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Old 12-26-2001, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Question If I don't replace wiring harness, will damage result?

I bought a 1993 300E about 6 months ago. I bought it from the 2nd owner who bought it as a Starmark car from the Mercedes dealer in Long Beach, California. The original owner purchased it there, as well, and the car has had every service performed there, including the 127,500 mile service, which I had done there the day I bought the car. I even spoke at length with the service advisor who was in charge of the maintenance on the car since new. He never mentioned the wiring harness issue, nor the possibility of an oil leak from the head gasket (it didn't leak then but does now). In the last 6 months, I have been plagued with check engine light problems, and have spent over $3,000 fixing things like oxygen sensors, EGR valves, coil and plug wires, catalytic converters, etc., etc., etc. The damn light keeps on coming on when nothing really seems to be wrong! I found this site last week (thank God!), and read many of the posts, found mention of the wiring harness problem, ran a search, and after reading hundreds of posts, am realizing that I have many of the symptoms of a bad wiring harness. The check engine light comes on about once a week, and I drive to my new mechanic (a benz only specialist) and he resets the light because I don't like looking it.
Today, I had him take out the bulb for the check engine light. He says that if something really does go wrong in the future, there should be obvious driveability problems so I'll know when to take it in. He is aware of the wiring harness problem, but says I can just leave it alone until it exhibits problems other than the light coming on.
If I don't change the wiring harness soon am I taking a risk in possibly damaging other parts, particularly electrical related parts, computer, etc. ???
The car now has just over 130,000 miles. Do you think the dealer may fix it for free considering their history in servicing the car? The problem is I live about 60 miles away from them and they'll know I'm not likely to be a returning customer...

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Old 12-26-2001, 11:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
All of the items were replaced by the mechanic I have been using for my Japanese cars. I realized he was out of his league after $3,000 dollars of replacing items and the light would still come on. He admitted he didn't have the diagnostic computer specific for the car, and was basically guessing what was wrong. He also couldn't find where the central door lock vacuum unit that controls the door locks for the car. At this point I realized I needed to get dealer service or at least find a well-regarded, local independent shop that specializes in Mercedes. He's been there for 26 years. He cleared the computer of all the codes and let me drive the car until the check engine light came on. When it did, he checked the codes, and after looking at the car, determined that there was really nothing wrong with car. I waited in the lobby and kind of watched him diagnose the car. He really examined the vehicle for about 3 hours, and proclaimed that he could tell that the car had been well maintained, and was running absolutely prefectly - except that there was a small oil leak at the front right part of the head gasket, and that a bad wiring harness was causing the check engine light to come on.
Other than the check engine light coming on, the only other symptons the car exhibited are the warning lamp for the airbags came on briefly once and went out, and one time the warning lamp came on for the headlights and quickly went out.
I really don't want to cause damage to the car by not replacing it right away. Are there any techs out there who might be able to give me some good advice....?
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Old 12-27-2001, 12:16 AM
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Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,749
I say see if the dealer will do a goodwill repair. and or contact MB USA and discuss with your local regional rep the possibility of repairs.

It can't hurt to ask.

Otherwise see how much the part is through this site, partsshop, call phil, and see how mucht he independent will charge to repair it.

If the car is this well maintained and needs a harness, then I would think it should be fine once it is done.

Try doing another search on goodwill repairs or wiring harness etc. etc.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - 744 - C7 Wheels - Android Radio
2002 C320 - 816 - Sport Wagon
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Old 12-27-2001, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
I'm confident that the car is fine other than the damn wiring harness. The car has a meticulous dealer maintenance record. Both of the owners before me even replaced the tires, brakes, etc. at the dealer when most people would do those items elsewhere.
After driving the car for 6 months now, I've absolutely fallen in love with it. It looks and drives like a new car. The paint, body, interior, leather, wood are as new.
I come from a family where both my mother and father always drove mercedes, and I mean with mega-bionic miles on them (400,000+). I know that it is sometimes more expensive to drive a mercedes because parts and maintenance are more expensive than American / Japanese cars. But it is worth it because you are still driving a car that has superior engineering, timeless styling, excellent road manners, and little depreciation.
I'm just beside myself that mercedes wouldn't have taken care of this problem to protect its reputation. I know Lexus and Honda surely would have. My good friend was the Director of quality control for Honda in the late seventies and early eighties and is currently head of quality control of Mitsubishi Motors U.S.A. He said that Honda built really horrible cars at that time, but replaced a ton of parts for free for customers to keep them happy. Sometimes even whole transmissions. They kept this secret from consumers who felt that they were driving high-quality cars, when they really weren't. They simply bought customer loyalty.
I guess my question still is, will I likely cause more damage if I let it go for a while? I'll see if the dealer will take care of it, but frankly, considering the year and mileage (130,000 miles) I'm not too confident. And if I have to do it myself, I'd like some time to build the bank account back up after ovr $3,000 in six months.
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Old 12-27-2001, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
I spoke with mbusa today on the phone. The guy was very indifferent to my problem and was borderline rude.
I told him about my problems with the wiring harness, that it seems to be quite a common problem, and even read the safety recall, the TSB number and the issue date.
He pretended to have no idea what I was talking about, stated that Mercedes has never issued a safety recall regarding the wiring harness, and didn't even know what a TSB is.
He stated that I could go to a dealer and plead my case, but that it would be up to them and they would take into consideration whether or not I had bought the car from them, service history, etc. I suppose that if I was a customer of a specific dealer, i.e. bought the car (new or used) from them, serviced it from them, they would probably be inclined to help me in order to keep a good customer.
But since I didn't buy the car from them and have never had the car serviced by them, I have little confidence they'll help me out.
I'll give it a shot, though, but I'm dreading it...
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Old 12-28-2001, 10:19 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: charlotte hall md.
Posts: 248
When Mercedes screws up,They should make it right.No matter the miles our year.If there is a pattern of fault with some model they should fix it.Heads headgaskets Wireing harnesses etc.I worked a lot of years at a Honda dealership.Time after time I saw Honda step up and do the right thing.I saw a total complete engine replaced at 90 thousand miles.The owner had kept the car maintained.Honda said that one of their engines should not have failed that soon.I saw example after example like that.Honda made a heck of a lot less money on a car than mercedes.Mercerdes has grown fat and arrogant.What a shame.
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Old 12-28-2001, 10:44 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 1,080
I agree with michael, MBUSA is getting away with bad designs too easily.

Seriously we need some class action lawyers to help us fighting the arrogant MBUSA regarding things like wiring harness, headgasktes, etc.

Currently I am dealing with them on the Mass Air Sensor and Head gasket on M104. I wrote to them about these two issues and one guy replied. He chose to only talk about the MAS and ignored the head gasket issue. He said that the MAF failed after 50kmi so they are not responsible. But the headgasket was replaced at less than 50kmi but is leaking again at less than 60kmi. Right now I am politely writing to them and patiently waiting for their replies.

They think all of us are non-informed customers and can be easily fooled. The only way to fight them effectively is for many of us to get together and deal with them, sadly to say, in the court room.

I will be willing to take the lead on this depending on what they tell me in the next reply.

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