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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Did your W220 start in the cold today? - A helpful guide to the W220 EIS

Hi all,

Here in the USA, the cold is starting to set in and cold weather startup issues occur.

I wanted to make a thread that captures these issues, the common symptoms that show up and more importantly the solutions that the forum members have found.

If you are posting here. Please post in this fashion for easy reading:

Symptoms
1.
2.
3. etc.

What I've tried...and the outcome
1.
2. etc.

What worked/Solutions
1. etc.

Related links
1.
2.
3.

(This is an example, but it is what I'm going through)

Symptoms
1. My car keys don't unlock the car.
2. When I use the metal key, all the electronics work but I can't turn the key.
3. The battery dies after leaving it in the cold for more than 2 days.
4. When the car is warm, all the symptoms go away.
5. If I start after my battery dies, SRS lights go on but go off after a warm start.

What I've tried...and the outcome
1. Replaced my key batteries.
- This had no effect, the keys don't work on cold mornings or evenings.

2. Replaced my car battery.
- Not the problem. The car still dies from an electric draw.

3. Use a hair dryer to warm up the EIS keyhole.
- Works every time. I use a hair dryer with an extension cord. I place the hair dryer directly on top of the key hole and use the high air/low temp setting and in less than 5 minutes, everything works as it should.
- Please note that if you use the high temp setting, you will melt the faux leather around the EIS.

4. Took the car to the dealer because the EIS is a theft relevant item and therefore can't be bought anywhere else.
- The EIS is not showing any fault codes, so I had to show them after a cold start.
- They are still diagnosing the car. I dropped it off on Tuesday.

What worked/Solutions

1. The hair dryer trick works, but isn't really elegant.
2. Since I'm 99% sure it's the EIS, it's a dealer thing.

Related links
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220-s-class/1300215-cold-weather-electronic-key-problems-3.html

S320 Cdi 2003 Key Does Not Turn In Ignition - MBWorld.org Forums

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220-s-class/1509481-turn-key-nothing.html
 

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I need a cordless hair dryer!!! Cause I have the same thing rt now. I wonder if this problem has occurred even when they were new 10 yrs ago. And I'm curious on how no dealers seem to know how to fix it or even understand problem! Wceb!
 

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Had no problems at all last winter, coldest was -32c. But thinking of getting a nice warm garage or at least a engine-heater, a warm start is always better than a cold one:)
 

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I'm having the EXACT same symptoms that Gabby listed for my 2002 s430

If the car isn't TOO cold I can sit in it for a few minutes and (I'm guessing) my body heat is enough to warm it up. I haven't tried the hair dryer method, I'll give it a try maybe it will speed things up. The only issue is I work late nights and when I get out of work my car has been sitting out in the cold night air and is not close enough to an electrical outlet to use a hair dryer. In these cases me sitting in the car isn't enough to heat it up and I have to get a ride home from someone. I get back the next day and can start it when the sun is out and heating the car up. I've had to resort to going out to my car once an hour past 5pm to move it from one end of the parking lot to the other to keep it somewhat warm. Very frustrating.

You can always hear a click of some sort when the EIS begins working and can be turned. I know that Wkh mentioned in another thread that his father replaced a relay and this solved his problems.

Wkh if you're reading this could you follow up on this? We're suffering :(


I'm a bit curious as to how the central locking system is controlled. All signs point to the EIS being the culprit since most people seem to get their cars working after replacing this. Does the EIS control all locks in the car? This seems odd to me, I would imagine it should be the other way around where the EIS is a sub-system of the larger central locking system. If that's the case then why does heating the EIS up work? Anyone know more about how the EIS and locks work together?

Also, has anyone tried taking EIS out and fixing it themselves? Since it's a temperature issue perhaps some solder on the circuit board is shrinking to the point where it creates an electrical open, or high resistance path. If you take the EIS out would it even work with the key once you put it back in since it has to be programed to work along the key? Where is this data stored? I would imagine that it doesn't need to be constantly powered since you can replace the battery without resting the keys, correct?

