Please Note
This page contains questions asked by owners and replies given by lofty, although the site does not have a Q & A Forum.
In a large number of instances owners have by their own admission saved £s and in some cases 100s & 1000s of £££ by following the advise given.
I regret that I am now having to limit the answers supplied to owners who continue to ask questions without contributing to the running costs of the site which can be done by either purchasing my CD Rom, purchasing the ignition module cover removal tools, of by a direct contribution of a gift/donation.
Donations can be made through Paypal and you do not need to open an account. There are no fees charged to you when using credit or debit cards.

When using links to pages within an answer, simply use your back button, top left, to return to the Q & A, page 3
Please remember for me to try and advise you I need details, age etc of your model of A class without that basic information I may not be able to help you.
'Frequently Asked and Obscure Questions'
To save duplication of answers Please read through the Questions index, Alphabetically look for your problem

link to the qustions index page to look for question numbers relating to your problem before mailing lofty
last updated 02/03/18 .
New questions appear at the bottom of the page.

Special Note
To all owners Be aware/alert to this rip off

Hi lofty, A word of warning for all owners
This Mail is from one of my readers and I fully believe his story
.Lofty . I put my A Class 160 into a garage in Bootle, Liverpool for a repair. When I went to collect it I was told that the engine light was on, he added that he had checked it out through the diagnostic socket and , he knew what the fault was. To my horror, he said it would cost £1,200 to repair. I said no thanks. He then said he could do it for £500. I refused. When I got home I checked it out with my scanner ( I bought the scanner a couple of months ago) The scanner would not work ! I checked the fuse box and the No 1 fuse was missing. I bought a 20 amp fuse and put it in, my scanner was working so I deleted the fault (engine check light) after a test run the light did not come back on. I realised that the garage must have pulled the fuse knowing that it would cause the engine check light to come on. Also the fuse must have been there for him to check it out through the diagnostic socket. After approx 6 weeks the engine check light has still not come on. I reported the garage to the Trading Standard Office. They said they could not act on it because there was no proof, but they said they would make a note of the garage address. I cant mention the name of the garage for obvious reasons, but they call themselves Mercedes specialists !!! I remembered the Lords prayer: "Thou shalt be done on Earth as it is in heaven" I hope he breaks his effin leg. Cheers G .
There just is no answer to this, albeit i have responded to the Owner. Accept to be alert for this sort of Con.

Garages are having a hard time , owners cannot at present waste money on unnecessary repairs and services and so it looks as though some outlets will try to CON your money out of you! If you suspect you are being conned get a second opinion before committing to any work. If you do agree to work be undertaken get a written quote for the work, or will be their word against yours when it comes to paying. I would always ask them to contact me if they find other work before going ahead.
If you live in the same area as this owner beware.
1 Information Manuals.
Where can I purchase a Haynes Service Manual for my 'A' Class

Please Note
You can't Haynes have not produced a manual for the car. There is a pocket mechanic Vehicle Manual, which is produced by Peter Russek, which covers the mechanics only. Please Note Haynes Manual available as of Nov 2008 but I can not say which models it covers or the quality of the information contained in it.

However this is just one owners comments having purchased the Haynes manual 27.04.09 quote
Incidentally, I recently purchased the Hayes A Class manual (£19.99). Very disappointing. There is no way that a novice like myself could ever renew spark plugs (or any other task) using the limited amount of detail in the Hayes manual. No mention of the module cover, extraction bolts, tools etc, and one tiny black and white photo. A waste of money.
2 Whining from poly 'V' belt
Hi I purchased a 160 Avantgarde on Saturday the seller assured me the whining noise it was making was due to tension of fan belt being too tight as he had one installed I went to visit my local Mercedes specialist called Merc aid he told me it could be the alternator bearing or top or bottom tension which mint nothing to me he also told me if I bought it on Saturday to contact the seller to get it sorted he also sold me a key which doesn't work either if you can give me some advice I would really appreciate it thanks. Mel
The poly V belt tensioner is a pre-set so it isn't over tensioned, so the cause of your problem certainly isn't that. I agree with Mb it is almost certainly the alternator bearing, which isn't a large job for the seller but could be costly for you so get it fixed, I suspect what MB were saying is that it could possibly be the tensioner mechanism itself, I call this a skate because it looks like a roller skate with the poly V belt pulley wheels on it that is the problem.(I'll put my money on the alternator ) then it is a big job as the engine has to be lowered to fit the new skate, I hope that helps you, my page 57 Other things to pay particular attention to:- Steering column place knocking when you turn the wheel from L to R play on the steering wheel itself top bearing pre-set stiffness in the lower column UJ (Universal joint) see my cure page 49 Knocking from under the front wings = failing ball joints on what MB call the rods known to most people as drop links , cheap to replace but get it done if they want doing by the seller unless it is a private sale then you may have problems but not insurmountable, I can give you all the information on my site . The remote key, no unless that was one of the original keys it will never work ,even if it is brand new they cannot be reprogrammed and new keys for your car can only be ordered through Mb and are well over £100.00 even if it is fitted with a new blade (Key) it will not operate the immobiliser. In addition to the ignition keys you want two alarm keys one black one red but check first to ensure you do have the scorpion alarm system ,look for tell tale socket in the glove box. page page 51 please also read pages 29,& page 57 and have a general look through to ensure you are familiar with the car and its problems ,look also at page 20 & page 21 all of these things can be a problem on a used A class hope that help without alarming you come back to me if you require more help and I'm quite happy for you to quote information from my site. Lofty

