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Hi everybody,

I really wish I didn't have to bother you with the issue I've recently encountered, but right now I could really use some expert help. The car in question is a 2005 W220 S320 CDI 220.025.

Yesterday I got my indy to carry out a distronic retrofit using new parts as described by David Prokity in his famous youtube video. Since my mechanic has also got DAS with developer mode, we decided it would be a good idea to at least test the system by performing offline SCN coding for distronic before I visit the dealer for a data card update i.e. addition of code 219.

The diagnostic equipment recognized the presence of the radar control unit behind the front grille right away and warned that SCN coding was indeed required to make it work. No plug and play stuff, that was kind of clear beforehand. We ticked the distronic boxes in the instrument cluster, CGW, ESP and system diagnosis subsections and coded them. So far so good. But then, as we tried to do the same with the ECU we were greeted by an error message which stated something along the lines of "Error 85xx, unable to read data". The whole SCN code subsection for the ECU was unavailable, not even as read only data. Just a blank screen. Which was odd, since the ECU is definitely functioning properly, no DTCs, it has caused absolutely no problems whatsoever for the 3 years that I've owned the car. After a quick update of the ECU flash firmware with the latest available version, we got the same result.
My indy guessed that the ECU had probably been tampered with by tuners who had locked it afterwards. If that's really the case I would have never guessed that my car had undergone chip tuning at some point of its life. The previous owner certainly never mentioned anything and there is no such entry in the service history. Just great.

Still, the mechanic made an educated guess that online SCN coding at the dealership may still work and bring distronic to life without the need of removing the ECU EEPROM and manually recoding it first (in order to unlock it and generally bring it to stock condition).


So, after this rather lengthy explanation my question to people familiar with this topic would be - is it wise to go ahead and code the car at the dealer or would it be an utter waste of time and money and even possibly cripple the ECU to a degree that the car wouldn't even start anymore? Thank you in advance.
 

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Hi,

I am afraid I don't know the answer to your question, but in the abscence of any other replies, here's my 2 pence worth :wink

Having got a lot of new customers recently, who have been using MB dealers in the UK and also some indie shops, I have seen some appalling mis diagnoses and even more awful standards of workmanship on MB and other vehicles.

My best advice is do not let anyone mess with it unless you are absolutely certain that they have done this before, and come across the same issue, and you are 101% + confident in what they are doing.
Get a written agreement that they will rectify a non start issue should they 'F' it up, otherwise it could get very very expensive.

"EEPROMMING" is a very dicey and risky affair with all but a few elite and knowledgeable guys........
I don't know about in USA but in UK there is actually only one guy who instills any confidence in me, and who's reputation preceeds :laugh

Could you not find out who did the tuning work on the ECU and explain your situation, I understand why they would encrypt their work, but given your reasons I'm sure they would be able to version code it for you :wink

Otherwise I fear your last sentence may well come true :eek

HTH,

Cheers Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot for your input on recoding he ECU, it's greatly appreciated. I'm aware that things could get really messy should I go down that road, so I'm not planning to do so at all. What I'm going to do is update my vehicle's data card and version code it at the dealer next week. I've already got some opinions from people with serious experience in the field claiming that my ECU's engineering menu has been locked at the factory and online version coding should indeed do the trick (as one doesn't need manual access to the ECU's advanced engineering functions). Well, I guess we'll see, I'll report on whether this works or not. :wink
 

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Hi,

Yes please do report back, I am very interested in the outcome / cure for this.

Like your Indie, I too can only do offline coding, and I don't have the need or volume of work for a hellish expensive "Accreditation & Online Subscription".

I have in the past come across a couple of units on Mercedes before, that appear to have been locked at the factory......

In one instance I then substituted a s/h replacement Vito dash cluster, which was locked, for another identical s/h item and then I was then able to code that unit offline.
Sadly this is not really a viable option with a theft relevant item such as an ME ECU, EIS etc .......

