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  #1  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:26 PM
Robert C. Eberhardt
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Question 2000 ML 320 - Odometer Light Out

The odometer light on my 2000 ML 320 went out today. When in bright sun or when shining a flashlight directly at the display, you can still see that the odometer is still displaying data, but without a lamp, it is impossible to read. Is there a replaceable lamp on this display or is it a modular unit where the module needs replacement?
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2002, 05:47 PM
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Your bulb is burnt out. Pretty common. I don't know about the ML, but on the cars, the instrument cluster can be removed with a special tool set available for a few bucks at your dealer.

My dealer charges $80 for pulling the cluster and replacing all the bulbs, if you want the simple way...
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2002, 06:16 PM
Robert C. Eberhardt
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Thanks for the quick reply! I guess I will contact the dealer to see if this repair is covered by the 4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper coverage. Hope so, however, it is pretty disconcerting that this part would fail after only 3 years and 29,000 miles on the clock. I guess they don't make them like they used to!
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2002, 06:34 PM
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One problem with the electronic odo's and other displays is that they are lit every minute the car is running, so the bulbs have a short life compared to the instrument lamps on older cars.

That said, your early bulb failure is a tad unusual. Most cars seem to make 4-5 years before one crops up. I had to replce the bulbs on both our 1998MY cars this last summer.

These bulbs are usually classified as wear and tear, just like any other bulb, and are not covered by your warranty. However, I would ask the dealer to cover it, and they might.

Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2002, 07:19 PM
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I don't consider this failure unusual. Unacceptable? Maybe, but not unusual, done hundreds of these especially on ML's, 202 C class and 210 E class cars, lots of bulb failures especially for odometer/clock/temp displays and the "multi-function display" panels on E class (odometer/etc display in the center of the panel)

Gilly
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2002, 09:20 PM
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Tracy:
The early ones are easier than the new ones. The newer ones have a "2 piece" shroud surrounding the sides and top of the steering column, they are very stubborn to remove. The older ones have a "3 piece" surround; one large piece on each side of the column and a short part directly over the column. As you can guess, the first step is to remove these parts first. The 2 piece shroud connects together directly over the column.
After removing the shroud, you'll notice a pair of latches, one on each side of the column. The latches are pulled outwards and then the black surround molding which encircles the instument cluster can be entirely pulled downwards and removed.
The next step is to remove the 2 large plastic fasteners on the top lip of the instrument cluster (unscrew large slotted head fasteners half-way, then pull downwards by hand on the heads of these fasteners and the whole fastener will come out). There is also a screw on each side of the instrument cluster which must be removed. After that the instrument cluster will be free. Make sure the steering wheel is at it's lowest setting and pull out on the cluster. There is one electrical connector to remove. The cluster will be a fairly tight fit, but can be removed to the right of the steering wheel.

Gilly
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2002, 02:12 PM
Robert C. Eberhardt
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Took the vehicle to Mercedes Benz today and they replaced ALL the bulbs on the instrument cluster under the 5 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. However, they returned the vehicle with the windshield A pillar and sun visor covered with grease(ughh!). After some frank words with the service advisor, they had their detail man clean it up to my satisfaction. They indicated they would replace the parts if they could not.

I still do not see why these bulbs should fail as soon as this one did. After a daytime collision in 1995 in which the vehicle pulling out into traffic hit our vehicle because they did not see us, both my wife and I are in the practice of operating our headlamps at all times, day and night. This means that all dash and control bulbs are always illuminated. My wife's 1995 C 280 had the first dash bulb go out this year after 7 years of operation. The tech who replaced the bulb only replaced the bulb on the left and right side of the speedometer indicating that he examined the rest of the bulbs and they did not need replacing. Did he know something about the quality of the old bulbs versus the new ones?

