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  #16  
Old 09-06-2001, 11:44 PM
roas
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Can these Throttle Actuators be rebuilt?

Typically does the whole unit fail or can just a part be replaced as in a potentiometer replacement that I read about in another thread?

I hate the idea of "pluck and chuck" instead of really repairing the defective item.
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  #17  
Old 09-07-2001, 11:12 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Milton MA
Posts: 336
Hello roas!

Yes they can be rebuilt, IMHO. The first tech to work on it , Peter Vanderveer of Vanderveer Motors of Norwood MA cleaned the crud off of it but could not dismantle the potentiometer that is mounted on the body of the "slide". I should have told him to just go ahead and replace the unit himself as I don't think he would have had the brass ones to charge me $963.00 for a part that lists out at $687.00 at Clair International, another MB Authorized Mercedes Stealership.

Hey Mark!

If you also had the Austin MB Dealer replace the unit, how many hours labor did they charge you?

Tom
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2001, 04:20 PM
roas
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Hi Tom,

As I have a electronics repair background (Army), I know if its a potentiometer that has gone bad the part can't be much. If all I need to do is get to the manifold I will attempt to do the repair myself.

My reason for suspecting the TA is my ASR light stays on without any noticed abnormal ASR behavior. I only get a code 5 on the computer and resetting only lasts about 1-2 days depending on how aggressive I am with the throttle. The car has already had the TA replaced by the PO 5 years ago?
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2001, 02:50 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
I've been reading the posts for later MB's with all electronic engine controls and have a few thoughts.

I suspect MB has sucumbed to the current rage of everything super electronic and computer controlled, with the result that these cars will never achieve the high milage and high resale values of older models without the super electronics.

My reasoning is as follows:

Most original owners don't mind paying once or twice for expensive parts (that is, $2200 for a climate control module, $3000 for an engine computer, etc.). However, the second time will usually convince them that $10,000 every couple years is too much to maintain these cars, and they will dump them. It's one thing to get expensive parts replaced under warrenty, another to shell out the bucks.

Second owners will demand very low prices due to the known problems -- I've heard from MB dealers that one is well advised to stay away from current S class models due to very expensive electronics failures (power window "convinence" relay sets, door electronics, $700 rear view mirrors, $5000 climate controls, etc), and a couple more times like this and they will end up in the junkyard.

I expect both BMW and MB to lose their reputations shortly as a result of over complex and vastly over-expensive electronic controls -- after all, do we REALLY need a 450MHz computer to turn the brake lights on and off? Get real!

Nothing mechanically wrong with these cars, just so much fancy junk that prevents operation. I mean, what is this stuff with no dipstick? What if the electronic dodad "forgets" to tell you the oil is low? And they will, after all, electronics fail rather rapidly compared to mechanical devices.

Sad, I will never have the chance to own a 1992 or later Benz -- can't afford them new, and the used ones will be junk......!

Peter
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  #20  
Old 09-08-2001, 04:17 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Milton MA
Posts: 336
Hi roas!

Your gonna love me!

If your ASR light stays on but you are not reduced to " Limp Mode" then your problem is the cheap part - The Idle Speed Actuator. It costs about $41.00 (maybe cheaper here on the fast lane or Benzbin.) It is in a weird place. You remove the driver's side rug and it is in the area around the gas pedal. It sort of looks like that pig-tailed thingamabob that ItalianBenz is selling for premature aux fan control engage. Peter Vanderveer replaced that part first, cleaned the TA, cleared the codes, reset the Throttle Stop and it ran GR8 - for about a mile

Your problem can not be the TA yet as you would immediately feel it in the gas pedal. You would have to press it about 3/4 down before you would get any throttle. You may wanna also check your harness between the TA and the ASR. The Kraut engineers just layed it over the intake manifold and the back part of the valve cover on it's way to the ASR computer. The factory supposedly now instructs the tech to install rubber holders to keep the harness elevated above the hot engine parts in it's path back to the ASR.

psfred! You are just about 100% correct. Non Dealer techs can not repair these MB or BMW post '89 vehicles any more without shelling out $4000.00 for a HHT with limited capacity to read DTCs.

Fortunately used parts in the post '89 vehicles are in GR8 abundance in the bone yards for just the reasons you stated. Most problem parts are bolt off-bolt-on, plug in- clear codes and go if you have the electro-mechanical skills and/or willingness to learn and use.

Tom
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  #21  
Old 09-08-2001, 06:05 PM
roas
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Thanks for the feedback on this one Tom!

