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Old 04-29-2003, 09:00 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
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Crankshaft Balancer Failure! Must read.

Has anyone on this board had a front crankshaft balancer fail on a 1998 or newer Mercedes???

This is one heck of a trend we are seeing.

If so, what was the outcome?

Donnie Drummonds
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Old 04-29-2003, 11:34 AM
it leaks, its german
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
Posts: 1,111
Bunches, some eat the timing cover and or the oil pan, others are fine.

Project Smoker, '87 603 powered wagon
Hauler, 96 CTD can you say torque?
Toy 73 Cougar xr7 convertible
Acme Automotive Inc.
Raleigh NC
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Old 04-29-2003, 03:20 PM
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Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
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Right. But, I am looking to hear from the customers who this has happened to...
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 04-29-2003, 09:26 PM
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Location: Carol Stream, Il, USA
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I had this happen to my 98 E320 with 78,600 miles. My wife was driving at the time it happened traveling at 35 mph and about 5 miles from home.

The only damage it did was shread the edge of the drive belt and put a small gouge in the timing chain cover. The rubber from the balancer looked like it sheered from torque by the way it separated. This caused the balancer to shift back toward the engine causing the gouge and shreading of the drive belt.

I ordered a replacement crankshaft balancer and drive belt from Phil and replaced it myself. I also filled the gouge with JBweld.

Its been 5K miles since I replaced it without any problems. (Except for the "Check Engine Electronics" message).

FYI - my 98 E320 was manufactured in the fall of 97.
1998 Mercedes E320, 200K Miles
2001 Acura 3.2TL, 178K Miles
1992 Chevy Astro, 205K Miles
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Old 04-29-2003, 11:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,047
The good new is, a quick and simple visual inspection is all that's needed to avoid this problem. If any cracking around the outer part of the pulley is evident ( the rubber section at the circumference ) replace it. I've seen several that have deteriorated so badly that there's a noticable wobble of the pulley that can be seen with the engine at idle. Unfortunately, the first failures resulted in front cover replacement,etc. We'll all be doing our clients a favor if we replace the marginallly worn pulleys before it's too late.
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Old 04-30-2003, 12:55 AM
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Posts: 552
'98 ML 320, at approx. 75K miles; approx. 6 months ago. Balancer took out the front timing cover and oil pan; cost over $2200 to repair. Dealer denied ever having heard of a problem with the M112/113 harmonic balancers.

Contacted MBUSA Customer Service, who stated that there is no problem with these balancers and that the failure must have been a fluke. Attempted to escalate the matter but MBUSA failed to follow through.

Doubting MBUSA's response was truthful, inspected '99 E320T, 60K miles... rubber buffer in harmonic balancer was fatigued, with numerous partial thickness cracks. Vehicle has Star Mark warranty but dealer declined to perform balancer renewal, said balancer has no known history of failure. Had balancer replaced anyway, to avoid catastrophic failure.

BTW, a friend's E320 was recently towed to the same dealership... the harmonic balancer had failed, taking out the front timing cover and oil pan. The same service advisor informed him that he had never seen a balancer fail...

About time for a class action?
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Old 04-30-2003, 07:01 AM
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2 Kings 9:20
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Whitehall, Michigan
Posts: 259
'98 ML320, happened to me at 77,000 miles, about a mile from home. Gouged the upper oil pan enough to cause a small oil leak, repaired with a spray product from Permatex. My only problem was finding a long enough cheater bar to get the bolt off; it's on TIGHT! Dealer in Houston said he'd seen quite a few of these, but new parts won't do this.


Follow this link to the Permatex sealer:

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games. --Ernest Hemingway

'10 GL550/'04 BMW 545/'99 BMW 323/'98 ML320/'87 VW GTI (race)

Last edited by itb76; 12-13-2003 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:50 AM
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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This subject has come up a few times in the past. I'm friends with my mechanic and typically the customer complains of noise, upon inspection, the pulley is grinding away the timing cover. They have been using an epoxy to make the part "whole" again. So far no problems with that solution. M.B.DOC determined the engine cutoff number (believe that translates into late MY 2000 cars) where an updated, improved tensioner started to be used.

Brian Toscano
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Old 05-02-2003, 12:17 PM
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Gee, Mercedes denying a hazardous, expensive and widespread engine defect? How surprising...(insert eyeroll here)
1995 MB E320 Wagon
2001 BMW 530i
2007 MINI Cooper S (!)
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Old 05-02-2003, 02:35 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 27
Same here, '98 Wagon

'98 w210 wagon. Crankshaft Balancer went out at 48K. Took out a bunch of stuff up front and caused the oil pan to leak. Covered under warranty, but the long list of things replaced tells me it was not cheap.

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Old 05-06-2003, 10:13 AM
Posts: n/a
Is this what you are talking about? Mercedes Japan recalled all the "Crank Pulleys".

Japan Recall for Crank Pulley
Babelfish translation:>>

In the contents motive for action machine of trouble, because structure of the crank & the pulley is inadequate, when there are times when the rubber * ring section for vibration proof breaks, continue use in that way state, the particular ring section slipping, strange noise occurs, as when it is worst, the belt for supplemental device drive comes off from the particular pulley, the charge warning light lights up, there is a possibility control force of the steering wheel increasing. <<

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Old 05-06-2003, 12:11 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 2,042
Are they also called harmonic balancer?

I had one fail on my Peugeot, they put the AC belt on the outside so the shock of the AC cycling loosened the rubber. It just started slipping but I was worried about the alignment of the balance. Peugeot sure was proud of that part
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Old 05-08-2003, 01:07 AM
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Location: Mandeville, LA
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Is this a problem only on gasoline engines, or has anyone reported it on a 210 diesel (such as a '97 E 300)?
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Old 05-08-2003, 02:42 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Puget Sound, Washington St.
Posts: 522
This seems to be restriced to the m112 v-6 gas engine balancers.
I have seen one m113 v-8 do it. I have never heard or seen a
AMG one do it. No diesels or 4cyl/12cyl either.
There was a problem back in 99/00' with AMG crank pulley being
machined out of round. This was causing the front crank seals
to leak.
The seperating balancers are more common now,
We see these all the time on all models with the 112 v-6.
I am replacing a timing cover and oil pan on a 98' CLK 320 at
this very moment because the balancer came apart.

If your dealer says "Not a known problem", they are full of it.
If your car is out of warranty, the area market manager can decide to goodwill the repair.
Make noise. Call the MB Client Assistance Center and make noise.
1-800-for-mercedes. We have seen about 1 a month.
Most have been 98's.
Good luck to all.
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Old 05-08-2003, 02:54 PM
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Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 512
I had a similar failure on my M111 at about 60,000 miles. I'd have to pull the service ticket from my files to get the details on what part failed.


1988 300 SL (5 Speed)
1994 E320 Wagon
1997 C230
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