Join Date: Oct 2019
Vehicle: 2004 Mercedes c320 4Matic
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Car not starting tried lots of things out of ideas!
2004 Mercedes c320 4Matic w203
Okay so I tried to type out this thread last night and spent over 30+ minutes putting it together in a nice format and photos attached, etc and no idea why it was never posted pretty aggravated that I have to redo this but I need help bad so here it goes. Bare with me this is going to be a super long post.
So about a month or so ago maybe a little longer, I'm sure you guys in the USA seen on the news the big floods and stuff going on around Houston, Beaumont, and parts of Louisiana where there was almost a week solid of rain. Well my side of Houston didn't really get much rain we did but our side has a really nice flow and the water moves fast so it never floods here.
I had my car parked at the road and several times I looked out there the water didn't look very high maybe 6 inches at most so I didn't bother to move my car but it didn't look like it was in any danger in the location it was at. So after all this rain was over with the car wouldn't start. Turn the key and all the dash lights come on and what normally would happen when you turn the key on but try to start it and nothing happens. Knowing that it just rained I figured maybe something got wet because it rained hard as hell for half a day so I left it for the day and didn't mess with it.
The next morning I get in it and try to start it and I hear the starter clicking over and over like the selenoid was trying but just couldn't do it. So at this point, I knew something must have gotten a little wet. Maybe the starter since that side of the car was in the deepest part of the water. So I let it sit another day. The next day I got in the car and it started right up and drove fine like nothing ever happened. About a week later I'm driving the car about two hours away from me down to a more southern part of Texas to visit some friends. I get down there no issues and drive it around while down there and then get it in to come home and it won't start. Turn the key and nothing! So I'm like shit wtf I thought it was okay. So several different times during that day I got into the car and tried to start it and got nothing. Luckily I work for myself and my hours are flexible so being stranded there for a day or however long it took to get it started wasn't an issue. So I let it sit overnight again and get it the car the next morning and tried to start it twice and the second time it fired right up. Drove it back home no issues at all.
About a week later I did the same trip two hours away everything worked good. I am on my way back and suddenly I lose my cruise control. So I'm like wtf and I try to set it back and I get nothing so I look over at the speedometer and I have no speedometer it's at 0 mph so I lost my speedometer. Since everything seemed to be fine I just kept driving I still had an hour to drive. The engine was running great, the RPMs looked good, and all that so I just drove back. I got about 6 miles from the house when I had to turn off the interstate and when I slowed down at the first light I went to take off and the transmission was in first gear and wouldn't shift out of first. So I had to drive it 6 miles at about 3000 RPMs running maybe 10 mph max. People blowing their horn at me and getting pissed off racing around me as if I enjoyed driving my car like this. I was just trying to get home.
So I get home and I turn it off as soon as I get there knowing that running my car at RPMs like that is not good for it and it more than likely was pretty hot. I let it sit a couple of hours enough time to cool off and I went to start it and nothing. Tried on and off all day long and evening and nothing. Waited till the next morning and it started right up again! WTFFFF!
So at this point I'm so confused wtf is going on I start researching and researching and I come across someone mentioning a brake switch. So I google symptoms of a brake switch going out and some of my symptoms point to the brake switch so I was like shit that's an easy fix so I ordered one off amazon. Well, I get the brake switch two days later to find out when I try to install it that my car doesn't even have one! It has the selenoid or whatever under the brake master cylinder connected to the brake booster. So I'm back to square one.
So waited a day and the morning it started again. Then several days later back to not starting. This time I was like well maybe it could be brake related so what I did was I put the key in the ignition put my foot on the brake a couple of times then try to start it and nothing. So I repeated this over and over again and after about 4-5 times bam it started up. I was able to do this several different times over a couple of weeks I just kept trying and eventually it would just start up and go again. So I found a HACK yeah buddy! Well, so I thought. After a couple of weeks, it stopped allowing me to do this. Right now when it won't start again it doesn't matter how many times I try to start it no matter what I do it won't start unless I let it sit a day or two and sometimes it will.