3. Re-setting Assyst W168
How do I reset my Assyst after servicing the car
Refer to your hand book our follow the guidance on my page 35 be prepared to undertake this a few times before you get a result (knack) my page 35
4. 'A' Class rattles.
I have a rattle at the front of the car when driving at slow speeds
Replace your drop links . Simple job cheap to replace mypage 29
5. melting ice on Air con pipe work.
Having driven some distance I have water under my car when I park
This is almost certainly caused by the ice melting from the air conditioning pipe work under the car . Do not worry unless you are having to top up the coolant reservoir.
6. Loss of second & fifth gears
I have lost 2nd & 5th gears on my manual gearbox
You have lost or a plastic link has become detached from the selector mechanism, see mypage 59 for cheap cure. A Class with ACS transmission Auto Clutch-less system) your cars are also fitted with this link so be aware, Chris however informs that on his ACS he lost 4th gear as well.
7. Failure of central locking facility.
My central locking has packed up working
Check the vacuum pump in the n/s corner of your boot space spare wheel compartment. You will possibly find the pump is flooded. Remove pump dry out, see page 41.
8. Failure of rear screen wash facility
My rear screen washer isn't working even though the pump runs
There is a real possibility that the joint in the washer hose has become detached at the top of the rear door (5th door)see pages 42 page 26 treat as urgent or do not use your screen washers.
9. Recharging/ Replacing Battery
I removed and charged my battery having replaced it the ECU light has stayed on
There is a procedure for removing & replacing batteries. In your hand book and on my site page 13. If these procedures are not followed to the letter this problem can arise. Solution, find a garage with 'Star diagnostic equipment', they can delete the light, sorry there is no other way. Top Tip (when reconnecting batteries always put the side lights to the on position before connecting battery.)mypage 14
10. Re-setting windows .
I removed & charged my battery, having replaced it my electric windows do not work
Your windows need re-setting, the information is in your hand book or refer to my page 35
11. Interior lights problem.
My interior light comes on when I'm driving
Almost certainly the 5th door needs adjusting, a quick job move the boot catch on the lower edge of the door frame so that the boot lid 5th door shuts firmly , Also lubricate the catch to prevent the lock from jamming closed. my page 24
12. Setting car alarm.
My key fob is not working at present, if I lock the drivers door with the key blade will my alarm be set.
NO the alarm is only set when the Remote/fob is used to lock the car, As a rule, if you lock the car with the blade, open it with the blade. If you set it with the fob open it with the fob. Open it with the blade when it was locked with the fob and the alarm will go off.
13. Interior light defect
My interior light stays on, and when I lock the car with the remote key fob the alarm sounds after only a few minutes.
Your interior light is staying on because either :- One of your doors including the boot is not closed fully OR you have a broken/defective interior light switch on one of the doors. The alarm sounds due the the voltage drop when the alarm is set and is working correctly. Replace defective door switch. Ensure all doors are closed correctly. See also question 74
14 Purchase of ignition keys
I only have one key fob, if I purchase one off e-bay will it work as they claim
NO. NO. NO It will not work and you cannot get it coded, to work with the transponder of the car you will have wasted your money.
Ignition keys are coded to your cars transponder and are only available through Mercedes-Benz Parts departments. Even when ordered through your branch they will be ordered from Germany and be pre coded there before delivery. my page 6
15. Purchase of spare ignition keys.
I was told that If I purchase a spare key of the same type off e-bay and have a new blade/key cut to fit my car it will work
Sorry, No you have been misinformed, the key will turn in your ignition but it will not start your car, the key must be coded to the transponder on your car and that can only be carried out by DaimlerChrysler-Mercedes-Benz Germany.
16. K& N filter
I want to fit a K&N filter to my a Class will it cause any problems
The K&N filter system uses a oil soaked filter system, which is likely to allow fine oil molecules to pass through the air induction system of your car's fuel inlet system. Situated within the air induction pipe work is your mass air sensor (MAFS) its life could be shortened if these particles get onto the glass reeds of the sensor, Mercedes have fitted a dry air cartridge filter system to your car, ask your self why, before fitting an oil treated filter. my page 16
17. Re-=setting ABS/ESP.
How do I reset my ESP/ABS
Turn steering wheel fully left then fully right the light on your dash should go out
18 ECU/MAFS Problem.
I have had problems with my car and my Branch are telling me the car needs a new ECU/MAFS at a cost of approx £800 before I spent this money can I get it refurbished or repaired.
YES There is a company in the UK. ECU testing .com Who can repair your MAFS (mass air flow sensor) and your ecu portion of the monolith if required . For further details and a discount off the repairLofty does no reccommend using any other company for doing these reairs. see mypage 38.
20. Strong smell of petrol.
I have a strong smell of petrol inside my car when I first get into it in the mornings.
You will almost certainly find that the smell of petrol is caused by a leak on one of the clips on the fuel line under the bonnet rear of engine, the clips used by MB on the production line on early models are of the crimped type. Purchase replacement clips from MB (screw type) and refer to mypage 12 as to which clips to replace to cure your problem.
21.Fitting ancillary parts, Tow bar.
"My local motor dealer says that my warranty will be invalidated unless I fit the manufacturer's tow bar"
A 94/20/EC was designed to create free trade. If you fit a Type Approved tow bar it will not invalidate the vehicle warrantee. Under Block Exemption Rules a motor vehicle manufacturer cannot prevent a franchised outlet from supplying or fitting components deemed to be of equal quality to that supplied by the vehicle manufacture - such as a Type Approved Tow bar. See page 32 for more questions on tow bars.
22. Replacing rear brake drums
My car has covered close to 80000.miles and I intend replacing my rear brake shoes, at what point do I need to replace the brake drums
Your brake drums when new measured between 180.0-180.2 mm, if your brake drums now measure more than 181.2mm they should be replaced. max wear factor 1mm my page 19
23, Vibration at speed.
When I get above 60mph I get a severe vibration through my steering wheel what is likely to cause this problem.
The most common cause of steering 'wobble' in modern cars is the tyres & wheels, when tyres are fitted they are balanced to avoid causing a wobble at speed however as time goes on the weights fitted become dislodged by kerbs 'kerbing' (where the wheel collides with the kerb stones) .and the centrifugal force created by the revolving wheel, Dependent on how worn your tyres are? Consider getting your front wheels/tyres re-balanced. This problem can also cause uneven wear.
24. Front brake squeal/noise
I changed my front brake pads which were the original pads, because they were noisy; although the problem was initially cured it is started again, what can I do to stop it, there also appears to be a rattling coming from the callipers since I changed the pads.
The only way you will cure brake squeal is to strip clean and grease the callipers & guides, this will allow the calliper to float (move sideways) when the brakes are pressed then released. my page 27 & 28
The rattle you have is almost certainly due to loose clips, you will recall there were four clips which retain the pads (did you replace these?)if the spring tension goes out of the clips, the pads are free to chatter which is what is causing you noise. Replace the pads and clips using MB parts, you cannot buy the clips alone. alternatively you could try bending the present clips so as to hold the pads firm but I doubt this will help in the long term. Please remember you are dealing with the braking system of your car on which your life and that of others depends.
25. Fitting shims supplied with new MB brake pads .
My new brake pads purchased from Mercedes-Parts were supplied with 4 shims, my present pads are not fitted with shims should I fit them.
No do not fit them on passenger carrying vehicles. Please read the correspondence on my page 27 which was received to this question from DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes-Benz (technical dept.) which makes the situation clear.
26. Replacing cars main Battery
I know my car could do with a new battery, I have been holding off because I can't afford MB parts dept. prices, What do I need to look for in a good replacement battery.
The battery should be recommended by the manufacturer for the Mercedes 'A' class, different models Diesel, Petrol, use different batteries so make sure you make the dealer aware of you vehicle details. In addition as the battery is being fitted inside the car it should be fitted with a breather /vent facility, this is connected to you present vent pipe. The battery should have at least a 3 year warrantee. I would recommend Halfords Stores as the supplier, they will test your old battery and dispose of as necessary, Install your new battery and will have a specific battery for your 'A' class, reasonably priced, and with up to 4 year warrantee on some batteries. my page 13&14
27. Battery not holding charge
I have charged my battery twice in the last 3 months and although it is alright at present and my lights are bright it doesn't seem to have a lot of punch when starting the car, on occasions I wonder if the car will start.
