LOw voltage warning sign come on when i bought the car about 6 months ago but havent seen it since.. I had to replace the battery once about a month after purchase the vehicle.

I'm wondering , since i had ignored the voltage warning indicator, is it possible that the VR had warn out brushes and that caused my alternator to bite the dust, after viciously murdering one of my batteries. may he rest in peace. But then again it was a low voltage warning, and i hear that these cars have the VR in the ECM.. True?

With the car, I am able to lock and unlock the doors, insert and turn the key, move the gear shift. pretty much everything except start the engine. When i turn the key to crank, The Cluster some times stays on ( when jumpers are connected) and other times goes completely black. I hear one click and then nothing.

After a few attempts the car then completely shuts down. No electrical power. Cant lock the doors with the key fob. No dash lights come on and cant turn the key. Is this just a safety issue after multiple attempts or something?
 

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Ok.. I shall try to find out the part number of my SAM and check the fuse. Do you think if the fuse is blown, it can cause even the mechanical key (it's a regular key, non-electric) to not be able to lock/unlock the door?
No, the mechanical key system is purely mechanical - no fuse or battery issues would affect that.

Lastly, do you think taking the car to a dealer for service is a good option? I have no clear idea.
Several people have warned me that they overcharge you. Also, does dealerships typically have highly experienced mechanics?
Like all shops, dealerships are in business to make a profit. If you are willing to forgo the luxuries of a dealership such as fancy customer lounges with free wifi and lattes and maybe even loaner cars, you can save money using a qualified indy mechanic. The good thing with dealers is that they have access to the latest equipment and documentation from the manufacturer. I know some of the mechanics at my local dealer and they are very good, but I also know of a few indys in town that are also very good.

Personally, I avoid the dealer because of price. I do my own work. There are very few things I can't handle. Those that I can't, I first look to an indy, but soem things are best suited for (or require) a dealer.
 

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Hello fellow MB owners.. sorry to chime in on soeone elses thread but i find it better then starting anew considering im having similar issues.

My issue is that i also have a car that will not start. I jumped it the Mercedes way and it worked. drove it to work .. started it up at lunch and went home. Then it wouldnt start.. This is a day after i replaced #52 with a 20A fuse. It has since been sitting for about 2 days not starting. Readinh the OP's post im wondering if this could be the alternator. I had a LOw voltage warning sign come on when i bought the car about 6 months ago but havent seen it since.. I had to replace the battery once about a month after purchase the vehicle.

I'm wondering , since i had ignored the voltage warning indicator, is it possible that the VR had warn out brushes and that caused my alternator to bite the dust, after viciously murdering one of my batteries. may he rest in peace. But then again it was a low voltage warning, and i hear that these cars have the VR in the ECM.. True?

With the car, I am able to lock and unlock the doors, insert and turn the key, move the gear shift. pretty much everything except start the engine. When i turn the key to crank, The Cluster some times stays on ( when jumpers are connected) and other times goes completely black. I hear one click and then nothing.

After a few attempts the car then completely shuts down. No electrical power. Cant lock the doors with the key fob. No dash lights come on and cant turn the key. Is this just a safety issue after multiple attempts or something?
That sure sounds like a bad battery. What's the voltage at rest and during start?
 

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i will go to buy a multimeter tonight as my other one crapped out on me just as my car did. I will post the reading tonight after work.

As of right now the car is absolutely powerless except for the fog light indicators when i turn on the fogs. the lamps dont turn on themselves but the lights beside the control knob do. When i opened the door the tach meter speed meter gas etc all started rapidly flashing, rather dim tho, and the car was beeping and then it stopped.
 

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So the batt tested at 7.6 took it into for warranty they charged it and i brouht it back installed it. While installed it reads 12.45. I made sure the door was open and the lights were on and the car sprang back to life electronically. I turned the key to position 3 and nothing occered.. on the second attempt, the dash went black all the power in the car died again but the batteery still read 12.45.. the starter fuse is fine by the looks of it. I took a video of it
W203 c240 no start problem: http://youtu.be/L88A3iR0OOs
 

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So the battery voltage did not drop, and the starter did not engage to rotate the engine? Here's a few things to check:

Fuses 52 and 53 on the front SAM. If blown replace.

Make sure the gear selection (P for Park) shows on the MFD. If not, then the AGS (gearshift) is not communicating.
 

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I swapped those 2 fuses for new ones but the old ones tested fine.The dash does show it in park BUT there was a day about two weeks ago when i was unable to put the shifter into reverse or park for about 20 minutes
 

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OK, so both fuses are good, MFD shows shifter is in P and there is no voltage drop when you turn the key to the "start" position, correct? Is the cluster still going dark when you try to start? If so, this could be the starter "poling", but then again, I'd expect voltage to drop.
 

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Theres no pawer thiss morning to check the dash and all like i did last night. Im currently on the phone to see what canadian tire has to say since i do have warranty on my battery. How can i use my multimeter to see where all this power is going to?
 
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