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Discussion Starter #1
It has happened more than once, when first starting engine, the "Low Range" light flashes few seconds then goes away, if this happened the transmission will not shift to higher gear regardless the driving speed.

I have to turn off and restart the engine to get out of this situation.

Anyone ever experience this? What went wrong?

It's a '03 ML-320 with 55000 miles.

Any advise would be appreciated.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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Hopefully you have some type of scanner because the code/s will be very helpful. It could possibly be the transfer case motor, but the code will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
43sqd, Thank you for your help.

It happened again today, like always, with cold engine. I start the engine, notice the "low range" light flash 4 times, put in "R" to get out the garage, the transmission engaged with the sound of "low range" activated (a "clunk" sound), then the "D" made the same "low range" sound.

Sure enough, the transmission will not shift to higher gear regardless the speed, I pull over, restart the engine, problem goes away.

Does it sound like the "low range" is activated by itself when I first started the engine?

Is this common on "03 ML-320? Do you think it needs immediate attention? Thank you again.
 

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98 ML320, 01 S500, 15 GL350
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Listen to 43sqd!

I had the similar situation but change a new motor ( $300 some, parts and labor) fixed the problem.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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43sqd, Thank you for your help.

It happened again today, like always, with cold engine. I start the engine, notice the "low range" light flash 4 times, put in "R" to get out the garage, the transmission engaged with the sound of "low range" activated (a "clunk" sound), then the "D" made the same "low range" sound.

Sure enough, the transmission will not shift to higher gear regardless the speed, I pull over, restart the engine, problem goes away.

Does it sound like the "low range" is activated by itself when I first started the engine?



Is this common on "03 ML-320? Do you think it needs immediate attention? Thank you again.
On your next cold start, have someone watch your brake lights and see if they come on.

Then before shifting into gear remove the electrical connector to the Low Range Motor, and see what happens.

As I said before, having the codes read is most important, but you have not commented on that.

Another thing to try is, on one of the days that the problem does not occur, try to put the vehicle in the Low Range mode and see if it properly engages; then of course deactivate it, all of which should be done following the instructions in the owner's manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
43sqd, I really appreciate your help.

Sorry, I don't have any source to read the code other then the local dealer, It's been raining for a week in L.A., this is my raining days car, so I didn't go.

Now, question #1, Am I suppose to hold on the brake while starting engine? I'll try not to step on the brakes next time.

If I don't step on the brake, but the brake lights goes on, I'll report back to you.

If the "low range" is activated by itself next time, I'll try to locate the electrical connector to the Low Range Motor and see if I can remove it.

To answer your question #2, I tried many times, on the normal days, to activate "low range" following the book, it worked fine. Positive engage every time (with that "clunk" sound) and the vehicle drives in one gear only.

Thank you again.
 

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43sqd, I really appreciate your help.

Sorry, I don't have any source to read the code other then the local dealer, It's been raining for a week in L.A., this is my raining days car, so I didn't go.

Now, question #1, Am I suppose to hold on the brake while starting engine? I'll try not to step on the brakes next time.

If I don't step on the brake, but the brake lights goes on, I'll report back to you.

If the "low range" is activated by itself next time, I'll try to locate the electrical connector to the Low Range Motor and see if I can remove it.

To answer your question #2, I tried many times, on the normal days, to activate "low range" following the book, it worked fine. Positive engage every time (with that "clunk" sound) and the vehicle drives in one gear only.

Thank you again.
Maybe I confused you in my question. My question had nothing to do with whether or not you step on the brake while starting. I simply wanted to know if your brakes lights work.

Is the sound that you hear when it positively engages the same as when the problem occurs?

In any event, you will have to buy yourself a decent scanner to keep up with all the problems these trucks have. But get this problem taken care of ASAP.

Check the oil level in the transfer case. The procedure can be found in the DIY sticky section.
 

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autozone

Go to your local autozone and they will loan you the obd II scanner to read the codes.

Drive safely in those rains in CA<>
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
This gets interesting, on the way to my local dealer, the vehicle shut off in the middle of the street, fail to restart. Mercedes road side assistant told me my 4 year old battery is dead. Jump started and I made it to the dealer 6 miles away. They shut off / restart the engine and moved the car several times without any problem.

Dealer's service dept. run all the codes, nothing was wrong. No transmission or transfer case motor issues (according to their computer), couldn't explain why it'll activate "low range" by itself.

They put in a new $292.50 battery (P+L), did the service B while the car was there. I got to chat with two good looking girls at their coffee lounge. All good.

Now this gets interesting (not the girls), the car won't start after they finished their complimentary car wash!

They gave me a loaner C300 and told me they'll call me tomorrow.

I'll report back what happened to it tomorrow.
 

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In all probability you didn't need the new battery. It appears that it is a ground issue at the firewall or corroded battery cables not making contact at the battery or at the starter.

They will dream up something exotic as the root cause, charge you accordingly and wash your truck again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
43sqd, thank you for your follow up on the new issue.

Got a call from the service adviser, the car won't start at the dealer yesterday was caused by "crankshaft position sensor" malfunctioning. $395 (P+L) to replace it.

Not to change the subject, but why in the world the car needs to know the "crankshaft position" ? LOL

As up to now, the dealer still didn't find any "code" issue on the "low range" self-activating problem. BTW, to answer your question about this, yes, it's positively engaged when that (my original thread topic) happened.

I'll pick up the car this afternoon, I'll report back what the invoice says.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
43aqd, thank you for the information re "crankshaft position sensor", learn something today.

Got the car back, they forgot to wash it today, but I was in a hurry to to go pick up the "honeybaked Ham" my wife ordered for Christmas, so they didn't hear it from me.

The service advisor waived the labor charge on this one, so the "crankshaft position sensor" replacement was $159.60 (parts) only.

Here's what the invoice stated:

1) 55566 Electrical fault in crankshaft position sensor short test, CODE P2034-008

2) 1 003-153-28-28 A position sensor. $159.60

Now, back to the original self-activating-at-cold-start "low range" issue, they didn't find anything, I guess I'll keep driving and see what happened, maybe it'll "heal" by itself. LOL.

Thank you again for your valuable informations and all the responses.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
 
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