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  #1  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:15 PM
Derrel H Green
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Unhappy '99 E-300 "Battery Charge" warning at cold start-up?



This problem began Sunday morning over in Las Vegas, so we stayed over an extra day and had it checked at Fletcher Jones MBZ there on Monday. Of course, the technician couldn't see it happening because by the time I had driven it the several miles to the agency, the trouble had cleared out, and of course, they could find no indications that there had been a problem, and no codes had been set. They did find a supposedly loose battery connection for which I guess I got off lucky. They only charged me $53.09!
I thought the problem was corrected, but the following morning it did it again, and again on Tuesday and again this morning.

When this happens, the altenator tries to pick up the load, and it litterly makes the engine shake as there seems to be that much drag on the belt. But it won't stay charging, and the light comes on again. After the temperature gauge is up to normal and the motor is turned off just once and it is restarted, everything is fine with no malfunctions for the remainder of that day.
Only when it cools down as in overnight, does the problem return.

I have an appointment with the local Fletcher Jones in Newport Beach CA on Friday, and they'll keep it overnight if necessary. Hope they can locate and correct the problem.

I hope that the problem is not some relay having to do with the glow plug system, as the late 606962s are rather scarce in these parts, and the tech might never have laid eyes on one.
Kind of hard for them when they have had no experience with this problem locally.

Anyone hear of or had this happen to them?
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2003, 11:03 AM
DR.DIESEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Puget Sound, Washington St.
Posts: 522
Part of the problem may be in the idle control system.
If the car is idling very low and cannot get the alternator
spinning fast enough to get voltage above 11volts, you will
get the battery charge warning message.
I have also seen several alternator failures on 98/99 E300D's
lately. The average milage has been around 75K for failures.
I would have FJMB keep it overnight and cold start it the following morning with test equipment attached to monitor alternator output, voltage, and idle speed.
Good luck.
Dr.D
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2003, 09:23 PM
Derrel H Green
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Quote:
Originally posted by DR.DIESEL
Part of the problem may be in the idle control system.
If the car is idling very low and cannot get the alternator
spinning fast enough to get voltage above 11volts, you will
get the battery charge warning message.
I have also seen several alternator failures on 98/99 E300D's
lately. The average milage has been around 75K for failures.
I would have FJMB keep it overnight and cold start it the following morning with test equipment attached to monitor alternator output, voltage, and idle speed.
Good luck.
Dr.D


Thanks for the ideas Dr. Diesel.

The idle has been the same at about 700 rpm for the last 7,500 miles since I first acquired the car.
I thought that the problem might be because the motor was not revving up high enough also, so I had tried increasing the rpms up over 2000 rpms, but it still would drop the load until after it had warmed up to normal operating temperatures.

Four mornings in a row it did this "Battery-Charge" message drill until the motor was up to normal operating temperatures, and then everything was alright for the remainder of the day.

But yesterday morning and again this morning, there was no problem although it was colder this morning then any of the previous mornings.

I postponed that diagnotic appointment for today until next Wednesday because I couldn't see taking the car the more than 65 miles from Murrieta to FJNB in Newport Beach today to have them not be able to replicate the problem as it had been occurring in Las Vegas and here in So Cal.
Perhaps the problem will reappear?

When the car was checked out Monday in Las Vegas, FJNB reported: "check charging sys & battery condition. Check key off draw - 40 mamps. Found pos batt terminal loose - resecured."
Tech: 324 Daimonji, Derek

BTW, the car just rolled 90K, so if it has not ever had a new altenator, it surely won't be long, will it?

Thanks again.

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  #4  
Old 10-31-2003, 09:54 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by Derrel H Green
BTW, the car just rolled 90K, so if it has not ever had a new altenator, it surely won't be long, will it?
Not necessarily. I've never had an MB alternator go out that early, however, some of the newer cars have very elaborate electrical systems and I wonder if they put more strain on the charging system.

