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2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate - Gearbag issues?


SiC

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42 minutes ago, Nyphur said:

pissed off now with my hooky old Delphi

I should also say that it's so much less hassle pulling out a scantool than dragging an old laptop with invariably a knackered battery with it balanced on the drivers seat. I still have my genuine VCDS for when I do coding on VAG but even the Foxwell does that now (albeit clunky interface). But any repair or diagnostic work then it's the Foxwell. I might buy an Autel in the future, possibly for the wireless dongle functionality. 

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1 hour ago, SiC said:

This sits at an indicated 80c on a run and creeps up around 90c to 95c odd in traffic. 

I haven't looked but I presume the thermostat is easy to get on these. Looked loads of room on the front of the engine where the belts are. 

Tbh I haven't even really looked into the engine bay since buying it. 

I would say 90/95 is it's normal operating temperature which would be about right with a stat that has an opening temperature of 87C. I've known many Mercs to have temperature gauges sitting above the middle. It understandably causes some people to worry. 

If it's dropping then I will play devil's advocate and say that the thermostat is possibly not doing its job properly. As far as I'm concerned, the temperature gauge should not move on any car once it's up to temperature as that is the thermostat's job - to regulate the temperature. 

If it was sat at 80C and didn't go up in traffic then I wouldn't worry, I would put it down to perhaps a slightly inaccurate guage. But I don't think it's normal for it to fluctuate. 

As you say, checking live data should give you your answer 

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I need to look through the history to see if the MAF has ever been replaced. In my experience as they age with miles, especially these older units, they start to give duff readings and effect economy. Also of note is that Merc mounted it near vertically on this engine. So I imagine it's going to be more likely to build up dirt and detritus on the sensor. 

Genuine Bosch MAF and Febi thermostat isn't that expensive from a reputable eBay seller (car parts in motion). Then I think it's Mannol G13 coolant to refill.

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Hopefully not long to the next eBay discount code again!

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Hopefully you have sussed the Bi-Zenons by now, sensor on front side if right upper wishbone. Do they do the up/down dance?I could not get my iCarsoft CR Max to do anything more for the setting being out of range other than give a reading and had to use Star to find out what the parameters were.

Oil level check on both mine can be done in two ways, one in a hidden menu that gives you litres and the other dummies guide that says level ok. Hidden menu is accessed by setting the dash to temperature display, switch ignition to first click then press the trip reset 3 times and the display changes to battery voltage. You can then scroll through using the steering wheel buttons, I think you have to switch the ignition on to test the oil level.

As you have read through my thread the SBC seems to be hidden in the E Brake menus on some code readers like mine and the one I borrowed off @bobdisk. I have not properly bled the system with my iCarsoft and have brought all my pressure bleeder kit home from work as I want to give it a go this week in preparation for fixing the other cars SBC fault.

Do you have a "Rest" button on the air conditioning? Great this time of year when stopping off for supplies, ignition off and press Rest and it uses residual heat to keep the car warm around 20 minutes.

If your car was ordered with auto dimming interior/drivers door mirror and the outer has been replaced, the heater may just need wiring up as the mega expensive dimming glass has a 4 pin plug and just need adapting to connect up.

Is yours an Avantgarde or Elegance? 

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1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

Hopefully you have sussed the Bi-Zenons by now, sensor on front side if right upper wishbone. Do they do the up/down dance?I could not get my iCarsoft CR Max to do anything more for the setting being out of range other than give a reading and had to use Star to find out what the parameters were.

No up and down dance as far as I'm aware. Hence my suspicion they might not be all okay. My Foxwell doesn't have an option for Xenon reset unfortunately. I might have to invest in a Star too. I have a D410 kicking about somewhere that I believe make good donor laptops for Star. 

1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

Oil level check on both mine can be done in two ways, one in a hidden menu that gives you litres and the other dummies guide that says level ok. Hidden menu is accessed by setting the dash to temperature display, switch ignition to first click then press the trip reset 3 times and the display changes to battery voltage. You can then scroll through using the steering wheel buttons, I think you have to switch the ignition on to test the oil level.

Yeah I found this after Googling for dipsticks as I know these don't have them. Funnily enough I haven't actually figured the proper used way of doing level - only the service menu. 

1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

As you have read through my thread the SBC seems to be hidden in the E Brake menus on some code readers like mine and the one I borrowed off @bobdisk. I have not properly bled the system with my iCarsoft and have brought all my pressure bleeder kit home from work as I want to give it a go this week in preparation for fixing the other cars SBC fault.