The battery on your car is a disposable item having a life of approx 3 - 4 years, modern cars with all their modern electrical components demand a lot of power from the battery., There is even a drain by clocks interior lights alarms etc after the engine is switched off. Starter motors turning over a cold engine will place a very heavy demand on the battery and is normally when the battery shows it is age and condition.
Charging your battery will revitalise it but this can only happen if all the cells 6 x 2 volts + or - are in good order and has battery/water/acid in the cells. Batteries that register less than 12.2 volts should be checked for serviceability, this is normally carried out on a modern testing devise which places a high rate discharge on the battery. This test will determine the state of you battery for further use. my page 13& See mypage 14
28. Bulb types.
What size and type of bulbs does my car use
There is a list at the bottom of mypage 9 which gives the bulb numbers standard to the issue of the A160/2002 earlier models did not have white reflectors on the indicators, but had a standard orange lens, therefore the bulbs are white, DO NOT FIT white bulbs in later 'A' Class with white indicator lenses. Oh yes it has been done!
If fitting none standard bulbs, make sure they do not overheat and damage the reflectors of the various lamps which are made of plastic.
29.'B' Service
Will the 'B' Service come up automatically.
Yes, two spanners will show as the service becomes due. having completed the service you can re-set the Assyst by following the procedure in your hand book, or you can go to mypage 35 Yes the mileage to the next service and the two spanner icon will show indicating the next service is a 'B' service if you press the correct buttons.
30. Replacing coolant
Hi lofty, I want to change the Coolant, you mention on pre June 99 models that there might be a bled screw, I cannot see this, however if one is fitted and I cannot see it, would pulsing the radiator hoses also have the same effect in removing air
If you haven't got a bleed valve do not worry, if the header tank, the bit you top up is higher than the rest of the hoses the air will find it is own way out of the system . Make sure you run the car until the engine is hot and ensure the heater is on full, that way the air can get out of the system and all the hoses completely fill . Check after a few days and top up with fluid as necessary. my page 43
31.Scorpion car Alarm
My car is fitted with an alarm with dongle keys like the ones shown on your site page 51 after I have driven off the red LED continues to flash, but the alarm does not go off , have you any ideas why
Look at the pages attached to page 51 and you will see that the scorpion alarm system has a self diagnostic facility, count the number of flashes on your LED and read off the diagnostic code, in my own case it was the rechargeable battery cell in the siren unit of the alarm system that had failed. my page 51
32.Steering column clonk!
We have just picked up a 99 T plate A140 Elegance with a manual gear box and 46K on the clock. Since picking it up we are experiencing a steering clonk on both locks just especially when the steering is under load turning a corner. The car has just past its MOT so I hope nothing serious was missed. Is there an area that I should look at in particular.(the car came with a years warranty) Have spoken to the dealer but he is not hurrying to resolve the problem and is putting us off as the mechanics he uses are busy, and is say that it cant be to serious as its just passed an MOT
The ‘A’ Class particularly the earlier models are prone to steering column problems, OK it’s passed it’s MOT and therefore the problem is not serious BUT get a second opinion from MB yes it will cost you say £50 but it could be money well spent as the cost of replacing the column is about £800-£1000.with the labour at £85-£100 per hour.
It is worth bearing in mind that the MOT does not now include a road test which is when these types of problems show, also the small print on the mot claims that the MOT does not confirm the road worthiness of the car and prospective purchasers should take that into account. If the car is a lot of money it is always worth considering an AA or RAC inspection but with a 12 months warrantee you should have no problems. my page49 & 50
33. Heater blower variable speed problem.
I have a problem the blower on my heating system, it will work OK on maximum but if I turn it down it goes completely off How can I cure this problem.
One owner was quoted over £500 to correct this problem by his Mercedes Branch, the problem is the Blower /fan resister that is installed towards the back of the heater. The replacement component cost £25 part number A168 820 0897 I will be posting how to fit this item shortly, in the meantime if you have problems e-mail me for the details. my page 61
34. Heavy steering
I've recently had problems with heavy steering at low speeds and this seems to be much worse when the weather is cold (e.g. last weekend). My dealer has warned me that it may need a new steering column. As this problem seems to be erratic it seems to me less likely that it is a mechanical problem and more likely that it is to do with the PAS. The fluid in the reservoir seems ok and there's no evidence of a leak under the car. Do you have any suggestions for trying to test the fault or make a temporary fix ?
I agree with you that it does sound like a power steering problem, The first question to ask is how old is your battery? Get it checked at Halfords they can test the cells that will have a direct effect on the power steering motor at the base of the reservoir. If that's OK Second thing is jack up the front of the car to bring both front wheels just off the ground take a look at my page 49 and make sure that the lower UJ is not ceased, either way follow the DIY method of lubricating this joint and while jacked up exercise the joint by turning the s/wheel left and right. To check the power steering is working, with the engine off turn the wheel, with the engine running re-test the second test should be greatly easier than the first, as the wheels are turned you should hear the pump motor run. Follow up mail Thanks very much for your suggestions. Since your reply have lubricated the UJ with WD40 and this has improved the heaviness, perhaps it was the steering column after all . Will get battery checked but seems OK for now - weather now warmer so can't be sure!
35 Emulsion/Condensation in Engine oil filler tube
I changed the oil and filter on my wife's A140 this morning for the first time and nearly died when I took the filler cap off only to find what looked like a pot of custard. I told the missus I may have some bad news for her. she's only had the car a month. anyway I phoned MB Stour bridge(very helpful on anything concerning the car) and they said this is perfectly normal due to the long filler pipe causing condensation and I just need to push a rag down with a long screw driver as their tackiest do. I thought the head gasket had gone. bit of a relief.
Emulsion is oil and water mixed to a foam like light brown material) is common on the 'A' Class, yes the filler tube is long as this doesn't help, however it is also caused by short runs where the engine does not reach its full operating temperature. Take care if you do follow MB's advise that any rag doesn't get left in the pipe and ensure the engine is switched off! Mercedes stipulate that the oil should be changed every 12 months and this is a wise move, even more so if your car does suffer this problem. However if you have severe emulsion AND are having to top up the coolant reservoir then there is the chance you have a head gasket problem, so monitor the situation closely if this is the case, for your peace of mind I have not heard of one head gasket problem in 31/2 years so do not worry .
36. Fuel filter?
I am having problems my car stalls at the slightest opportunity and I have suffered a loss of power , the problem seems to spasmodic but what could it be,
Your problem sounds like a fuel related problem, has the fuel filter been changed as specified, (the answer back was NO, Having had the filter replaced the car is now Fine So please change you filters when or near the time/mileage specified see my page 12.
37. Fuel related problem
My car has been running rough for some weeks but know refuses to start at all
Again this sounds fuel related see my page 12 and check the fuel pump is working, This turned out to be a defective fuel pump which was replaced car is again Fine Note if you do not change the fuel fitter when specified 45000 approx there is every chance you will burn our the fuel pump which is working harder than it should have too to pump fuel to the engine.
38. Vibration from front interior lamp housing
I am getting a vibration , annoying sound coming from the the front interior lamp how can I cure this problem.
This is normally caused by the packing wedge between the roof and the ceiling lining having moved go to my page 8 and remove the lens and lamp housing, re-site the wedge, problem solved the vibration is caused by the mini fan will runs continuously as part of the climate control system in your car. a small spot of sewing machine oil (3 in 1) oil on the fan motor spindle will do no harm you should not hear the motor running.
39 battery terminal protection.
Does anyone think it is a good idea to put a conductive gel on the battery terminals? . if so what's the best stuff to use? my terminals are bone dry.
Providing the terminals are clean, dry and totally free of lead oxide /corrosion then no I would leave them, it they do need protecting which bearing in mind they are in the car, as distinct from under the bonnet I'd use petroleum jelly, just a thin film. I think the main thing is to keep the battery clean and dry , if you spill distilled water when topping up the cells then dry it off and discard the wipe in the bin, one small spot of sulphuric acid and you will have a hole in your pocket or seat cover!! And remember the vent tube fitted on your car when new was fitted for a reason ,do not fit batteries without it, you well finish up with fumes in the car.
40.Water in boot area of car.
I have water getting into the boot of my a class and cannot find where or how it is getting in, what do you suggest.

