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Thread: @Xulfiqar Sb: Bought c180 98 model (my 1st Merc) Help with startup maintenance/repair

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    Default @Xulfiqar Sb: Bought c180 98 model. Need help with maintenance/repair.

    @Xulfiqar Sb:
    I have seen lots of threads and lots of posts and am deeply impressed by your knowledge of vehicles. I am trying to browse through but things are so spread about that it is confusion. Moreover, perhaps every case is different and need specialized help, at least for the first time.

    This Monday, I bought a c180 98, Elegance Model with 93K miles (allegedly) on the odo. In driving for these 3 days I have jotted up a list of my observations, some serious, I believe. I need your expert advice on it. Here is the list of serious observations:

    [Post Edited with problems listed as solved/unsolved. The details of how a problem was solved is spread all over the many pages and posts. Please delve into the thread for details.]

    SOLVED PROBLEMS WITH CAUSES AND REMEDIES:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Vibration in D, Cause: One engine mount was cut, replaced.
    2. Temp gauge does not get to half point, Cause: T-stat valve was jammed, replaced.
    3. Fluids replaced = Engine Oil and Transmission oil.
    4. Vibration in steering at all speeds, Causes: Mountings (changed), warped rotors, machined, balancing and alignment done. New steering shock installed.
    5. Rear Left Window does not close with button on door, Cause: Button faulty, replaced.
    6. Random HVAC blower speed: Ordered HVAC control unit from eBay. Fitted and working fine. No more issue.
    7. Broken Cruise Control: Ordered from eBay. Fitted and working fine.
    8. SRS AIRBAG Warning Light in Dash, Cause: Star scan tool (at Papu ustad, Pindi) told about two crash sensors (one under each front seat) to be faulty (or their connection is faulty). Shop gave a price of Rs.7,000 for 2 but I see that used are cheaply available on eBay. Would order two soon.
    9. Left handbrake shoe friction sound. I fitted new handbrake shoes and thought it needed adjustment. However, it turned out, after 5 tries at it, that the lug nuts on the wheels were of slightly varying length. The longer ones would brush on the handbrake clip that expands the mechanism. Older one was damaged. Got it replaced. Sound started coming after few days. I swapped some lug nuts from other wheels. It is peace ever since!
    10. Intermittent Windows -- Passenger and Driver side windows would not operate after few days of reset in any order. I suspected the rear-left window control module, opened the door cover to find that there is no window control module there! So this must not be the cause.
    Recently, I cleaned all the electric ground points in the vehicle. The issue of intermittent windows had reduced a great deal. More so, because before starting the vehicle, I operate all windows (first point in ignition).
    11. COOLANT VANISHING -- I needed to add 1 L in like 2 weeks (driving 300 miles). The cause was a leaky radiator. In summers the problem increased until I saw coolant drops beneath an idling car. Previous radiator was corroded with use of wrong coolant. Radiator replaced with a good condition exact part (Behr) from a half-cut. Coolant used would definitely be as per spec or MB.

    UNSOLVED PROBLEMS that are being debugged:
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    12. Relay clicking type sound behind key:
    The sound can start anytime but luckily not too often. Usually in peaceful driving it would be calm. Sometimes when I take some action like press brake pedal, turn on indicator, it will start clicking. I can feel the throbbing when I touch the key. Would start and stop itself.
    I have found out that whenever that clicking sound is heard, horn won't blow. Conversely when the horn does not blow, there are chances of those clicking sounds. When the horn blows, there won't be any clicking sound in that drive. Still trying to solicit the cause in a deterministic way.
    13. Sudden Downshift Jerk: Sometimes after driving the vehicle for a long time, like one hour, when slowing down because of mild braking (to a speed for which 1st gear may be needed) the car shifts into 1st gear very hardly.
    Kindly please advise. I am a keeper since I am a busy person. The car I was driving before this is with me for 9 years. For once, I want this car to be in a state that I know how things are. Thank you in anticipation and sorry for trouble.

    @Xulfiqar Sb Bought c180 98 model my 1st Merc Help wi startup maintenancerepair -1636367

    PS: Car is with me for 6 months now, with 99,000 miles on Odo. (21 May, 2016)
    Aamer

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    Today drove the car past 120 km/h. When braking, the steering wheel vibrates.
    Also I noticed that when going past 100 km/h the steering vibrated a little. The vibration is not permanent. At little higher speed it dampened out.
    Moreover, the car drives great (sound-wise) till around 110 km/h. At further higher speeds like 130 km/h a sort of heavy sound starts coming from underneath (as it appears). Because of this I really hadn't tried to drive any faster than 130 km/h till now.
    The car drives good at lower speeds, except that I have a bad feeling about brakes. And yet neither of the two mechanics I had been to (both serviced brakes) said anything about them! My Honda City brakes are smoother, quieter and better.

    I recently changed the control arm/helper rod bushings, ball joints, and got the alignment done after getting new Pirelli tyres.

    Please suggest what to check/inspect and how to remedy it.
    @Xulfiqar Sb.

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    Well, I guess the braking time steering vibration does happen at lower speed (60 - 100) too.

