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  #1  
Old 05-13-2003, 12:21 PM
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260E did not start in BAD thunderstorm!

Visiting my inlaws I parked the car on the street on Saturday night. It was an extremely stormy night with lots of rain and very strong wind. In the morning I tried to start the car and it would just crank but not start. It was getting to the point where my battery started getting weak so I plugged it to another car and kept cranking. Eventually it would give me a sign of life and after 10 minutes it started (strugling) but every time I would let it drop to idle it would stall and very difficult to start again. Next start I just kept it at 2000rpm for about 10 minutes and then went for a 15 min ride (still raining bad) and everything was fine (no more stalling). What got wet? Could anyone explain this strange occurence? The car now starts and drives perfect with no hesitation whatsoever.

Thanks, Igor.
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2003, 12:40 PM
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Wet ignition would be my guess.
Get a Windex bottle full of water, and spray the wires with the engine idling.
If there is any indication of misfire, change the wires.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2003, 04:45 PM
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A bad ignition coil could cause the type of hard starting you describe. When a coil begins to fail, it's nearly impossible to start in moist weather of any kind.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2003, 06:30 PM
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I had a battery inexplicably drain after a storm. I have also had an ignition coil fail, and an overvoltage relay fuse blow. Your problem sounds like one of the latter two.

Does the ABS light stay illuminated? If yes, it is the overvoltage relay fuse. If no, my vote is with G-Benz on the ignition coil.

The good news is that a faulty ignition coil gives you several weeks of warning, i.e. hard starts and random engine stalls -- often at embarrassing moments --- before failing entirely. If the coil is indeed the problem, you are on borrowed time and I would suggest ordering a new one now, at a very affordable cost ($99.00), rather than waiting for it to fail on the road and having to pay $250 + towing for the dealer to replace it.

This is where it is, and what it looks like:

http://catalog.eautopartscatalog.com/mercedesshop/wizard.jsp?partner=mercedesshop&year=1989&make=MB&model=260-E-001&category=All&part=Ignition+Coil
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2003, 06:54 PM
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Easy to replace?

Is this easy to replace or do I have to have mechanic do it? Does it require any special tools? The ABS light is not on. I appreciate all your help guys!!

Igor
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1984 MB 300D Turbo Diesel W123 Sedan 132K
1987 MB 300D Turbo W124 Sedan 295K
1983 Porsche 944 104K
1989 Audi 80 Quattro 180K
2002 Audi A6 3.0 Quattro Avant 49K (Wife's car with warranty )

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  #6  
Old 05-13-2003, 09:01 PM
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After re-reading your post, it sounds like your battery is not charging sufficiently, as a result of eroded voltage regulator brushes in your alternator. Even if your battery is almost fully disharged, once you jump start the car, there should be sufficient excess voltage from your alternator to energize the eletrical systems. Sounds like that is not happening with you.

Do your SRS and ABS lights occasionally come on for no reason? Does your dome light blink when you open the door? Does your radio go off when you apply the brakes? Does your rear defroster switch light blink after turning it on? Is your wiper blade slow? Are your dashboard lights dimmer than you remember? These are all symptoms of low voltage. I have experienced them all -- sometimes all at once. )

If you are not getting sufficient power from your alternator, once the car is jump started, and you remove the cables from the vehicle that jumped you, applying any additional load on the battery will cause the car to almost immediately stall.

A key component of your alternator is the voltage regulator, which is simply a set of rotating carbon/graphite brushes that participate in the transfer of electric power from the alternator to your battery/electrical system. These brushes are normally about an inch or so long. As they wear, and become shorter, they become less able to effectively transfer power and need to be replaced.

Fortunately, this is a very easy, quick and inexpensive ($15 to $45) job that you can do yourself. (It is more sensible to replace it when the engine is cool, since the alternator is so close to the exhaust manifolds on the 260E.)
You simply unscrew the existing voltage regulator from the back of the alternator, and replace it with a new one. That's it. This is where they are (in Fast Lane) and what they look like (click the small photo for an enlarged view):

http://catalog.eautopartscatalog.com/mercedesshop/wizard.jsp?partner=mercedesshop&year=1989&make=MB&model=260-E-001&category=All&part=Voltage+Regulator

Check yours first to make sure the brushes are worn. The alternator is on the passenger side of the engine, in plain view. It is the squat cylindrical device connected to the lowest pulley on that side of the car. The regulator is attached to the back of it with two screws. Remove those and pull it out.

