Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mercedes Wire Harness Defect

The Defect...


Mercedes-Benz made an engineering blunder of gigantic proportions when it decided to use an inferior and unsuitable material for the insulation on the electrical wires of their vehicles. This insulation prematurely disintegrates under normal use causing the wires it is designed to protect and insulate, to short causing many problems.Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 1 The company continued using used this unsuitable material for many years, even on replacements and repairs. It is not yet known how many vehicles are affected, but it is estimated the number exceeds 1.5 million vehicles manufactured after 1991. It is not a matter of IF the insulation will fail, but of WHEN.

The engine Harness and how a simple harness can kill people...


This harness contains hundreds of wires bundled inside tightly wrapped tape. The wires communicate information from the many sensors of the vehicle’s engine and accessories back to the computer modules. The modules use this information to regulate critical functions such as engine idle speeds, RPM, fuel mixture, fuel injection, ignition and many more..Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 2
When the information received by these computers is garbled or erroneous the engine will run rough, accelerate unexpectedly or quit altogether. In addition when the wires short it could cause engine fires, sudden stalls on the highway and other failures that could cause death or serious injury.

Repairing these defects have been a bonanza to Mercedes Dealers, the typical cost of a harness exceeds $2,500, in many cases much more due to collateral damage (see below)... Most of the “repairs” were made with the same defective wires, so a few years later the failures reappear. Innocent victims have forked hundreds of millions of dollars to repair a safety defect that should have been covered by the company that created the problem, erroneously thinking that if the vehicle is out of warranty. Mercedes, aware of the seriousness of the problem, selectively and quietly replaced the harnesses at no cost only to the loudest complainers. They refused to effect a safety recall presumably due to the huge number of vehicles affected.

It gets better...


To add insult to the injury, the very dangerous safety defect also causes collateral damage in other parts of the engines. The expenses of there repairs may exceed the value of the vehicle. The collateral damage extends to very expensive and critical components of the vehicle such as the various computer modules and ECU’s (Electronic Control Units) that regulate the engine’s operation and the microprocessor-controlled fuel injection system,Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, C280 Sensor including the PMS (Pressurized Engine Control) Control Unit, the Engine System Power Control Unit, The HFM (Hot Film Air Mass Sensor) control unit and many others. Replacing these modules cost in excess of $10,000 in many cases. The computer modules get fatally damaged by the shorted wires in the harness.

In effect, the vehicle self-destructs.

The question is not one of IF they will fail but of WHEN – All vehicles manufactured in those years (at least ’91-’96) have the defective insulation and will fail sooner or later, thus you can understand Mercedes’ reluctance to own up to the problem:

A 3 BILLION DOLLARS problem…

Here are some links to web postings on this problem:

Mercedes Shop Forum

Auto News

Google Answers - Mercedes Wire Harness Defect

What you can do about it...


File a complaint with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
NHTSAThe NHTSA is a politically-controlled agency driven by... you guessed... politicians whose campaign cofers depend on the auto industry's donations, and no one expects them to do much other than keep track of the complaints filed. But, by all means, EVERYONE should file a complaint with them. Contact your state's representatives and attorney general and file a formal complaint as well. There have been several attorneys interested in taking the case to a class action and this might be the final solution to ensure Mercedes-Benz assumes responsibility for its negligence.

Safety Defects have no statute of limitations. This has nothing to do with warranty, it's an engineering error that creates a potentially hazardous condition (engine fires, sudden stalls in highway traffic, stranding in dangerous locales, etc). Mercedes is well aware of the problem they created and refuses to do the right thing which is recall all vehicles affected, not wait for the NHTSA to do it, nor count on naive customer/victims not to do anything about it erroneously thinking that the age of the vehicles is a factor.

Letter to Mercedes-Benz President about the wire harness safety defect.

Response letter from Mercedes-Benz disclaiming responsibility - The arrogant "got suck an egg" "...so sue us" boilerplate letter.

More Photos of the Mercedes Wire Harness Safety Defect


Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 3

Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 4

Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, Photo 5


Defective Mercedes Wire Harness, C280

21 comments:

  1. A small cooler of water spilled in the TRUNK of my 2007 GL450. The Electrical Damage has exceeded $4,000! I am being told that it's my fault, and damage is not covered!

    Here's the letter I wrote to the president of Mercedes.



