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Old 02-10-2001, 07:36 PM
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EricSilver EricSilver is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 1,210
I need some help with a starter problem on my 1989 260E. I was installing new wires for front speakers while the car was running. I shut it down for a moment to make a phone call and when I tried to restart it, the starter would not turn over. I could hear the vacuum pump and fuel pump, the radio came on, the antenna extended, and the lights and horn all work. But no starter.

I had MB roadside assistance come but the fellow felt it might be related to some starter kill switch that activated when I was clearing out old stereo and alarm wiring left behind by the car's previous owners. Problem is, the car has no alarm that I am aware of -- and all alien wiring has been removed, so if there is a unit it is probably not connected to anything.

Is it possible that I loosened something behind the (driver's side) lower dash panel?? Or on the passenger side? The problem seems to have occurred after I re-screwed the driver's side dash panel back into place. I had only removed the lower screws to tilt the panel out just enough to pull the speaker wire through.

Here is exactly what I had done prior to the problem Any insights you all can offer would be appreciated. I am convinced that the starter is fine and the battery is fully charged, so I do not consider those to be the cause.

1) removed center console wool paneling and window, mirror and fader switches.

2) Threaded speaker wirth through passenger side speaker opening, down to footwell, and into center console.

3 Threaded speaker wirth through driver side speaker opening, down to footwell, and into center console.
Now, this process was not easy and, in the process of blindly feeling for the inserted wire, I worry that I may have loosened

4) In the process of threading the driver side speaker wire, cam across an alien wire that ran from driver side to passenger side.
It looked like speaker wire and I cut it. Engine was running, nothing happened.
Turns out that this wire was connected to the flashing LED for the aftermarket alarm installed by the previous owner and, as far as \
I know, is not in the car anymore.

5) Put dash lower panel back into place. Seemed difficult to bolt it and I pushed it kind of hard to make it contact the bolt holes. A short while later, I discovered that the batting/padding material in there had bunched up and was causing the difficulty.

At this point, I had shut down the car and when I tried to restart it a bit later, it would not. I immediately suspected that the wire I cut was part of the starter and reopened the dash to splice it back together. Tried starting and nothing happened. Tried again after a few minutes and car started. Tried restarting and it worked OK. Re-cut that wire and restarted OK. Then after replacing the dash, car would not start.

I suspect that I loosened a wire when fiddling under the dash. The MB Tech feels some remaining element of an aftermarket alarm is causing it. I searched for an alarm but found nothing. All I found were components (relays and wires) that were once part of an alarm at some point, and which I removed. They were: A.) attached to the vacuum pump, B) under the passenger floor mat, C) inside the engine bay.

However, one electronic component remains -- a small relay-type box made in Mexico, with its wires wrapped in electrical tape so it is probably not MB original. It is spliced to the device that the MB Tech tried to manually crank the started with. Is this some sort of kill switch that needs to be removed -- and was somehow triggered by my poking around?

What should I be looking for under the driver or passenger dash or on the center console that could be causing this?


Eric Silver
1989 260E

[Edited by EricSilver on 02-10-2001 at 07:40 PM]
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