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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone else experienced this type of issue with their vehicle. My key fob on my 2003 SL will not work if the car sits for more than an hour. The key fob will not open the door or activate the ignition. The only way I can start the car is to pull the batteries from the key fob couple of times, then it will be recognized by the ignition module and allow the key to activate the ignition module and start the engine. After I start and run the vehicle for couple of minutes the key fob works like it should. However after about 30 minutes its back to not being recognized.

I have replaced the key fob batteries twice with no change. I even pulled out the key fob circuit board and resoldered the coil and switch contacts. The same issue persists. I had the auxiliary battery tested and it meets specifications. I have not tested the starter battery. Does anyone know if the starter battery controls the ignition module and the remote lock and unlock module? Should I be checking for chaffed wires under the passenger or driver seats?

If anyone has any suggestion on where I should look it would be greatly appreciated. I hate to go to the stealer and have them pull and replace modules at my expense since they obviously do not have a clue on how to repair electrical issues. On other clue that I receive from time to time is SOS visit Workshop message will pop up while I am driving. MY SOS module is disconnected so it does not make sense why this error pops up.
:confused:
 

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2003 SL500
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69 Posts
Not and expert here, but it sounds like the car isn't "waking up."

Try this.....

If you have a second fob, does the condition still persist? (Fobs are pretty cheap. If you don't have a spare, get one. You'll be glad you did one day.... and the new replacements are real purty... chromey..)

Unlocking the car, which also de-activates the alarm, and starting the car are two different things... to the car's eyes. Once the fob is inserted in the slot, a galactic laser beam of Biblical perportions reads the magical unlock code embedded in the end of the fob, and if all is copacetic, the computer grants permission to start th' bitch.

Bad fob.... my $0.02
 

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11 Mustang Convert,.87 El Camino,09 Avalon Limited,05 GMC Sierra Denali, hunting AMG car.
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224 Posts
Not and expert here, but it sounds like the car isn't "waking up."

Try this.....

If you have a second fob, does the condition still persist? (Fobs are pretty cheap. If you don't have a spare, get one. You'll be glad you did one day.... and the new replacements are real purty... chromey..)

Unlocking the car, which also de-activates the alarm, and starting the car are two different things... to the car's eyes. Once the fob is inserted in the slot, a galactic laser beam of Biblical perportions reads the magical unlock code embedded in the end of the fob, and if all is copacetic, the computer grants permission to start th' bitch.

Bad fob.... my $0.02
Profound;and likely correct. $248 for new chromey fob solved similar problem for me. I also hung 2 chicken bones on the rearview mirror.
 

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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
is that drive out price or are there additional fees?

I have asked one of the local dealers here in Houston and they want to charge me an additional $100 to make sure my vehicle did not exceed the maximum number of keys allotted. I am not the original owner of this vehicle there were two others before me.

Looks like I need to shop around to the other dealers in my area and see what their charge will be.

Has anyone ever tried to reprogram these keys?
 

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11 Mustang Convert,.87 El Camino,09 Avalon Limited,05 GMC Sierra Denali, hunting AMG car.
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224 Posts
is that drive out price or are there additional fees?

I have asked one of the local dealers here in Houston and they want to charge me an additional $100 to make sure my vehicle did not exceed the maximum number of keys allotted. I am not the original owner of this vehicle there were two others before me.

Looks like I need to shop around to the other dealers in my area and see what their charge will be.

Has anyone ever tried to reprogram these keys?
Maximum number of keys allotted to car? Damn;that's a good one!! My dealer ordered my key with the vin number and it came preprogrammed and unlocked and cranked the car out of the box. Best of luck;sounds like you're needing it. Later.
 

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2003 SL500
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Maximum number of keys allotted to car? Damn;that's a good one!! My dealer ordered my key with the vin number and it came preprogrammed and unlocked and cranked the car out of the box. Best of luck;sounds like you're needing it. Later.
Exactamundo. I walked in to my local MB parts dept and showed the guy my registration and sed "I want two keys for this car."

