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Old 06-27-2001, 08:30 AM
Jim Villers's Avatar
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My wife's 1995 E320 failed last night. She said that it had a "dragging" sound when she drove it yesterday and just before arriving home for the last time, "the dash warning lights blinked and the engine bogged down" but she made it to the driveway. My testing reveled that the starter motor is frozen and shorted out. I pulled the starter last night. The rear rubber bearing cap appeared fried. I could not turn the armature with pliers and it has a very high capacity short. My theory is that the starter motor did not shut off after the engine started and it ran until it internally failed. My question: is this part of the "dreaded engine wiring harness" problem that affects the 104 engine or is it something else. My only other thought would be a failed ignition switch. Appreciate any comments from anyone who has experienced or fixed a similar problem.
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190SL, 230SL 5-speed, 95 E320 Wagon, 01 E320 Wagon, MGB, Boxster 'S', 190SL "Barn Find"
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Old 06-27-2001, 09:05 AM
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I do not think "THE" harness problem is your problem. The starter circuit doesn't run through it although there may be a connection.

I would say it was much more likely that dirt or lack or lubrication kept the drive engaged. The only regular electrical problem I see that could cause this would be a sticking ignition switch helped by a big wad of keys. While the sticking could be intermittant the feel or lack of spring tention to the run position, should be noticable.
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Old 06-27-2001, 11:51 AM
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Thanks Steve. I don't think that the drive gear was stuck; I think that the solenoid was engaged. I just came back from the "starter rebuild shop". They pulled it apart and it was totally trashed inside; bar from the commutator missing, braided connector wire "welded" to the communicator, iron filings everywhere, planetary gear locked. Not a pretty picture.

I will check the ignition switch spring and my wife's key chain tonight.
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190SL, 230SL 5-speed, 95 E320 Wagon, 01 E320 Wagon, MGB, Boxster 'S', 190SL "Barn Find"
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Old 06-27-2001, 01:56 PM
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Jim, I might be tempted to replace the ignition anyway... Between a new starter and new ignition, you SHOULD eliminate the problem? I know that if I were in your shoes, I'd worry about it for a while, and I'd hate to see you burn up another starter and get stranded.
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