Sorry but there isn't a single word answer to you question as it could be one of several things .
The first thing is make sure you vacuum pump the unit sitting in the well back left hand corner of the lower boot spare wheel area is free of any water. As a precaution place the complete unit into a water proof bag and replace it in it is housing trim off any excess but leave the top of the bag above the the top of the pump. then take a look at mypage 41 and check to ensure you rear screen washers are pumping water onto the rear screen if not you have a leak at the joint in the pipe work washer hose. see page 24 when you have confirmed that is not the cause. check the rear door seal.
Either side of the boot lid near the bottom there are two rubber buffers screw them in about 3/4 of a turn then get a sheet A4 or news paper and shut the single sheet so the it is trapped/pinched between the door seal and the door, when pull on the paper, it shouldn't just slide out if if does tighten the stops further, repeat this process until the paper won't slide without the resistance of the seal do both sides equal this method ensures the seal is in contact with the door, In extreme cases you may need to replace the seal. you may need to adjust the boot catch and make sure you lubricate the bit on the boot lid as well as the catch on the lower cross member .If that does not cure you problem then check the quarter lights (rear side windows) and also the wheel arches do one at a time and you stand a better chance of finding the cause of your problem. my page 24.
41. Stuck boot lid
Can you help my boot is stuck closed and I cannot open it
This is not an uncommon problem, I can assist you with a method of opening causing the least damage to the car and components but you may still need a new boot lock and scuff bar across the bottom of the rear opening. please go to my page 25 I hope this helps you.
42 Details of original build specification
Where can I find out the original specification /build spec for my 'A' class I'm told that individual cars vary according to the buyers requirements.
Your car spec will be basically in compliance with the model and year. However individual cars will have different equipment as requested by the buyer, cloth, trim, body colour, etc, to see a list of this information individual to your car go to this Russian site and put in your vehicles Vin number starting WDB, located bottom left of windscreen , drivers door pillar , of on the bulkhead cross member.
43 location of ECU & EOBD, OBD2 connector
Do you have any pictures or details on your site where you show the location of the ECU or the OBDII connector?
Yes take a look at mypage 38 hopefully it will have all the information you require.(OBDII Connector =Diagnostics tool connection point) Location Off/side under dash close to the bonnet release lever.
44. ESP/ABS lamp lit when driving.
My A class has done 38000 miles recently the ESP & BAS warning lights on the instrument cluster have been lighting up when I'm driving what could the fault be.
This was a fault that occurred on my own car, I checked the sender units on the front drive shafts and cleaned them, I also cleaned off severe rust from one rear stub axle sender unit. The fault was still present.
Bearing in mind the close association of the braking system and the BAS/ESP I replaced the stop light switch attached to the brake peal, this has cleared the problem.
On taking the old switch apart I found one set of contacts badly burnt/worn, I believe this was the cause of the original fault. See mypage 18
45. Battery chargers
I have just bought a calcium battery for my car and am now told I need a special charger, is this correct and if so how much will it cost and where can I get it
No you do not need a special charger, a standard 12volt battery charger will do the job . However remember it is better to charge any battery slower rather than boost charging unless it is purely to start the car even then keep this period to an absolute minimum. Halfords sell a battery charger suitable for all types of 12 volt battery including jell filled . Halfords Ref 181750 at £39.99 of course you can pay more by going to a specialist out let. But will still only do the same job. Observation I had my car off the road for a month and flattened the battery through my own neglect. I found that to fully charge the calcium battery appeared to take longer the the standard sulphuric acid filled battery .
46.Power steering failure.
I contacted you about 6 months ago and you advised me on how to get my ECU repaired and your information was spot on. Its the time of year again when it is time for another problem. Yesterday , on a warm sunny day , without reason or warning , the power steering completely packed in. I have checked the fuses but all seem to be OK. I am assuming that it may be a problem with the pump but my question to you is this : a) Is there anything else that I can check for before getting a new pump and b) If I have to get a replacement one , can I get one from a spare parts dealer or does it have to be programmed to my existing ECU ?
Before you do anything, there is every chance that the problem is with the alternator and not the PSP, so get that checked first, Any good auto electrician should be able help you with that one. The reason is that there is a direct signal wire from the alternator to the PSP and if the alternator is not working correctly that signal will not be received at the pump. The auto electrician could also Check your PSP by testing the pump direct see my page 49 for location of the contacts. I take it that you have not been through floods as this can cause a problem. If it does turn out to be the alternator it fairly straight forward to change it, bit more difficult with Air /Con and you do have to relax the poly V belt page57 as the alternator is driven by that belt, consider replacing it if it hasn’t been done? If it turns out to be the PSP then again BBA Reman can help you and if you ask having read my site Lofty’s home page they will give you 10% off the repair cost £140 plus carriage. The pump is not coded to the car and so a spare/used part will work OK provided that is in good order!
47. Low miles per gallon
Mercedes A140 2001, 53000 miles, FSH. Is only doing 30.5mpg. Engine in running smoothly, has a tiny hesitation in 1st gear when pulling away, but only at low revs. Tick-over is smooth, but rev counter does fluctuate at tick-over but by a really tiny amount. Unless you were looking for it you'd never notice it. Driving style has been 65-70 on motorways and general 30-40 on other roads. I only got the car this week and was taking it really easy to see what MPG it would do!!! I have tried cleaning the Mass Air Sensor as per SVC site with air filter removed (but not casing). Car has just been serviced and air filter and oil new. I was expecting as I have been driving so carefully to get 40-45 mpg. Do you have any suggestions.
With a full service history the plugs should have been changed at 40000-45000miles same with the fuel filter although I doubt it is connected to the later. I would be looking for 35-42 normal 45+ on a long run, with not too many hold ups, which eat the fuel but not the miles covered. Air con will make a difference although mines always on but the mileage will go up if you switch it off (that's when the light is ON in the centre of the switch) ,see my site for details the switch. Tyre pressures? Worth checking, correct pressures shown inside fuel filler door. also jack up each wheel and spin the wheels, check for brakes dragging , Callipers drag as well as the hand brake adjustment so check fronts and rears other than that their aren't many options, check the omissions test on the last MOT, reduce unnecessary weight remove roof bars & roof stowage boxes when not in use. and having done all that you may want to try the 'Ecotek' as covered on my page 93 that works well on my car and gives it more poke . 10 % off if you use the contact on that page.
48. Re-set assyst
My girl friends mum has a a140, and the service light needs to be reset. I did it last year and since then its done only 1000 miles. I've forgotten how to do it, and reading on most sites it says press or hold button 000.0.
It’s the button that you trip the Speedo trip with left hand side and behind steering wheel
49. Re-setting assyst
I recently had a 'B' service done on my 2001 A-class (Merc independent) and everything seems fine (not the cost at a £500 inc VAT, probably no cheaper than a genuine MB service) with the exception that the Assyst tells me that there are 724 days (currently) to the next service. This information is displayed every time the ignition is turned on although it does disappear after a few seconds. My recollection with Assyst is that it only displays a few days (or miles) before a service is due or overdue. I can't recall Assyst displaying continuously but perhaps I'm mistaken. The garage says that there is nothing it can do to stop Assyst displaying every time. I do not do that many miles so the 724 days equates to roughly a year given that Assyst for whatever reason counts down by 2 for every one day that passes. Have you heard of Assyst displaying every time the ignition is turned on regardless of whether a service is needed or not and do you know if it is fixable? I am tempted to reset Assyst by the buttons but then it probably stores it as another service and no doubt would then tell me that a two-spanner 'B' service is needed next time around when it should be 'A'.
No is the short answer! The ASSYST as you rightly say normally only displays as the service approaches the last few days and there again you are right it’s two days at a time. It will continue, then go minus after the service date is exceeded . I sounds as though the Assyst has not been re-set or the garage cocked it up somehow There is a procedure that will allow you to reset it, which is what I suggest you try, to have the Assyst alerting every time you turn the key is not on. However make sure that the next service due is the correct one which means you may have to reset twice. But I haven’t come across this situation before so you are into new ground The procedure is in your handbook and also on my site page 35, (top of the page) the extra procedure for deleting an incorrect setting is also there. l hope it helps you sort your problem.
50. rear window switched doesn't work
Neither of the rear window switches in my A class work is there a separate fuse or what could be the problem.
check the position of the isolating switch on the panel between the front seats the switch is almost certainly in the mode which isolates these switches to prevent children opening them on route. see also my pages 40 & 44
51. Gear box problem
I have had an A 160 from 1998, since three weeks, it has 144000km, was brought from Germany, and had all technical verifications in order, and suddenly yesterday while I was driving I lost all gears except second gear. It will only go inside second. The problem appeared suddenly, it went away for 2km or so and it appeared again and this time it remained like this. Before this there was no weird sound to warn me. I would like to know if I have to replace my gearbox completely or it is a problem that can be fixed. However I have to tell you that I live in Romania, I cannot afford to go to a Mercedes Service because they will bankrupt me, and most of the mechanics here aren’t capable of opening a gearbox and putting it back together .So I have to know your opinion…can I fix it or do I have to replace it . Thank you very much and I hope you can find the time to give me an answer(I am little desperate right now).
Go to this link and pan down the page till you see the information about a linkage/connection piece it looks like a black dumbbell it’s sounds to me as though yours has either fallen off or become disconnected. Please let mew know how you get on.
my page.59.htm

