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  #1  
Old 12-16-2002, 12:06 PM
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changed bulb - now car is dead

Hello,

I had a bulb go out on my 300E taillight last night and changed it with a new bulb that was the same brand/watts as all the others. When I went to start the car, there was a noise and then everything went dead. I replace all fuses and still nothing.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
George
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  #2  
Old 12-16-2002, 12:10 PM
PaulC
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How dead is dead? Do ANY electrical accessories work? I smell a coincidence. How old is the battery?
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2002, 12:27 PM
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Everything (lights,radio.....) is dead - when I turn the key there's no sound at all. The car was running fine before the bulb change.
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  #4  
Old 12-16-2002, 01:23 PM
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There's got to be a great punchline here...

On the other hand, if it were my Benz lying there unconscious, I wouldn't appreciate the humor, so I'll resist the temptation

Logically, the bulb change didn't put the car to sleep (I mean, even if you shorted out the socket, it would only blow the fuse and screw-up the components on that circuit.)

Sooo... There are only two other possibilities that I can come up with:

1) An unrelated and coincidental battery/alternator-related problem;

2) A related and shared problem which initially manifested itself in the bulb failure, and subsequently led to a complete power failure.

The second possibility seems far-fetched, but it is conceivable that a short at the taillight coupled with a faulty fuse (perhaps an incorrectly rated fuse?) caused enough heat to burn through some critical main... Again, this is a stretch, but if all else fails...

Much more likely is the first possibility. Use a simple voltmeter or multitester to check the battery itself. If it's still pushing 12 volts, then thoroughly clean the terminals and see if this helps.

PaulC's question still hasn't been adequately answered: "How dead is dead?" Do non-ignition related systems work? (i.e. Do your accessory lamps light up when you open the doors? Is the clock still running?)

If indeed NOTHING operates (and the battery/terminals test as okay), then I'd check the mains around the fusebox next.

Anyway, I'm SURE you'll figure this one out quickly. Please post the solution to this very mysterious problem when you find it!!!

Good luck.
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1991 560SEL-Euro (165,000 miles)
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  #5  
Old 12-16-2002, 02:06 PM
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goldstone-PaulC
Thanks for the reply. Nothing at all works inclucing accessory lamps, clock ..... The alternator and battery were replaced about two years ago.

This morning while I was taking my stuff out of the trunk the lights and everything else started working. When I went to start the car, everything turned off again when I truned the ignition.

I'll look at it tonight after work and post (hopefully) what the problem was.

George
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2002, 02:44 PM
PaulC
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A loose battery terminal IS a strong possibility, particularly if the lights came on once after the initial failure. Clean, tighten and pray!
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2002, 03:23 PM
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I agree with PaulC. I had the same experience last weekend with my 87 300E. It ran fine all day, it was deader than a door knob when I tried to start it an hour later. I thought I looked everywhere, but when the road side assistance came out to jump it, the guy told me it was a loose terminal. He tightened it and the car started immediately.

The unfortunate thing is my radio now does not work. Cannot get it to take the security code. I think it got fried when the terminal was loose.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2002, 03:36 PM
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Elau,

It's off-topic, but do you have a replacement radio? (Otherwise, I'm confused, since the stock Becker radio in your '87 300E shouldn't need a security code...)
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1991 560SEL-Euro (165,000 miles)
1989 420SEL (Retired from daily use at 325,000 miles; Use as donor vehicle)
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2002, 03:37 PM
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An old bat terminal connection test -----
Turn on headlamps...
Push blade of screwdriver between the bat post and the cable/post clamp... turn driver blade back and forth while watching for headlamps.

The screwdriver will make a connection from the post to the cable if that bat term. is the bad connection
Remedy--- remove and clean cable/post and reinstall.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2002, 05:17 PM
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Goldstone,
It is the original Becker radio. When I turn the ignition on, the radio shows "- - - - " on the face plate. I cannot turn the radio on or off.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2002, 07:40 PM
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Is your battery in the trunk or in the engine compartment? (Although basic, I know little about S-klasse setups but thought with latest info about your trunk, the wiring could have been affected with trunk panel movement).
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  #12  
Old 12-16-2002, 08:38 PM
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Elau:

You inadvertantly sprung the theft-deterrent system on your Becker radio, but your model does not have an owner-entered passcode. Unfortunately, you need to get the radio to your MB dealership where they have a special device to reactivate the unit. (Real pain...)

The good news is that the radio is almost certainly undamaged.

Regards!
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1991 560SEL-Euro (165,000 miles)
1989 420SEL (Retired from daily use at 325,000 miles; Use as donor vehicle)
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  #13  
Old 12-16-2002, 10:50 PM
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I had a similar problem with my 300 SDL. Everytime I closed the trunk the lights would go out and something else stopped working as well (cannot remember what it was). It turned out the wire that runs by the trunk hinge to the trunk light was being crimped everytime I closed the trunk and shorting out the circuit. On the 300sdl the wire cable was on the left side as you face the front. Check it for a frayed covering or exposed wires.
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  #14  
Old 12-18-2002, 12:42 PM
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Well, I changed the battery and was able to get the car home. I'm still confused why the battery went dead. The alternator checked out ok and the battery was not that old. At least I got a free battery exchange from Intrerstate since the battery was less than 18 months old.

George
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