Sorry, lots of questions and no answers. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable could address these issues, would hate to have to blow thousands of dollars on something that could be fixed with new relays and soldering :D
 

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Hello, I want you to walk out to your car. Pop the hood. In the back left of engine you'll find the fuse box, open it. Swap the back relay plug( mine are black with a 138 on it) with one from the front or new one. Then get in your whip and crank that beeotch. This has fixed my problem of not starting in cold weather. First try every time. Hope this works pls let me know cause I'm a little curious!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Cerpintaxt,

I don't know exactly how the car's anti theft system works but I can hypothesize that if it thinks that one part is missing from the system, the default response is to not open the doors and prevent the start of the car; thus preventing theft.

I don't know why heating the EIS works, but it does.

As far as removing the EIS, it looks fairly straightforward.
0. Use the green key (actually orange in color) to get the codes off your EIS.

1. Disconnect the Battery.
2. Remove the instrument cluster using a pair of Mercedes special removal tools.
3. Remove the EIS lock by using a Mercedes special Rosette.
4. Pull the EIS out from behind the dash going through the hole where you removed the instrument panel.
5. Replace with the new EIS.
6. Put back the instrument panel.
7. Reprogram wit the green key.

The dealer is very picky about giving a new EIS or loaning a green key, so your license and registration are required to prove you own the car.

There is also an incorrect way to replace the EIS that involves having to replace your old keys, and add a lot more cost. Also, I hear some dealers will tell you that you have to remove the whole dash and charge you a lot of hours on labor. Both sound insane, so I'm just giving a fair warning.

Here is a link to the procedures.
 

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Hello, I want you to walk out to your car. Pop the hood. In the back left of engine you'll find the fuse box, open it. Swap the back relay plug( mine are black with a 138 on it) with one from the front or new one. Then get in your whip and crank that beeotch. This has fixed my problem of not starting in cold weather. First try every time. Hope this works pls let me know cause I'm a little curious!
How did you find out about this fix ? Are you sure it's a relay problem ?
 

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Did that work cerpintax
Could you please provide clarification on the relay location? I took a look at my relay boxes but had no 138 relays.

You said replace the relay in the fuse box on the left side of the engine. Is this from the point of view standing in front of the car or from sitting in the car?

From the relay chart on this thread:
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220-s-class/1219691-fuse-chart-2.html

are you referring to (K) Motronic / Chassis?
I'm going to try and swap this relay with another one and see if it works tonight.

Thanks!
 

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From standing in front of car. I have 2000 s500! Just for clarification. I'm scared to pull the relay out and get part number I don't want to jinx it. U should be able to find it!
 

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From standing in front of car. I have 2000 s500! Just for clarification. I'm scared to pull the relay out and get part number I don't want to jinx it. U should be able to find it!
ok I've swapped the K relay (furthest back relay, left fuse box when facing the vehicle) with an identical one. I'll let you know how it goes by tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed :D
 

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ok I've swapped the K relay (furthest back relay, left fuse box when facing the vehicle) with an identical one. I'll let you know how it goes by tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed :D
wel did it work for you?

Thanks
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
So after a month out of commision, my car back up and running.

The main issue is that the EIS on this car is fairly finicky.
The dealer had to re-replace the EIS multiple times to get it right.

The last missing detail was that only one of my keys worked with the new EIS.
N.B. - I confirmed that these were both my old keys.

If this happens to you, please note that all you have to do is place the old key in the EIS and wait for 1or 2 minutes until it recognizes it (your steering wheel comes down, the seats adjust, etc.) then turn it to Position 2 (all the lights come on in the dash, but you don't start the car - you can't yet start it anyway) and a message will say, PROGRAMMING - PLEASE WAIT with a key symbol.

You will have to wait between 2-8 hours for the key to get reprogrammed. You just have to leave it on Position 2 until the programming is done.

I would suggest the aid of a brand new battery or a backup charger if you have an older battery because your battery might die in the middle of it and you have to do it again.

The lesson here is that the EIS is best left to Mercedes. At least when they mess up the programming, you are in a nice loaner car.
 
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