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Hi guys, my 2000 e320 recently just died and I was hoping I could get some advice as to why. Some background, this past month this car has had problems starting up. At first there would sometimes be a slight delay igniting, and it slowly changed to sometimes it not cranking at all. I would turn the key 1 and 2 and it would be fine (lights come on, fan comes on etc) , then 3 position to crank and nothing happens. No click no crank, nothing. I would take key out and try again, sometimes it works second try, sometimes it works 10th try.

Now couple days ago it did the same thing, except when I took the key out to try again, it now would not accept the key. As in, I put the key in the slow and absolutely nothing happens. No sound no life at all. Does not turn, no click to show it accept my key. Also the fob does not lock or un lock the car now. I also cannot shift from park at all.

I checked the key and it is fine ( tried the spare one it didn’t work as well). What else could be the cause of this problem? I am thinking it could be the EIS but I would like some opinions/ help first. Thank you for reading.
 

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Yes, test the battery and slow charge it. If you have a battery booster (the ones that have the small battery), connect it to the charge points. Leave it for a while (like 5 minutes) and re-try.
 

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It should work. Make sure that the battery booster is fully charged. You can connect it across the battery terminals, or under the hood charge terminals (driver's side under the lid designated with a + sign, and the chassis ground post next to it towards the front bumper). Whichever you want. If battery is the problem, it should at least let the key to be inserted and turned, after the booster is connected.. If you have a multimeter, also measure the voltage across the charge points.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Should I connect the booster while the battery is still connected to the car? Or should I disconnect the battery first and just charge it a bit with the battery pack?
 

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Hi so I charged the battery for an hour with the booster pack and then reconnected the battery, still nothing 😞
 

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Nothing means the key is not unlocking the steering wheel and not turning ? or no crank ?

Fully charge the booster pack, then connect across the battery charge posts (no need to remove the battery), and in 30 seconds or so, try inserting the key and turn the key. Without battery voltage measurement it is hard to determine if you have the minimum voltage for the EIS to work (11V+).

Also make sure you check the fuse for the ESL (electronic steering lock). It is under the hood at the drivers side fuse panel. Fuse number 9.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Like literally nothing happens. No change. When I put the key in, there is no lock click to show the ignition has accepted the key. Zero response from the car at all. I did what you said and still nothing 😞 also checked fuse 9 and it was fine.
 

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I am still thinking that the battery, or the battery connection is bad. Have you checked the battery terminals for corrosion, looseness ?

Turn the headlights on both low and high beams for 20 seconds or so. Check if they are dim.

You also may want to invest in a multimeter and measure the voltage across the battery terminals, especially after the headlights turned on then off, as above.

I hate to think it could be the EIS. But you need to make sure you have a good battery to investigate further. Also open the driver side door, and try to move the seat back and forth to see if it moves (provided that the battery is good). This will indicate if the modules can communicate over the CAN B bus.
 

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Hi, I checked that stuff, the battery terminals are fine not loose, the lights turned on and were normal brightness, and the seats were able to move. If it is the EIS then I may have to scrap this car.. 😞 thanks for your super fast replies
 

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You have two keys and neither works with EIS, right ? Do any of your Fobs lock / unlock the doors ? I know you mentioned one fob did not. Have you tried the other one ?

Try the Infra Red lock / unlock (bring the tip of the fob within few inches to the driver door handle where the IR receiver is, and press lock / unlock).

There is a gizmo I use to detect whether the EIS is responsive when inserting the key.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Key-ECU-Test-Coil-Automotive-Induction-Signal-Detection-Card-DiagnostFHFS/264408409762?_trkparms=aid=555018&algo=PL.SIM&ao=1&asc=20131003132420&meid=3ba3662df8ce4237918c6135404a17cd&pid=100005&rk=1&rkt=10&sd=113331773773&itm=264408409762&pg=2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851


You put the gizmo against the ignition switch and insert the key through. If the gizmo LED does not turn on, then the EIS is bad. If the LED turns on and stays on, the key and the EIS is good. If it turns on for a second then turns off, wrong key (wrong code), if it turns on few seconds and then retry after a while, key is bad (code cannot be read)
 

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Hi, I checked that stuff......If it is the EIS then I may have to scrap this car.. 😞 thanks for your super fast replies
MercBenze320:

Sorry to hear of your troubles.

Question: Do you say this because the EIS is expensive ? Does MB still offer or used / rebuilt only ?

I did a quick search and I see the part & basic issue.

This UK company offers repair & rebuild services:

https://www.sinspeed.co.uk/mercedes-eis-ezs-immobiliser-key-module-recoding-repair-service/

I pray they can help you or you find DIY help.

I also pray this is far in my future....our 2000 w210 wagon has 205k....

Cheers - David
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You have two keys and neither works with EIS, right ? Do any of your Fobs lock / unlock the doors ? I know you mentioned one fob did not. Have you tried the other one ?

Try the Infra Red lock / unlock (bring the tip of the fob within few inches to the driver door handle where the IR receiver is, and press lock / unlock).