One can only sympathise with this owners comments Mercedes service/Diagnostic charges are high although I'm aware they are not the worst! and Non Mercedes garages generally do not want to know about the 'A' Class engine and gearbox because of the difficulties of removing the complete unit and the complex nature of the combined unit even in the UK
Working on this unit is almost outside the possibilities of the DIY'er mainly due to the engine having to be dropped from the raised car, and reliable information on the construction of the car being virtually impossible to obtain. Even the most willing of mechanics needs guidance when working on such complex components as gearboxes be they Manual or Automatic.
Continued from above
Hi First thank you for your answer…it really helped and your website it’s absolutely great Second you were right the first time …that little piece you mentioned was detached…we put back in place and we will order a new one, just to make sure.
It’s unbelievable how a car that is supposed to be better than others has such problems….if I would have gone to a Mercedes service they probably would have made me pay a huge amount of money for such a little thing.
I was close to cursing the day I bought that car …now I can only hope it will not cause anymore problems Thank you again…I am sure you must hear this a lot but I cannot thank you enough for the effort you put in making your website. It great to find good advice when you really need it
Best wishes to you

Continued from above.
I’m so pleased we have found the cause of your problems, read the details on the page I gave you and you will see that even in the UK owners have had problems and Mercedes never seem to check to see that link is sound before quoting to pull out the gear box which costs in excess of £1000 because the engine has to come completely out. That link will only cost about £2.00 UK money and you fit it yourself, You will only be able to get it from Mercedes parts, You may need a small clamp to force it on to the linkage they are normally very tight.

Once again an Owner is faced with the anxiety of a possible major gearbox fault when in fact it is only a minor but important component that is at fault. In one instance an Owner was told by Mercedes that the engine and gearbox would have to be removed from their car for them to be able to trace the fault (see mypage 59) So it really is in the interest of Owners to read these forums and details on sites such as my own if you are not going to be faced with large bills which in a number of cases are completely unnecessary.
In the same way if this car had been taken into the garage there is every chance that a diagnostics test would have been undertaken, for which the customer would be expected to pay, however mechanical faults of this nature are not going to be revealed on such equipment.
I would also urge owners of 'A' Class with manual gearboxes to carry a spare dumbbell/link this in the long term could save you a lot of anxiety and time. It could be fitted at the roadside by either yourself or a breakdown service but the part will only be available from Mercedes-Benz parts so you had best carry a spare, or wait for the vehicle conveyor to arrive!! my page 59
52. Purchasing used 'A' Class
Hi there, I am about to buy a 2004 A140 classic se privately and came across your website. Excellent work - a wealth of information!
Would you mind telling me what I should be looking for when inspecting this car on Thursday morning please? I have heard many horror stories about reliability, etc and am worried.
There are too many things to list but if you go to mypage.65. that hopefully will give you some idea, most important if you are considering buying from a private seller .
53. Instrument cluster and fuse related problems.
Thanks again for your Merc A Class site, mate. A strange thing happened the other day to wife's A140: the instrument cluster simply refused to respond/light up/work, apart from the parking brake light. So, no Speedo, taco, petrol gauge, warning lights etc. Indicator needles simply refused to show. No instruments Hadn't even done anything to the car: the instrument binnacle simply refused to work. However, that evening, after revisiting your site, checking it and printing the fuse box diagram and working through it, and having decided it was either a fuse, or a major £500 visit to the dealer, checked the fuse box early the following morning, before she had to go to work again. So, on pulling out fuse #30 (DAS transponder/RFL/Instrument cluster) and replacing it (not blown), all the central locking buttons suddenly opened, and the instruments came back to life upon turning on the ignition. Can only conclude that the fuse had become slightly unseated and just needed reseating. Vibration under the drivers floor must be able to unseat the fuses, possibly. Strange but true. I wouldn't trouble you with an email like this normally, but I thought it might be interesting, as a simple solution to a problem which loomed large in her mind, and was deeply unsettling to a lady, (no sexism implied) or someone who needs to go to work immediately. The fuses evidently can become slightly unseated & just need taking out & putting back. I fixed the problem in 5 minutes thanks to your site, and got her eternal gratitude for being so clever, & an ace car mechanic, so thank you once again. Much appreciated. Kind Regards, Tony

