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  #1  
Old 06-07-2003, 10:17 PM
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Engine Wiring Harness failures - 1995 E320 Coupe

I've seen several threads on failing engine wire harnesses on 1992-1995 E320's and would like to learn more about this since I recently purchased a 1995 E320 coupe w/127K miles. I've been told by one knowledgeable source that the reason for the deterioration of the wire insulation is because Mercedes actually designed the wire insulation in the harness to begin to decompose after the life expectancy of the car was exceeded. It turned out however that the chemical formulation used to produce the wire insulation is now actually decomposing at a much faster rate then intended by the design - which is the root cause of the harness problems occuring today.

If this is indeed the case - then Mercedes should - IMHO - be providing a remedy to all E320 owners who are experiencing this problem.

Will a failure of this harness result in any safety concerns. I would assume the potential exists for a short circuit possibly starting an under the hood fire - or causing the engine to stall out or shut down unexpectedly??

I'd appreciate any feedback on this issue - especially on whether or not MB is doing anything to remedy this problem

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  #2  
Old 06-07-2003, 10:54 PM
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I've got a 1994 C220 with a wiring harness that is going. I agree that it's a safety issue that Mercedes should do something about (before someone dies and gets a class action law suit with criminal negilgence at it's core). In my case, unfortunately I've high miles (120K) and well beyond Mercedes/DaimlerChrysler's good will policy. I am tempted to lodge a complaint with the National Highway Safety Agency who tracks this stuff....if enough people complain they will force Mercedes to do a recall.

-Chandra
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2003, 12:07 AM
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Chandra:

I checked out the NHTSA'a complaint websitehttp://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/complaintsearch.cfm)- and here's what I found for my model/year (e320/1995) and your model/year (c220/1994). Maybe we should file a complaint also to get more attention to this problem??

Complaints Summary

Make: MERCEDES BENZ
Model: E320
Year: 1995
Complaint Number: 10005396
Summary:
I OWN A 1995 MERCEDES BENZ E320 STATION WAGON THAT HAS 76,000 MILES ON IT AS OF 2/6/03. DURING A 75,000 MILE SERVICE, THE DEALER DISCOVERED THAT THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT WIRING HARNESS WAS DECOMPOSING AND NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. SHORTLY AFTERWARD THE "CHECK ENGINE " TROUBLE LIGHT BEGAN TO COME ON REPEATEDLY. THE ENTIRE ENGINE WIRING HARNESS HAD TO BE REPLACED. THE DEALERS SERVICE TECHNICIAN MADE A COMMENT ON MY PAPERWORK THAT THE HARNESS HAD FRAYED THROUGH IN ONE AREA AND WAS SHORTING OUT IN A VALVE COVER. THIS TYPE OF DEFECTIVE PRODUCT CONSTITUTES A CLASS 1 SAFETY ISSUE. VIA THE INTERNET, I DISCOVERED THAT MANY OTHER OWNERS OF THIS TYPE CAR FROM 1994 TO 1996 HAVE EXPERIENCED SIMILAR DECOMPOSING WIRING HARNESSES. THIS SITUATION SHOULD BE ADDRESSED BY A GENERAL RECALL AND MERCEDES BENZ OF NORTH AMERICA SHOULD REPLACE THE DEFECTIVE WIRING HARNESSES.

Make: MERCEDES BENZ
Model: E320
Year: 1995
Complaint Number: 10007924
Summary:
OEM WIRING HARNESS IN 1995 E320 BECOMES BRITTLE AND CRACKS AT AROUND 100,000 MILES THAT CAUSES ENGINE TO MISFIRE.


Complaints Summary

Make: MERCEDES BENZ
Model: C220
Year: 1994
Complaint Number: 8009965
Summary:
CONSUMER HAD TO REPLACE WIRING HARNESS 3 TIMES. DEALER HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND OUT CAUSE OR FIX THE PROBLEM.*AK
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2003, 10:33 AM
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So just how long should a manufacturer be forced to make components last?

There is no safety issue I can dream of. The car is so smart that even with all the wires touching it somehow seems to do nothing worse that set check engine lights and stumble occasionally.

The original owners of these cars may have a gripe the rest I don't have too much sympathy with. As you state the problem is notorious as are evaporators and compressor leaks. If it were a chevy you would just throw it away! As it is the 93-95 124 car is probably the best deal going in a car. Fix the problems and quit whining. Or go buy a new Hundai they are warranteed for 100k.

Everyone is always looking for someone else to shoulder the burden. Its just a car.
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2003, 12:33 PM
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Steve, I'll have to differ with your opinion on the wiring. Auto manufacturers have been manufacturing and installing wiring for decades that last the life of the car plus some. By now they should be pretty good at it. MB experimented with different wiring from 93 to 95, albeit for a noble cause. The experiment went wrong and they abandoned that design. The product obviously wasn't thoroughly tested before releasing it for production. This left three years production with engine wiring that will have to be replaced during the life of the car. This is unacceptable. I'm seeing a disturbing trend in the automotive industry where designers are now only concerned with producing parts that last only through the warranty period, not the expected life of the car.

