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Old 03-11-2003, 02:07 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 22
Short Circuit

I have an '85 190E that just started exhibiting strange behavior. After I start it and turn on electrical things(radio, headlights, reverse lights) the headlights dim for a second and the radio blanks out. I shift into reverse and the same thing happens. If I start to drive and then hit the brakes, it loses electricity again. It usually straightens out after a few miles. I haven't checked the fuses yet. Are all those things on the same fuse? I don't lose total power, it's almost like a brown-out...

1983 300D Turbo
1985 190E 2.3
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:04 PM
Potomac German Auto
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 407

Check the tension on your belt?
1997 C230
2002 ML320
2000 BMW 528I (WIFEY'S CAR)

"Excuses are crutches for the unfounded."
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 158
my boss had same problem on his 85 500 sel, ended up being the alternator.
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:15 PM
haasman's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,097
...or the battery is going south and can't maintain an adequate charge.

Keep us posted,

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:26 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
...or an alternator "overcharging" problem has occurred, which could cause the same symptoms (as it had on mine).

Get an OVM and check the voltage across the battery terminals with the engine on (accessories off) and engine off.

Should read 12V when engine is off and ~ 14.4V when engine is running. Anything much lower than this indicates a charging problem. Mine was an overcharging problem, and my voltmeter read 17.5V!!!

If your belt tension is okay, you may just need a new regulator. Your car is an early enough model year that you can replace just that portion of the alternator (mine is internal, so I had to swap the alternator ).

Typically, it may be that the brushes are worn...
2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:46 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 22
Brand new battery... so that shouldn't be it. I'll check the belt tension and voltage tonight.

I'm driving the 300D today and my wife has the 190E. The 300D won't shut off. I have that narrowed down to a vacuum issue.
1983 300D Turbo
1985 190E 2.3
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Old 03-11-2003, 06:41 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,486
I've seen ignition switches cause similar strange behavior. Just a guess though.
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