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  #1  
Old 07-11-2005, 01:45 PM
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MB Wiring Harness Failure

As most of you know, Mercedes has declined to own up to the engine wiring harness defect in the 1991-1996 model years, and issue a "goodwill" recall.

I just called MBUSA, and I am not *to say the least* satisfied by their response.

Following, is a list of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-EIGHT (updated 6-19-2006) reported consumer complaints (and a number of FIRES..!) that I found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website concerning the chronic engine compartment wiring harness failure suffered by 1991 through 1996 Mercedes Benz automobiles.

This list is not--by any means--meant to be complete, as it only lists those reports that I was able to locate. Note that the first complaint on the list is mine:
http://sites.google.com/site/infoage1/mercedes-benz-1991-1996-engine-wiring-harness-defect

If your Mercedes has suffered from the same defect (and it will), please call MBUSA and ask to speak to a supervisor at MBUSA who claims to have NEVER heard of this problem:

1-800-FOR-MERCEDES (1-800-367-6372)

In fact, as you read through the list, notice the arrogance by which the consumer is told this same lie, over and over, by MBUSA.

Click the link below to see hi-resolution images of two typical defective MB wiring harnesses (remarkable pics):
http://sites.google.com/site/infoage1/mercedes-benz-1991-1996-engine-wiring-harness-defect/images



Please file your own complaint with the NHTSA here, and be added to the list:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/


edited on 10-25-05 to include model year 1991 vehicles...
edited on 04-22-06 to include model year 1996 vehicles...


.

Last edited by whunter; 01-08-2011 at 04:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2005, 01:56 PM
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<<
who claims to have NEVER heard of this problem
>>

MBUSA has never heard of a problem on Mercedes-Benz cars. They are so perfect. If you have a head gasket problem on M103 and M104 motors, you are th eonly one because they have never head from any other owners.

This bad atitude and poor customer service is really hurting the quality and reputation of the brand.

Many MB models are among the used cars to avoid in the annual Consermers Report car issue.
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  #3  
Old 07-11-2005, 04:23 PM
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Exclamation

You are flogging a DEAD horse!

That reply is consistent from MB about that problem!
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  #4  
Old 07-11-2005, 04:38 PM
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m/b dead horses and wire harness defects

It has been known that occasionally, even "dead" horses can be "flogged" to life! Keep after them, and then advise proper authorities. Consider small claims court in your area. good luck, Abe G
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2005, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abe g

It has been known that occasionally, even "dead" horses can be "flogged" to life! Keep after them, and then advise proper authorities. Consider small claims court in your area. good luck, Abe G
Absolutely.

This should have been a recall item, and, with perseverance, I believe will be. The local service manager told me that Mercedes did replace these up until two or three years ago, but suddenly stopped, with no explaination.

Today, I printed and mailed all 19 pages, some 60 collected complaints, back to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Office of Defect Investigation," as well as a link to the web page I made.

Trust me, I WILL get their attention. And with luck, I will find someone in the NHTSA, or the FTC, with the balls to go after MB.

Numbers are what will give this thing momentum, so if you are having an engine wiring harness problem (or did), you can file your own complaint with the NHTSA here, and be added to the list:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/


.

Last edited by whunter; 01-08-2011 at 01:04 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2005, 10:23 AM
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There is a DIY article here on how to replace the wiring harness. It has step by step instructions and pictures. I can't recall for which engine it was. It seems like a fairly straight-forward thing to do, not any more difficult than changing plug wires.

My daughter's 300TE had some stalling issues. Enrique at Mr. M.B. MOTORS diagnosed the problem as a wiring harness issue. Before ordering a new wiring harness, Enrique took the time to check the wiring and was able to locate the culprit. Some wires were cahnged/re-routed and now the car runs great. We did not need to change the entire harness.

I know we all wish that MB would fix all of our cars' problems. But I have to tell you, I have owned many different brands of cars, it is hard to find a car built as solidly as the W124 or the W126 bodies (I have no experience with newer Benzes). My daughter's 300TE has 190k on the clock and it runs like a champ. Several years ago I sold my '84 300SD with over 300k on the clock, that car is still running strong. The new owners (family friends) still drive it on a daily basis and they love it. BTW, the husband is a German engineer and he loves diesels. I sold my '91 420SEL with almost 250K on the clock. That car is still running great. The new owner took care of the few problems that it had and she loves her "new" car.