Very interested indeed :wink

Cheers Dave
 

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I was able to successfully install Distronic into a 2001 S600 this weekend. Here's a video of the end result:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bMe7Rn4ymjcvzuvDA

Some notes for 2001, the cable I got between the lower and upper control panel was not the right one. Years up to 2001 need cable 220-540-75-09, which has 6 pins into the upper control panel. Later models use 220-540-37-32 which has 10 pins and only works with post-face lift button style upper control panel. If anyone needs a newer cable, I'm happy to send it.

The video also shows some of the coding I had to do, which isn't very intuitive and requires working around some bugs in Star diagnostics. The M137 engine with ME 2.7 seems to require some changes that I didn't have to do for an SL55 retrofit with ME 2.8. Also, I found that I could wire everything into the passenger-side using the newer R230 230-540-94-07 harness, only splicing 3 wires in the passenger cable run. It made it a lot easier than routing to the driver side, though I did take the driver side apart just to understand how everything was connected.

Now that I've done this on a 2004 R230 and a 2001 W220, I feel like I have a good handle on the process. Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this helps someone!
 

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Very informative!
Unrelated to your new installation, my standard Distronic used to work fine, but lately drops out often, displaying "Distronic external failure - re-engage Distronic (or similar)"
Any ideas?
 

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I had 'Distronic External Interference' pop up twice today in roughly the same spot on a road going 2 directions.

My theory is that there was a labor day speed trap setup in that area, and that the police speed radar guns were confusing with the system. See if there is any correlation on your end.
 

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Yes, possible; I also hear that today's newer cars use a lot of radar for blind spot detection, and even "all around" radar.
Didn't exist when my car was made long time ago.
 

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Yes, possible; I also hear that today's newer cars use a lot of radar for blind spot detection, and even "all around" radar.
Didn't exist when my car was made long time ago.
Hi,

This is a very good point, it could be that it simply isn't worth fitting the aged Distronic Technology any more ;)

Cheers Dave
 

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....the coding I had to do, which isn't very intuitive and requires working around some bugs in Star diagnostics. The M137 engine with ME 2.7 seems to require some changes that I didn't have to do for an SL55 retrofit with ME 2.8.
Been a bit sick so just got back into working on the W220.

It looks like I have stuffed up big time. A year ago I installed a second hand 2003 Distronic in my W220 S500L (Update model MY 10/2003) on the assumption that I wouldn't need SCN coding.

The installation went well but I just cannot get it to work.

I know the ME ECU needs to be unlocked before I do any coding and each time I go through the unlock process (Steuerger盲t entriegein (DJ_Zugriffsberechtigung) [Control unit unlocked (DJ_Access authorization)]) I keep seeing the statement: Result: Zugriff bereits erlaubt. [Access already allowed.] So I conclude from that that the ME ECU is unlocked.

I also always go through the process of 鈥淩ead coding and/or transfer download data to a new control unit.鈥 And then select NO/F4 re 鈥淚s the coding to be transferred to the new control unit?鈥 just so that the fields are all populated with actual data.

But when I try to enable ie make active ART (AbstandsRegelTempomat) [Distance rule cruise control] in the ME ecu I keep getting the Communications error 8.561.6067.

When I check the DTR 鈥 Distronic error codes I see C1532 ie ME ecu does not match DTR ecu, and C1533 ie CGW ecu does not match DTR ecu.

Does it matter in what order you code the various ECU鈥檚? I have been trying this order;
1. Enable ATR in ecu ME-SFI 2.8 (Motor electronics)
2. Enable Distronic in ecu ME-SFI 2.8 (Motor electronics)
3. Enable Distronic in ecu CGW (Central gate way)
4. Enable Distronic in ecu EZS (Electronic ignition switch)
5. Enable Distronic in ecu ICM (Instrument cluster with maintenance display)
6. Enable Distronic in ecu UCP (Upper control panel)
7. Reset/Initialize ecu DTR (Distronic)​

How do I know if I need SCN coding?

