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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
"this" meaning replacing the 13-pin connector (auto trans conductor plate). We are going on a trip later this month, about 3000 miles.

Some of you are familiar with my transmission fiasco. Hopefully it is put to bed and the trans seems to be shifting happily with mostly all new fluid.

Shifts 1 and 2 are pretty much normal, shift 3 is a little slower than I recall it being. Shift 4 comes in pretty late unless I let off the gas. Need at least 50 mph otherwise.

There are no symptoms (assuming the above cannot be called symptoms but just variations).

So... should I replace the 13-pin connector even if there appears to be no problem? I did not access it (yet)... should I do so? Or let this sleeping dog lie?

This year alone I have done:
Serp belt, idler pulley, auto belt tensioner
Front shocks
Service transfer case (have a small leak at drain hole, will do so again in a few miles as the clicking sound is still there although much less)
Service both diffs
Trans fluid drain and replace, trans gasket and filter
All brakes and rotors, brake bleed
OLF
Air blend motor
Brake switch that set off ABS light
Tie rods and alignment (only item that was not DIY)
Tires (ok this one too)
Rear hatch shocks
Spark plugs and wires
Plan to replace window switch module

Most of the above are maintenance, much of which I had neglected for some time. Hanging about this forum helped me with pretty much all of the above (ok, I knew how to change the oil before I got here). Given that I was a complete mechanical duffer before (and now am only a partial duffer), I appreciate this forum. A LOT.
 

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ML320 2002
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1,600 Posts
So... should I replace the 13-pin connector even if there appears to be no problem? I did not access it (yet)... should I do so? Or let this sleeping dog lie?
It looks like you did not replace the connector when doing the trans drain, fluid/gasket change. Do you have any visible leak now? Remove the heat shield of the connector and inspect. If you wanna be sure, you can unplug the connector and check.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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282 Posts
how many miles on yer truck?
i would consider bringing a spare cps (and the tool to change it)
remember to take your code reader on the trip... "dont leave home without it (tm) "

edit/update: sorry mis interrpreted your question
give your little inner voice a rest and check the connector!
i would not replace it if its not leaking.... in fact i would not even buy one if its not leaking.
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Unhofliche, thanks for bringing up the CPS although you didn't intend to. Some searching led me to wonder if I should indeed do this also, as well as the e-box fan. These seem to be the 3 failure points not yet addressed on this car (it has MAF, PS hose, and a few other items done some years ago by dealer). I have 106,000 miles btw.

Does anyone have a link to CPS replacement with pictorial guide on the 99 ML320? I searched and found several threads and a decent writeup on that other forum, but no luck yet with pics.

Going to search e-box next... would welcome a nice link to that also. Thanks.
 

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Premium Member
2004 CLK 240 Coupe
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11,377 Posts
ThankyouThankyou!

I suppose this is one of those things I might as well get done, eh? Doesn't look too hard.
You might have to be inventive to prevent dropping the screw during the fitting from above.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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282 Posts
your drive shaft center support bearing is also a "looming failure" (to use some hyperbole - and you know what they say "Hyperbole is the BEST thing EVER!!":D) This based on my narrow minded perspective of what failed on my vehicle recently. Unlike the CPS, imho it would not be feasble to change the center support bearing on the road (too many tools need - specifically jack stands). Tough call as to whether a preemptive change would be a good idea or a waste of time-money-effort.

oh and about the connector:
"Remove the heat shield of the connector and inspect. If you wanna be sure, you can unplug the connector and check."
A) i think you MUST unplug the connector to be sure that it is not leaking. mine looked fine from the outside - disaster inside! i had codes though so i was happy the connector was the problem and not something more expensive.....
B) be ready to fight to get the Heat-shield off. My heat-shield retaining bolt sheered off on removal.... i reattached the heatshield to one of the tranny pan bolts..
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about the e-box fan, especially if you haven't heard any noises (although lack of noise could be because of failure). Easy way to see if it's still working is to take the cover off the e-box and turn the key to ON and listen for the fan. If it's not working, it should take no more than 15 minutes in all to take the old one out and put the new one in. Might take longer if you have big hands since it is in a tight space.
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thank you ! - iadahombz, keyhole, unhofliche, and asianml

Some followon then:

1. My kid would assist with the jobs. Small hands and lots more patience than I.
2. On the fan box - I will check later today. If it fails on a trip, is this a show-stopper? (keep in mind it is winter, albeit in the Southern US, and I read somewhere that someone's fan stopped working and he didn't realize it for a good while). I know, it's a risk.
3. Fan box again - I don't suppose it's worth saving $150-something to attempt the Radio Shack fan as shown in this thread?
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1474320-ebox-fan-replacement.html

4. Uhhh... WHAT is the deal with the drive shaft center support bearing? I searched it and found a thread.... this is NOT something I want to do, even at home.

