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  #1  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:01 PM
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C280, Check Engine light, EGR Valve

94 C280- check engine light came on. Mechanic says gotta change EGR valve, $900. Seems pretty steep. ANybody have any suggestions to get to the bottom of this? What are the codes? Do Codes point to exact problem?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:05 PM
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On this particular engine, there is a real well-known EGR problem. On the EGR valve, there is a pipe which channels the exhaust from the exhaust manifold (through the EGR valve) and around into the intake manifod. These pipes are just notorious for plugging up with soot. They can either be cleaned out or replaced, I prefer to replace this pipe, as the new pipes are modified. I would almost bet that this is the real problem. Are you taking the car to a Mercedes or at least European specialty shop?

Gilly

PS The codes will point usually to the "general" problem, not exact. There is no code that says "EGR Valve is bad", the code will read something like "EGR system, incorrect flow" and it can be anything with the EGR system, such as the vacuum line that operates the EGR valve is disconnected (or the EGR pipe is plugged solid with soot ). Same thing say with an engine misfire. The code may say "Misfire Cyl. 1", so what do you do, replace #1 cylinder? No, you figure out the reason for the misfire. Hope this helps clear things up a little.
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:11 PM
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Yes, the place I go to does only Merc, BMW, etc.
$900 sounds high but they say half is for labor because it's hard to get to it! Any thoughts?

Thanx a bunch!
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:19 PM
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$900 to replace the EGR valve on a 104? Yeah, i have a few thoughts.
#1 thought: I wonder if they will ask you to squeal like a pig.
#2 thought: It probably isn't the problem
#3 thought: Where else can you take this car.
$900 is totally outrageous, it's less than 1 hour of work, even if you have problems, which sometimes does happen if the pipes won't break free. Lets say $200 worse case scenario, but that's if they notify you there are stuck pipes, they should be quoting about $100 labor. How much is the valve itself?

Gilly

PS (again) You can go out to the car, raise the hood, and SEE the EGR valve. There are 2 bolts holding it down, and a pipe attached to each side, and 1 vacuum hose. NOT THAT TOUGH.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:34 PM
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I hear you! I looked up the part online- $200. I assume they will mark it up. I think I have some questions to ask in the morning before they touch anything.

Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:50 PM
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There is a TSB about the original EGR valves sticking, but 95% of the time, the problem is a plugged up pipe, where it connects at the intake manifold. I think you'd be wasting your money replacing the EGR valve when the problem is probably a plugged up hot inlet pipe. I'd try reaming out the pipe before I dropped $200 on an EGR valve.

Steve Brotherton (stevebfl) has written an article with a picture that shows where the pipe gets plugged up.

http://www.peachparts.com/Wikka/EngineControls
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2003, 09:53 PM
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And like I said, it's probably (with lets say 80% certainty) not even the problem. I HAVE replaced some valves, it's not like it's an impossibility, put a plugged pipe is more likely the problem.
If you activate the valve (which is possible either by using the "activations" screen with their computer or by applying vacuum directly to the valve) the engine should almost die. If they apply vacuum to the valve and almost nothing happens, the pipe is plugged, simple as that.

Gilly
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2003, 10:07 PM
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Many thanks for your help.
Any other probing/challengin questions I need to ask (and I am not shy!)?

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2003, 10:59 PM
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Yeah, well, the guy/guys in the shop all just love it when the owners come in the next day and say "So, I was on the internet last night...............", but what else can you do? And the tough part for anyone here is just the "approximately" 20% margin that they COULD have correctly diagnosed the problem.
Maybe you can just ask about how they know the EGR valve is bad, what the test steps were, just tell them you're concerned about spending $900 for it, etc etc. If they just say "well, that's what the code says it is" and never mention that they actually tested the valve or anything, then I'd be suspicious. Can you just pay whatever they say they have in it for diagnosis and walk away, or do you REALLY like these guys? The valve itself just usually isn't the problem, they need to attach a vac pump, like a mityvac, to the valve and open it and see if the engine runs like real crap or not. If it's opening (which they can just observe) and the engine pitch hardly changes, then it's a fair bet it's that tube, in which case my "personal" recommendation it to replace it with the updated one, but a "quickie fix" is to do what Steve B recommends in that link given above, which is to ream/clean it out with an old speedo cable on a drill. Look over that link by the way, it's one of the last items on that page. Maybe you could print that out and take it with you and show it to them (I don't really want them to read my "3 thoughts" I gave ). (PS maybe that means I'm a little shyer than you )

Gilly
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2003, 11:12 PM
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Already had Steve's article this morning!
I have printed what I need to take with me! Not to worry- they won't see your comments.

I am so looking forward to talking to these guys tomorrow!

Thanks.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2003, 11:16 PM
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OK, sounds good. Go easy at first though, sometimes that "20%" will get ya. But the $900 is still crazy. I take it you don't do the DIY thing?

Gilly

PS (I'm PS crazy tonight): If you plan on keeping the car for quite awhile, then consider the new tube if it does end up being plugged. If maybe only a couple more years, then you persomally would probably do OK with the speedo-cable trick.

PPS : And also it's possible it's not the tube OR the valve, OK? There's a switchover valve, which needs a vacuum source, and the switchover valve is controlled by the engine control module, etc etc, so it's not a case where it "has" to be the valve or the tube, just a heads up.
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  #12  
Old 10-09-2003, 11:20 PM
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Logical diplomacy is the approach!
I used to do DYI but time is the issue.
I am an aerospace engineer and enjoy getting into things.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2003, 11:22 PM
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OK, hopefully you saw both of my add-ons to that last post. Wish we had a chatroom here, sounds like they don't want it here.
Let us know how it turns out for you.

Gilly
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2003, 11:35 PM
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Saw everything.
Will post outcome tomorrow.

Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2003, 06:38 PM
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Honestly, they were a bit surprised and Mike-the-mechanic got a bit defensive when I asked my first question: what did the codes tell you? And from there it was interesting to hear the mumbo jumbo about special test, it could be the EGR valve but the air flow goes up, down, around downtown, then a miracle happens, ... and he couldn't be sure until he opened everything which seems fair. He also claimed that taking the pipes out was tedious.

The mechanic knew of the vacuum tube test but he didn't do it. He said he used some Merc test "something" called SDS or something like that.

Anyway, where we have left it is that my bet is it is the pipe (he also thought it was very likely) and he can open he valve and we go one step at a time. But I will wait until next week until Iget a second opinion.

Funny thing is when I talkd to the owner, his response was if it was up to him he'd just disconnect the check-engine light and keep driving the car for a while!!!!!!

The info you all provided last night was EXCELLENT.

Thanks a bunch.
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