My Foxwell has a specific SBC module option. I haven't dug into see if it can do a bleed. Right now the SBC system is all very happy and dandy so I don't want to fiddle with it too much then upset it! Unfortunately my Foxwell doesn't give activation counts. Only Star in engineering mode can. 

However I have read that actuations isn't even that clear on how much life left. From what I understand the original counter was 300k. Software updates doubled that to a 600k sort of range. Some threads have said they're even higher than that and never had any replacement warnings. 

1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

Do you have a "Rest" button on the air conditioning? Great this time of year when stopping off for supplies, ignition off and press Rest and it uses residual heat to keep the car warm around 20 minutes.

Was using that earlier funnily enough. Mine flashes the REST symbol though when in operation. From what I can tell that is to say the main battery is a bit weak. 

I had this today when I started up too

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I know the battery isn't that old. I was fiddling in the car last night so that probably took some charge off.

Went for a drive to the local shops (8 to 10 miles or so) and checked the battery voltage upon parking up. Bit low really.

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With the engine running the voltage is high enough to charge. So the alternator must be good.

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1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

If your car was ordered with auto dimming interior/drivers door mirror and the outer has been replaced, the heater may just need wiring up as the mega expensive dimming glass has a 4 pin plug and just need adapting to connect up.

Is yours an Avantgarde or Elegance? 

Elegance. Presumably the glass just pulls off on the mirror? I wonder if it might also just be corroded contacts too. 

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I definitely want this car to be a keeper. Despite what Mrs SiC currently thinks. 

It reminds me very much of the Saab 9-3 I had. The drive position and control responsiveness makes me so much calmer and less stressed when driving. Like I can't be bothered to overtake a dawdler. I could but can't be bothered. Likewise if someone is right up my arse, I'll pull in and let them go. 

It's such a middle class, middle aged car. I don't think I've owned one that screams holidays driving to the Dordogne and sampling wine to carry in the boot than anything else. Radio 2 or Classic FM depending on how much tweed you've got on. 

However I really would like to do everything to improve this. 

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Reading up more on the gearbox, it appears it's pretty lax in its use of the torque converter lockup. Presumably when fuel was cheap in the 90s/00s, Mercedes priority was for slushy gear change comfort over direct drive lockup fuel efficiency. It barely uses lockup unless you're at high revs. Otherwise it lets it slip or not use at all. 

I do think the gearbox would appreciate a service. Had no real problems but occasionally I have noticed a slight weird operation. Not that anyone normal that would notice but stuff that makes me go "hmm that's not quite right". Like when I went off on a roundabout earlier it didn't really like that and was a slight pause before it did something accompanied by some vibration as it was trying to do something. I believe these older boxes are quite easy to service - pan drop and refill using a dipstick. Versus a lot of modern boxes that have fill holes that you need the right temperature and stuff. 

If the weather holds out today, I'm going to give it a good pressure wash to remove all the moss from the seals and give that cataract headlight a good polish. Also might pull the MAF and give it a spray + wipe with Electrical Contact cleaner. 

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You can recalibrate the gearbox to learn your driving style and they can become more responsive.

https://mbworld.org/forums/e-class-w211/260003-how-reset-transmission-ecu.html

Also mine always showed the 'battery protection' when I'd been using it for local short journeys, they do put a lot of load on the battery it seems.

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2 hours ago, SiC said:

Elegance. Presumably the glass just pulls off on the mirror? I wonder if it might also just be corroded contacts too. 

A couple of photos from my second car mirror......20231105_151903.thumb.jpg.01b6abf988bb0e70c4f4caa465211ab8.jpg

Locked position of the clip .

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Mirror pops onto the motor face, clip holds it at the top.

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Hope that helps. I'm confident you will see one apart and understand how to reassemble it! 

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2 hours ago, SiC said:

 

 

Elegance. Presumably the glass just pulls off on the mirror? I wonder if it might also just be corroded contacts too. 

If you have external mirrors not tinting at night it's often the wiring inside the door tired from the auto fold, my passenger side has never worked on my watch. They also start to lose the adjustment functions.

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My drivers door mirror has always been lazy on the auto fold so I checked the door shut wiring expecting the usual broken fine wires. Six wires in there, two power, two speaker and two Canbus an only a slight hardening of one section of insulation. Following the wires to the mirror I then suspected the mirror wires as the door wiring plugs into the housing from the controller. A replacement mirror has now started being lazy! 🤣

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This afternoon I had some fiddle time. 

First stop was a poke around under the hood as I haven't had a chance to properly look here yet. It's very clean under here and the access is phenomenal compared to many moderns 

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It looks at the front of the engine as if they designed enough room to fit a viscous fan. I guess the V8 would occupy a bit more room and tighten this area up a fair bit.