Do the failure points on this truck ever end? Time to start shopping... that MDX in the other thread is starting to look more and more tasty... if I only had the $$$
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I wouldn't worry too much about the e-box fan, especially if you haven't heard any noises (although lack of noise could be because of failure). Easy way to see if it's still working is to take the cover off the e-box and turn the key to ON and listen for the fan. If it's not working, it should take no more than 15 minutes in all to take the old one out and put the new one in. Might take longer if you have big hands since it is in a tight space.
I opened up the box and turned the key to the final position before ignition fire. I did not hear anything from that fan. Is it thermo-regulated? Or does it run at all times, all temperatures? It was pretty cold in my garage when I tried it.

I did hear a whistle/whine from the middle-back area of the engine though.
 

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98 ML320, 01 S500, 15 GL350
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587 Posts
You need to drive, park and key off ( ie. put the key into your pocket). Go to driver side foot rest area to listen ot the fan noise. Prefer in a quiet environment.
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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Discussion Starter #15
You need to drive, park and key off ( ie. put the key into your pocket). Go to driver side foot rest area to listen ot the fan noise. Prefer in a quiet environment.
Did this, didn't hear anything. This was after about a 10-mile drive in cool (40F) weather.

I will try to open it up this weekend and lube and clean it as I have seen on other threads.

On the CPS- any reason not to buy this part from Advance Auto? I have a coupon and could get it for even less than listed.
Advance Auto Parts: Crankshaft Sensor by BWD/Intermotor - Part CSS825
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,131 Posts
Because they fail quickly and can leave you stranded.
Autohausz sells the Bosch OEM for $42-60 depending on VIN.

Free shipping on orders over $50 so if the $42 version fits your truck then add an
oil filter to the order to get the free shipping. I would not put anything but the Bosch
in the truck.
Advance my seem convenient in the short term for this part, but when it fails what is the
potential loss of time and money then?
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Noodles. Advice heeded.

One followon to the technique. I took a look at the CPS and think my kid will be better suited to this. Is there harm to her lying on top of the engine so she can reach? (100 lbs weight). I can see there appear to be some delicate-looking parts esp towards the front.
 

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98 ML320, 01 S500, 15 GL350
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587 Posts
I saw my indy with 160LB on top the engine when replacing my CPS. Please be sure to do the job when engine is cold ( safe for him also make easy to remove the CPS). However, make sure to pay your kid after the job is done! Haha!
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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7,035 Posts
Just to confirm - get the OE Bosch CPS - the retail auto parts store knockoff CPS is most likely to be big trouble.

Use the 3000 mile trip to run thru a large bottle of Lucas injection cleaner on the road - $13 gives you 4 or 5 applications and back-to-back will give a super cleaning to the system.

I would put in a fresh Mann air filter before you leave, while not have maximum gas milage on a good round trip.

Fresh OE wipers make a world of difference in the winter.


Have a great trip !
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,631 Posts
Just my .02, but one suggestion I have has been learned over the years because I've "been there-done that." Any maintenance or repairs, however routine, should be *completed* at least a full week before any road trip.

If you heed that advice, it means you have a week to confirm whether any issues will surface (and to weaken whatever hold Murphy has on your life).

FWIW what you're calling the connector is actually just a pass-thru adapter/spacer intended as a connection sleeve to provide a seal and prevent fluid leakage. The actual "connection" is between the conductor plate pins (the plate is inside the transmission, the pins extend through the case to the outside) and the plug (connector) on the harness that goes to the TCM. The earlier designs of the adapter/spacer failed and allowed fluid either to leak to the ground (problematic and messy) or up the harness, inside the insul-wrap and along the wires, flooding the TCM and being rather disastrous, or both. I was lucky with mine, it leaked to the outside and I caught it early.

Thus, mark me in the camp who would suggest you pop the heat shield (one bolt secures it IIRC) and unplug the connector from the adapter/spacer to check for the presence of fluid. If the connector is wet, the adapter/spacer must be replaced.

The 722.6xx FAQ in the W210 forum is chock full of useful information about various issues.

Good luck and have fun on your trip!
 
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