It was the one part on our 98 E300 that didn't break.
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2003, 10:14 PM
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I've largely blocked the memory of my E300 turbodiesel out of my mind, but I seem to recall seeing the battery charge warning as the battery was beginning to die. If you still have the original factory battery it's just about time for it to go out. I find those things remarkably consistent - I replaced the one in my (now gone) '98 model almost exactly a year ago.

At the very least, check the water level in the battery. No, it's not sealed, and the dealer probably doesn't top it up when you have the car serviced.

- JimY

ps: the battery is under the back seat.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2003, 04:37 PM
Derrel H Green
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I disagree!

Quote:
Originally posted by blackmercedes
Not necessarily. I've never had an MB alternator go out that early, however, some of the newer cars have very elaborate electrical systems and I wonder if they put more strain on the charging system.

It was the one part on our 98 E300 that didn't break.


Why anyone that is not in the business of repairing MBZs would dispute a Master technician that is in that business and has stated that he has seen several late model '98 and '99 E-300 DTs loose their altenators at an average of only 75K miles is beyond me!

I'm sure that there is most likely not any MBZ that is harder on the charging system than a diesel because of the glow plug system that does place a dead short on the electrical system whenever the glow plugs are activiated. That is one of the reasons why that hugh battery is in place there, and not just because they want to add extra weight to the rear of the vehicle. When that amount of current is withdrawn, how else will it get replaced?:p
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2003, 04:56 PM
Derrel H Green
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Note of unhappiness?

Quote:
Originally posted by jcyuhn
I've largely blocked the memory of my E300 turbodiesel out of my mind, but I seem to recall seeing the battery charge warning as the battery was beginning to die. If you still have the original factory battery it's just about time for it to go out. I find those things remarkably consistent - I replaced the one in my (now gone) '98 model almost exactly a year ago.

At the very least, check the water level in the battery. No, it's not sealed, and the dealer probably doesn't top it up when you have the car serviced.

- JimY

ps: the battery is under the back seat.


Do I detect the presence of bad memories with your E-300 DT?

I haven't looked at the battery yet, and it could be the original. This vehicle was built in late September, 1998.
Does that German battery last for more than five years? Many years ago, a person was lucky to receive much more than a couple of years from an original battery.

Thanks. I knew the battery was under the seat, but I still don't know how to remove the seat part to get to it?

When that oversized monster gives up, I'll replace it with a Kirkland Optima and end that adding water drill once and for all! The idea of having an unsealed battery vented or not under the rear seat within the cabin area doesn't sit to well with me. What were they thinking?

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  #8  
Old 11-01-2003, 05:38 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Re: I disagree!

Quote:
Originally posted by Derrel H Green


Why anyone that is not in the business of repairing MBZs would dispute a Master technician that is in that business and has stated that he has seen several late model '98 and '99 E-300 DTs loose their altenators at an average of only 75K miles is beyond me!
Uh, okay, sorry I gave my opinion. I have a little experience with MB's in driving and owning them (over 800K-km's worth) and in my experience (didn't I say that...?) the alternator is not an early failure item, and shouldn't be part of a sub 100K maintenance schedule. however, I qualified my statement that perhaps there were models (newer ones...) that did were more fialure prone. However, Dr. Diesel did not say "I do E300 alternators all day long" but that he has done several. However, before going out on a limb and replacing a perfectly good alternator, you might want to explore some other options, including the battery. A new battery is much cheaper than a new alternator if you're taking the "throw parts at it" approach.

And I happened to have owned a 1998 E300 turbo that was the worst car I've ever had. It was on the hoist more than on the road. In my experience, and again that is MY limited experience, about the only thing on my E300 that didn't break was the alternator. I'll stop now. BTW, taking the rear seat out is pretty easy, but I'll let a Master Tech tackle it...
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2003, 07:15 PM
Derrel H Green
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Sorry about your W-210 experiences.

