Mercedes Engine : BadnGood News + Recovery

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Post by Peter Brown on Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:09 pm

First the bad news:

My October 2011 registered Malvern came out of Mercedes warranty on 5th Oct last.  Just a few days prior to that I had Mercedes conduct a full service at 17673 miles.

On Tuesday 30th around 1100hrs, en-route for New Year in Scotland and just north of the A66 on the M6, the engine emitted white smoke and on pulling over sounded as though it had a bag of nails in each cylinder having done 850 miles since the service.

I called the Caravan Club Mayday service (used because they have no restriction on size or weight and will recover you from being stuck in a field) and asked for assistance.  Because we were on the hard shoulder they identified us a priority but explained they were overloaded and it could take 2 hrs for assistance to reach us.

After an hour a tow truck turned up, the type that lifts the front wheels on a little platform.  The driver agreed there was a problem and advised he would take us to his depot at Carlisle for investigation.  I pointed out that as my van was both rear wheel drive and automatic his vehicle could not do that – he agreed and called for another truck!  At least the next hour was spent in the relative warmth of his cab.

About 1300 the next truck turned up and the first departed.

A little digression, during the recovery process I find there are two methods of loading vehicles onto recovery trucks.  One pushes the load bed to the back and then pivots the back down to the road allowing the vehicle to be winched on, albeit at a steep angle.  The other virtually demounts the load bed onto the road and winches the vehicle on at a much shallower angle.  With the first I found that wooden blocks were needed to give additional clearance to stop the back of my body scraping the road.  I’ve seen a 2012 Malvern that, to allow the fitting of a spare wheel, has the fresh water tank fitted across and right at the back of the body and that could not have been loaded on this type of truck.

We were loaded on the truck and taken to the Carlisle depot ‘just up the road’ – 27 miles getting there about 1415.  After about 30 minutes with a test unit and hammer as diagnostic tools I was advised there was a fuel problem that Mercedes would have to investigate and they couldn’t look at it till the next day.  As we had the cats in the van we had to abandon our trip and ask to be taken home.  On leaving the depot we were told that we would be transferred to another truck at Jcn 36, there was nothing to be achieved by arguing se we were dropped on the road (can’t go on the drive) in -6°C at 2030.  Cats and essentials in the house and no way to get power to the van so it had to be drained then and there!!

It starts to get better:

After a virtually sleepless night (cold and tummy bug didn’t help) I rang Mayday again at 0745 new years eve with a very tongue in cheek request to be taken to Stoke Mercedes dealer.  No problem at all and by 0900 was on the back of a truck with a demountable load bed on the way to the dealer.  A very nice driver (different contracting company from yesterday) who explained the reason for changing truck was that to do with drivers hours regulations and the need to use a tachograph if over 60 miles from your depot.  The van was booked in at Mercedes and I understood it would not be investigated till after the new year holiday.

Better still:

1300 2nd January a call to say the van was ready for collection….????  What was the problem?..All the fuel injectors have been replaced.  How much is that going to cost?...nothing, Mercedes are paying.  I went to collect the van and whilst being grateful for the very prompt attention and zero cost wondered what could have caused the problem?  I got a bit of fluff but no answer.

Summary:

Mercedes then are a bit like Autosleeper, they are not perfect and things do go wrong but the customer service is exemplary.

Peter
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Post by Cymro on Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:20 pm

Oh goodness me, what a story. Not what you'd expect from a low-mileage, dealer-maintained, prestige make, albeit that the cure was free of charge. Strange that one or more injectors failed. I leave it to others more knowledgeable than me to offer opinions on that.
Glad you got your priorities right, and sorted out the cats!
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Post by -mojo- on Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:36 pm

Interesting info - particularly on recovery systems, as it's a few years since I last needed a recovery, thankfully.

