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2013 E350/41k, 1997 E320/290k, 1999 FJ100/256k
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Discussion Starter #1
I left the lights on - all day and they are still on. I called MB and tech is on the way (and verified he has a new battery in case its needed).. Due to lock situation I cannot enter the car, not sure where sunroof crank exists/location so leaving it alone and waiting at a popular coffee shop..

So - I know alternators are meant to maintain - not recharge batteries.
I am not sure if MB sticks around long enough to charge a dead battery..
The battery was killed right before we bough the car June 2010 so thinking killed twice - maybe time to retire..

Thinking of just biting the bullet and getting a new one - my main concern is in December I'll be chasing electrical issues/alternator rebuild and you'll be kindly fielding my questions.

Any compelling reason not to??

Else gotta say, this roadside assistance rocks...
 

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1997 E320, 1997 S320
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autozone or any autoparts store should charge that battery for you. your battery will probably charge okay, so no need to replace it. make sure you still have the ventilation tube after you recharge it.
i don't understand how you cannot enter the car, your 1997 has a blade key which should unlock the door for you, unless you locked the keys inside the car.
 

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Wait...you're having charging system issues AND leaving the lights on. Better buy two batteries. ;)

If you can drive it long enough tonight, assuming a jump will get it going, that may toast the alternator and trump your timeline anyway. They're not really intended for that workload. But if you can wait until tomorrow, call Interstate, they're a little south of the airport, and see if they have a blem. I think the PN is a MT-93 or something like that, check their app guide on the net. Aardvark says that's what he always gets and they're like $40 or something. I have a full-price Interstate, they're fine.

Good luck!
 

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2013 E350/41k, 1997 E320/290k, 1999 FJ100/256k
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Discussion Starter #4
Tech came out and he said the alt was ok to charge the battery - I asked a couple times and he reassured me.. So we jumped it, it started and ran it an hour - shut down and car restarted. I'll be monitoring the voltage on the HVAC panel..

Entry - we have 1 remote and the wife uses that. We might get another remote, after all maint and repairs and head gasket is done..

So I got a blade key at SF Benz for $43, I use that when I drive..
Passenger door lock not working - so with dead battery cannot unlock car, only get into trunk and pass door lock broken and driver side no lock - no entry. Tech got into the car and we proceeded from there..

If I short-lifed the alternator, can I replace the VR/plate on the back to fix?? This part at autohausaz ?

Else, thanks for the tip on Interstate blems - will look into that...
 

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99 E320
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if you Google using keywords e.g. "alternator charge dead battery" you may get
quite a few, differing opinions vs your tech. if the battery suffered deep discharge,
you really need to do more than to jump start the car and ran it an hour. bad gamble
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ugh - found the interstate battery here. I don't have a charger - will get one and can start there... Thanks.
 

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Ugh - found the interstate battery here. I don't have a charger - will get one and can start there... Thanks.
If someone hadn't stolen mine I'd loan it to you. Just hit the store, you want a trickle charger, but maybe as high as 6 amp. They are not very expensive.

That's the correct interstate battery, but call the interstate warehouse on 101 directly to see if they have it in a blem. No reason to pay that much for it, might as well pay the tech for it.

Good luck.
 

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96 E-320, 91 190E, various and sundry Euro and American vehicles
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Yeah, Last "Blem" I got from Interstate was $38.oo installed.
With the practice of leaving on lights, don't waste $100.oo plus when you are going to end up just doing it again.

Can't speak for alternator capabilities, but on batteries you can charge em too fast when down low, and possible warp a plate or two.
Agree with the trickle charge for awhile and then kick her up to ~6a. You may have killed it, and now have a dead cell.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alternator and Lazarus??

Alternator issues.. :) Please humor me and allow me to detail..

So back when car shopping a few months ago we see this vehicle, dealer says "battery dead - someone left the dome light on. I'll call out unlock/jumpstart while you get dinner - and I'll pay for it.."
Great - he even loaned us a C-class - we took out for dinner, came back - soon driving home.
He offered to replace the battery if went bad the next days - did not..

That was the first death.
The second is like it - I left the headlights on..

