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SPIKES 07-21-2003 09:05 AM

E320 97 Strange Problem?

i went up last week to collect a 97 e320 i was buying. when i got there after 10 hour drive i was told that the car had the batt. replaced that day as it was dead.
i noticed the key would not open the doors (with or without remote) the lights on the mirror and trunk do flash.
checked under seat. no sound that the vacuum pump was activating.
the car had also been washed that day after batt. was replaced.

drove the car and all felt good except that the a/c was working but the interioir fan would only run at very slow speed. (possible vacuum related).
the trunk wont open and gas cap was closed.
the central locking switch on the dash light was flickering faintly.

i disconnected the batt. --no luck.
went to local shop and he could only look at car next week.
checked all fuses (engine bay/side of dash/under seat and inside computor housing)

went to fiil car with gas and NOW the car would not shift gears even if moved gearshift. stopped at gas staion...NOW NO GEARS.
shut the car of. it was selecting gears(drive and reverse). tried disconnect batt. again. car drives but will not change gears....
stopped and disconnected trans. module and put it would only shift once now.

wow what is going on here.:mad:

are these things all related? i am more confused with trans. acting up?


SPIKES 07-21-2003 07:03 PM

could somebody please advise if there is a correlation between transmission and vacuum related problem?


Gilly 07-21-2003 07:59 PM

Sounds lime aminimum of 3 unrelated problems.

The problems with the door locks, trunk, and gas door not opening, as well as the flickering light on the dash, that all sounds like possibly the "pump" under the rear seat, called the PSE, is bad. Fairly common. Is it possible this is a flood damaged car? The PSE is in kind of a low spot in the floor pan of the car, and is in primo territory to get affected by a flood or deep water.
Check the foam cover around the PSE, as well as the rear fuse box, for dampness and/or corrosion.

The AC/blower fan wouldn't be vacuum related. More than likely the blower regulator or the fan, or both. Again, very sensitive to water, and I've seen these fail due to flood damage or a plugged plenum drain.

The transmission, maybe flood damage to either the trans control unit OR a part in the shifter called the range recognition switch. The range recognition switch is sensitive even to cleaners sprayed onto the center console, or spilled coffee or soda, so a flood could also damage it. Could be a internal transmission problem also, of course.

It just really "smells" like a flood car.


SPIKES 07-21-2003 09:02 PM

there was some evidence of water at the battery. the foam around the pump was dry however.

where exactly is this transmission switch which is sensitive?


Gilly 07-21-2003 09:20 PM

The switch, called the "range recognition switch" is inside the shifter itself. You'd need to remove the shifter assembly (which is fairly easy) and disassemble the shifter (which is more difficult, and is kind of like a puzzle) to get to it.
I'd hate to have you go through any disassembly just based on what I am guessing at though. It should be diagnosed properly.
The range recognition switch is available as a seperate part though, just so you know. This, as you probably know, is the 722.6 transmission, electronically controlled. There have also been problems with the valve body and a part on the valve body called the "conductor plate" which can cause problems like you're experiencing. But if the interior was really flooded, it could get to that range recognition switch. OR if they tried tidying up the interior and got some kind of cleaner into that switch area it can be a problem. Just a little moisture can do it.

On the PSE pump, you can try taking the PSE out of the foam box and remove the electrical connectors and check for any corrosion, usually on the PSE it will look very green if there is any corrosion.
You'll see these little locking bales that need to be released to remove the connectors on the PSE.

With the back seat bottom cushion removed, it's pretty easy to put your hand under the rear carpet section (like where the rear passengers feet would rest) to see if the under side of the carpetting is wet, another sure sign of a flood damaged car.

Did the seller claim that the car was flood damaged or not, and did you buy from an individual or a company?


SPIKES 07-22-2003 09:56 AM

no was told everything was o.k (NO PROBLEMS OR WATER ISSUES) up to before the trip.
on the day of the trip the batt was dead and the car was washed before i got there?
i do agree that things must have got wet under the seat where the batt. is but that is the only evidence of moisture. everything else is dry.

the only thing i did before the trans started acting up was to check where the computers are in the hood.
i took of the cover and checked the row of fuses in there. i pulled a few out and put them back again as they were ok.
there was no evidence of water.

GILLY i did see a lot of leaves in the water run of area by the windshield.(you mentioned that drains might be blocked) so water from the wash could have gone into the front area by the fan.

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