Quote:
Originally posted by blackmercedes
Uh, okay, sorry I gave my opinion. I have a little experience with MB's in driving and owning them (over 800K-km's worth) and in my experience (didn't I say that...?) the alternator is not an early failure item, and shouldn't be part of a sub 100K maintenance schedule. however, I qualified my statement that perhaps there were models (newer ones...) that did were more failure prone. However, Dr. Diesel did not say "I do E300 alternators all day long" but that he has done several. However, before going out on a limb and replacing a perfectly good alternator, you might want to explore some other options, including the battery. A new battery is much cheaper than a new alternator if you're taking the "throw parts at it" approach.

And I happened to have owned a 1998 E300 turbo that was the worst car I've ever had. It was on the hoist more than on the road. In my experience, and again that is MY limited experience, about the only thing on my E300 that didn't break was the alternator. I'll stop now. BTW, taking the rear seat out is pretty easy, but I'll let a Master Tech tackle it...


I'm interested in your opinion contrary to what you may think, for the more I hear about these fine cars, the more I can judge for myself!
How was your example of that 1998 W-210 E-300 DT "the worst car [you] ever had?" Didn't know lemons grew that far North!
How long and how many miles before you bit the bullet and cut your losses?

I have no intention of "replacing a perfectly good alternator" as that is not prudent. But if the dealer through their Starmark warranty program determines that mine has gone South, I'll surely not object when they do replace it. I've already had to spend considerable dinero in the two months only that I've owned this car on new rotors all around and of course new Red boxed pads to go along with them because the dealer had neglected to replace the original rotors that were warped prior to the car being certifyied. As you may already know, MBZ does not recommend turning rotors, but replacing them only.

BTW, my car did that "Battery-charge" bit four AMs in a row, but has not done so for the last four mornings, so it would appear that whatever was causing the problem has cleared out mysteriously.

I would not even try to guesstimate the number of miles that I've driven my ten different MBZ diesels over the years from 1966 to the present. Every summer, traveling from So Cal to my cottage on the WPG river just North of Kenora, averages approximately 5K miles RT alone, so every year with that trip plus another 20 to 25K without counting the summer trips really can add up. That's why I'm partial to diesels, having owned more than 17 vehicles since that first 1961 MBZ 190 Db. Only one of those diesels was a pickup; The remainder were all cars.

The fact that Dr. Diesel has had to replace any altenators at all is something for me to note, considering that far less than 7K examples of this car made it here to N A, and even fewer of them are to be seen in So Cal. My dealer is supposed to be the largest dealer in the country, yet they don't regularly service any!

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  #10  
Old 11-02-2003, 08:00 PM
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Location: Plano, TX
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The diesels weren't sold new in California, they couldn't meet the CARB emissions regulations. That's why there are so few in otherwise MB-infested SoCal. Interestingly, there seems to be an active market importing used examples. When I sold my 1998 this past spring, it moved half way across the country to the bay area.

I gave up after 5+ years and 55K miles. I had very few problems with the 210 chassis stuff, it was all the engine and drivetrain. The final straw was when a burnt out glowplug broke off in the head while being removed. The car spent three weeks in the shop while a very good mechanic teased the remnants of the plug out using dental tools. Including that little incident, my car spent 11 weeks in the shop for repair (as opposed to scheduled maintenance) during 5 years of ownership. As much as I like the E300 turbo, I sold it.

On the plus side, it retained it's value very well, and the overall cost of ownership was quite reasonable. I purchased an exceptionally clean 1993 300E with about half the proceeds and invested the rest into a rising market. Everything works out in the end.

- JimY
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2003, 08:38 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcyuhn
...On the plus side, it retained it's value very well, and the overall cost of ownership was quite reasonable.
We actually made quite a bit on our car. We owned it for a year and about 15,000km's. During our short time with the car it gave us nothing but headaches. I regretted selling the car, but was afraid of owning it out of warranty. All our repairs were covered under the Signature Class warranty, but a lemon is a lemon.

We bought the car for about $35,000 (there was a trade involved so nailing down the exact price is a little tough) and sold it for $47,500. Just the other day I saw one sold for $54,000 and I'm kicking myself for not asking more. They were about $65K new.

