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  #1  
Old 02-06-2004, 07:30 PM
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Location: northern Virginia
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1994 C280 wiring harness - Any add. info on recall/replacment?

I've searched and read tons on the mid 90s wiring harness breakdowns. My wife and I inherited this car from her father, who bought it and had it religiously serviced at Euro Motor Cars in Bethesda, Maryland. It's been an excellent car, except for the crazy electircal problems, which were traced to the wiring harness by a good local shop (Silver Star Motors).

I wrote a nice but firm letter to the service manager explaining the situation, and emphasizing that this was bought and serviced at their dealership. I got an immediate call back saying that he ws not aware of any recalls or replacement offers from Mercedes. He was also not aware of any such problems with wiring harnesses, and asked if I had seen anything from MB in writing. He then stated that "with a nine year old car you'll just have to step up and pay for it".

He was obviously an idiot and/or trying to blow me off. Yes its nine (actually ten) years old, but I have never had this type of problem with any other make of car that I or anyone else I know has owned. Since this is a nearly universal problem, you would think that MB would have "stepped up" and taken care of it since it is obviously a design/maunfacturing defect.

I've read various other threads about successful replacements under goodwill policies. Obviously this guy was not willing to give any goodwill to the daughter of a long-term and faithful customer. Does anyone have any additional ammunition I can use, specifically anything in writing from MB? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2004, 01:03 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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Unfortunately, the way these things work is there is nothing official from MB that I know of. I am sure that "officially" Mercedes has never heard of any such problem with the wiring harness on any fo these vehicles. If they had "officially" heard of anything then they would be on the first step of admitting liability. He of course stated that he never heard of the issue because if he admits anything, then he is admitting liability on Mercedes behalf.

That being said, there were some goodwill replacements by some members on this board. I believe each dealership is allotted a certain amount of goodwill money by MB and they decide how to spend it. It may just be that they can't stretch a goodwill on a 10 year old car.

I hope this isn't the case, and you can always keep trying, but I am afraid that you will likely not recieve a goodwill replacement on a 10 year old car. It never hurts to try, though.

-Good luck
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2004, 01:15 PM
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Thanks Ali - I know this is a long shot, but certainly feel that MB should have done something across the board for this problem.

Unfortunately I may just unload the car since the water pump is showing early signs of leakage, as well as the head gasket (again, it was replaced under warranty at 36,000 miles!). Looking through my father-in-laws service records, this car also had a leaking battery, new caster bushings, tie-rods, leaking sunroof, A/C problems, and other minor problems. And this was all before 50,000 miles!

That said, it is a damn nice riding and peppy car, and the body and interior are in great shape. If I can get some coverage on the wiring harness, I would be willing to keep it longer, so if anyone else has any info I could use, please post.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2004, 02:47 PM
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It looks like the "goodwill" policy is not interpreted in the same fashion everywhere.
One of my friend with a 1994 E320 (well over 100,000mi)had his wiring harness replaced last fall. All he had to pay was for 4 hours of labor as the dealer (or Mercedes) took the beating for the parts.
The car was not even originally bought at this dealer.
Anyone who has been around Mercedes afor a few years is fully aware of this problem.
JackD
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2004, 08:56 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Rogersville, Missouri
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Good Will is for Good Customers, are you one?

The wiring harnesses are biologically degrading as designed

The German tree lovers are happy

Mechanics around the world are happy

So be happy you are helping to save the landfills from that dreaded plastic.
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2004, 10:03 PM
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"Obviously this guy was not willing to give any goodwill to the daughter of a long-term and faithful customer"

This is business, not genetics, being a good customer is NOT hereditary. I know of someone who got a 93 done within the last year. The relationship was special and different (friend of a friend deal sort of).

While you are probably right about this being a design defect, the car is ten years old and many manufacturers don't even make parts beyond ten years.

I really like Paulwho's answer. Much of what we pay for in life has been thrust upon us by those who creat nothing and worry about it all the time.