I have posted this e-mail recd because the content is interesting and the problem could affect any one of us tomorrow , certainly worth remembering,

Anywhere there is a battery, even dry cell, and sealed you get gas which causes sulphation, this affects the surface of any metal components even though it doesn’t show, the best thing is a damp cloth to remove it. By pulling the fuse you will almost certainly have scrapped/cleaned the spades of the fuse allowing it to make good contact again when replaced. That's my theory anyway. Well done, some things are not technical they are just common sense. Lofty
54. Bulb specification on earlier 'A' Class & compatibility.
I have managed to acquire two rear lamp reflector units for my 1998 'A' Class but they aren't complete with the bulb holders, I now need to fit orange bulbs but the off set PY21W bulbs will not fit, how can I overcome this problem.
The standard bulb for the later March 2001 Face-lift is as you say the PY21W off-set pin bulb, you will need to obtain the 12v 21W Ba15 SCC orange bulb, it looks the same as the PY21W bulb but the pins are central and parallel to the bulb, These are available from large stores such as Halfords look on their upgrade white rear lens section, you will not find them in the bulb section, they will fit your original bulb holders.
55. ECU management light is on!
I have a Mercedes A140 reg nd52 ,it has just been in for MOT and come back with the engine management light on, it only done 25000 miles. Also it will only rev up to 4000 when in neutral, not sure if this is normal? Should I take it to Merc garage, is there anything that they may have done to cause this? I I am not usually one of those that blames others I accept sometimes thing just break but I am curious about this.
Did the car pass the MOT?
The 4000 revs is normal when static/neutral
Your engine management light shouldn’t be on, if the car passed the MOT then following the correct procedures outlined on my site, disconnect the battery for 20-30mins then turn the light switch to ON, to at least the side lights position, then reconnect the battery follow correct procedure
Hopefully the light will go out, and stay out
If it doesn’t then I'm sorry to say it is a garage with 'Star' diagnostics equ who can integrate your ECU and find out why the light came on and then delete it, normally a Mercedes Independent who are normally cheaper or a Mercedes-Benz garage. If it comes to that - Before they start tell them you would like a copy of the print out. That's what you are paying for which is about £50.00 dependent on where you live! Then you can sort out what you are going to do if it comes on again, if it does come back on get in touch again and before before spending money.
56. Beware when purchasing used 'A' Class.
When this owner mailed me and said his car was running erratically I suggested the problem might be his MAFS sensor which was either dirty or suspect However his later mail indicated the problem which If you are buying a used 'A' Class is worth noting so that it doesn't happen to you.
New owner (quote) I've found the cause for the engine irregularity. The catalyst ceramic element was removed by the previous owner (without advising me) and the empty chamber caused O2 reading problems.
I changed the chamber to a smaller muffler and the engine is running very well.
I will find a replacement catalyst + exhaust in the future and return to the original set-up. This item is quite expensive here, I will try to find out the best solution.(Unquote.)