    So you drive good (except at the groaning sound seemed to be coming from the undercarriage at 120+ km/h) but when you brake it feels bad on the steering and I guess must be felt in the car as well, to other passengers, and then there is that last down-shift like car's under-carriage has hit a hard-wall for a moment (it definitely is hard and is not expected in a mercedes).

    The ghost electric problem ain't as severe as these, at the moment.

    I guess I should get the rotors checked for warping! Where, in the city, can I find a good shop for that?

    My internet searches yield the following possible causes (provided that I have changed some parts):
    1. Warped rotors (Front)
    2. Some thread even said possible rear rotors too (esp if shudder is at high speed)
    3. Rim damage.
    4. Flex disc
    5. Lug nuts (all must be of same size, whereas my car seems to have of various sizes).

    This weekend, I will try to balance the lug nuts (same size in same wheel) at least! Then check the flex disc myself and in the coming week take the vehicle once again to wheel alignment guys and let us see what they have to tell.

    Aamer

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    a buzzing drone type vibration from underneath is usually caused by a bad center bearing support or flex discs. There is also a horror story to this situation. Read this below.

    The driveshaft is balanced at the factory as ONE piece complete with flex discs and bearing installed, When the mechanic changes the flex disc it is mandatory that the new disc be installed exactly as the old one - meaning do not rotate the shaft when disc is out.

    This problem is more crictical with the center support bearing, when the two halves of the shafts are separated to remove the bearing they should mate back in the exact same location.


    There are a few more steps involved in replacing the center bearing and support. the 56mm gland nut is tightened to about 30 lb/ft only which is not much and only done when the shaft is in the car - You are supposed to slather some axle grease on the splines too, similarly put a tablespoon of the same axle grease in the end bushings of the shaft (they are little metal cylinders at the ends of the shaft)

    Once correctly followed the driveshaft remains silent and smooth.

    The brake vibration in steering wheel is usually attributed to bad discs or jammed brake pads in the pad carriers, service the brakes correctly with correct silicone grease in the pad carriers and the caliper pins too. Test the discs with a dial guage if you can, Dont machine them if they are too thin already.

    The 2-1 downshift when coming to a stop is normal, its felt more when the transmission is filled with ATF 134 which you have put in. The only time the downshift shock is reduced is when the unit is filled with genuine 236.10 type ATF and the industrial spec SAE 90 gear oil in the diff that mercedes benz used to recommend in the past.
    ZRS - Zulfiqar Racing Systems ..... - professionals at work - at crackwheels.com

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    I know that on w203s it's common for the clips holding the handbrake cable to break and they sit only a few inches from the prop shaft and the loose cable or clips can cause a noise if hitting the prop shaft which is more noticeable when it's turning quickly like at higher speed

    It's worth a check underneath the car to see if everything is In its place though in your case it can't cause it to vibrate


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    Handbrake:
    My car's handbrake seems to be of little use. The car drives off even when it is applied until that beeping warns you to pull it free.
    Does it suppose to be like this?

    Drive Vibration:
    Yesterday I drove on the motorway from Islamabad to Lahore, with family. Max speed achieved was 165 km/h. The car drove well except the slight high-frequency vibration above 100 km/h. At 120 km/h the drone sound is loudest (in comparison, otherwise it is not much to be very noticeable), but below and above this speed it reduces.

    The vibration was most felt at 120 km/h too. At lower speed its frequency reduces and at higher speed its frequency increases, both making the 'feel' to reduce. This is quite ironic because motorway speed limit is 120 km/h!

    Brake vibration:
    I feel brake vibration at all speeds above 50 km/h and bad feeling at lower (frictional sound of brake of early engagement in one front wheel when the brake pedal is gradually/partially pressed. Looks like I should check for jammed brakes as you say and application of silicone grease to brake holders/calipers.
    The next time I am at the mechanic, I will get the rotors/discs checked. Replace them if they are too thin.
    Do you recommend a brand to be used? Is Febi OK?
    @flex disc:
    A couple of days ago, I got under the car myself with flash light and checked the flex discs. I feel they are fine. I attach some pictures of the under-carriage. Let me know if you find anything odd. Especially the oil-littered parts under the engine bay.

    So @Xulfiqar Sb, based on my descriptions and your technically rich suggestions, what steps do you recommend me to take to debug the problem? I am a little slow in learning about this car. According to my understanding, if the wheels/rims are OK and lugnuts proper, I should do the things in this order:
    1. Center support bearing (where is it located?).
    2. Rear axle
    3. Driveshaft (I am not sure what is to be checked in this).

    Hard down-shift:
    I think I will live with it until next transmission oil change (50,000 km or so).

    Electric-Ghost:
    Passenger window --> driver window --> car unlock, each stops working in order after reset. But I cannot recreate the problem.
    In one of the threads I found your comments (copied below):

    "What does she have to say about "malpractice" - I have had some really strange encounters with them - they made a bill of 3 control modules going bad, while the only problem was a faulty alternator which causes low voltage which caused the modules to shut down, I replaced the alty and interrogated the CAN BUS - it was working good."

    Do you think, this fault can be with the alternator or the regulator?
    How to verify this is the cause?

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    @Xulfiqar Sb Bought c180 98 model my 1st Merc Help wi startup maintenancerepair -1646771

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