Its a shame for original owners 9probably should be covered). For all the rest the risk of a problem is factored into the value of used cars. Some have these problems, others have different.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2004, 10:14 PM
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What year did they start using biodegradable wiring harnesses on these cars? Anything else biodegradable on them? Also- what exact wiring harness are we referring to? The one that is at the firewall? Does anyone have a photograph of one?
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2004, 11:12 AM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
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Do a search on wiring harness, you will find a bunch of info on it.

Or, click on DIY at the top of the page to see a DIY article for replacing one.
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:44 PM
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We are talking about the engine wiring harness - I read in another post that it looked like wiring from a 1949 car instead of a 1994 - I think that aptly describes it.

In regard to being a good customer not being hereditary - I agree with that statement on its face. However, this car was religiously serviced by the original dealer up to its 67,500 mile service (even though it had 58,000 miles at the time) and was due for its 75,000 mile service. Even though my initial thought was not to take it to the dealer for the upcoming general service (due to what looked to be cost run-ups on previous services from my father-in-laws records), I was going to take it to them for this service if they would do something about the harness. I would look at this as being a continuing good relationship that you certainly could look at as "hereditary".

Another important point to consider here is that many other MB owners with this problem have been treated well by their dealers in regard to this problem - often by dealers that were not the seller or regular servicer. This just shows you the attitude of this particular dealer is lacking, and part of business is taking care of your customers and ensuirng brand loyalty.

I totally agree with the excesses of eco-wackos, even though I am a consulting ecologist by trade (natural resources - streams, wetlands, etc.). But this remains a major f-up by MB.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:11 PM
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I think your situation looks continuous and you should be viewed as an original owner, although it won't be looked at in that way if the name on the ticket is different.

You say you inherited the car, do you mean this literally? If not and your relative is still around, it might do some good for him to present the problem to the delaer. The good faith money at each dealer only works for the the real customer who showed good faith through his continued business.

Recently I dealt with this relationship for my father. He believes himself to not be a MB type of guy. He buys cars new and has for about 20 years. His latest car is some form of top of the line Chrysler product. It is a 2000 modle and has a 3yr 36,000 mile warrantee. He has about 20k on it and he developed an evaporator leak, not covered due to age. I didn't want to do the job so I called the dealer and talked to the service manager. Service managers don't often like talking to people from another shop and get real defensive. Knowing this real well I approached him by discussing "his" customer, my dad. I pointed out that he bought the car there and had all the services done there. I pointed out the small amount of miles and I pointed out how good faith was used in these situations. Although we are in very different areas of auto repair we saw eye to eye pretty quick and I watched him back away from a couple BS approaches to my request. He was a little grumpy for part of the discourse, but I was friendly with him and asked him for no more than consideration. He told me to have my dad come by and he would see what he could do.

Turns out they charged him $200 which is less than either the labor or the part so I'm not sure how it was rationalized. Scared the "H" ot of my dad and they almost sold him an extaneded warrantee. Luckily he called me about it. I told him that like all insurance and paramutual betting the system was designed to make sure you lose. They obviously have to charge for all that they ever cover or they wouldn't be in business. I then pointed out that for an average car owner the risk of the "biggy" might justify the cost but I also pointed out he wasn't average with average risk. I pointed out that he took ever so much better care than average and that he had me. He didn't buy.... now I'm screwed if he ever has a real problem (bg).
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:29 PM
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Yes, we actually inherited the car when my wife's father died last year, so unfortunately he is not here to press the case. Believe me, if he were still here, we wouldn't have the car! He loved it and this is part of the reason that we want to keep the car - my wife had just bought a Jeep Liberty and I am a pick-up guy for work reasons. I nicely explained this to the service manager, and was basically blown-off.

Most infuriating was that he really hadn't heard of these problems in early C-classes. I think this was a lot of BS. Since he was not aware of the problem, I've written a follow-up letter to him with about 20 pages of info from this site and others in regard to the problem. I also copied the general manager, so we'll see what happens.
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2004, 06:59 PM
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Well, as I expected I was told again that they will do absolutely nothing for me. Beware of EuroMotorcars in Bethesda, Maryland!

Good luck to anyone else with this problem.
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