If the brushes are much shorter than what you see in the photo, then the voltage regulator is the culprit. If, however, the brushes look fine, check your serpentine belt tension and condition. If it is too loose, or excessively oily, it will not spin the various pulleys -- including the alternator's -- at the proper speed, which will also cause a no-charge condition.

The stormy, windy, wet conditions you describe are enough to make a loose or oily belt slip cheerfully over the pulleys -- sometimes accompanied by the most delightful chirping sounds. :p . The water pump, power steering, and alternator pulleys are particularly vulnerable. By chance, was your engine running hotter that night? Was your steering a bit heavier? (I'll wager that you were running with your fog lights on as well, further draining the battery.)

# # #

If you feel, however, the ignition coil is the problem, it is bolted to the ABS pump on the driver's side of the engine, next to, and somewhat below, the power steering fluid reservoir. It is covered by a black plastic, kind of teardrop shaped cover that lifts right off.

I have never replaced a coil but I imagine it is essentially a bolt-on job, requiring only the unscrewing then reattaching of two wires from the battery, and unplugging and replugging the one heavy ignition wire to distributor.
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2001 E430 4matic
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Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black

Last edited by EricSilver; 05-13-2003 at 09:08 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2003, 09:12 PM
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.

EricSilver, thanks for the extensive letter. Actually my brushes failed about a month ago and I had them replaced. My battery was getting weak from cranking the engine for about five minutes and I was scared that I was going to drain the battery so I hooked it up to another car just in case. None of the symptoms which you described happened and actually we have put about 500 miles on the car since sunday without any problems. We are scheduled for another heavy night of rain tonight and my wife will be driving the car about 90 miles tonight so I guess we'll see tomorrow what happens. I believe that moisture got into something electrical because as the engine temperature got to about 80-85 degrees things started returning to normal so I believe that moisture went away. I really appreciate your help and I'm ordering a coil just in case. I love that car so much and we're only about 4000 miles away from 300,000 miles which I can't wait to see.

Happy Motoring!!
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1984 MB 300D Turbo Diesel W123 Sedan 132K
1987 MB 300D Turbo W124 Sedan 295K
1983 Porsche 944 104K
1989 Audi 80 Quattro 180K
2002 Audi A6 3.0 Quattro Avant 49K (Wife's car with warranty )

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  #8  
Old 05-17-2003, 11:57 PM
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Igor,

Glad everything worked out. Sounds like your assessement was correct, that something was just wet.

300,000? The 260 really is a workorse! I am still about 17,000 miles from 200,000, and look forward to getting there.
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2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

------------------------------------
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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  #9  
Old 05-18-2003, 08:38 PM
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 700
fuel pump

I had my engine stall on me because moisture got into the fuel pump relay and caused it to overheat which resulted in the fuel pump shutting off.

And thanx to this thread it looks like i'll be getting some new brushes for my alternator

I have ALLLLLL the symptoms, dimming dash lights when i hit the break, defroster not coming on, I think it even affects my starting since the idle control valve might not have enough voltage to kick in when needed and causes my car to die on the first start every now and then

Great posts

xp
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2003, 11:04 PM
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XP 190

The funny thing is that I had no simptoms whatsoever before my car just died on the freeway (when the brushes went bad). Yes, the 260E is a workhorse and my goal is 500,000 miles in the next 10 years probably.

Later guys!!!
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1984 MB 300D Turbo Diesel W123 Sedan 132K
1987 MB 300D Turbo W124 Sedan 295K
1983 Porsche 944 104K
1989 Audi 80 Quattro 180K
2002 Audi A6 3.0 Quattro Avant 49K (Wife's car with warranty )

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