Now it must be the wiring, because my independent already replaced the Idle Speed Actuator 2 months ago, which incidentally lasted about half the day before the ASR light came back on. The car is fine, I have just learned to ignore the light but that is getting old real quick.

So now I'm wondering if bad/old wiring can produce this symptom? Looks like its time to turn some wrenches.
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  #22  
Old 09-08-2001, 07:11 PM
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Location: Milton MA
Posts: 336
Hi Ross!

If you are gonna do your own "wrenching", you may wanna get yourself a 124-036 CD. You can get them here for a buck-sixty and there has been some guy occaisionally selling them on ebay for $75-100. ( I think he must have a CD/RW and is burning copies.

Read the engine control article in the DYI column and then click on

http://www.imagestation.com/member/?name=Yourself

graciously supplied by rainmaker and you will have a plan to follow.

I have asked a computer geek friend of mine if he could rig a bluetooth device that could be attached to an interface module connector to plug into the ASR and other computer plug ins under my hood and have it communicate wirelessly with my home server or laptop. If the cost is a lot less than the $4000.00 cost of a limited HHT, maybe, I could get the car to communicate with me in english like my wife's BMW wagon does.

When we have a light burn out we get a light on the dashboard telling us so but not which one. Her 540It has a rolling led screen just below the row of idiot lights and it prints out in plain english which light it is. I am going to disconnect her ASR just before the next scheduled service to see if the dashboard screen tells me in plain english which plug I pulled. If it does, this E500 is my LAST Benz.

TOM

Last edited by TomE500; 09-08-2001 at 07:24 PM.
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  #23  
Old 09-09-2001, 09:12 PM
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Posts: 638
throttle actuators, ASR lights

I have seen several of these electronic throttle actuators that 'failed' on dissection (I'm an engineer, and have an SL 600 with 2 of these things to fix). found the wiring insulation had disintegrated inside the cable housing.

The failure is not 'inside' the actuator, but in the wiring harness going to it.

MBZ and Bosch are aware of the failures, but are not doing anything to recall or assist owners in repairs. The root cause is faulty plastic insulation , just like the main and engine wiring harnesses. This problem is in ALL MBZ with electronic throttles from 1991 to about 1997 I believe. The cost to consumers averages over $4000 for the harnesses and actuators.
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  #24  
Old 09-16-2001, 10:11 PM
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Posts: 336
E500 ASR problem - Final Chapter - I Hope

Foreign Motors West - A Class Act

I received a letter from the President asking 3 questions regarding my experience using their service. I responded with the following email:
We Appreciate Your Business!

Mr. Frederick S. Tierney, President
Foreign Motors West
253 North Main Street
Natick MA 01760

Good afternoon Fred!

I received your letter today with the above caption and can easily answer "yes' to all three questions that you asked. What you did not ask is was I satisfied with the experience in dealing with your dealership. That answer is a definite NO!

Sometime back in late July, I drove my vehicle into Chambers in Somerville with an ASR trouble code. The SA (new to the dealership that week from a Chevy Dealer) asked me what it was. I told him. He then told me that it would be a 3 hour diagnostic charge to troubleshoot the problem. When I informed him that the tech would plug in his HHT interface into the ASR computer and the computer would read out the codes, he reduced it immediately to an hour and a half labor time. I arrived at the Dealership at 4:00 pm that day and was told that the TA had to be replaced and that it would be a 6 hour charge plus the part. I told him to "button it up" and left.
Although I purchased one of my four Benzes from that dealer, Herb will never see my business again.

I brought the vehicle to a nearby independent MB tech and asked him to do the work. He cleaned the TA but could not resolve the problem and graciously delivered the vehicle to your shop to have the TA replaced. Clair parts had quoted me $687.00 list for the part and informed me that the manual allowed for 1&1/2 hour labor install time and to clear the codes and reset the throttle stop. Your SA informed me by telephone that the part including gasket was $967.00 and an hour and a half install time.

I thought a 50% mark-up on the part was ridiculous but was tired of dealing with Authorized Dealerships at this point and told him to proceed. When I arrived to pick up vehicle, the labor charge not only increased to 4.5 hours but the invoice stated that I was informed that the estimate would be 1500.00 and that is a flat out lie.

If the vehicle with only 32,250 miles were still under warranty, the MB Warranty rep would have thought that both you and Chambers were smoking dope asking for that install time and part cost.

I am sad to say that this experience has left me with a feeling that this will be the last Benz that I will own. I bought my wife a BMW 540It last year only because MB did not offer an 8 cylinder station wagon at the time. When the time comes for me to purchase my next luxury vehicle, maybe BMW will be the way to go.