I too think it's unfair that owners have to shoulder this cost because MB was too cheap to thoroughly test this new product during development (I'd hate to think they test all their parts this way). If the problem was cheap clips causing trim to fall off or power seat wiring that stopped working I'd be more inclined to dismiss the problem, but bad engine wiring can potentially be a safety concern. (Anything that would cause stalling in traffic is a safety concern). I've seen similar problems addressed by manufacturers and included in recall campaigns, why not this one? I've also seen similar problems ignored, usually because they would be a financial burden to the manufacturer. This time I believe NHTSA is allowing the public to shoulder the cost. After all, anybody that can afford to buy a Mercedes can afford this repair - right?
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2005, 06:41 PM
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I have a 1984 GMC pickup truck--wiring is still in great shape after 21 years. I had an 83 Honda Accord, bought it new and drove it for 17 years. Never a single wiring problem. I have a 93 Nissan that I bought new, no wiring problems there either. Mercedes Benz should accept responsibility for what clearly is a manufacturing defect. Especially when you consider what these cars cost new. Just my 2 cents worth.

J. M. van Swaay
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  #7  
Old 05-15-2005, 03:57 PM
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There is no point of contention. If in fact the wiring was made to degrade, and they do in fact degrade so rapidly as to present the possibility of a fire, then you would need to be a moron to think that there shouldn't be a recall.
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  #8  
Old 05-15-2005, 08:25 PM
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If you're handy, rewire the components yourself. See my DIY on the Electronic Throttle Actuator rewire in my web page. It's under the Projects page. Click on the link at the very bottom of my signature to get to it.
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2005, 09:28 PM
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I agree with you- I have a 1969 Chevrolet Caprice (36 years old), still with perfect original wiring. I have no electrical problems whatsoever. I also have a 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville (32 years old) also with 100% perfect, untampered wiring. Both of the engine wiring harnesses are in perfect condition, with no frayed wires. I have owned several cars (American and Japanese) over the years and never had any electrical problems- such as wiring or harnesses. I also have a 89' Pontiac- no problems either. No problems on the old 88' Nissan work truck either- even with 250K miles.

I think the older Mercedes are not that bad either- I think it is just where they designed these things to deteriorate. I think they should offer to repair- or at least at a very reduced rate.



Quote:
Originally Posted by J. M. van Swaay
I have a 1984 GMC pickup truck--wiring is still in great shape after 21 years. I had an 83 Honda Accord, bought it new and drove it for 17 years. Never a single wiring problem. I have a 93 Nissan that I bought new, no wiring problems there either. Mercedes Benz should accept responsibility for what clearly is a manufacturing defect. Especially when you consider what these cars cost new. Just my 2 cents worth.

J. M. van Swaay
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  #10  
Old 05-16-2005, 09:10 AM
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Pcmaher, thanks for the link. A long time ago I asked if the throttle actuator can be rewired. Though it isn't an easy job, it's worth doing to save the $1000 it costs to buy a new one. I personally work very hard to earn $1000.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2005, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I don't know why Steve is taking the position he is taking... Wiring harness issue is rather well known and the cause is the supplier used a bio-degradable wiring harness and due to the heat under the hood, it is deteorating faster than expected. Apparently, Volvo had the same issue. Perhaps it's the european environmental thing.

Mercedes-Benz is aware of the issue and *I hear* some dealers are good-willing the repair cost for some. As this is a good will, and not warranty or recall, one can not expect your case will be handled this way, but it's worth a shot.

By the way, your car also has a throttle actuator with a short pigtail harness. It, too, has the same issue. Symptom is, erratic idling and cruise control malfunction.

As to this being a safety issue, I don't know why it wouldn't be. Car stalling at a wrong moment could be pretty dangerous in many circumstances, such as right when you are merging into a highway. Many asian and American cars has been recalled for less serious issues than this.

Mine was replaced in the second year of ownership (by the previous owner). Apparently, under Florida weather, it doesn't last much long at all.
My daughter's 1989 300TE suffered from the "occasional stall" syndrome. Our local car repair genius (Enrique @ Mr. M.B. Motors) finally found the problem. You guessed it: a defective wiring harness. All the other mechanics that I had previously seen for this problem couldn;t find a cure, all they ever did was throw parts at it. Only Enrique was able to find the problem--but I digress.

We were going to order a new wiring harness from Germany (not in stock in the U.S. at the time). Instead of ordering a new harness, Enrique checked wire by wire in the harness until he found the guilty wires and then he replaced them. The car runs fine now. (That is why Enrique is truly an automotive genius!). Her car has 190k and now it runs like it was brand new.

Recently I had occasion to drive a 1994 Volvo 940 wagon with "only" 136k miles on the clock. The engine had no power and the car rattled like it was going to fall apart. My daughter's car, with far more miles and years, runs somuch better than the Volvo wagon.

Moral of the story: These w124 cars, whether wagons or sedans or convertibles or coupes are truly great cars. Some may even argue that these are the best cars Benz ever made. If you have one, invest the time and money to get it to run the way it was designed to and you will be real happy. Or, as Steve said, buy a Kia.

BTW, how do you like your 1994 E320? I am thinking of buying one for myself to use as a daily driver. Let me know. thanks.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2005, 11:49 AM
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Before you go off . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestas
Pcmaher, thanks for the link. A long time ago I asked if the throttle actuator can be rewired. Though it isn't an easy job, it's worth doing to save the $1000 it costs to buy a new one. I personally work very hard to earn $1000.
and rewire your ETA, check MENU#24 for some "real-life" stories of what does happen. It's not JUST the wiring, unfortunately.

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