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  #1  
Old 05-19-1999, 09:48 PM
tracy_leb
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I have a 1991 Mercedes 300 TE 4-matic wagon with 93,000 miles on it. I bought the car with about 70,000 miles on it, and the car is a so-called "Starmark" car, which supposedly makes it the cream of the crop. The car was sold to me with one great used car warranty. Which is a good thing, as the car has been in the shop a little over *20* times in the 14 months I've owned it. I won't go into all the details; just 2 in particular. First is that the steering wheel has a persistent squeak to it. I've taken it back to the dealer at least 8 times and they have replaced parts 3 times and lubed something the other times. The repair never lasts more than a couple thousand miles. Usually less. They (Seattle MB dealer) have made many sincere efforts, but why can't they fix it?

The second problem is that after the car comes to a complete stop, after I take my foot off of the brake pedal, the car shudders and you can hear a low pitched thud accompanied by a jolt to the steering wheel. The dealer replaced the transfer case and the problem went away for about 1,500 miles, and by the time the car had traveled 3,000 miles the problem is back again. It is most pronounced when the car is on a hill (up or down doesn't seem to make a difference) The dealer now tells me that that's normal. Any insights?

…tracy
  #2  
Old 05-19-1999, 10:56 PM
Benzmac
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HMMMMM I would try another dealer somewhere in your area especially with the warranty. I have seen a bushing that goes through the firewall cause the squeak in the steering wheel.

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Benzmac:
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
LEAD TECHNICIAN FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
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  #3  
Old 05-20-1999, 03:32 AM
Nick Jamal
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I quelled an annoying sqeak in the steering linkage of my 300E by repositioning and binding various wires/harnesses that sit close to the rack near the firewall (interior). This especially significant since I have several extra bundles of wires down there from an alarm installation. Hope you find a solution... good thing you managed to get a warranteed '91.
  #4  
Old 05-20-1999, 09:02 PM
M.B.DOC
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The transfer case shouldn't clunk when stopping, but some noise(more of a feeling) is normal. Like Benzmac said the lower steering bushing can cause the squeak.

Possibly air is trapped in the hydraulic system of the 4-Matic system, there are 4 different places to bleed after any repairs are made.
Since the car starts out in 4-wheel drive up to 12mph every start possibly the trans is making the "noise"

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  #5  
Old 05-21-1999, 12:12 AM
tracy_leb
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To Benzmac

Thanks very much for your feedback!

It's unfortunate to have to go to another shop as it's about 25 miles away. But not as unfortunate as having to return a car endlessly for little or no gain.

Do you suggest I tell the other shop about the previous attempts?

Do you know how the warranty works on these cars? To phraise that differently, I'm guessing that the shop just bills MB for any materials & labor that is warranty related. Is that accurate?

Why do you think they have been unable to make any real ground on these problems?

Again, many thanks for your feedback!

Regards

...tracy
  #6  
Old 05-21-1999, 12:17 AM
tracy_leb
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To Nick:

Thank you for your comments! The warranty was the compelling reason for buying the car -- well, that and being an awd Benz wagon makes it a fairly unique machine.

Your comments beg the question, how does a mere mortal remove the covers, fascias and such to get at the wiring harnesses?

…tracy
  #7  
Old 05-21-1999, 12:54 AM
tracy_leb
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To M.B. Doc:

Thank you for your comments! I have been slowly coming to the realization that, the TE 4-matic has some unique design characteristics. On your obviously well experienced say so, I am willing to add one more feature to the list of what is typical of a 4-matic Benz. Not my idea of a great feature. But, I will hasten to add that I've gotten used to a few other unique characteristics, and accept them due to the great road feel of the car. So I can get used to the car shuddering after a complete stop. All part of the package!

Regarding the steering wheel, is there anything a mere mortal (read that, not a mechanic) can do to troubleshoot this?

Many thanks

…tracy
  #8  
Old 05-21-1999, 10:46 PM
Benzmac
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Once the shop runs the numbers, they will probably know what has been done, but I would wait untill they give you a diagnosis before offering any extra information. IE if they know the front tranfer case or other pieces have been replaced they might be inclined to overlook a problem!
Good luck.
Yes they do bill the warranty co. for the work if it is MB or an aftermarket co.

------------------
Benzmac:
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
LEAD TECHNICIAN FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
PARTNER IN MERCEDESSHOP.COM


  #9  
Old 05-22-1999, 09:56 AM
M.B.DOC
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Since the noise (squeak) usually starts at the bottom of the steering column (lower bushing) disassembly of the wheel or column isn't necessary. The use of a spray lube at the lower bushing will do the trick.
  #10  
Old 05-24-1999, 03:40 PM
tracy_leb
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The squeak appears to be comming from near the sterring wheel. Anything that's accessable there? Is there some way to get a diagram of the assmbly?

Regarding the transfer case, should you be able to feel a jolt to the sterring wheel when it starts up after a complete stop?

Any chance these 2 problems are somehow related?

Thanks again!

  #11  
Old 05-25-1999, 01:01 PM
tracy_leb
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Spoke with the regional representative from MB yesterday about the problems mentioned and will be meeting with him shortly. He claims that regarding the squeak in the steering wheel there is a copper and carbon connector set that's used to make a contact between the horn & airbag and their electrical down stream components. He thinks this is what's making the noise, and says that, if so, it may not be solvable.

Regarding the thunk, he says that that's the 4-matic engaging, and is almost definitely not solvable, as it's working the way it's supposed to. This is about what was said here.

Not real encouraging. Anyway I'm going to meet him and go over a number of issues, on the 7th at the Seattle MB dealer's offices.

Let me know if anyone wants to hear the follow-up to this and I'll post at that time….

Many thanks for your feedback!

…tracy
  #12  
Old 05-25-1999, 10:49 PM
M.B.DOC
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Yes there are brushes for the air-bag & horn contacts, when they're bad you might hear a scrubbing noise right at the wheel. If you are hearing a squeak then something is wrong.
  #13  
Old 06-13-1999, 02:03 PM
tracy_leb
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So I met with the regional director of parts and service for MB and went over the list of problems on the car. For the hard starting problem, they replaced all the fuel injectors and put in a fuel additive, for the squeaking steering wheel problem they replaced the contact for the horn and airbag, plus they did some other stuff, as long as the car was in the shop. The MB regional manager said the differential was behaving normally. He also added that MB changed the differential between '90, '91, and '92, stating that in '90 the car would engage in AWD silently but the differential tended to wear out, in 91 it engaged noisily but lasted longer, and in 92 they changed the design completely.

The result of the most recent visit:

The car is still somewhat hard to start
The steering wheel still squeaks
The car still shudders and makes a thunking noise when the awd engages.
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