    August 28, 2008

    Ernst Lieb
    President of Mercedes-Benz
    3 Mercedes Drive
    Mont Vale, NJ 07645

    Dear Mr. Lieb,

    I have been the proud owner of a Mercedes-Benz since November of 2006. We purchased a 2007 GL450 from the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Wilmington, Delaware. We bought this car to transport our busy family of five. My husband and I have three active young children that play sports; therefore we travel thousands of miles by car each year to sporting events and for family vacations.

    Until now, I have been very happy with my vehicle. Unfortunately, a recent experience has tainted my view of Mercedes-Benz.

    On August 23, 2008, my two-year-old Mercedes-Benz broke down leaving my husband and three kids stranded on the side of the road. I called your roadside assistance, and two hours later a tow truck towed the vehicle to Mercedes-Benz in Pleasanton, California. We were later informed that the servicemen found an empty small cooler of water in the trunk. They assumed that the water leaked out of the small cooler and caused water damage.

    The cooler was in the trunk, because my son had football practice Friday night. In fact at least three nights a week, we take a full cooler of ice and water to the practices. By the end of the two-hour practice most of the water is gone, because he drinks it and pours some of the cold water on his head to cool off. Therefore, there could not have been a lot of water remaining to spill out Saturday morning.

    Although I cannot say for sure how much water dripped out, I can intelligently estimate that less than 32 ounces could have spilled into the trunk.

    Ultimately, Mike Marino, the Service Manager at Mercedes-Benz in Pleasanton, California has informed us that we are responsible for more than $1500 dollars worth of damage. He has also informed us that the interior of all Mercedes-Benz have electrical panels throughout the car that can be easily be damaged by water. Claudia, an Escalation Specialist from Mercedes-Benz verified this information as well.

    Imagine my surprise? Why was I never told this information before? Why are these panels not better protected or made water proof with a simple plastic cover over the panels to protect them from moisture? Imagine the disappointment of millions of Mercedes-Benz owners, if they knew that simply spilling a cup of Starbucks in their luxury car could cost them thousands of dollars.

    This is an unacceptable quality standard for a family vehicle, especially a Mercedes-Benz. I am no engineer, but I know the technology to waterproof electrical panels exists. Please explain to me why these electrical panels are not protected? And if there is no way to protect the panels, why are consumers not informed and warned of this possibility.

    I am an educated and informed consumer, I have searched the Service and Warranty information and the Operator’s Manual and I do not see a warning to consumers! This information should be plastered everywhere, not hidden in the fine print of an automobile manual.

    Your highly trained and skilled sales team should tell customers. Yet, no one attempted to warn us of the exposed electrical systems that cannot withstand even one quart of water. My family drinks beverages in our car while traveling, we transport groceries, we practically live in our Mercedes-Benz, and therefore we need a car that can withstand an accidental spill.

    From the beginning, if we were told that this car could not withstand a small spill, we would have never written the check for over $65,000.

    I am also very disappointed in my service experience. It has been six long days of waiting and inconvenience. The service department is still waiting for parts from Germany. Therefore, we do not know when we will receive the car back. We were not offered a loaner. Yesterday, after several calls and insisting that we be given a loaner, Lance, the serviceman called Enterprise and gave us an Impala to drive. Is that a comparable replacement? Once again, this has been a huge inconvenience. VERY POOR SERVICE!

    Moreover, we had our first multi-family camping trip planned for this weekend. The camping gear barely fits into the rental car. We had to revise our plans, because our Mercedes-Benz truck broke down and our replacement Impala does NOT have space for everything. Unacceptable!

    And finally, my husband has had his sights set on a Mercedes 500SL for his 40th Birthday, my two best friends and I all bought a GL450 within a few months apart, because we considered it the best in class. My neighbor just asked me about for my insight, because she is considering the GL450 also. But I can honestly say, this incident has made me feel like a Mercedes-Benz is not appropriate for the majority of commuters, like my husband who drives 35 miles into the city every morning with a cup of coffee or busy soccer moms who have to drive around town carpooling, transporting children, and occasionally driving through McDonalds to feed the kids on the way to practice or ball games. With the escalating cost of air travel, more consumers are taking road trips. Consumers should be warned that a small spill during that road trip could cost you much more than airline tickets.