So if you are buying check the cat is there or you are in for a big bill possibly to even get it through to MOT (UK) the catalytic converter is over £400.00 and I very much doubt that it comes with the two sensors one of which cost me over £100.00 so take car when buying and take your time looking round the car it could save you a lot of money soon after your purchase.
57. Power steering fluid.
The electro-hydraulic steering uses what type of oil? Is it ATF Dexron III type, used on regular power steering systems? The Mercedes manual does not mention the oil type.
You would be best advised to purchase the fluid from Mercedes Benz Parts, that way you will not be mixing different makes/types of fluids in the same system. However if this is not possible then Mercedes do mention 3 fluids,
Fuchs Petrolub AG, Mannheim, Germany
DaimlerChrysler AG, Struttgart, Germany.
Exxon Mobil Corporation, Fairfax, Virginia, USA. I cannot confirm that it is safe to mix these fluids and therefore it may be safer to drain and re-fill the system if you are working on the power steering. page 49
58. problems removing battery
I need to swap the battery for a new one, and having extracted one fixing bolt (13mm) easily, I find that the other one just turns in the hole without coming out. It almost appears that the bolt is seated in a plug of some kind which is moving round in the hole, having come detached from a secure fixing point. Have you heard of this before ?... I do not want to lever against the battery to try and and get the bolt out, so any advice would be very welcome. Thanks
All I can suggest is that you undo the securing bolt that will undo, if possible remove it fully,
Then using a suitable socket, extension bar and ratchet, apply the socket to the bolt and at the same time as you turn to undo pull the clamp towards you firmly, that may work. By pulling on the clamp handle hopefully you will hold the captivated nut sufficiently to undo the clamp bolt, Failing that you could try a spray with WD40 then try the same method but if this doesn’t work I can see no other way short of applying more upwards pressure and undoing the bolt together. The worst that can happen is you will put the captivated nut from its housing. I hope this works please let me know how you get on, many folk don’t bother and I’m left wondering if it helped or not?
Jeremy Your Mail box is full and I can't reply to your e-mail 18/11/07 2010hrs
59. Availability of fuse & Relay chart.
Do you have a copy of the fuse layout chart – my model came without a chart – it believe it should have been near the battery compartment.
Also – my A170 has started to drain its battery whilst locked up and stationary over night? My interior lights have never worked so it’s not as though they are being left on.
There is a fuse relay layout chart for the W168 on my site, just check the index and print .
As far as your battery drain, there are of course components that are using power whether the car is used or not the clock for one thing. Alarm if you arm it. How old is the battery? 4 years + and you have to start thinking about a new one. Halfords in the UK do a very good alkaline battery with 4 year warrantee and it’s reasonably priced. But if you do decide that’s the route to go make sure you used the correct, disconnect and reconnect procedures also available on my site.
also check the water/acid level in your present battery.
Your interior light could be the cause of your problem, even though not working! If the live wires are into contact with the metal work of the car you will drain the battery in time. I feel it’s important to find out why that’s not working. The information is all on my site how to remove the lamp housing etc as well as check the door switches, any of these points could be causing your problem which would continue even with a new battery if the short circuit is the problem
Remember the live wire does not need to be in contact all the time it could be moving around as the car is driven so for your own safety and that of the car check it out
If you can’t find the fault a auto electrician would be your best bet rather than MB who will charge you the earth just to look. page 8 page 13& page 15.
60. Hydraulic clutch actuator?
Have you ever heard or dealt with the clutch hydraulic actuator? This part in my car makes an annoying noise when the clutch is disengaged. Like a spinning ball-bearing without lubricant. Slippage is ok (the clutch disc is not worn) and the pedal effort is higher than usual.
There have been some comments about noise, the noise is as you suspect is the thrust bearing, which although normally pre lubricated and sealed has lost it is lubricant, it is as you suspect the component that contacts the trust plate when it is spinning, when the clutch is released the noise stops as the bearing stops spinning .If you can put up with the noise then it will do no harm, in my opinion it is not worth the £1000 + to take the engine out the replace the bearing alone . If the clutch is ok then I suggest you try to ignore it it is the cheaper option by far. Taking the car out of gear and releasing the clutch,(As we should all do) when waiting at traffic lights, railway crossings etc helps to make the noise less annoying. In view of the information you have given me the car may benefit from a long run where every thing gets really warm, it may also solve the thrust bearing problem in that the heat created will encourage any remaining lubricant /grease to coat the components of the bearing (ball race and ball or roller bearings) And at 32000 miles the clutch certainly should not need replacing. page 58
61. Remote locking problem.
We have just purchased a A190 2000 yr and the remote unlocking does not work I suspect key is the problem and will at last resort go down the new key route! if you have any other sources other than the £120 MB route then please advise...Remote does not work but using centre console button to locks all the doors no problem but a pain.
Do you think it could just be the key or anything more serious!
The first thing is to locate the fault, Have you tested the key batteries Page 8 check to see that it works in accordance with that page, if not replace batteries, Have you got a second key there are always two keys with the car so ask the previous owner or garage if they have it.
If the key is alright, then check the vacuum pump that is responsible for working the locks it should operate all doors boot lock and petrol flap dependent on the key setting
Go to the left hand back corner of the spare wheel bay, lift the foam packed pump out of that well and check to see it’s not wet. See page 41
If that’s ok then try re setting the key with the immobiliser page 8 or your hand book
There are no cheap ways to buy a key second hand e-bay keys will not work so avoid them, they are money down the drain.
62. ECU wiring and abrasion.
I have just bought a 1998 A Class and searching the internet I came across your site. I am very glad I did because after reading your info checking your wiring I checked mine and found wiring loom connected to the ECU unit had 2 of the wires rubbed through the insulation. I repaired with insulation tape. Again many thanks.
Rod, you are most welcome, And welcome to my site. I’m updating all the time so do call again some of the stories will make your eyes water, and you purse creak, Good luck with the car page 54
63. Instrument cluster lighting failure.
I bought a 2003 LWB A160 automatic last weekend, so it’s still under warranty. I stumbled across your site and I’ve already found it enormously valuable. Many thanks. I would appreciate your advice on a small(?) problem that occurred yesterday; the light illuminating the mileage and clock has gone out, so I can’t see the LCD display. I know the unit itself is still working because I can see the time/temp/mileage changing when I shine a torch on it. Have you come across this problem before?
Are talking about in the day time? if that is the case then a bulb has gone/blown behind the dash and it is certainly a job for the workshop unless it is not covered by the warrantee, if that is the case come back to me or look at my site page.45, for replacement details. If it is after dark and you are having problems then while the lights are on, press the + sign and the dash lights become brighter, Press the - and they lower, but I suspect you are talking about daytime 75p approx, mini bulb required from Halfords, see the bulb required on page 45, If you are having the bulb replaced at a garage get an estimate of cost, If it is a non MB garage print my page and that will tell them how to change the bulb which should reduce the time and cost.
64. Starter motor defective.
I bought my wife a 2001 A140 petrol a couple of weeks ago. I popped out in it yesterday morning, Saturday, came back left it on the drive for a couple of hours and my wife then had to go out only to find it wouldn't start.
I turned the ignition on, all lights on the dash came on but it wouldn't start. No turning over no nothing. Called the AA out who checked for common faults and came up with nothing, then rang his colleague who is an ex MB mechanic and they decided the starter motor had packed up, but just to check it wasn't the immobiliser we bump started it no problem. I left it running and he went saying that it would need to go into a garage asap. When I turned the engine off and tried to restart it nothing as before.
Anyway thought I'd try it this afternoon, Sunday, and it started no problem. I took out for a drive stopping and restarting it no problem
I should have firstly said, if it was bought from a garage get it back to them post hast, let them sort it out , and yes this is typical of battery and/or starter problems.
You do not say what mileage the car has done, starter motors on this car can be a pain and even more than that costly to repair because the engine has to be dropped to get at the starter motor. There is the remotest chance it is the battery so make sure the battery is sound topped up to the levels with distilled water, and kept fully charged, see my site, I use a automatic trickle charger about once a month because I do not use the car much But I know then it is fully charged. page13. The problem is, if it is the starter it will do it again without warning, so make sure you keep the AA membership and carry a mobile in the car. Short of that I'm sorry there is not a lot you can do, if you are into mechanics then you could check the earth wires that connect on to the engine & gearbox gear box and also ensure the battery terminals are clean and tight, the starter does demand a lot of power when turning over the engine to start. While the car is running search around for the cheapest quote, having got that you wont have any more problems, (Murphy's law!) Stay in touch and have a good look at my site it is free all you need is time, it will help you understand your car better
If you have got to pay for the repair then do as I suggest first, If the cars not been used much recently it might sort it is self. But be prepared to have a replacement starter fitted, nothing worse than an unreliable car! page66
65. Crankshaft pulley wheel shedding it is outer drive surface.
Morning! Our A170 has had a ‘strange’ noise for a few months that “could have been” the drive pulley having become de-bonded (???) then on Sunday evening there was what was without doubt the poly V belt going into self-destruct mode, flipping & flopping away like something possessed!
Reading your article gives me confidence that I am on the right track and the pulley de-bonding could answer two questions (this might be the triumph of hope over reality though).
Can you tell me that the diesel engine is in principle similar to the petrol engine shown in your fantastic pictures?
I responded to this owner indicating that there were details on my site showing the belt tensioner etc and that as far as I was aware the basic parts on the engine were the same . However I do stress in the introduction to my site that it is applicable to my car, A160 2002
The reason I say this is because there are known differences in the various models and even years and I have only ever had the A160/2002. This case is one of which I was not aware, nor it seems are some Mercedes Dealers.
Owners reply
Here is a mystery! The poly belt pulley arrangement on my A170 is different from all the others!
You will recall that there is an alloy casting that holds the 3 pulleys the centre one being the tensioner. However my rear most pulley is held by a steel ‘strap’ shown on the attached pictures.
This was well beyond the comprehension of the local Merc parts department, AND he said that were the part to be incorrect there would be no refund!!! In other words if we get the wrong one in you pay – Nooooooo! I feel that this might be illegal even(?)
The next Merc parts dept, some 30 miles away is more helpful hence the attached pictures.