By contrast, I now drive a 1999 Seville SLS. Talk about a POS. It has 48k miles and it has been in the family since it was new (it was Dad's car). Since October of last year it has had over $6k worth of tranny work. Fortunately for me, I bought an extended warranty, so all the repair bills have been paid for by GM. I, however, shudder to think what will happen when the extended warranty expires.

If you think that MB is cold and heartless towards its customers then try dealing with GM. The GM "customer care" center is the biggest joke in the world. For example, my highly touted Northstar engine, allegedly the best/greatest/finest engine ever made by GM (at least according to their own literature) consumes one quart of oil every 750 - 1k miles. It has been doing this since new.

When Northstars owners complain about the engine's thirst for oil, GM's reply is: 1. this is normal, 2. manufacturing tolerances (or lack thereof) cause some engines to consume more oil than other engines, 3. this is a "built-in" feature to make sure that there is always a supply of fresh oil in the engine or 4. we NEVER heard of this problem (I actually got that answer once).

Sure, it would be nice if Benz fixed the wiring harness problem, or if they took care of the cracking dashboards on some W123 or W126 cars or if they fixed the peeling clearcoats on some older Benzes. But try finding another car that will consistently give owners such driving pleasure and longevity of use and I am sure that you will find that no other car comes even close to Benz.

So enjoy what you have and thank God that you don't drive a Cadillac Seville. (BTW go to www.cadillacforums.com and see how even the much-touted new STS is full of problems. GM will NEVER get it right).

Enjoy.
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Last edited by BENZ-LGB; 07-12-2005 at 10:31 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-13-2005, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BENZ-LGB

There is a DIY article here on how to replace the wiring harness. It has step by step instructions and pictures. I can't recall for which engine it was. It seems like a fairly straight-forward thing to do, not any more difficult than changing plug wires.
I'd be happy enough if MB were to simply hand me a new harness. I could certainly manage the installation. From everything I've read (and as you note), it's a fairly simple swap.

One of the things the MBUSA rep told me that pissed me off, he tried to draw an analogy to the engine control wiring harness and brake pads/tires.

WTF?

Since when are wiring harnesses considered "consumables?"


.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2005, 10:48 AM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infoage1
I'd be happy enough if MB were to simply hand me a new harness. I could certainly manage the installation. From everything I've read (and as you note), it's a fairly simple swap.

One of the things the MBUSA rep told me that pissed me off, he tried to draw an analogy to the engine control wiring harness and brake pads/tires.

Since when are wiring harnesses considered "consumables?"
I agree with you that sometimes it is not the product itself that creates the "problem" but, rather, the inane responses from service reps and other company hacks. I am well versed on cars, and sometimes their responses make me feel like they must think I am a doofus from Palookaville. It is when they insult my intelligence that I blow a gasket.

Have you tried negotiating? Maybe they go half and half on the cost of a new harness?

Harnesses became "consumables" when the Germans allowed the "Green Party" to take over industrial decisions. The wiring harness is supposed to be biodegradable. This is because of Germany's countless environmental laws. Some of which make sense, some of which are totally stupid. The wiring harness is one example of the stupid ones. The harnesses began to degrade way before the car's "normal" life.

Another stupid law is the requirement that before you get a fishing license, you have to demonstrate to the German Fish & Game people that you know how to kill a caught fish with a single hammer blow to the head.

Good luck in your quest to make them address the harness issue. On the other hand, thank God you don't drive a POS Cadillac Seville.
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Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!