Will also be interesting to hear their explanation. It sounds like it could have been water contamination in the fuel, but how that could happen without you getting a warning of water in the fuel filter I don't know. Perhaps they forgot to reconnect the sensor (the fuel filter would probably have been replaced at the service)?
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Post by Jaytee on Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:34 pm

Hi Peter, ignore my email now I have found the thread. Fantastic result financially albeit a right pain in the .... all round.

Well done mercedes but sadly at the last post allthumbz

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Post by Shuggiegreen on Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:06 pm

Shows what can happen and with any age of vehicle it was a good job protection had been sorted out before hand that allowed your rescue to take place.I am sorry you lost out on your trip but all is well that ends well.
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Post by inspiredron on Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:26 am

Peter,
I experienced the problem of a recovery truck having too steep a loading ramp several years ago with my Hymer when it threw a front wheel bearing in Spain. Luckily the driver watched the rear skirt even closer than I did and used some long pieces of 6x3 to lift the rear wheels before the cant became too much.  He had obviously met the problem before!
Good that you were fixed up and that Merc picked up the bill.  up!

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Post by Paulmold on Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:01 am

I just wonder how much longer past warranty would they have paid. I certainly wouldn't want to pay that bill on an engine with under 18k miles.

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Post by Pete Taylor on Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:38 am

Water in the fuel gets my vote too- all that white smoke sounds like steam. The fact that the manufacturer seems not to have put up anything other than fluff also supports Mojo's theory. However- assuming they did change the fuel filter during the service; how did so much water get in the fuel in only 800-odd miles? It might perhaps be worth you draining off the water-trap in the near future to check if there is any more in there.


EDIT: I've not yet had chance to crawl over my Sprinter engine.... are the fuel filter and the water-trap in the same unit? scratch head

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Post by Jaytee on Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:05 am

This is one reason I have been after a proper maintenance manual. From memory the filter and trap are one and the drain pipe is easily accessible on the nearside of the engine. I did ask the Merc garage how to do the drain and they advised accordingly BUT there is a 'water in system' warning I believe so if Peter had water in the filter he would have had a warning in the cockpit?

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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:18 am

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List of what they replaced, total cost of service (including mot) just under £400.  I've never worked on a diesel engine (and am 30 years out of date on petrol) so don't know what to look for.  That said I'm sure I would work it out but the temperature needs to be 20° higher before I go to look!

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Post by artheytrate on Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:03 pm

Glad you are all sorted Peter.

John.
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Post by groundhog on Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:45 pm

What a nightmare, glad you were sorted and at Mercedes cost. Our van is still under warranty but have to say Mercedes were excellent with our car, no problems at all until a full year after the warranty ran out and the electric folding mirrors started making a noise..... replaced for free with a further two year warranty on the  parts! Could not ask for better than that!
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Post by dandywarhol on Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:53 pm

White/grey smoke sounds more like a fueling problem to me - water in the filter (which was replaced) would cause the engine to cut out, rather than run.

Since the introduction of sulphur free diesel the diesel injection system/injectors suffer from lack of lubrication resulting in premature wear and smoking. Modern systems run over 30,000 psi due to the tight machining tolerances and modern fuels don't offer enough lubrication. Seems to have happened very quickly in this case.

There are several schools of thought that supermarket fuel lack the additive which replaced the (lubricating) sulphur - maybe one of our fuel experts on here could clarify or refute that one.

Using the main dealer on modern vehicles has the benefits of any software updates being carried out during the service. The vehicle is hooked up directly to the manufacture via the diagnostic port and upgrades etc. are carried out as it is worked on.

Glad you got sorted so promptly.

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Post by Jaytee on Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:10 am

Not under any circumstances do I want to start the 'great fuel debate' as that is covered under another thread BUT Peter, what percentage of your fuel is supermarket V's branded?

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Post by Peter Brown on Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:15 am

I'm sure if there was any concern about the quality fuel in the van the Mercedes would not have paid for the repair and they would have told me that the half tank left was of concern.

As this thread is not about fuel quality I don't want to go there.

