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  #1  
Old 03-23-2008, 02:30 AM
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Car (96 E320) crapped out today.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's finally hitting that point where repairs start coming in waves. It was dead reliable for over a year then last week a coil pack died and today(well Saturday) it decided to not start and left me stranded for the first time.

I gave some people from my church a ride to some local hiking trails and everything seemed fine. We walked for a couple hours in the beautiful weather and headed back to the car. Everything came on as usual when I turned the key to the run position, but when I turned it farther to start it, nothing. When I say nothing, nothing additional happened, but nothing went out either, like when the battery goes dead. On some tries, there'd be a faint relay-type click, but not on others. The battery seems fine, it just won't engage the starter. Maybe it's the starter solenoid. Seems kinda sudden. There's been a couple times in the last year that it rolled over slow, but started. I just chalked those up to the battery being run down or something as it didn't persist.

Anyway, I had to get the car towed to the dealer. A guy parked next to us in a BMW 330i offered to help and ended up giving the people that rode with me a ride back to their cars. Then he came back to check up on me. Super nice guy. Guess I'd better not make any sweeping generalisations about BMW guys for a while, my karma might take a major hit.

Oh yeah, when the service manager brought me into his office he said "I just want to say first off, that's the cleanest E class I think I've ever seen." That just made my day.

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'96 E320 traded in at 292,000 miles
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2008, 03:03 AM
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Brian, my first guess would be that you need a new battery. MB batteries typically fail that way ... fine one minute, completely dead the next. Another thing to check would be the voltage regulator brushes. When they're heavily worn the alternator will not recharge the battery properly and cause electrical problems.
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  #3  
Old 03-23-2008, 10:31 AM
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Sounds like a weak battery, if you jumped it, it might have started.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:58 AM
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I'd agree, start with a battery test and then work forward from there after fixing it or ruling it out.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2008, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for your input guys. Turns out, the battery's fine. Two things were wrong: 1 The stop light switch, wouldn't let me take it out of gear. Oddly, you could take it out of gear while the key was turned to the start position. 2 The cable to the starter corroded and broke. The cable and attached fuse box need to be replaced.

Total bill: $660.00 Ouch.
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  #6  
Old 03-25-2008, 07:23 PM
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It continues...

Got the call this afternoon that my "beautiful E-Class is done". So I cruise over in the '06 Taurus they loaned me to pick it up. For some reason, the paperwork wasn't ready yet, so I waited around a bit. One of the service managers called me into his office and said there was another problem when they were getting my car ready for me. Apparently, they washed and vacuumed it and it wouldn't start again.

They said they'd call me when it's fixed again and sent me out in an '06 or '07 C230 sport
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  #7  
Old 03-25-2008, 07:45 PM
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Smells like the ignition switch to me, but doesn't explain the $660 bill.
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  #8  
Old 03-25-2008, 07:58 PM
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The $660 was parts and labor to replace the cable (and fuse box?) going to the starter and the brake light switch. I didn't verify, but it's likely the really long cable that goes to the battery in the rear seat.

Seems sort of like something got wet and failed when they washed it. I asked and they said they didn't wash the engine, just the exterior. This car used to drop cylinders when it got wet, but that was fixed and now it apparently won't start which doesn't seem related anyway.
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  #9  
Old 03-25-2008, 09:50 PM
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thats odd

also your car should have the little flap on the shifter (I think) to allow you to move the shifter if it ever gets stuck again- stick a pen or similar device in the hole to press the release and move the shifter knob.
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  #10  
Old 03-25-2008, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnhef View Post
thats odd
Very. I kinda can't wait to hear what could've done this.

Quote:
also your car should have the little flap on the shifter (I think) to allow you to move the shifter if it ever gets stuck again- stick a pen or similar device in the hole to press the release and move the shifter knob.
Do you mean like a little cover you pop off near the shifter? It doesn't have one of those. But you could get it into gear by holding the key in the start position, which I find strange.
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  #11  
Old 03-25-2008, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunagen Labs View Post
Turns out, the battery's fine. Two things were wrong: 1 The stop light switch, wouldn't let me take it out of gear.

Apparently, they washed and vacuumed it and it wouldn't start again.

Total bill: $660.00 Ouch.
This is a long shot, but have them look anyway: Neutral Safety switch.

Mine fails in cold conditions, especially when wet/damp. I have a new switch, and your post just reminded me to install it ASAP.
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  #12  
Old 03-26-2008, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricSilver View Post
This is a long shot, but have them look anyway: Neutral Safety switch.

Mine fails in cold conditions, especially when wet/damp. I have a new switch, and your post just reminded me to install it ASAP.
I was thinking the same.
Try turning the key on but don't start the engine.
Shift to neutral and the try starting.
If the car starts, then its the neutral switch.
Should be about $150 to change.
Oh also, does your shifter make a squeeking noise when you wiggle it?
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  #13  
Old 03-26-2008, 12:58 PM
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The neutral safety switch probably should be changed, but apparently that's not it. Also the shifter doesn't squeak, what would it mean if it did?

Current word is that cycle module went bad. Another 480 (280 part, 200 labor). That'll put this repair over a grand.

Now I'm seriously questioning keeping this car. It had a $1,000+ repair bill the end of '06, ran perfect until the spring perch broke in late August, fixed that and replaced the whole front suspension, ran perfect until now. So I guess if there's one or two major repairs a year, I'm still well under the cost of any remotely comparable car.
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  #14  
Old 03-26-2008, 01:46 PM
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It was that high because you took it to a dealer. If you took it to and indy it probably would have been much less.
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  #15  
Old 03-26-2008, 01:52 PM
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That's a very good point. If it'd failed at work or home, I could've dug around and found one. The dealer was the only place I could come up with in a pinch. Man, I sure wish BenzMac was still turning wrenches in the area.

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