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Old 11-23-2003, 01:07 AM
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goldstone goldstone is offline
W126 Lover
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Dutchess County, New York
Posts: 156
Question 420SEL intermittant starter problem - infuriating!

Searched, but can't find reference to situation exactly matching mine... Hope someone can help solve this really infuriating problem.

Here are the facts:

1) Over the last two weeks, I've noticed the starter cranking a little less energetically on startups. (Car is garaged, nevertheless, I figured it was the onset of the colder weather that was probably to blame. This assumption now appears to have been wrong.)

2) This morning--not particularly cold--the starter really sounded like it was struggling, and it took two tries to get the engine to turnover. (As always, once she starts-up, it's smooth sailing all the way.)

3) Arrived at my destination about 40 minutes later. Car sat for about 4 hours. Started up thereafter. Went for lunch; parked at the restaurant; afterward, engine started-up again. Made one final stop (the fateful one) at the local Home Depot. Was in the store for about 20 minutes, after which I tried to get my beloved 420 to start... Nada! Starter refused to crank at all.

4) Tried everything obvious (checked shifter position, fluid levels, battery connections, fuses, listened for fuel pumps); all checked-out fine. Note: New battery (about 3 months old) and new alternator (about 6 months old); I really don't think the problem is with them...

4) Called AAA for a tow to my trusted indy. Tow operator tried, but couldn't get her to start either, and re-checked the battery and essentially retraced my steps confirming that the problem lay elsewhere. Tow on the flatbed took about 40 minutes.

5) Upon arriving at the indy's garage (he's closed until Monday) and thanking/tipping the tow operator, I climbed into my 420 to await a pick-up by my wife in our other car. While sitting there in the dark, and just for the heck of it, I stuck the key in the ignition, and--bingo--car started right up!!!

That's the story so far... I opted to leave the car there for my mechanic to hopefully diagnose and correct, but I'd sure appreciate some insights into the most likely source of this intermittant problem.

Any educated guesses? (I'll report back on what the indy comes up with in any case.)

1991 560SEL-Euro (185,000 miles)
1989 420SEL (Retired from daily use at 325,000 miles; Use as donor vehicle)
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