As technology advances why don't they use LED's instead of traditional light bubs? They are much more reliable, probably cheaper since they do not have a lampholder and probably last for the vehicle life. In the case of the odometer you could use an LED display that would not even require illumination. I believe the 2003 Honda Accord is going to this system since they are advertising a LED instrument panel. I always thought Mercedes was the leader in innovations but they now need to play catch-up.

Sorry for the long post but I am still a little irritated with my Mercedes experience and am starting to believe these are high maintenance vehicles that I cannot afford to spend the time or money on.
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2002, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert C. Eberhardt
...I believe the 2003 Honda Accord is going to this system since they are advertising a LED instrument panel. I always thought Mercedes was the leader in innovations but they now need to play catch-up.
Yes, the Germans have to be very careful of underestimating the Japanese. They did once before, and nearly got snuffed out by Lexus.

They (Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Audi) have a certain arrogance that comes on hard when they are "winning." Recent sales success for all of those companies has them feeling invincible.

Frankly, a Honda Accord is probably a better car than anything that comes from Germany. It'll have better paint, better panel fit, better quality control, better reliability, and it holds it value pretty durned good too.

Honda knows what they're doing. They sell hundreds of thousands Accords a year in the US alone.

What Mercedes is selling today has to be dealer experience and driving pleasure. Porsche used to understand this. Toyota/Lexus got caught off guard when MB slashed prices and added content. They were off balance a little when MB started updating products with regularity. Does Mercedes think they're dead?

Remember MB exec's laughing at Lexus back in 1989 when the 1990 LS400 came out? They mocked it's MB copy-cat styling, and reasononed that the low ($36K US back then) price would backfire, not allowing enough "cache" to the car. HA! Lexus sales soared. The low prices meant people could take a chance, and they did in droves. Lexus created a new quality of car that hadn't really existed before.

Today, MB had better be on their toes. A "lowly" Accord can be had with ACC, heated leather seats, and a 240hp V-6. Why bother buying a C-Class, or even an E? The Accord is as big as the E, has more power, just as much luxury, and a much better reliability record. At a fraction of the price. Technology? Well, it's closer than the prices would dictate. The Honda has a five speed autobox, all wheel discs, ABS, Traction control, airbags, and BAS too.

And Honda has learned it's lesson about pricing too. When we bought our 1998 C230 back in September 1997, the Accord was NOT inexpensive. Nicely equipped versions were very close to the C230 in price. Today, the Accord has dropped in price, especially when equipment is considered, and the C-Class has gone up. The spread is much larger.

MB thinks it's bullet proof, but those pesky Japanese brands can build some serious artillery...
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2003, 10:18 PM
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Location: San Jose
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Only takes MBZ service 2 minutes to replace LEDs ('99 E430)

The odometer light just went out on my 99 E430. The dealer was going to charge $90 to replace, but kicked it down to $65 since I was a new customer (Beshoff Motors in San Jose) and I was coming in for a B-service.

In any case, when I picked up the car one of the LEDs must have been loose because the temp side was out. The Service Manager came out to look at it and decided to just fix it right there on the driveway. I was kind of shocked at how long it took him to remove the console and replace the loose LED. He had a coat hanger looking tool to remove the console. That took about 30 seconds. He replaced the loose LED...another 15 seconds. He had the dash back on in another 45 seconds. All in all it took him less than 2 minutes to do this! And they were charging me $65!

Well, the Service Advisor (who, BTW, was insisting the Service Manager take it back to the garage to change the LEDs) must have felt a little embarrassed, because he essentially just charged me for the bulbs, given replacing them took all but 2 minutes. Not sure if it was because I had to wait again, or the fact that I would be jaded by being charged $65 for a 2 minute service job. Note, my original invoice showed 5 bulbs @ $5.10/each and $42 for labor. He said he was knocking the labor costs for the B-Service to offset the $42 labor cost for the LED bulb replacement.

My B-Service and LED replacement cost $449.94, which is a great deal considering "just" a B-service at Claridge in Fremont, CA already costs over $500.
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