Last edited by whunter; 12-06-2006 at 05:16 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2005, 12:57 PM
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Good Luck with your battle, I have tried before here too, hopefully you have more luck and drive than I did after I got my harness.
Chris
Attn! W124 Owners
94 E320 Stalling Problems
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2005, 05:13 PM
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I think it is time for Mercedes to step up to the plate and take responsibility for these harnesses! Consumables??? What else are we going to find out is a consumable? How soon should I expect to replace my airbag and be sure it will still work? Where is the schedule in my manual for changing my wire harness? Had someone said something before I bought the car about changing the harness every 60,000-70,000 miles I might have passed over it. And guess what else... Between my dad and 2 brothers, we own 13 mercedes benz, (enough to start our own mercedes club) guess how many need harness replaced? 1 - mine and all the others are older and all run well and have never had a harness replacement! I wonder what the "consumable" schedule for those cars is! Way to go Mercedes!
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2005, 08:29 PM
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Glitch Filing Complaint to NHTSA

I tried to file an on-line complaint using the link from Infoage1 and the website seems to have a flaw. It will ask what type of vehicle and the pull down gives only three choices, Buses..., Motorcycle, or Trailer. Finally, when the pro-forma complaint appears for review, the reason for the complaint, that was previously entered, goes missing. I'll try again tomorrow.
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  #12  
Old 07-14-2005, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BENZ-LGB

Have you tried negotiating? Maybe they go half and half on the cost of a new harness?
I offered customer service supervisor at MBUSA, as a suggestion: that I had been told that other MB owners had been handed a new harness, and were then responsible for their own installation.

But, well, given that he had NEVER EVER heard of the problem in the first place, my generous suggestion went unheard...

Evidently, being deaf is part of the MBUSA "customer service" rep job description...


Quote:
Originally Posted by flanso
I tried to file an on-line complaint using the link from Infoage1 and the website seems to have a flaw. It will ask what type of vehicle and the pull down gives only three choices, Buses..., Motorcycle, or Trailer. Finally, when the pro-forma complaint appears for review, the reason for the complaint, that was previously entered, goes missing. I'll try again tomorrow.
Flanso,
Yes, please try again tomorrow. If you have to, there is a telephone number on that same link, and the NHTSA rep will cheerfully take your complaint verbally.

Also, add my web page to your online complaint. If your complaint is verbal, get an email address to sent it to. The more, and different, NHTSA people that read the scale and trend of the problem, the better the odds of a satisfactory resolution.

http://sites.google.com/site/infoage1/mercedes-benz-1991-1996-engine-wiring-harness-defect
.

Last edited by whunter; 01-08-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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  #13  
Old 07-15-2005, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infoage1

Today, I printed and mailed all 19 pages, some 60 collected complaints, back to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Office of Defect Investigation," as well as a link to http://sites.google.com/site/infoage1/mercedes-benz-1991-1996-engine-wiring-harness-defect .


Numbers are what will give this thing momentum, so if you are having an engine wiring harness problem (or did), you can file your own complaint with the NHTSA here, and be added to the list:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/


.
Here's the letter I snail-mailed to the NHTSA along with the 19 pages of complaints. A similar letter (and link) was emailed to the FTC:


NHTSA
Office of Investigations
NSA-1001400
7Th Street SW
Washington DC 20590


July 11, 2005

Dear NHTSA:

Per our recent telephone conversation:

Mercedes-Benz Engine Wiring Harness Defect

Enclosed, please find a list of reported complaints that I found on your very own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website concerning the chronic engine compartment wiring harness failure suffered by (at the least) 1992 through 1995 Mercedes Benz automobiles. This list is not, by any means, meant to be complete, as it only lists those reports that I was able to locate. Note that the first complaint on the list is mine.

I am outraged at Mercedes-Benz’ arrogant refusal to own up to, and take responsibility for, this extremely dangerous design and engineering defect. For the life of me (literally), I cannot understand why NHTSA has not investigated this dangerous situation, especially given the large number of complaints. I will not be satisfied with less than Mercedes’ immediate rectification.

http://sites.google.com/site/infoage1/mercedes-benz-1991-1996-engine-wiring-harness-defect

Sincerely,



.

Last edited by whunter; 01-08-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2005, 05:00 AM
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Thank you infoage1

My 1995 E320 (87K miles) has not had a problem YET, but I would sure love it if the dealer just called me in for a recall replacement of the harness. It would be a load off my mind and I guess it would save me $1000.00 or more, if the dealer would fix it for me. I would be very happy if they just gave some kind of discount, like a free harness that I would have to pay to have installed. Thanks again for your efforts to help all of us with this issue.
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:09 AM
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Have 3 suspect cars with the same potential problem. I think it would be very nice if Mercedes took care of these issues. I know all three have the original wiring and no problems so far, and I check them on a regular basis.
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