Sincerely,

Tom Phinney

cc: Herb Chambers, Chambers Motor Cars of Boston
MBUSA
BMWUSA
Paula Lyons

Chambers - A Classless act IMHO was the first to respond:

Tom -

It sounds like our estimate of 6 hours plus parts was right on the money (4.5 hours to replace the throttle actuator plus 1.5 hours diagnostic time). I don't think the "MB Rep" would think we were "smoking dope" since that is the standard time for such repairs. It also seems like we could have saved you an enormous amount of frustration had you opted to have the repair done with us back in July.

We try to be fair with our service prices, realizing our clients not only expect, but demand that! We shop other garages quite often and find that our pricing is usually lower or right on the money. Of course, independent garages don't have nearly the overhead we do. They also don't have technicians that are constantly trained. As a matter of information, it costs us about $20,000 per year to keep a technician up to date on training. Because of that, most clients choose to do business with us rather than independents.

I'm sorry that we were not able to earn your business this time around, but hope that in the future, you keep us in mind.

Mercedes-Benz offers great products. But, as these vehicles evolve and become more complicated, we recommend extended warranties to cover the cost of unforseen repairs. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz now offers those plans! BMW does not. And, as noted in almost all quality reports, M-B is way ahead of BMW.

Thanks for your feedback and, again, if we can help you in the future, don't hesitate to contact me personally.

Sincerely,

Bernie Moreno
Director of Operations, Mercedes-Benz
The Herb Chambers Companies

cc: Herb Chambers, President


I received a telephone call from the Assistant Service Manager of FMW this past Friday. He apologized for the problem that I experienced at his dealership and informed me that they would re-imburse my credit card for 3 of the 4.5 hours of labor and $100.00 off the cost of the part. I thanked him for his sincerity and generosity as I HAD agreed to the cost of the part in advance.

I have not heard again from Chambers or Mercedes Benz of North America, nor do I expect to.

You can add Foreign Motors West to the list of Good MB shops that seem to care about whether or not the customer is important to them. This point is apparently lost to MBNA and Chambers Motors of Somerville.

Tom

Last edited by TomE500; 09-16-2001 at 11:43 PM.
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  #25  
Old 11-07-2001, 12:11 PM
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Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 262
Add my car to the ranks of 500E's with ASR problem

Add my car to the ranks of 500E's with the ASR light problem. The day before my '92 car was due in for service (108.5K miles - oil change and the usual assortment of little stuff), the ASR light came on and the car went into "limp home" mode while I was cruising down the freeway in cool weather. It was quite a surprise! I pulled over, and after I realized the car wasn't going to stall, and that there was still some throttle response left if I pushed hard enough, I drove home and then straight to my dealer, MB of South Bay in Torrance. I was reassured to note that there were THREE 500E's at the dealer that day - mine and two others. Had it not been Guido's day off, there would have been FOUR.

I got the car back in a week (it was a LARGE assortment of little stuff), but the ASR problem still remains. The first diagnosis was a loose connector that was replugged. Total line item cost $28.56. Description reads: "Code for fault in EZL DTC 032. Found connector loose at EZL. Not fully plugged in - reconnect. No current fault." The car kicked into "limp home" mode the first time I got back on the freeway. It has reset itself to normal each time when I shut it off. I haven't had the occasion to find how short a duration of off-time is needed to reset it - so far a half-hour has been the shortest interval.

So - does anyone know what the fault code means? Judging from the dialog in this thread, I suspect a fault in the upper wiring harness and maybe also the Throttle Body Actuator. Any comments on the best way to proceed? I want to make sure I'm in good shape before Willow Springs at the end of the month!
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  #26  
Old 11-07-2001, 04:01 PM
roas
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Too many ASR issues!

Does anyone happen to have a old wiring harness laying around that can be used as a "blueprint"? Duplicating the harness may be a worthwhile endeavor for someone with the time and effort needed and may not be that expensive. We are taling some special connectors and high temp wire and binding materials, at most I am thinking $100 a copy? Has anyone priced the connectors to do this?

I would be willing to give it a shot if someone has a "donor" harness.
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  #27  
Old 11-07-2001, 06:05 PM
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Hi Mark!

Here is a starting point for reading and understanding DTCs.

http://www.imagestation.com/member/?name=Yourself

A friend in Belgium with a very close friend in Stuttgart has confirmed that story about the wiring harnesses on any 94-96 Benz. They made them with a new material that would break down in a biodegradeable form after their useful life was over. They must have forgotten the engine heat test when they were designing this harness. (No wonder these krauts lost the war;^)
Almost every harness is just about guaranteed to self-destruct. MB will officially tell you that that is bunk. Your local mechanic will pull out the harness and show you that it is not.

