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99 ML320, 04 E500
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Discussion Starter #1
Recently, my instrument cluster died on my '99 ML320. All gauges (temperature, fuel, speedometer, tachometer, odometer) and lights (few exceptions) no longer function. The backlights are also out. The only lights that do work are the SRS, EPS and battery light when I initially insert and turn the key. I have tested all the fuses and relays (testing by swapping the fuses and relays against other positions such as the horn and rear window wiper and high beams) -- all the fuses and relays are intact. I also removed the instrument cluster to detach and reattach the cable that connects to it to ensure that it wasn't loose.

I've seen some threads about a fuse box in the passenger side kick panel but I wasn't able to find one. From what I've read in various posts, the kick panel fuse box wasn't introduced until the '00 model.

With the aforementioned signs and things that I've done, are there any recommendations as to what I can do next?

Cheers,
Chris
 

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Premium Member
02 ML320 06 ML500
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Please recheck fuses #10 and 13.

Besides the cluster, are there any other features that are not work; e.g. cigar lighter, vanity mirrors, radio, signals etc.

If you are positive that all fuses are accounted for, you will have to remove the cluster again and with a volt/ohm meter, conduct the tests below. There are no identifying clips on the connector diagram, so to get you started, the 1,2&3 wires in connector A are green, white and brown. In connector B they are grey,white and grey.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Please recheck fuses #10 and 13.

Besides the cluster, are there any other features that are not work; e.g. cigar lighter, vanity mirrors, radio, signals etc.

If you are positive that all fuses are accounted for, you will have to remove the cluster again and with a volt/ohm meter, conduct the tests below. There are no identifying clips on the connector diagram, so to get you started, the 1,2&3 wires in connector A are green, white and brown. In connector B they are grey,white and grey.
Fuse 10 was fine -- cigarette light, vanity lights, radio and turn signals (in instrument cluster) all work. I stuck the fuse from #13 into #10, and everything still worked. I've checked all three fuses that have the "instrument cluster" label next to it as well as the k5 relay (swapped it with the horn relay k2).

I will conduct the tests tonight on the connector and reply with my results.

Cheers,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Fuse 10 was fine -- cigarette light, vanity lights, radio and turn signals (in instrument cluster) all work. I stuck the fuse from #13 into #10, and everything still worked. I've checked all three fuses that have the "instrument cluster" label next to it as well as the k5 relay (swapped it with the horn relay k2).

I will conduct the tests tonight on the connector and reply with my results.

Cheers,
Chris
Please forgive my naivete, but how do I test the connector pins? What are the three columns in the document describing? For the first line item, I assumed that I need to poke into the A3 and A11 and see what the current is but the description also says to remove A1 which confused me. Due to the shape of the connector, I'm unable to jab the tips of the multimeter into the back of the connector -- and my tips are slightly too big to fit inside the pin holes.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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You may have to get different leads for your meter.

Mine came with a variety of changeable tips. What kind of meter is it? Some places
sell leads/tips/probes for many brands.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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Try and use some ingenuity. Find sewing needles or pins that will fit and then just touch the probes to the pins.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Try and use some ingenuity. Find sewing needles or pins that will fit and then just touch the probes to the pins.
Thanks gents! Initially I tried using staples but wasn't able to get any readings (I assume the staples were too skinny to make proper contact or wasn't a good conducting metal). I switched to using larger paperclips which happened to fit the pin holes quite snugly and started getting the readings.

The results:
1.0, 1.1, 1.2: Within normal range
2.0: Skipped -- didn't know what X11/4 was referencing
3.0: Normal
3.1, 3.2: Voltages came under the expected value (1.8V and 1.9V respectively)
4.0: Normal
5.0, 6.0: Skipped

Based on my readings, it looks like the CAN bus voltages are weak. The possible cause/remedy column says "N3/10" -- what does this mean? How should I proceed?

Cheers,
Chris
 

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Premium Member
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N3/10 is the Eng. Control Module, but I doubt that is the problem. When they say around so and so, it might be enough.

X11/4 is the DLC (Data Link Connector) under the left side of the dash. If you still have the cluster out try and do the test. Slot #15 on the DLC is a pink wire.

Maybe it is time to have the codes read with a professional grade scanner. Looking for codes that start with Cxxxx and any others..
 

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I know you said you have checked all the fuses, but did you check them with the key on and with a test light?

Fuse number 9 is for the Instrument Illumination and the license plate lights. Check the license plate lights with the headlights turned on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I know you said you have checked all the fuses, but did you check them with the key on and with a test light?

Fuse number 9 is for the Instrument Illumination and the license plate lights. Check the license plate lights with the headlights turned on.
Checked 2.0 and got a correct reading <5ohms.

Also used a test light on fuse #9 -- connected to battery ground and test both sides of the fuse and light showed continuity.

Originally, I had thought that fuse #9 was the culprit since my license plate lights didn't turn on when my headlights were on. But since the fuse didn't show any issues, I shrugged it off. Just now I decided to check the license plate lights again and saw that they were burned out but the terminals are receiving voltage (~11-12V). Would the burnt out license plate lights cause my issues? I figure with my other readings (1.0-4.0) that I am still receiving proper voltage through the A/B connector and this isn't the case.

I will try to get a code scanner (I should really get one considering how often I've had to troubleshoot my ML and E-class already).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No it wouldn't. On the "A" connector on the cluster check the grey wire in pin 13.
How should I check the wire? My connector is a shared connector where the A and B use the same connector housing (see attachments). Do you want me to follow the wire out and check it's connection?

I tried testing voltage by performing a similar test as 1.1 and 1.2 with paperclips in the A13 and A3 holes -- which resulted in no reading.
 

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The A side is the one with more pins. Leave the connector disconnected, and test pin 13 with the headlights on.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That means that K5 circuit 58 relay and fuse #9 are good and at the least your illumination bulbs should light. Did you check it using A3 as ground?
Yes, I used A3 as ground. No illumination for cluster though :confused:

Should I just bite the bullet and order a used instrument cluster from ebay or try to find one locally from a pick-n-pull?
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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Post the number of the cluster on the back.

Have you done anything to the truck that might have cause this problem? Did you install anything at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Post the number of the cluster on the back.

Have you done anything to the truck that might have cause this problem? Did you install anything at all?
A163 540 11 47

No, the cluster was working fine when I drove to go play some golf and when I returned to the car and started up, the cluster was dead.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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Well that would be a big save. The damn things list for $1700. 43 to the rescue.:thumbsup:
 
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