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Had a quick look for the thermostat. Mega easy to get to here. I don't think I'll even need to remove the auxiliary water pump or belt.

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Quick look at the coolant colour brings up red (G12 by the looks of it). I believe this should be green (G13) and possibly it's been changed for the wrong stuff. I'll probably flush it out and put the right stuff in due course but I have red on the shelf if I do the thermostat.

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Like a lot of German stuff, the air filters are in the engine cover. This is the dirty intake side. Certainly not worth even considering changing these!

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Plugs are a bit tight. I pulled the front left top as it's the easiest to get to. Each cylinder has two plugs. So twelve in total. 

This one is a NGK platinum. Good for 100k apparently. I don't believe NGK is OEM for Mercedes so it's almost certainly been changed at least once. While grubby these look perfectly useable and don't need changing. Not least twelve platinum plugs isn't cheap and no point replacing something with plenty of life left.

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Plug gap seems to be about 1.0mm. I believe it should be 1.1mm so near damn enough correct. 

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MAF is down the back. With the top off you can just twist it and it'll come out. Must be one of the easiest MAFs I've ever had access to. 

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This also looks damn clean inside. I can't believe this is original and doesn't look used at all. Again absolutely no reason from this visual check to justify even cleaning this, let alone changing it.

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A quick look at the SBC pump shows a hardware design date of 2005. I believe the date code is stamped in the top of the unit but I didn't know when I was looking. I'll have to look again to get the actual manufacture date. However hardware design date of 2005 is obviously after 2003. So it's almost certainly been replaced at least once.

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See this rubber pipe to the left of the torch that goes to the SBC pump? This feeds brake fluid to the unit. There is a TSB if people complained when new of putting a noise damper in this hose. Looks like it was never fitted on this car as presumably the first owner didn't complain about the noise. 

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It also explains why some cars have noticeably noise SBC pumps and some are near silent. Basically depends if the first owner complained when under warranty and the Merc dealer retrofitted a noise damper unit in the hose. 

This damper can still be had but is £280 from what I can see on eBay. For that I'll leave this noisy. Tbh like an SU fuel pump on a British classic car, it's reassuring to hear the pump working away as you know it's all okay then.

 

While I'm fiddling I thought I'd have a quite poke at the rear air suspension relay. These can stick closed and burn out the pump. Usually from over use.

It's the green relay at the back.

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Contacts on the bottom look fine and likewise the contacts inside look great too. No burn or arcing on the inside of the relay either. Right now I can't justify changing this as it looks perfect.

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Next up was on the right side. This box is the pollen filter and isn't mounted quite correctly.

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Filter isn't a carbon activated unit so I may change this. It's clean and usable though.

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A quick check of the auxiliary battery voltage shows a high level. I presume this is always topped up by the main car battery.

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Finally I cleaned and lubed the bonnet latch as this was sticking a bit.

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I need to get a new machine gun sight as it bugs me that it's missing. There are some on eBay for £13 delivered, so I might give one of them a go.

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Next up was the offside cataract. Can't be having this, not least as one of the first owners and longest owning owner was an eye consultant!

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Near side isn't anywhere near as bad. 

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Brand new replacement covers can be had for not a lot off eBay (£38 or so) but that requires removing the bumper, light units, heating and regluing. Maybe something I will do later as it should protect it from UV damage better than just polishing.

For now it's just going to be polished.

Taped up to protect the bodywork.

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Grabbed my Argos DA polisher with G3 polish. 

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Then set to work. This was ten minutes at most of work. The small light gives you a good before and after idea.

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The smaller light was a bit more difficult with my DA. So pulled out this disc. Far more aggressive but had good results on my TT.

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A very satisfying job doing this. I don't bother with the cheap polishing kits now. Except the compound can be useful as it's not quite as aggressive.

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Removed the tape.

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Before and after

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Had a quick look at the driver mirror glass. Genuine Mercedes but not the correct auto dimming glass. It can stay as is for now and I'll try sourcing some correct glass once I get it through an MOT. If no big disasters I'll be more prepared to spend money on this. Not least as the auto dimming glass is incredibly expensive.

Was a right arse getting the glass back in too. It's in now and I'm certainly in no rush to remove it again!

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Wing mirror indicator on this side looks to have got crap in and possibly water. Passenger side looks to have been replaced once. I may replace this drivers side as it looks a bit rubbish. No one will probably notice it though. Or a passing car may end up knocking it off anyway.

