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1999 E320 Wagon
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I was on the highway today and all of a sudden a notification saying "Battery Charge" on a red background came up on the cluster. I could not pull over or tow the car so I decided to make it home (~10 miles away). When I got home I turned the engine off and checked the battery for leaks or loose cables but all seemed well, however the car did not start and the "Battery Charge" comes up.

Did anyone have that problem before? After about an hour I tried starting the car and it did but the notification came up again. Is it just a dying battery or a more serious problem? I am planning on taking it to the dealer tomorrow to replace the battery but I would like to know if there is a better solution?

P.S About a month ago (stupid me) vacuumed the car using a car vacuum and it drained the battery but similarly to today it started back up after an hour or so and has been running just fine until today. However, the "Battery Charge" notification never came up back then.

I would really appreciate any comments! Thank you! :confused:
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,631 Posts
It's not your battery, it's the charging system as Kajtek1 has noted.

Have you opened the hood? Is the belt still on all the pulleys?

If the belt is in place and you are not a DIY type you need to get it to a shop. But if you continue to drive it the car will strand you. Believe me I know.

If you are DIY fan, disconnect the battery and charge it. While it's out, pull the alternator and remove the regulator. Go to the dealer and get a new one, about $50 depending on the version. Indie shop will charge about $250+ to swap it, about $500+ to put in a rebuilt alternator. If it wasn't making noise, 95% of the time it's the regulator.

Good luck.
 

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Registered
1999 E320 Wagon
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
It's not your battery, it's the charging system as Kajtek1 has noted.

Have you opened the hood? Is the belt still on all the pulleys?

If the belt is in place and you are not a DIY type you need to get it to a shop. But if you continue to drive it the car will strand you. Believe me I know.

If you are DIY fan, disconnect the battery and charge it. While it's out, pull the alternator and remove the regulator. Go to the dealer and get a new one, about $50 depending on the version. Indie shop will charge about $250+ to swap it, about $500+ to put in a rebuilt alternator. If it wasn't making noise, 95% of the time it's the regulator.

Good luck.
As you and Kajtek1 mentioned, the voltage regulator seems to be the problem (I hope so at least!). The battery voltage slowly decreased and there was no noise at all. I have someone coming in the morning to replace the alternator for a Duralast one but hopefully its just the regulator that needs to be replaced. I am 3hrs away from home and that seems to be the only solution since there is no other brand around here. My hope is that I can simply put in a new regulator and be on my way... Thank you both for your feedback! I really appreciate it :bowdown:
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,722 Posts
Hope Cherry made it home, but in case not - you can drive 3 hr on battery power if you don't use headlights. Obviously having spare battery or emergency pack would be advised.
 

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL(RIP),1997 Mercedes-Benz E420
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1,936 Posts
Battery, Alternator, or K40...thats my opinion. I doubt the K40 as it would pop the CEL light. Charge the battery and observe. For the alternator, check the diagnosis via the climate control.

You're in good hands with the participants in this thread, we've been through this.
 

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2005 E320 CDI 120k
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225 Posts
I had this issue several mos. ago. Turns out it was a gradual failure of both the alternator and battery together. Very hard to diagnose and definitively prove!

After the local electrical shop put the cheap regulator in the rebuilt alternator, I'd get the "Battery Charge" notification upon starting the engine. If I rev'd the engine right away I wouldn't get the message. Turns out it was the cheap regulator. Replaced it with a Bosch one and it worked fine.

I had to remove the alternator at least 3 times and make 4 trips to the parts store about getting a new battery before it was all done. What I would do is:
1. Take the battery out, charge it and test it out of the car.
2. Same for alternator.

I believe the "Battery Charge" notification means the car's system voltage has dropped below a certain safe threshold (ie., 10V or something like that).
 

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1999 E320 Wagon
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
As it turns out after removal of the alternator it was smokey looking and making terrible noise when turning so I decided to go ahead and replace it with the Duralast one. I heard the quality varies but it came with lifetime warranty so since I am slightly stranded here it seemed like the best idea at the time. As of now the car is working just fine and battery held charge right away. Now I am trying to find a way to get the CODE in... :crybaby2: ALMOST THERE!

I appreciate your feedback. The things I learn about my car on this forum (and the money I saved!). So glad I am a part of it :bowdown: Thanks guys!

P.S If anyone knows how to get the radio code without going to the dealer I would greatly appreciate it. My VIN is WDBJH82F1XX015796, but I have no access to the back of the radio as of right now so no serial number for the radio...
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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It doesn't sound as though a regulator would have done it as the noise makes it seem like it failed internally, and at least you'll have an autozone to support the warranty when you get home. No worries. Drive and enjoy.

No way I know of to get the code without hitting the dealer. There was a guy who used to do that from the sticky in the audio forum, but I think that's over and done with. Did you look through the manual paperwork to be sure you don't the code card or the code written in there?

Good luck.
 

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1999 E320 Wagon
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The code was a quick visit to the dealer, no problems. I finally made it home yesterday, its nice to have the car running just as new ;) Thanks for all the help once again guys!
 
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