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Old 05-29-2003, 06:15 PM
haasman's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Is this true? Moisture and MBZ Automatic Transmission Shift Handle


"Mercedes Automatic Transmission Shift Handle

All Mercedes models from 1997 through 2002 with an automatic transmission have an electronic shift board located under the center console, which can be damaged if contaminated by water. The most minute amount of water on the electronic shift board has been known to short the board and disable the vehicle.

There are currently no resolution conversations taking place with Mercedes. However, Mercedes has recognized the problem for 2003, and has provided a protective boot to eliminate the possibility of water intrusion.

If a Mercedes vehicle is damaged as described in your car wash due to water damage, Mercedes will not cover the repair cost, which is approximately $1100.00. As a result, alert your employees to use extreme care when using water on the center council near the shift handle.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact Joe Ward through ICA Headquarters in Chicago at 1-888-ICA-8422 or"
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:25 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,160
Oh man.............I better start closing my windows, when I go through a carwash.
2007 C 230 Sport.
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Old 05-29-2003, 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
Yes, the shifters were pretty sensitive to water, or most any kind of moisture. They can be dried out though and can work fine afterwards, but it can definitely keep the car from shifting out of gear. Everyone who owns one of these should be familiar with the emergency shift interlock disabling procedure, it's described in the owners manual, and can keep you from needing a tow.
Makes you rethink the advantages of having the cupholder mounted right behind the shifter, that's for sure.
The replacement shifters are said to be improved and less suseptable to this problem, but again, usually an hour or less of drying time will usually make it operable. You can use a source of forced warm air or compressed air (hair drier or a blow gun) to speed up the process. Even guys just detailing the interior can manage to lock one up if they're not careful with where they're spraying their cleaners, seen it a few times.

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Old 05-30-2003, 09:55 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 403
Three cheers for the brilliance of German Engineering!
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Old 05-30-2003, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 25

Funny this post comes up today.

Just yesterday, I accindently spilled some coffee in my center console (1oz). Stupid travel mug.
Anyway, about 5 minutes later, my check engine light comes on. Related??? Who knows. I called the dealer to ask if there was something in there that could have been affected and was told that there is a gear shift sensor. If it did get coffee on it, he said that the car may not come out of park

He said that they see at least one of these cases once a month.

I will have the ODB-II code read to see if there is a relation between the coffee and the CE light, but no problems shifting so far.

Stupid travel mug!

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Old 05-30-2003, 11:58 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: CT
Posts: 185
My dealer warned me about this, so I stopped using travel mugs in the swing-out cup holder. It does a poor job of holding those top heavy mugs, it's just too easy to knock things out of. Wife isn't allowed to bring coffee into the car either (still don't know how I got away with that one). If I bring any drink at all into the car, it's a small spring water bottle which fits snugly in the recessed cup holder, and I leave the cap on except when actually drinking from it.
2002 E320 4-Matic
2008 Subaru Outback
2009 Subaru Forester
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:14 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 25

Well, I took the car to Autozone (Free ODBII) and retrieved the codes. I don't think the coffee had anything to do with it.

P01713 and P0171

I am thinking Mass Air Flow......

That sucks, only 19000 miles on this car.

Thanks for the help

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