So the alternator has performed two "raise the dead" experiences.. That can't be good for it - but then maybe it will be ok.. Saying my prayers.. ;)
 

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I think this is again on of those urban legends that the alternator will "just fall to pieces" if you attempt to recharge a run-down battery. :rolleyes: Yes, recharging a shorted battery may cause problems - but a short can happen on a perfectly good battery will driving.

All cars have a regulator to limit both the draw and to prevent overcharge. Any body still remember the old regulators with the physical points that sometime got stuck? :eek:

Now if you try and set up a shop to charge dead batteries from your car, it surely will limit the life of the alternator, but recharging the occasional dead battery, say 2 or 3 times a year, will not change the alternator life in any way that you will notice.

And yes, it does bring the battery back to full charge - if you drive enough and not just start and drive for a mile, stop, restart, etc. That driving pattern will even cause a perfectly good battery and alternator to loose charge.

I've recharged discharged batteries just using the car's charging system (varying from old style generators to modern alternators) for more than 40 years and never had any problems. The last was a few weeks ago on my wife's car after she left the lights on (yet again :mad: ). The battery was so discharged that even the radio lost it's settings, yet we jump-started it, drove it home and the battery is fully charged again. :D

My 2 cents worth. :D
 

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An alternator in fine working order will not fail. The problem is that the regulators in these are already problematic, and the additional load of the alternator running at full capacity for an extended period (and resulting heat) do seem to hasten an earlier demise.

That said, I'm actually in the opposite camp. I replaced my battery as a preventative (didn't want to be stranded, I'm not a fan of such inconvenience) and then a few months later the regulator died...which ended up stranding me. :D

Greggster apparently lives pretty close to me, so maybe we'll pull his and rebuild it and post a DIY thread about it. Assuming we can find bearings, of course, or he doesn't mind the car being down for a couple of days so the bearings can be pulled and matched up.

And re: Lazarus, that's funny. A friend and I were talking about that Thursday (he has a friend who'd told him God had healed him of asthma, but then it came back because of his disobedience) and he was wondering whether God would only heal temporarily. I said I could see that; otherwise that would mean Lazarus was still walking around alive and well somewhere nowadays, right? ;)
 

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I should also add to my previous post, that the biggest risk is actually to the battery. Since the battery charge is very low, it will receive a very high charge rate from the alternator - which is NOT good for battery life. That is why it is recommended that immediately after the car has been jump-started, you switch your headlights on and anything else that draws a high current, so as to limit the battery charge rate. This only needs to be done for a few minutes (10 - 15 minutes) until the battery has received basic charge at a lower rate.
 

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C'mon, Kobus. You know that someone is going to post just the opposite, that you should leave all those things off. "Yeah I turned everything on and fried the blower motor AND the blower regulator, the foglights, the seat motors, blah, blah, blah" :rolleyes: :biggrin:
 

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C'mon, Kobus. You know that someone is going to post just the opposite, that you should leave all those things off.
Yeah, you're right - but we haven't had a good flame-war in ages. :D;) The moderators are having it too easy these days.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Been an interesting thread.. Its really quite the community and enjoyable with owning a Mercedes.

gregs210 - I'm definitely interested in the removal and DIY - working on the get 2nd car situation right now. I see a lot of folks around the net doing the preventative builds - this site mentioned on another thread - might have the parts we are looking for..

Lazarus - that's not an easy one - Hezekiah got 15 years - it was the sickness that humbled him and caused him to ask God. I see that God's more interested in our faith than anything - I don't always like that but then its my values that are off then.

I cannot speak for your friend-of-friend, but my wife smoked for 16 years - got to 2 packs a day. In her studying the bible, she prayed for 4 hours one night to kick the habit and fell asleep praying. Next day and since then - cravings were gone.. Been 10 years - I've always respected her for that and other instances of faith - we [met 8, married 6](years ago)..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Kobus - thanks for sharing the experience - I have replaced a couple alternators - only in this car to really dig in and understand how to take care and be preventative. Previous cars ran with duct tape (or bailing wire as I hear done with Crown Vics :) ) and neglect for many years - but the smells, clunks, leaks, and issues stacked up - cars never left me stranded, but only because I could repair enroute. This car - want to be ahead as much as possible.

What you mention about battery - found it interesting after removal/recharge:
13.5 V fresh off the trickle charger
..then settled to ..
13.[1-3] V after an hour freeway drive
 
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