    The bottom line, I consider this problem a defect in the design and manufacturing of your vehicle. I am not willing to take responsibility for this damage, because no reasonable person would assume that a fairly small spill of water could possibly cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. After all, I am not talking about a window or sunroof being left open during torrential rains or God forbid, horrible flooding. This was a small spill from a water cooler… in a luxury car.

    I hope you will address my concerns.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Lena
    Disappointed GL450 Owner

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  2. Mercedes touts the GL as "Light Truck / SUV" in their own web site. They also have made various claims as to its military heritage, its "ruggedness" and "off-road suitability" implying this is a well-constructed, tough vehicle designed for the rigors of off road driving.

    The experience from Lena reflects Mercedes' intentional deception. This vehicle is nothing more than another frail car complete with the Mercedes tradition of engineering mistakes and sub-standard design under the pretty carpets. Definitely not an "SUV" or anything close.

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  3. naive lena..the MB to be proud etc died with the eighties..their reputation is thru money at the dealership, in a hypothetical more stupid world (around the corner he he)they could give the car at cost..they have the 1000 bucks washer will make the car run fine again..or the wires(?)by today standers MB is a waste of money..they are selling the badge this days; get three times more with a top of the line asian..DAMN! I hate what i just said but is true in my experience MB is like an Edsel very fine cars WHEN THEY WORK!

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  4. naive lena..the MB to be proud etc died with the eighties..their reputation is thru money at the dealership, in a hypothetical more stupid world (around the corner he he)they could give the car at cost..they have the 1000 bucks washer will make the car run fine again..or the wires(?)by today standers MB is a waste of money..they are selling the badge this days; get three times more with a top of the line asian..DAMN! I hate what i just said but is true in my experience MB has become an Edsel very fine cars WHEN THEY WORK!

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  5. Lena - Buy a Suburban. Even in spite of their financial problems, GM is generally aware that people sometimes have liquids in their cars.

    It took Mercedes until the 1997 model year to even consider cupholders! German engineers believe that you should drive with both hands on the wheel and your foot to the floor.

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  6. We owned 3 mercedes before, and after reading this we are switching to Japanese cars for our next car. Bye Mercedes!

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  7. AnonymousMay 22, 2011

    The main wiring harness on my 2006 E350 has disintegrated due to a manufacturing defect. The manufacturer has used an inferior and unsuitable insulation for the wires, which, is brittle, cracking and falling off exposing bare wires, creating an extremely hazardous situation. The wire insulation deterioration is causing the wires to short and prevents the vehicle from functioning correctly. This is creating a serious safety hazard. (possible, fire in engine, etc). Due to the seriousness, I recommended the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration order the manufacture to properly investigate and issue a safety recall. The manufacturer is aware of the defect but refuses to provide a solution. I purchased this vehicle new and operated under normal conditions. The Vehicle has been regularly serviced and maintained by Mercedes Benz authorized dealers since it was new. The Vehicle has been well kept and maintained.
    Gregory Chassin
    gchassin@tampabay.rr.com

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  8. I recently gave up my 2000 BMW 323i with 165,000 reliable miles for a 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK320. Let's hope it was not a bad choice. Incidentally, I also have a 1991 MB 300CE. I have heard about the wiring insulation problems on older Mercedes but have not encountered stiff or brittle wiring in the older car. I am, however, very careful whenever I have to do anything where I am moving or flexing wires under the hood. That is where most problems occur, in the engine compartment, where the wires are exposed to higher temperatures, corrosive chemicals and a severe environment which tends to deteriorate the wire insulation. Wiring in the interior is less susceptible to damage and usually remains pliable. I was also under the impression that these wiring problems had been resolved by mid 90's. I guess that is not the case.

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  9. Hello. My youngest brother had bought my father, a used 1995 C220. Talk about regretting it! Now I know why the owner of the car wanted to almost give it away. Since day one, my father was having the infamous CHECK ENGINE light come one, the fuel gauge working on/off, and the speedometer not coming on until car was driving above 50 mph. When we went to an independent Mercedes Benz repair place (I know not to go to the dealer unless I am Bill Gates in wealth) who asked me if I was having the CHECK ENGINE light problem with other electrical difficulties. I said yes how did he know and he asked me another question if I knew that these Mercedes Benzes had electrical problems. Thats when the repair guy told me a replacement wiring harness was $1,000 not including the labor in removing the old one and installing the new one. The bill would be another $1,000! I am so anti-Mercedes that I tell people to stay clear of them. Unless they plan to get the older before 1994 model year. I am so surprised to hear that Mercedes has gone this low in quality. I think now anyone buying a Mercedes is buying the logo and that is it. A shame that a company that has been in existence this long can go down the toilet. If somehow I can get a harness that is cheaper than the $1,000 price tag, I will put it on and then get rid of the car.