To eliminate the harness, you need to borrow one from a friend with another E500, E400 SL500 or any 119 engine. (The harness is the same even if the part number is different) Install the harness on a cold engine. Take the car out and duplicate the conditions that sent it into limp mode. If it does not repeat, you are lucky - it is definately the harness. If you threaten and cajole the dealer to connect you with an MBNA rep, he will do so and the rep will most certainly give you a new harness assuming you employ the use of Irish Diplomacy on him. It can be removed and re-installed in minutes so I would not offer the dealer a dime to do it.

If the ASR light does engage and send you into limp mode - it is most likely the air flow meter (potentiometer). The parts suppliers will not sell you that part unless you are an official re-builder of MB parts.

The entire unit is for sale here at $587.00 ish. There are four bolts and a gasket and the air cleaner housing seperating you from completing your task.

If you are handy with a wrench, some gasket cement and common sense - you can do the job yourself. If Guido's gang does it for you, plan on paying $7-900 bucks for the part and about an hour and a half pluck and chuck time to install it.

Tom
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  #28  
Old 11-08-2001, 12:15 AM
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Thanks Tom. I checked out the imagestation post you mentioned. That's some pretty useful information, but the fault codes listed end before they get to my code 032. Anyone out there know what 032 is?

Your persuasiveness almost has me ready to do it myself on the throttle actuator. Thanks. I've got the W124 CD/ROM manual, but being a Mac whacker, I can only open it page at a time. Is there a page that deals with my problem?
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  #29  
Old 11-08-2001, 05:58 PM
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Yes there is but I am pretty sure it does not catalog by default code.

Here is what you can do since you have already paid for diagnostic time of the tech to plug in his HHT to get the code and put it on your invoice. Call the Service Manager and asks him to convert 032 to english. Then use that to query the 124-036 CD search engine.

I think he will tell you that it is the idle speed actuator which is a pig tail thigamajiggy under the drivers side floor rug plugged in to an outlet near the throttle pedal. I had three codes read on my problem. The first one was the idle speed actuator. It is a $41.00 part that very rarely goes. I replaced it and it did not clear the original code because IMHO the pot under the hood was kicking it on because the idle speed dropped because it was not getting enough air flow.

If the harness has deteriated inside the outer wrap, you would not see it upon visual inspection. The dealer would have to take it apart to find out. What they usually do is remove it and put it in another like vehicle that does not have any known problems and see if it develops the same symtoms as the vehicle it was removed from. If it does, then it is definately the harness. The reason that I do not recommend that you follow that procedure is you will still need someone to "clear the codes that the bad harness created in the ASR computer. If you can borrow a good harness and install on your car then ask the dealer to clear your codes, you will have a starting point. Once the codes are cleared and your are back to square one, take it up on the freeway and "slap the monkey" hard. (Step on the gas pedal too;^)

If no ASR light comes on, it is the harness. If it does come on, it is definately the air flow meter and that one will cost you. You should be able to intimidate the MBNA rep for the harness but with a buck eight on the clock of that 9-10 year old, he will be less inclined to be liberal with a freebie.

Tom
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  #30  
Old 11-10-2001, 03:32 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Argyle, TX
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Wink 500E ASR

I had problems with my '93 500E ASR last year. After driving the car a couple of minutes, the ASR light would illuminate & it would definetely quit working (kind of a cheap defeat switch if you could live with light & YES the car is quicker without ASR, trust me) but, no limp home mode. At my 60k service, the dealer quoted a couple grand for some ASR control unit. WHATEVER! I lived with it for a couple of months than went on an extended vacation. This is where it gets interesting. When I got back, I started the car to go run an errand. It clattered like crazy. NOT GOOD NOISES! I removed the air cleaner assembly & started the car several times. Each time it got a little better. The handy broomstick listening device told me it was in the upper end, probably an oil leak down of some sort since the car had sat for a while. After about the tenth start, Presto! No noise. Here is where the ASR comes in. I haven't seen the light & it has worked great since then. i don't know if running the car with the air cleaner off reset something or not but it sure would be an easy way to try & fix your problem. The MBZ gods smiled on me that day, maybe they will smile on you, too. Good Luck!

Jay Walker
Life-member Car Addicts Annoymous
93 500E
90 Porsche Carrera
00 Lotus Westfield Super 7
66 Corvette
64 GTO
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