There is a gizmo I use to detect whether the EIS is responsive when inserting the key.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Key-ECU-Test-Coil-Automotive-Induction-Signal-Detection-Card-DiagnostFHFS/264408409762?_trkparms=aid=555018&algo=PL.SIM&ao=1&asc=20131003132420&meid=3ba3662df8ce4237918c6135404a17cd&pid=100005&rk=1&rkt=10&sd=113331773773&itm=264408409762&pg=2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

You put the gizmo against the ignition switch and insert the key through. If the gizmo LED does not turn on, then the EIS is bad. If the LED turns on and stays on, the key and the EIS is good. If it turns on for a second then turns off, wrong key (wrong code), if it turns on few seconds and then retry after a while, key is bad (code cannot be read)
Hi, I have tried everything with the two keys/fobs and there has been no response from the car. Unfortunately, the item does not ship to where I am (BC Canada), so I think I am pretty much screwed. I may end up just getting the car towed and diagnosed by a mechanic, and just scrapping it if the repairs end up too costly. Thank you very much for all of your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MercBenze320:

Sorry to hear of your troubles.

Question: Do you say this because the EIS is expensive ? Does MB still offer or used / rebuilt only ?

I did a quick search and I see the part & basic issue.

This UK company offers repair & rebuild services:

https://www.sinspeed.co.uk/mercedes-eis-ezs-immobiliser-key-module-recoding-repair-service/

I pray they can help you or you find DIY help.

I also pray this is far in my future....our 2000 w210 wagon has 205k....

Cheers - David
Yes, it is a pretty expensive fix, and perfect timing as I was already on the lookout for a new car. I will be getting a 2014 honda civic instead and save on gas! I do still love my w210, but everything about it is just too extra and expensive. I hope that you can continue to drive yours for a long time!
 

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Hi, I have tried everything with the two keys/fobs and there has been no response from the car. Unfortunately, the item does not ship to where I am (BC Canada), so I think I am pretty much screwed. I may end up just getting the car towed and diagnosed by a mechanic, and just scrapping it if the repairs end up too costly. Thank you very much for all of your help!
If EIS, the replacement from a dealer runs about $1,200, maybe more in Canada. However it can be repaired, or for $350-$400, you can get a matching set of EIS + key + ECU + ESL from a donor car, and have it installed.

Make sure that the mechanic has a scanner that can access the EIS through the 38-port diagnostic connector in the fuse panel at the driver's side.

One more thing... When you open the door to get out of the car, do you have any message on the console that says "take key" or something like that ?

I am just thinking that the EIS may still think that the key is inserted in position 0, so when you insert the key it does really do anything. Is the steering wheel locked or unlocked ?

When you insert the key, there is a microswitch in the EIS which gets activated and allows the key to be authenticated. If the microswitch is stuck in activated mode, no matter what you do, the key insertion will not be recognized. Also when the EIS thinks the key is inserted, all fob functions will not be processed, and this is why the fobs will not lock/unlock. I would try to push the dust lid of the slot with a small screwdriver tip and spray some canned air or contact cleaner and let it dry, and then re-try. It may reach the microswitch and release it. This problem is not uncommon.

Also another thing you can try is to measure the voltage on fuse 9 (in its place, just touch the tip of the multimeter to a tab at either side-top of the fuse) with respect to ground (nearby chassis ground stud). You should have 12V with or without the key inserted. The power is supplied by the EIS to the ESL. So if the ESL has power the EIS must have power too.
 

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If EIS, the replacement from a dealer runs about $1,200, maybe more in Canada. However it can be repaired, or for $350-$400, you can get a matching set of EIS + key + ECU + ESL from a donor car, and have it installed.

Make sure that the mechanic has a scanner that can access the EIS through the 38-port diagnostic connector in the fuse panel at the driver's side.

One more thing... When you open the door to get out of the car, do you have any message on the console that says "take key" or something like that ?

I am just thinking that the EIS may still think that the key is inserted in position 0, so when you insert the key it does really do anything. Is the steering wheel locked or unlocked ?

When you insert the key, there is a microswitch in the EIS which gets activated and allows the key to be authenticated. If the microswitch is stuck in activated mode, no matter what you do, the key insertion will not be recognized. Also when the EIS thinks the key is inserted, all fob functions will not be processed, and this is why the fobs will not lock/unlock. I would try to push the dust lid of the slot with a small screwdriver tip and spray some canned air or contact cleaner and let it dry, and then re-try. It may reach the microswitch and release it. This problem is not uncommon.

Also another thing you can try is to measure the voltage on fuse 9 (in its place, just touch the tip of the multimeter to a tab at either side-top of the fuse) with respect to ground (nearby chassis ground stud). You should have 12V with or without the key inserted. The power is supplied by the EIS to the ESL. So if the ESL has power the EIS must have power too.
mrboca:

Once again, I'm impressed by your knowledge - you seem to have a deep understanding of all these systems our Benzes have.

This bit of advice you share here could potentially save him a lot of grief & the car itself !

Just curious, do you run an MB service shop or somesuch ?

Me ?- just a curious layman, and hands on DIY MB owner !

Thanks David
 
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