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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting ‘Start Error’ message with my 2002 ML320. The incident happened when the last 2 raining nights in SF Bay Area in May, I couldn’t start the engine, open the hood, saw some water around the battery, dried it, and jumped start the car from another car. It started, I drove to work, thinking there was only battery draining problem, I could start 2 more times on that day, went back home. The next morning, my wife made a trip to supermarket, she was lucky to be back without any issue also. Another next day, I could not start. Due to the odometer light was burnt out, I didn’t play attention for ‘Start Error’ message until later on that day.
Here were the things I did for the Battery, Starter, and Alternator. I focuses on the 8 years old battery first, checked the fluid inside and charged up to 12.6 V, tried to start but no luck. Finally changed to a new battery, same result no start. I moved to next item-starter.
I got a new Bosch OE starter, installed it, It started. I quickly tested out the 3 years old alternator while the engine was running, it read 14.5 V. I turned off the engine after 5 minutes, reinstalled the side fender liner and tire, thinking everything was good. But it couldn’t start again, I could read “Start Error” message is on the odometer (even without light). Now I am back to square one. The new starter gave me same results. The next day, I bench test the old starter, it performed beautifully, I put the old one back because it is original Benz starter. Returned the new starter for 15% restock fee.
Now, I got ‘Start Error’ message every time I turn the key-No clank. Battery is brand new, has 12.5 v after a week sitting. Starter was bench test, alternator was still charging the last time I checked. At the meantime, I replaced the odometer light bulb, so I can see the ‘Start Error’.
The alarm LED: When the key to position 1, it blinks once … key to position 2…no blinks (so it should blink once if key is recognized as valid). Tested both keys with same results, I didn’t have a valet key. When I put in the key and turned to start right away, the car started for a few seconds and quit.
Based on what I have been reading so far on this forum on ‘Start Error’ (been almost a month). There are many possible fixes, each is expensive:
1. Get a scanner to clear the ‘Start Error’.
2. Replace the EAM.
3. Replace the ring transponder.
Any other ways I can try to figure out the exact part that I need to replace. Thanks in advance.
 

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2003 ml500, 2004 ml350
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Have you checked your fuel pressure for bad fuel filter ( when was the last time changed) or bad fuel pump?

At anytime did you have the key in the ingnition while jump starting, battery change?

Have you read the sticky on DAS? ( 3 down top of w 163 page)

Clearing start error ( I don’t know if it shows as a code like check engine) will not make it start.

Scanning for possible codes may help.

Have you replaced crank shaft position sensor?
 

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Just to add the fuel pressure needs to be tested during a no start.

A bad pump can work week-day - hour and not the next.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi wallyo, thanks for your reply.

The car is now 152k miles, I changed the fuel filter 12 years ago at 67k miles, I sawn up the old filter, it was not looking bad that the time. I will lookup how to check fuel pressure next (after looking on DAS).

I did jumped starting, but never left the key in ignition while doing the hook up for safety reason.

Sticky on DAS will be first thing I will do next (great suggestion).

Clearing Start Error, someone on this forum did it with an Autel scanner, and could start and never seen the Start Error back.

Buying a scanner is the top choice I would like to spend $ next. I have to shop for a most valuable scanner for my tight $ (thinking getting the same Autel who cleared the code and could start the engine, need to go back to read that post again). or any suggestion for a not so expensive and most popular scanner for ML?

Reading many posts, crank shaft position sensor didn’t solve the Start Error. Maybe I read the wrong posts, I will change if it is root cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, one more thing, battery is now brand new from the stealer, almost $300 include $25 core charge (I save the old battery for my garden's solar project), it really did a dent on my budget that battery is so expensive these days; still wondering is a good choice for a 18 years old car :(
 

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Bad Fuel pressure will cause start error each time clearing it will not cause the vehicle to start.

Not saying that is your issue, just having recently dealt with it their is a very strong possibility it maybe.

You are over due for a filter change.
But if it is the pump because of cost and ease and warranty both should be changed at the same time.
 

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You probably were going to need a battery given the age but you did not need a dealer battery many good batteries out there for 1/2 the cost.
I look at the return policy with the dealer, probably all sales finial on them.

For others members some Costcos even carry the batteries (120-140ish). But They Are NOT rated for in cabin use as in some Mercedes that have a battery under the seat. The Costco instore guide said no fitment for w163 when I got mine last year Online it said yes (Costco item# 1355853).
 

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....

Clearing Start Error, someone on this forum did it with an Autel scanner, and could start and never seen the Start Error back.

Buying a scanner is the top choice I would like to spend $ next. I have to shop for a most valuable scanner for my tight $ (thinking getting the same Autel who cleared the code and could start the engine, need to go back to read that post again). or any suggestion for a not so expensive and most popular scanner for ML?

Reading many posts, crank shaft position sensor didn’t solve the Start Error. Maybe I read the wrong posts, I will change if it is root cause.
MD802 is a decent choice.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
khomer2 & vallyo
Thank you for the scanner choices.

Where is the DAS? I thought it is behind the instrument cluster, but it is not for ML320. Does it require a special key to get it out of EAM?
I searched but no article comes up for how to get to it. Thanks!
 

