I got this once. I was still under warranty so did exactly as it suggested and visited the workshop. What follows is the work order report from Phillips Mercedes Benz, Virginia Beach, Va:
A customer states ESP warning is displayed at times
468360 Horn contact spiral, repl.
1 169-464-11-18 contact spir
541011 short test, perform
54835 Steering column module defective short test-DTC 9000 (Steering Column Module is defective, C1036 Fault in CAN communication with steering column modul, and C1173/C1173 Steering Angle
sensor: plausibility error/internal fault. R&R A/B and Steering Wheel. REPL. Steering column module, cleared codes, road test and checked again.
In lay mans terms, some sensor in the steering column went bad and they replaced it.
In short, I bet you have a bad sensor somewhere.
As an aside: Ever notice that when you get a warning light it's because some sensor is bad but nothing is wrong with the system monitered by the sensor.
^^^I have the same exact issue. My problem happens intermitantly on my 2002 C320. On a cold start I can drive and about 10 miles car is running excellent no malfunctions. Next thing you know about 15 miles on the highway the darn ugly amber ESP malfunction goes OFF for no reason! Just driving normal not turning or hitting anything on the road.
What I notice is once I pull over the car seems as if it's storing a soft code temporarily after it notices the ESP malfunction but after shutting down engine motor with the key completely out of the ignition. The monitors on the display no longer show up and the ESP is gone. I'm not sure if the cars ESP is going back into it's default state but I can get the ESP malfunction to turn off once the engine is off. This is only when starting after shutting down the engine completely. Then the cycle continues some days it works some days it just acts up.
Here's what I mean by how it's been acting up. Not sure if there's an open, short, harness, or a failing computer/sensor somewhere the vehicle. Today it worked its been raining hard here in San Diego the last week I hit a slight puddle and noticed the triangle amber light blinking indicating ESP going off so it's working. But right after a few miles down the right the stupid ESP light goes off saying on the digital dash display ESP light malfunction.
From what I'm experiencing whenever the ESP malfunctions and it's detected the cars ESP is no longer working and I'm assuming in a failsafe mode??? When I turn off my car it wipes out the malfunctions momentarily.
I don't know how going about diagnosing this issues it's bothering me. And I know 100% sure it's not the lock to lock BAS/ESP brake switch I've already fixed that problem a long time ago on top of many other issues with seat drain, bulbs issues in the headlight, alarm going off like crazy for no reason even with the battery removed, maf, spark plugs, I love my C class it just ticks me off when things like this just suddenly go crazy. Somethings going wrong and the last time I took it to the dealer for service I got raped almost 2,000 for stupid oil filter change, fuel filter, charcoal filter, spark plug wires a bunch of non sense junk, spark plug wires when it had nothing to do with the ESP.
Anyway, my C320 has been pampered from the day she was born it's been hectic figuring out the issues. I really hope it's not the steering angle sensor. I checked all the wss nothing appeared damaged I even went as far as checking all the areas where the wss sensor plug into the hub no dirt at all. It's intermitant right now. Some days it doesn't go off at all and some days it's instananeous upon start. I wish I had the mercedes scan tool. I could live with driving without ESP but it would be more conveniant for my safety knowing it's working. Looking forward to hearing what was fixed??? I'm about to take it in to get the car scanned for codes. I'm out of warranty
I had the same issue(07 c230) 2 weeks ago. Car starts up fine, than after about 5-15 miles the ESP message would come up followed with the car's acceleration decreasing and in 1 case turning off completely.
In my case it turned out to be the crankshaft sensor ($40-57 part). Not a big deal after all. Anywhere from 30 minutes -3 hr of labor.
Car worked fine after replacement and have not had the issue since the repair.
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