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Old 12-12-2003, 12:16 PM
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Car refuses to start

My wife described to me a hard start issue with the 560SEL. I thought, here we go again! Last winter it would take a few cranks to turn it over in cold weather, replaced the OVP-- no go.

Per MBshop, a minor tune-up cured it.

So I tried it for myself and the symptoms are different. Turn the key, lights, fuel pumps come on, but it doesn’t start, no clicks etc. I jiggle the shifter and she starts right up.

First thing that comes to mind is the neutral safety switch, but I'm not sure yet if my wife moves the shifter. So I'm thinking bad starter (?) Not temperature dependent, but it seems to be time dependent.

Also, is the steering wheel supposed to be "locked"? I don't drive the big dog much anymore, so some of these details have escaped me.


EDIT: Now that I think of it, this happened to me once during the summer. It seems the problem crops up more frequently.

Last edited by BlackE55; 12-12-2003 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-12-2003, 02:36 PM
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It seems jiggling the shifter has no affect on starting and the battery checks out OK, so I'm guessing the starter is about to give up the ghost.
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Old 12-12-2003, 11:36 PM
MikeTangas's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 4,430
Next time it doesn't start, pull the shifter to neutral and try again. Sometimes just jiggling isn't enough to overcome bad shifter bushings.

As for the steering wheel, it doesn't lock until it is turned a certain amount with the key out. Not sure how far that is though, I do know once and a while I inadvertantly yank the wheel getting in/out and it will lock.
Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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Old 12-13-2003, 04:19 AM
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Thanks Mike,

I'm starting to think it's the starter becuase "apparently"my wife tried it w/o touching the shifter and it would start on the second or third try.

Seems really touch and go, as I've simulated the conditions twice: Once it started on the second try and the other it fired right up (that time I didn't jiggle the shifter).
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