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khomer2 & vallyo
Thank you for the scanner choices.

Where is the DAS? I thought it is behind the instrument cluster, but it is not for ML320. Does it require a special key to get it out of EAM?
I searched but no article comes up for how to get to it. Thanks!
Here:

 

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DAS is the whole system, the start of which is the magnetic ring or antenna is around the cylinder.

I would check your fuel system pressure first before messing with DAS (Driver Authentication System). Go to the Auto parts store of choice and get a fuel pressure test kit on the loan a tool program. It will take longer to get the gauge then testing will take. DAS will mostly give you a no start period. Not a spradic start.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Finally got the fuel pressure test kit on the loan a tool from O'Reilly. I hooked up the fuel system pressure, 1st clank, the starter turned and no start, looked at pressure gauge, 0 PSI. 2nd clank, same thing-the starter turned and no start (this time I place the gauge on the windshield, so I could see the PSI, needle didn't move). 3rd try, nothing because it was put on Start Error on the dash.

So it is the fuel filter and fuel pump, or one of the two. that I have to replace...right?
Thank you,

-Tt
 

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If you had the gauge connected to the rail correctly I say so and more likely a bad pump. Bad filter you would usually get low pressure or fluctuating pressure do to bad pressure regulator not no pressure.

Changing the pump you always change the filter and it is much easier to change the filter by disconnecting the lines at the pump then remove the filter with those lines attached.

About at the middle of the tank bottom you will see a circular spot rap here a bit with a rubber mallet see it it starts. Would not drive anywhere. More so just curiosity.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi wallyo

I also took off the DAS/MEA through the kick well, they all looked good, no water damage. put them back and tried again with the fuel pressure gauge (the connector is on right hand side of the fuel line). Same thing, 1st and 2nd time starter ran and could not start, 3rd time totally death with 'Start Error' (I pull out the negative wire from the battery after I am done the tests every time, so the system reset itself).
My Autel MD802 is coming this coming Thursday, should I wait for it to read the code? What is the error for bad fuel pump? or should I remove the chair, get it ready to change out the fuel pump for sure.
As I said that I changed the fuel filter 12 years ago at 67k miles, also changed out the 3 fuel pipe lines, do I have to change them again, or just the fuel filter. What are the good brand for fuel filter and fuel pump, or stick with Benz genuine?
Thank you, I feel I am getting there to fix this 'Start Error'.

-Tt
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi wallyo ,

I tap a bit on the bottom of tank with a rubber mallet where the fuel tank's location, tried to start, nothing clank immediately with 'Start Error'. feeling hopeless again :(

-Tt
 

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Hi wallyo

I also took off the DAS/MEA through the kick well, they all looked good, no water damage. put them back and tried again with the fuel pressure gauge (the connector is on right hand side of the fuel line). Same thing, 1st and 2nd time starter ran and could not start, 3rd time totally death with 'Start Error' (I pull out the negative wire from the battery after I am done the tests every time, so the system reset itself).
My Autel MD802 is coming this coming Thursday, should I wait for it to read the code? What is the error for bad fuel pump? or should I remove the chair, get it ready to change out the fuel pump for sure.
As I said that I changed the fuel filter 12 years ago at 67k miles, also changed out the 3 fuel pipe lines, do I have to change them again, or just the fuel filter. What are the good brand for fuel filter and fuel pump, or stick with Benz genuine?
Thank you, I feel I am getting there to fix this 'Start Error'.

-Tt
Depends how deep your pocket is
As to which to use I used a Mahle.

Some times the rapping works. First time the start error happened on the 350 we toeed it home. AAA drive tried to get it started even put more gas in. Then he flat bedded it saying “when ever it is the fuel pump I drop the car off the truck and it starts”. Sure enough got it to the house dropped it he says “I am going to give it a try” it started right up. After that it would start then not start sometimes tapping helped. One time it sat in the neighborhood shopping center for 36 hours because tapping would not get it going. Next day rapped 3 times and it started.

Noticed the singed wire connector. Takes 5 minutes to change the pump.
4-5 hours to remove seats and detail everything... and reinstall seats.
2640000


See here for were I got mine post #10

 

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My Autel MD802 is coming this coming Thursday, should I wait for it to read the code? What is the error for bad fuel pump? or should I remove the chair, get it ready to change out the fuel pump for sure.
As I said that I changed the fuel filter 12 years ago at 67k miles, also changed out the 3 fuel pipe lines, do I have to change them again, or just the fuel filter. What are the good brand for fuel filter and fuel pump, or stick with Benz genuine?
There is no error code for fuel pump. This system does not have fuel pressure sensor.

Before replacing pump it would be good idea to check its power supply. In right foot well fuse box check for 12V at fuse F2f12 or F2f13. Test it while cranking.
 

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Witek is correct, we got a bit ahead of ourselves here. Check the fuse, swap a relay with the same known working relay. to confirm power at the pump. .when checking the fuse do not just check visually check for continuity with a meter.

But regaudless Tan you are overdue for a filter change!
 
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