He sed "They're sent from a place in Texas.... be two days. No further programming is needed. "

Now, as a sidenote, BMW DOES have a magic number... 4. After 4 keys are made.. (you can get as many as you want..), there are a few convenience features that you cant assign to the keys.... Yes you can start, unlock, and the big things, but key number 5 and up might not remember where your a/c setting was.. stuff like that..... and.. the BMW key needs to be programmed to remote lock/unlock the doors. Manual tells you how to do it, but it doesn't come COMPLETELY programmed out of the box... like M/B.

My wife misplaced MY keys while I was out of the country. So guess how much it cost to replace ..

One Merc
Three BMW's
One Tahoe
One Yamaha VMax

... and that's how I know about keys....
 

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11 Mustang Convert,.87 El Camino,09 Avalon Limited,05 GMC Sierra Denali, hunting AMG car.
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Exactamundo. I walked in to my local MB parts dept and showed the guy my registration and sed "I want two keys for this car."

He sed "They're sent from a place in Texas.... be two days. No further programming is needed. "

Now, as a sidenote, BMW DOES have a magic number... 4. After 4 keys are made.. (you can get as many as you want..), there are a few convenience features that you cant assign to the keys.... Yes you can start, unlock, and the big things, but key number 5 and up might not remember where your a/c setting was.. stuff like that..... and.. the BMW key needs to be programmed to remote lock/unlock the doors. Manual tells you how to do it, but it doesn't come COMPLETELY programmed out of the box... like M/B.

My wife misplaced MY keys while I was out of the country. So guess how much it cost to replace ..

One Merc
Three BMW's
One Tahoe
One Yamaha VMax

... and that's how I know about keys....
On a lighter note;at least the missus still lets you call them YOUR keys. My new bride(of 4 mos) has decided it's all OUR stuff.
 

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2003 500 SL
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94 Posts
I had an issue with the keyless go and key and MBD did several expensive "fixes" that did not resolve the issue. I decided it was the car battery, had it replaced, end of problems. This particular dealer had been ripping me off and I discovered the extend of the abuse by reading this forum. I have a brake problem and my INDY told me it was the SBC pump that had 20 days left on the warranty when the car was taken to the dealer (INDY does not preform warranty work). The Dealer now tells me they have been unable to isolate the problem. I'm going to the INDY Monday and getting a print out of the STAR check and returning to the Stealer and I'm considering legal action. Opinions???
 

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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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Discussion Starter #9
Update to the Ignition Issue

I ended up getting stranded at work where my key was not recognized by the ignition module. I knew my key was acting up so I decided to go and purchase a new key from the dealer. At first I was told that I needed to have the car at the dealership. After couple of phone calls I was able to convince the parts counter person to sell me the key without the car being present. I picked up the key and parts counter person told me it was all programmed and did not need to do anything else. I made sure I did not click any of the buttons on the remote until I went back to my car that left me stranded at the office parking garage. When I placed the key in the ignition, nothing happened. The red LED on the key remained on and nothing else. I reset the auxiliary battery and still nothing.

I ended up getting the car pulled out of my parking garage (That is a whole other story) and dropped of at the dealer. When I told the service agent what the issue was he told me that it was more than likely a EIS. I told him to first reflash the current EIS. He told me that he talked with his service manager and that he advised him it will not work.

I again told him based on my research and this forum to try flashing first. He then told me not to pay attention to what is being printed on this forum its not always true. Reluctantly he did agree to reflash the ignition first.

When I followed up with him four hours later, he told me that his tech had a hard time flashing my EIS and that it took him over 3 hours to flash. I did not believe him but I did not have any proof to the contrary. So my next comment was so are you saying that you are going to charge me for the 3 hours, he then quickly back pedaled and said no. When I dropped the car off he told me that a minimum charge to plug the car up to their computer is $135. So his then comments since I initially told you one hour how about we split it and I charge you for 1.5 hours. Again, I did not have much of a choice since it was my word against his. so I paid it.

I am sure that the EIS was reflashed in less than 5 minutes, unless he had some new tech that was being trained on my car.

Needless to say to get my car back on the road cost me $483 without towing. New key was $275 and $208 to reflash the ignition module.