We bought a 1995 C36AMG with some higher miles for $31,000. We had to put some money into it, and were into the car for about $35K when our neighbour moved out of the country and gave his 98 E300 to his son. The son wasn't interested ina "boring" diesel and fell in love with our C36. So we traded. With the tidy profit from the diesl we paid cash for the 99 Subaru.
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2003, 09:09 PM
Derrel H Green
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Dead Wrong!

Quote:
Originally posted by jcyuhn
The diesels weren't sold new in California, [as] they couldn't meet the CARB emissions regulations. That's why there are so few in otherwise MB-infested So Cal. Interestingly, there seems to be an active market importing used examples. When I sold my 1998 this past spring, it moved half way across the country to the bay area.

I gave up after 5+ years and 55K miles. I had very few problems with the 210 chassis stuff, it was all the engine and drivetrain. The final straw was when a burnt out glowplug broke off in the head while being removed. The car spent three weeks in the shop while a very good mechanic teased the remnants of the plug out using dental tools. Including that little incident, my car spent 11 weeks in the shop for repair (as opposed to scheduled maintenance) during 5 years of ownership. As much as I like the E300 turbo, I sold it.

On the plus side, it retained it's value very well, and the overall cost of ownership was quite reasonable. I purchased an exceptionally clean 1993 300E with about half the proceeds and invested the rest into a rising market. Everything works out in the end.

- JimY


Whoever put that misinformation to you was wrong!

I bought a new 1999 at the end of August, 1998 in So Cal from Calabasas Motorcars. Only kept it for two and one half weeks and returned it because it did not have a lock-up torque converter. Found out later that although the dealer swore up and down that these cars do have lock-up T/Cs, they in fact do not!

I bought the one I now have used from FJMB in Newport Beach CA. It was originally sold in November, 1998 from House of Imports in Buena Park CA. As you may or may not know, these cars were not shipped to N A after MY 1999 at all. There were less than 7K of them with these engines sent here for the two MYs. Don't let anyone tell you that the diesels were not available new from authorized MBZ dealers here in California. And yes, mine does have a California certified sticker from the factory, and it does indeed meet all applicable federal as well as California state emission requirements.

It is my understanding that beginning with the MY 2000, this motor could not and did not muster up to even the Federal requirements, and therefore was not longer offered stateside or in Canada.

We see something of this nature happening now in MY 2004 in California and those other four N E states that copy the CARB lead with VWs' PD diesel. It is not offered here or in those states because it does not pass our overly strict emission requirements!

What a shame!

Interesting you should mention the prices asked for W-210 E-300 DTs here in California. Most of the time, the Los Angeles Times will have none listed for sale at all! However there are two available here this weekend. One in Torrance is listed for almost $33K; The other in Buena Park at House of Imports is a mere $36,900 only!

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  #13  
Old 11-03-2003, 10:43 AM
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MY mistake on the California availability. I'm probably confusing the new 2004 diesel with the older cars. They say the memory is the first to go...

One very good reason why we didn't get the E300 beginning with the 2000 model year is the restyling of the E-class. The front end was changed and the hood lowered. The OM606 no longer fit under the hood.

- JimY
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2003, 02:46 AM
Derrel H Green
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcyuhn
MY mistake on the California availability. I'm probably confusing the new 2004 diesel with the older cars. They say the memory is the first to go...

One very good reason why we didn't get the E300 beginning with the 2000 model year is the restyling of the E-class. The front end was changed and the hood lowered. The OM606 no longer fit under the hood.

- JimY


I heard that one before, but it didn't hold water either!

Ask yourself what they did over yonder?

End of story.

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  #15  
Old 11-04-2003, 10:51 AM
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Over yonder they put in the CDI diesel engines and left the om606 sitting on the loading dock. Decided not to certify the new engine family in the U.S., likely for economic reasons. Not enough unit sales to justify it.

- JimY
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