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    Replies
    1. my 200 ml320 caught fire under the hood driver's side and burned to the ground. thank god we were not in it and it was not in the garage. it was sitting in the driveway and had not been driven all day. mercedes benz said "too bad".
      does anyone have an attorney for this? should be a class action lawsuit for sure.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousJuly 19, 2013

      hello sir i work on harness for a pinch of what they ask at the dealership.i build them which ever year you model is .just email me at nmugwe@yahoo.com. i have had to deal with these problems , been scared by the dealers and mechanics like all concerned benz owners until i studied the harness and built the first one for my car.now i not scared of the problem anymore. i could do it for a pinch of what those robbers ask for.

      Delete
  10. I guess I can now join the ranks of consumers caught unawares by Mercedes Benz greed and deception. Last night while driving on a busy freeway, I began receiving various rapid warnings on the dash console, smelled something burning and made a hasty exit onto a side street where a fire erupted in the left front headlight. Per the fire department this was determined to be electrical and originated in the left front headlight (still waiting for final word from insurance adjuster and fire inspector). From what I have discovered in researching online information, it is probably due to faulty wiring in the headlight harness. I own a 2005 C240 that has been well maintained and serviced . . . had a waranty that expired the end of August and had taken it in for service on the Transmission and Motor Mounts just a week prior. Also asked the Service Co-ordinator to thoroughly check the vehicle for any other possible repairs that needed to be addressed before the expiration date . . . her response, "Mercedes does not repair anything that has not already failed". Thank goodness my passenger and I were not injured or seriously hurt and were able to exit the freeway, and ultimately the vehicle, before the whole left, front side became engulfed in flames. This has apparently gone on for years and years and it is UNACCEPTABLE! MB needs to be accountable . . . how many more of us will be affected by their lack of concern for customers safety . . . loss of personal property and the cost of replacing a vehicle is traumatic enough . . . does someone have to suffer a horrendous death in order for them to be held responsible? Has anyone actually retained a lawyer to represent them regarding this issue?

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  11. I was considering an MB. Well, that's not going to happen.

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  12. South Jersey, I have worked for Mercedes Benz for 30 years and the product is not what it used to be.The single roller timing chain damage 83-85 v-8 should have been absorbed by Benz. This cost customers thousands from premature failure! When wiring harnesses started shedding their insulation due to inferior chemical composition I saw the trouble coming like a big flashing hazard sign.Buy american or asian for long term reliability and cost of ownership.If you have the cash buy whatever you want, but if your pride controls you and your wallet does not don`t chase the star. It will disappoint you

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  13. Same boat for many of us. My 95 SL320 has the same biodegradable wiring harness issues. Where the hell is the class action lawsuit against MB???

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  14. AnonymousMay 09, 2013

    My 95 SL320 has a biodegradable wiring harness too. This is total BS mercedes isnt standing behind their products. How come no one has sued them and WON? There is more than enough evidence to get them on some serious charges and I AM SURE, out there somewhere, someone has burned to death in one of these cars. I wish I didnt buy my car now, if it does catch on fire, I'll deliver the ashes to my nearest benz dealer and have it dumped in their showroom!