There has to be a way to flash the EIS without going to the dealer.
These jokers are clueless!!!!!
 

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2004 SL500
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Profound;and likely correct. $248 for new chromey fob solved similar problem for me. I also hung 2 chicken bones on the rearview mirror.
Just purchased a new key for my wife's 2004 SL500. Cost was $211. Key has chrome trim and it does work correctly.

To order the key we had to show drivers license, Title and have the car present to verify VIN number. The key came from Fort Worth Texas, I live in Columbus, Ohio.
 

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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Was that a complete key along with the valet key or the actual hardware key?

That is a great price if that is for the complete key. It's amazing the markups these dealers have. I called all three MB dealers in my area and they all have different prices.

By the way all the keys and EIS modules come from Fort Worth facility.
 

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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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Discussion Starter #12
Car Still has the same issues even after reflashing

I thought this issue was resolved. only to find out the following day that my car still had the same problem. This time my car was stuck in my garage at home not at work. None the less the same problem appeared. I immediately called my service representative that handled the initial case. He never called me back.

The dealership conducted a follow up customer satisfaction survey on how my issue was resolved.

I unloaded on the poor person on the lack of support I received from the dealership. She was very sympathetic and promised to have a manager call me immediately.

Well within about 30 minutes I did receive a call from the manager and provided the details of the case to him. We made arrangements for the car to be towed back to the shop.

About two hours later, the original service representative called me to advise me that it was truly the EIS module that was the culprit. I lamented him and told him that I relied on his service staff to diagnose and root cause the problem not to just start replacing parts at will. I will not finance his trying to fix the problem. I expect a true diagnosis and repair. Then he proceeded to lay a bunch of misinformation on me. He advised me that the cost of the module is $675. I quickly interjected that the price quoted to me was a retail price that is not the price that he or the dealership pays for this part. So he decided to give me a refund for the 1.5 hours that he charged me to initially when he unsuccessfully flashed my car. The total drive out cost was $1210. I told him that I would like to check this out through and independent mechanic to which he quickly rebutted that due to "safety" concerns key and EIS modules can only be purchased and serviced by the dealer.

I verified this information with an independent shop that I trust. He did confirm that Mercedes did change the policy three or so years ago on the keys and EIS modules and a electronics in the transmission. This sounds kind of fishy to me but I did not have much of a choice. Anyhow to make a long story a bit shorter, he did tell me that that is more than likely the cause of my issue on the vehicle and he somewhat confirmed that the service cost was reasonable.

When I called back the service rep to tell him to proceed with the repair he advised me that the new part would be overnighted to him from the Fort Worth hub and that I should be back on road today.

Well the whole day went by and I never heard from the service rep. I left him several messages and even called his manager.

I fear that he installed the EIS module and the car still has issues.

this is one of the main reasons that I prefer to do the work myself or have my trusted local independent service it.

Will keep you posted on the progress.:rolleyes:
 

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2003 SL500;1998 E320 Wagon
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Discussion Starter #13
The dealer did replace the EIS module (ignition module). I picked up the car and so far it looks like that was the issue all along. Now I am left to clean up the mess that was created during the initial tow to the dealer. The scuff mark under the front bumper which the dealer claimed was not caused by them appeared to be tampered with. I have a call into the roadside service as well. The dealer did advise me that during the recent repair they cracked my front grille and they replaced it complementary. they stated that this occurred while they were pushing the vehicle in for the ignition module repair.
I need to contact the customer service rep again to see how we will settle this.

This was not a pleasant experience and I would not recommend this Mercedes Benz dealer that is located in North Houston.
 

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2003 500 SL
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94 Posts
Glad to hear the issue has been resolved. I have found Mercedes Stealers to be pushy-pull guys who keep replacing parts (your expense) until by some quirk the vehicle operates. I had a problem with my key/keyless go and the Stealer came up with a list of suggestions. I replaced the auxillary battery (not recommended by Mercedes) and haven't had a blip since (three years). I hate it when I have to take the auto to the Stealer but they have us by the short hairs. Mercedes, in my opinion, is the most difficult automobile company to deal with by a long shot. I'm thinking Porsche. Happy Trails.
 
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