Peter

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Post by hblewett on Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:12 pm

Interesting thread to those with Mercedes.  Ours is going in for a full service next Monday while we are down here in Spain.  Main dealer here charges 64 euros an hour, so should show a good saving.  Just hope they put everything back right, or else we'll have a long way to go to complain!
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Post by -mojo- on Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:53 pm

dandywarhol wrote:water in the filter (which was replaced) would cause the engine to cut out, rather than run.

I agree that the eventual result (assuming a significant amount of water present) is that it will stop, but my assumption is that as you start to pick up water the fuel pump will ~probably~ initially turn this into an emulsion, and I suspect that as long as the proportion of fuel remains high the engine would continue to run (badly). Then as the proportion of water increases the engine would lose power as the energy content of the emulsion decreased. It's all guesswork, of course...

I would still be interested to know what you ~should~ expect to happen if water was detected in the fuel. Should it light a warning lamp on the dash (the only thing that would happen on a Mk5 Transit, for example), or should the engine management system put the engine into limp home mode and sound an alarm?
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Post by Molly Motorhome on Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:06 pm

Just to add my 2p.
Merc changed the injector manufacturer twice on the four pot diesels around this time and there was at least one recall for a complete injector swap as a result of one of the changes.
Two of my friends had/have C220/C200 cars and neither were in the recall but both had all there injectors and a pump in one case changed FOC and in both cases outside the three warranty.
I get the impression that whoever Merc swapped too has and is getting all the bills.
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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:29 pm

Update:

We've been away for the weekend in the van. Just over 100 miles each way and you wouldn't know there had been a problem with the engine. I'm also happy to report that all the habitation equipment survived the multiple loading/unloading from recovery vehicles.

Peter

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Post by mikethebike on Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:51 pm

That's good news. I can confirm my Sammy has successfully been over and down some massive speed humps travelling through France.Many are only signposted at the hump.
May have to find a way to identify these roads in advance!!
Air suspension does help.
Build quality shining through.

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Post by dandywarhol on Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:26 pm

Ha - we'd a similar fright when going over a French single track level (?) crossing on a descent - I was convinced the impact would've blown the aftermarket Airlift bags I fitted but they're pretty hardy barstewards!

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Post by dandywarhol on Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:29 pm

-mojo- wrote:
dandywarhol wrote:water in the filter (which was replaced) would cause the engine to cut out, rather than run.

I agree that the eventual result (assuming a significant amount of water present) is that it will stop, but my assumption is that as you start to pick up water the fuel pump will ~probably~ initially turn this into an emulsion, and I suspect that as long as the proportion of fuel remains high the engine would continue to run (badly). Then as the proportion of water increases the engine would lose power as the energy content of the emulsion decreased. It's all guesswork, of course...

I would still be interested to know what you ~should~ expect to happen if water was detected in the fuel. Should it light a warning lamp on the dash (the only thing that would happen on a Mk5 Transit, for example), or should the engine management system put the engine into limp home mode and sound an alarm?


Thinking about it, the only sensor I know of is in the fuel filter and if water builds up under the fuel then a float sensor illuminates a lamp on the dash before the water can get into the pump

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Mercedes Engine : BadnGood News + Recovery Empty habitation door on Lancashire ,runner popping

Post by jubejube on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:38 pm

Hi there we have a lancashire motorhome and was wandering if anybody can tell me if they have had bother with the entry door top runner coming out Have told Marquis and they said it was a problem,got the new parts in but they were all split,said they would send the part on to us,this was 4 months ago no joy.Does anyone know where we can get this small part we will fit it ourselves,  Would be very thankful,  Jubejube.


Last edited by jubejube on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : put it in the wrong place)
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Post by roli on Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:35 am

Could this post get on track please - Start a new post for non related topics - Cheers

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Post by jubejube on Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:28 pm

roli wrote:Could this post get on track please - Start a new post for non related topics - Cheers
Roger, chill out you only walk this way once,slip of the finger.
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