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  #1  
Old 02-10-2018, 12:51 AM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
Posts: 100
W126 lost engine and electrical while driving

So...I sent my Becker off to get repaired (and upgraded with Bluetooth). Installed it. The antenna still does nothing and its bent so I assume the previous owner burned it up.

Anyway, I was driving tonight, starting to go on longer trips to develop trust in the old girl. I had been going for about 20 minutes.

Had the radio on, tape deck (Bluetooth) playing, headlights and fog lights on, switched on the ac (defogger) and then the rear defroster, then the right side blinker and hit the brakes to turn.

Just as I turn the corner everything shuts off.

Lost: engine, lights, radio, brake lights, even the interior lights would not come on. I had to coast in the dark to the curb. Fortunately I had turned onto a side street.

I wiggled the battery cables, seemed tight.
I looked at all the fuses, mostly aluminum but none blown
Wiggled the relays in the fuse box.
spun all the fuses

Got in the car. Now the interior lights are back on. Start the car. It fires right up. Still had on the ac & rear defroster. When I turn on the headlights it dies again.

Wiggle battery cables, wiggle relays, spin fuses

Turn off ac, turn off defrost, car starts. This time it does not quit. Drove home.

my best guess is dissimilar metal corrosion in the fuse panel? I was planning to replace all the fuses anyway. Probably should wire brush the battery terminals and cables too, they were tight though.

The battery light never came on so at this point I think the alternator is probably ok. I'll check it for proper charging voltage anyway. What voltage reading should I get at the alternator?

Am I missing anything obvious?

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  #2  
Old 02-10-2018, 11:03 AM
Diseasel300's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 6,022
Check where the negative battery cable attaches to the body. If it is loose or rusted out, you can have a complete power loss situation. Another area worth checking is under the vehicle. There is a woven ground strap that runs from the transmission to the body.

A working alternator will produce 13.5-14V at idle at the battery.
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2018, 01:02 PM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
Posts: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diseasel300 View Post
Check where the negative battery cable attaches to the body. If it is loose or rusted out, you can have a complete power loss situation. Another area worth checking is under the vehicle. There is a woven ground strap that runs from the transmission to the body.

A working alternator will produce 13.5-14V at idle at the battery.
Excellent advice. Thank you
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2018, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Brandon, Mississippi
Posts: 5,203
My 126 has an outboard connector on the + side. This gave me fits years ago. It was not tight.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2018, 02:33 PM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX76513 View Post
My 126 has an outboard connector on the + side. This gave me fits years ago. It was not tight.
What is an "outboard connector"?
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  #6  
Old 02-10-2018, 02:38 PM
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Exterior. Them Mississippi boys speak a language all their own.
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Last edited by Mike D; 02-10-2018 at 02:39 PM. Reason: being a smart arse
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2018, 11:56 PM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
Posts: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
Exterior. Them Mississippi boys speak a language all their own.
Trying not to be obtuse. I still don't get it.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2018, 12:01 AM
sixto's Avatar
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Location: Eastern TN
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I don’t either.

Sixto
98 E320s sedan and either
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2018, 10:52 AM
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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I believe he is referring to the large ring electrical terminal used on some models. Their crimp connection is a common failure point. The nut can also work loose and appear tight visually but a wiggle will break the continuity. The wire strands can also fracture internally only making a partial voltage path.
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttownthomas View Post
Trying not to be obtuse. I still don't get it.
He could be referring to the extra cable coming off the battery + terminal. Not sure all of them have it, my 500SL doesn't, but my SDL does. In addition to the main + lead that comes off the terminal, there's an extra terminal clamped under the bolt head that tightens said terminal and sort of comes off the side. I've had issues with it being loose myself, I suspect that's what he's referring to.

In my SDL, that "side" terminal powers all the accessories in the car. The "main" battery cable only goes to the starter.
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2018, 09:18 AM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
Posts: 100
The aptly named “outboard connector” was loose. Wiggling it did not cause the car to stall but it was definitely loose.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:13 PM
ttownthomas
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Cary NC
Posts: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttownthomas View Post
The aptly named “outboard connector” was loose. Wiggling it did not cause the car to stall but it was definitely loose.
This loose nut must have been the issue. Drove all over today with no issues

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