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  15. Hi my name is Todd and I had a 2006 ML350. It spontaneously caught fire as it was parked for two hours after I had driven it. The firemen state in the report it was an electrical fire and started from a short in the rear taillight harness, much like the investigation in the C-class. They could determine that in only twenty minutes time. It was deemed totaled and luckily It didn’t kill anyone. Look at the pictures below and see what you think. I brought this to Mercedes Benz USA's attention and they were careless about the safety dangers that this caused/posed. They said it wasn’t a manufacturers’ defect. Might I remind you the car had been parked for 2 hours. God forbid if consumers found out that the ML-class would be involved in the same investigation as the C-class. They were of more concern about this being leaked or exposed and tried to sweep my case under the rug. They held my vehicle for about 2 months for their "investigation" and not to have any conclusion of the manufacturers defect is complete BS. They told me that the fire was inconclusive and not a manufactures defect. Get this! They only gave me one case manager and limited me only to speak with her. After I had asked to speak to numerous other managers and higher ups they told me I strictly couldn't. After being trapped in this corporate cover up I had no where else to turn. SUSAN M( my west coast regional case manager) How many other vehicle cases did they sweep under the rug like mine? I do not expect this kind of cover-up from Mercedes and would expect them to stand behind their vehicles. I only had 76,000 miles on it. An absolute nightmare!! See the pictures below. THIS WENT TO CBS2 KCAL 9 THE BBB, NHTSA, numerous auto blogs ,CAS and the Federal Trade commission . I'M STILL NOT DONE!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi my name is Todd and I had a 2006 ML350. It spontaneously caught fire as it was parked for two hours after I had driven it. The firemen state in the report it was an electrical fire and started from a short in the rear taillight harness, much like the investigation in the C-class. They could determine that in only twenty minutes time. It was deemed totaled and luckily It didn’t kill anyone. Look at the pictures below and see what you think. I brought this to Mercedes Benz USA's attention and they were careless about the safety dangers that this caused/posed. They said it wasn’t a manufacturers’ defect. Might I remind you the car had been parked for 2 hours. God forbid if consumers found out that the ML-class would be involved in the same investigation as the C-class. They were of more concern about this being leaked or exposed and tried to sweep my case under the rug. They held my vehicle for about 2 months for their "investigation" and not to have any conclusion of the manufacturers defect is complete BS. They told me that the fire was inconclusive and not a manufactures defect. Get this! They only gave me one case manager and limited me only to speak with her. After I had asked to speak to numerous other managers and higher ups they told me I strictly couldn't. After being trapped in this corporate cover up I had no where else to turn. SUSAN M( my west coast regional case manager) How many other vehicle cases did they sweep under the rug like mine? I do not expect this kind of cover-up from Mercedes and would expect them to stand behind their vehicles. I only had 76,000 miles on it. An absolute nightmare!! See the pictures below. THIS WENT TO CBS2 KCAL 9 THE BBB, NHTSA, numerous auto blogs ,CAS and the Federal Trade commission . I'M STILL NOT DONE!!

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  17. 1994 s500,engin wiring fried, almost killed me.... Lost all power, on a steep hill. Had to ditch to the side of the road, very dangerous road with 800ft drop off... I can't believe this Co. Produced a over one hundred thousand dollar car that self distructs.. This is going to cost me a fortune & now the repair gentleman tell me the throttle Harn. Is also fried.. HAY mercedes, did you intend on killing me or what. Please help & make good on this predisposed to decompose fault on my beautiful car... It wants to live & so do I.

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  18. This is related to a critical safety issue on Mercedes-Benz vehicles manufactured approximately from 1991 to the present. All these vehicles have an acknowledged and widely known problem with the engine wiring harness that has caused fires, vehicle sudden stalls on highways and other incidents. The harness will fail on all these vehicles as it is defectively constructed with an unsuitable insulation that prematurely disintegrates over time regardless of usage or mileage. The harness is a critical element of the vehicles' operation as it directly affects ignition, fuel injection, timing, cooling, rpm, mixture and other critical functions of the engine.
    The manufacturer is aware of the problem, and, absent involvement from the NHTSA or civil action, has refused to address it in a proactive and responsible manner. It is of the utmost importance that the DOT gets actively involved before a very preventable and regrettable fatal accident occurs as a result of this defect.
    There are a large number of complaints made by furious MB owners that have been victimized as a result of this known defective design.
    This should not be happening on a so called luxury vehicle that you pay a premium price for so that you can have better quality.

    Further Reading:
    http://www.ebay.com/gds/Mercedes-Defects-started-in-early-90s-/10000000008277768/g.html

    http://badmercedes.com/

    Daimler AG (they own Mercedes-Benz) Headquarters in Germany:

    Daimler AG
    70546 Stuttgart
    Germany
    E-Mail: dialog@daimler.com

    http://www.daimler.com/dccom/0-5-1037142-1-1333344-1-0-0-0-0-0-9506-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html

    Daimler is derived from an old southern German word (Täumler) meaning "swindler," from the verb täumeln, to overcharge or cheat. Not exactly a name-meaning desired by someone dealing with cars…

    In short, MB is a Wheeler-Dealer.


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