And another funny thing. When I try to disable the OEM cruise control as suggested by others so that it doesn't conflict with Distronic I do not seem to have the option 0329 Bandende, Tempomat 鈥 ein [0329 Cruise control 鈥 on] in the ME28 ecu. However I can make active ART (AbstandsRegelTempomat) [Distance rule cruise control] in the ME ecu at 0272 bis [to] 0273.

Any help much appreciated.

Brian
 

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If I recall correctly, you get the communications error when the CGW is not configured. Since it is the gateway to everything else, I believe it needs to know the unit exists before you can configure many of the other things. I recall having that same issue with the SL55 and thinking that there was a version mismatch before realizing the real problem.

If I understand correctly, online SCN coding is only needed for mid-2004 vehicles and later, depending on the class. If you aren't getting a popup for a login to Mercedes' servers, you're probably fine. I have a 2004 E320 that wants a login for many things that the other cars do not, such as initial startup on a transmission control unit.

Caveat: I haven't had to mess with this in a year or so, so my memory might be a little fuzzy now. But it is possible to get past the communications error.
 

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Thanks for the reply Brenton.

I will have another try using this different order of steps.
3. Enable Distronic in ecu CGW (Central gate way)
4. Enable Distronic in ecu EZS (Electronic ignition switch)
5. Enable Distronic in ecu ICM (Instrument cluster with maintenance display)
6. Enable Distronic in ecu UCP (Upper control panel)
0. Unlock ecu ME-SFI 2.8 (Motor electronics)
1. Enable ATR in ecu ME-SFI 2.8 (Motor electronics)
2. Enable Distronic in ecu ME-SFI 2.8 (Motor electronics)
7. Reset/Initialize ecu DTR (Distronic)​

Do you have to unlock any of the other ecu鈥檚?

Brian
 

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Hi Brian,

Forgive me as I'm very busy right now, but IIRC we discussed someone else's post who did get Distronic Retrofit to work a while back, I believe he had to get MB to flash an update file to his ME ECU and then he was able to Code it all successfully via his own SDS ???????

If you really don't have or can't find that info, let me know and I'll try and find time to go searching for you :wink

HTH,
 

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Hi Dave,
Thanks for the tip.
Because I am old and it's been a long time since I last tried to code the Distronic I had forgotten about my original posting with excellent replies at;
https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220-s-class/2736970-distronic-scn-coding-2.html

And as it's been too cold and wet to be outside standing along side the W220 all day, I spent today surfing the internet re Distronic Retrofit. I have now regained my confidence and will have another go using the steps outlined above.

It is probably a good idea to get the ME ecu upgraded first but from what I can see is not absolutely necessary.

There are several very good tips for overcoming DAS communication errors. It seems critical that you do the coding in the right order and use busterbcook's tip to read the existing coding first just to populate the Xentry fields before trying to change or store anything.

It also seems that the need for SCN coding was not introduced until 6/2004 which is a few months AFTER my car was made so here's hoping. Fortunately I have a local Indie who is prepared to have a go at the coding if I do not succeed and that is my backup plan.

There is a very good thread on the R230 site from 2015 with several BW members discussing starting a Distronic retrofit but unfortunately they didn't ever post how it all turned out. My bump of the thread in August 2018 was the last post.

Will post how it all goes but will go back to using my original thread linked above.

Regards, Brian
 

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Hi Brian,

I am certain, that with 1 irrelevant to Distronic exception, there is absolutely no SCN Coding on any W220 ..................

That exception is of course as you correctly say, post 2004, and will only apply to those cars fitted with 7GTronic 722.9 Transmission, as the Electronic Module on those Transmission Valve Blocks do require SCN.

That is it, nothing else on any W220 needs SCN ;)

HTH,
 

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I posted this sometime ago somewhere:

I've had my 2002 S600 for 7 years now, and the Distronic always worked.
For the last couple of years, it quite frequently (on the highway) drops out with an error DISTRONIC OFF EXTERNAL ERROR (it resets ok with the stalk right after).
It makes me think all the late model cars that have radar collision/blind spot interfere with the distronic, which was designed in the late 90's.

Think about it!
 
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