I started posting my issues on the forums and had a guy ask me to check the TCU behind the carpet on the passenger side. Said a common issue with these cars is oil getting to the TCU and shorting out the harness. So I pulled my carpet back and my TCU looks brand new pictures attached.
So this issue with losing the speedometer and the transmission not wanting to shift being stuck in whatever gear it feels like using has been going on for about a month or longer.
I bought a new pilot bushing and tried to replace that and had no luck getting the new one to accept the plug so I just put the o rings on the old one and installed it back since the new one was just not going to work. So that didn't fix it either. So he asked me what gear was showing up on the LCD when I turned on the key and what do you know NO gear is showing up. When I turn on the key the S at the top is blocked out in solid orange/yellow and no other gear is selected.
So I ordered an Autel MD808 Elite scanner from Amazon and ran a scan on the car and it had a ton of transmission codes show up.
All these codes were stored at the time of the scam the transmission said no fault codes. I had to actually enter the transmission scan and get into it to see these codes.
After he looked at the codes he said maybe a bad shifter unit after looking up those codes but he wanted me to try to adjust the shifter rod under the car first to make sure it was in the correct position. So I did that by just unbolting the shifter and putting it in drive and making sure the shifter arm on the transmission was all the way forward for drive and then bolting it back in. When shifting through the gears it all feels tight and perfect. So after doing all that it didn't help. I also want to mention I erased all the codes since the car would still start and work for a couple of days at a time I wanted to make sure that the only codes I got were the recent ones since I had no idea how long those codes were stored.
During this time of trying to troubleshoot that I was still driving the car and this breaking down thing was happening every couple/few days. So it broke down one day on me had to pull into a pub and park the car because it wouldn't shift out of first gear. I turned it off and of course, it didn't start again. I tried for two hours and nothing. So I left the car overnight came back the next morning and normally when setting all night it would almost always start well this time it didn't! Because of us talking about the shifter maybe being bad I figured screw it why not play around with it and see if I can get the car to start I mean why not maybe I adjusted the rod wrong. So I unbolted the shifter and I moved it forward about one inch since it has about that much play and then I moved it back and I tried to start nothing. So then I turned on the key and looked at the LCD and no gear was selected. I then kept the key on and I moved the shifter back and forth a couple more times and bam the P got highlighted and it started right now. I drove it back to the house no problem.
I drove the car for 4 days straight with no issues at all it was nice and cool outside because of the cold front we had just gotten. The 5th morning I get in the car start it no issues do some things in town and come back. Then an hour or so later I take it to Walmart and do some things everything was working great. Then that evening its time for me to go do a job and I go to start the car and nothing. At this point, I knew it had to be the shifter so I went down and got a used one from a salvage here in town. I installed it and nothing still wouldn't start. Then a day or two later it starts up again. If I let it sit long enough somehow something resets or whatever and it ends up starting but I'm tired of this thing leaving me stranded and sometimes making me borrow a vehicle to get things done.
I'm out of options I don't know what to try next. This scanner is telling me absolutely nothing when I do a scan the only codes that come up are related to the engine such as the P0400 code for the EGR that I haven't had a chance to change out because I refuse to mess with it till this car stops leaving me stranded.
I've checked all fuses on the entire car and all fuses are good in all three fuses boxes. I have not checked any of the relays since no one has asked me too and I'm not even sure which ones to check or even how to check them. I'm open to all suggestions and willing to try just about anything. I will NOT bring this to a Mercedes dealer that's not an option for a throwaway car. I paid only $1000 for this car I won't spend thousands to have it fixed. If I can't fix it myself within the next month I'll just part it out till it's stripped down to the metal and buy me something else. The car is broke down right now and it won't start and I haven't erased any codes in a couple of weeks and I've yet to see any transmission codes come back up. It never shows any fault codes for the transmission since I erased the original ones from the first scan.
so I have an awesome scanner up to date all updates are current and it's not even telling me what is wrong with my car!!!
Last edited by Rollin Cajun; 10-24-2019 at 11:46 AM.