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One little thing I found out recently is that there is a service position for the bonnet. I wish more cars had this so you don't whack your head when working under here! There is loads of clever little engineering design touches on this car. Feels like Mercedes did at least care a bit when designing this car.

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2 minutes ago, Snake Charmer said:

Both of mine have two carbon filters inside the cabin, that may be due to the 4 zone a/c. Looks a good purchase.

I have 4 zone a/c too (I think they all might have done?). I know I have an extra button for the carbon filter. So perhaps is there two lots of filters? This engine bay one to do the initial filtering and then the user selectable carbon filter?

I'll have to do some googling and find where they are to inspect them. Could well not have been replaced in a while if not that obvious to most mechanics. 

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This car has been living under a tree for a number of years. So bits of moss and such had started growing out of it. (I know those tyres are pretty shite - they can wait for a clean MOT first)

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Jizz shot. Previous to this I spend a good half hour or so pressure washing all the shut lines to get the crud out.

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I gave it a quick sponge over . Then used this instrument. For added abrasiveness it's been sat in my garage gaining filler dust. Two bucket wrong 'uns look away now. 😆

My excuse is that it's a big car and it was getting dark! Also I imagine most of its life has been going through car washes not hand washing anyway. Paint is thick and in very good condition to be honest.

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Looking quite respectable.

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Decided to go for a test drive. Before that I had some redex sitting on the shelf for years, so I thought I'd lob the lot in. Not going to hurt and maybe might help clean things out a bit.

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Had a quick check of the voltage before setting off. This is very low and suggests the battery isn't in the best of health.

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Scan tool on the engine ECU matches up this dash diagnosis mode number.

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6 miles up the road it was about up to temperature on the dash.

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However this only corresponds to 76c actual on the coolant sensor.

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Turned around and drove home. Before I got home I pulled over for another check. 11 miles in and the gauge hasn't moved.

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Still 76c

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Then went home, manoeuvred on the drive and sat there for a few minutes. Gauge crept up.

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This corresponds to 89c.

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To me this says the thermostat is duff?

87c is supposed to be the opening temperature and so I imagine 76c is running far too cool on a run. Certainly can't be helping fuel economy at all this cold? Even a few extra mpg would be good here!

 

After shutting off the engine I checked the battery voltage. Again this is far too low imo. Especially as this should be a surface charge. While the radio was still on and other electrical loads, to me it should be 12.4v or higher with the ignition just switched off. So I think it may need a new battery soon. Especially if I get low charge warnings on startups.

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Managed to fit it on the drive with the Civic. The turning circle on this car is phenomenal for what it is. I could pull this in far easier and tighter than my TT and Boxster. 

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My driveway looks like a dodgy Taxi company HQ.

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Thermostats...

BGA for £17: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/165904859060

Napa for £20: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/235121634292

Febi for £25: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/235135937479

Gates for £42: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/314936848991

Merc genuine for £41: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/112213093882 

(I need to double check this Merc one is correct)

Which one would you go for? I'm thinking BGA as it's mega easy to get to even if it fails again. I don't think BGA is too much of a crap cheapy brand either. That said, genuine isn't ridiculously priced and should last the rest of the cars life.

 

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Going Apec for £25. Mostly because I can pick it up tomorrow from my local parts shop and supports them. So hopefully will get time tomorrow evening to fit it. Bit nervous about those E-torx bolts wanting to snap off as I imagine they haven't been touched since they were put on in the factory. 

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Be a smidgen careful.. Mercedes often have their thermostats in the bottom hose connection to the block rather than the top hose to the head.  I've made that mistake before!

The temperature of 76c is definitely causing you fuel economy issues.  That should be at 90c  There may also be knock-on items that are not working properly due to the engine not being at temperature.

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This chap shows his at the top and the replacement pictures look like it will be too. 

I'm cacking myself already at the thought of undoing the two E-torx. Given they're only about 10nm tightened, they won't exactly be strong. 

When the engine running warmer I suspect the auto gearbox might make it known that it's fluid needs changing. In my experience the fluid goes thinner when old and additional heat makes it even thinner. So any slack between valve body parts risks being made worse by thin fluid. 

Fluid change is on the cards but that can wait until after getting a successful MOT without any major issues (i.e. a rotten subframe about to fall off). 

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10 hours ago, Noel Tidybeard said:

now you've found the service position for the bonnet on the merc did you notice the civic can do it as well?

Yeah, Honda have done it for decades. Difference is that Mercedes have designed a complicated, expensive hinge with many moving parts to do this, while Honda just put an extra hole in the metal pressings. 🤣

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