page 57 Again I emphasis if you require spare parts for your Mercedes, Mercedes parts may not be the cheapest in town but they will fit if ordered on the VIN number etc, and if the arrive and are not right Do not pay for them. That is what the Vin number is all about to identify your individual car, in all respects. Another anomaly that came to light on the A170cdi was that the alternator is water cooled ??? Yes water cooled.
66. Ignition module re-installation procedure.
I have an 1999 A140. it was serviced (plugs changed etc) last week and I asked the garage to check out stalling on initial start-up and a slight lack of power. They used their diagnostic equipment and came up with no.3 cylinder not firing. As yet they have not specifically identified what could be causing the problem. Could you point me in the right direction - could it be the coil pack?. If so where is it and how accessible is it.
If they have changed the plugs ? then ,yes it could be the coil pack, you need to look at page 30 of my site that will explain all , Ideally you need a set of my Ignition cover removal tools to get at the coil pack £10.50, it is a difficult job to get the cover off without tools, that's assuming MB put it back on, which they do not always do! Take a look at my page.30.come back to me if things aren't clear .
67. Temperature gauge?
Thank you very much for such a detailed and useful web site. Please explain why the model does not have a temperature gauge? surely a very important instrument. Thank you, Mike Collins.
I can't answer that except to say, why doesn't a car of this cost have an oil pressure gauge ? Even more/as important, All of these so called extras, considered essentials on early automobiles went out when warning lights and sensors came in. I agree that they do clutter the dash, and with modern roads as congested as they are, the less there is to distract your attention from the road while driving the better. but be assured you will get warning if your car overheats, always assuming the sensor, warning light is working, but gauges of the 'bourdon tube' type failed and went out of calibration as well!
68. Front suspension swivel bearings
Thanks to your website I was able to lubricate my steering UJs and steering is 60% better - almost as good as my friends identical SWB A160.
However this car (A160 LWB) only has 12000miles done (Jan 05). Even when jacked off its front wheels there is a distinct roughness which can be felt in the top bolt of the struts as the steering is turned lock to lock. How is the bearing (item 8 below) supposed to be lubricated or is it a sealed unit? (We have no salt issues here and my wife scarcely takes the car out if it rains - due to slippery surfaces after prolonged sunshine)
A January 2005 should still have a few days warrantee?? get it back to MB post haste other should replace this FOC.(Free Of Charge) give Your MB branch a call first thing on the 2nd Jan 2008
If no go !! Your strut, jack the car up on that side so that when the wheel is off you have maximum access to the strut, I have a oil gun I attach to my sprayer, but a aerosol of silicone spray held as High as you in get in the wheel arch sprayed on/at the bearing area may do the trick, yes it is supposed to be sealed but like every thing else they do dry out which I suspect is what's happened in your case, if that doesn't do the job then you can replace the bearing separate from the strut, I've not done it so you would have to follow the information on my site, it all looks quite straight forward, if you go that route having the part to hand generally helps as to the fixing and installation process. Good luck and have a good day. page 26
69. Swivel bearings cont.
Continued from Above .
This sort of feedback may be useful to us all. 1) I took the A160 in to MB as you suggested and they replaced the top strut bearings without quibbling. What a night to day difference in the car's overall feel! The technician told me that this was quite a common problem. I suggested to him that maybe the extra stress on the powered steering column and un-lubricated UJs was responsible to a large degree for steering problems and he agreed that this was a plausible opinion. 2) MB still say the whine at ~68km/h is the alternator belt but I am sure they will find different when they change this next week FOC as agreed. I will give feedback on this too as I discovered that they had to replace the diff bearings in 2 other A160s in the last 6 months with the same problem.
A great result, it is worth remembering that the warrantee period is 3 years and providing all the conditions of the servicing have been met by you the Owner then it is always worth taking the car back to Mercedes-Benz for at least inspection. In this particular instance it really had paid, and the final outcome is a great result. Just a little advise that when heeded has saved the owner a great deal of money.
70. Replacing rear shock absorbers.
Firstly thanks very much for the site... very useful !! Quick question, had a quick go at fitting some new rear shockers to the wife's a170 2000 model... I've just read your item no. 20 but am confused as to how you get a ring spanner onto the top nut for the shocker... seems to between sub frame and chassis... a tiny gap. Do you tackle it from the top or bottom ? You also say to remove the inner arch plastics - would this give me access to those top shocker nuts ?
Although I didn't change my shocks I did go through the process I was able to ease the plastic wheel arch and get a ring spanner on the nut you mention You could remove the plastic arch but I do not think it is necessary. page 20
71. Removal of rear seat
Hi lofty, I'm an Italian owner of a w168 class a, year 1999. I've solved a lot of little problems with your guides, so I'd want to thank you a lot. Fortunately, there's only one unsolved problem in my car, regarding the back double seat. The lever that make the seat go down it is probably broken so I can't incline the back and remove the seat too (this is what I need). Is there any operation that I can do to put away the seat with the lever broken?
I have just taken a look at my seats I'm not convinced you can release the seat without first folding the backrest. The only thing I can suggest is that you try to take the seat out of the car, if you can, then have a good look at the area where the release handle fits you may be able to get repaired but I do not thing there are any spare parts you can fit .I have just taken this photo so you can see what it should be like.(Photo mailed to owner)page 36
72. Front suspension broken spring.
Hello Lofty I have discovered that I have a broken front spring on my A190. Could you give an advice on how I can change the springs and possibly the bearing at the top of the front struts? Do you think I would need to hire some spring compressors or any other tools to help me get the job done? Thanks for your help.
No you should be able to deal with it without special tools, you will need to remove the spring, if it were me, I would do both together to keep the front of the car balanced, also check the lower spring cup to make sure it is not been damaged. While you have the top bearings off soak it in thin oil that may help with the gritty movement. All the information is on my site look at page 26
73. Brake light Fuse problem.
Hi The problem I am having with my A class is, the brake lights, when ever I press the brake the fuse blows (10 amp number 40), have you any ideas of what may cause this problem. Excellent site by the way
I went back to this owner and suggested he replace the foot brake switch as having suffered problems with this myself was aware that it can cause all sorts of problems , I then recd this feedback :- Please to say that replacing switch on brake pedal not only cured blowing fuse on rear lights, but also switched off ABS, ESP lights on dash, Mercedes wanted £500 to replace some parts in steering column to turn these off.......
Just a bit of difference between £500 and the cost of a stop light /brake switch, less than £10.00 which takes just minutes to fit. It also goes to show that sophisticated equipment such as 'star' diagnostics is not always the answer, just a bit of good old common sense. page 18
74. Steering rack problem!
Have just been told by local garage that I have a steering column or rack problem it will cost just £550 to replace column however if this does not resolve problem it will cost me £1100 to replace column. Help as it has recently failed MOT on this steering issue. It seems to be an intermittent problem which can stay away for as much as four days then returns with vengeance preventing steering e.g. turning the steering wheel left may cause it to stiffen up. Please reply ASAP. Jennifer
Go to my page 49 and study that part relating to greasing the BUJ's the lower UJ is usually the one at fault
jack up the front of the car until the wheels are just off the ground, open the rubber cover over the lower UJ it is two half cups slide the upper on up the column taking care not to damage, spray the jug with copious sprays of wd turning the wheels from right to left, when the steering has eased then grease the Uj and replace the cups wiping the area clean also check the power steering reservoir make sure the fluid is on the stick , if it is off the bottom of the stick you will need to purchase Mercedes fluid to top it up. also the column is in two parts joined by a spline study my site information and push grease up the spline's having firstly eased the rubber collar back, replace as found Please let me know how you get on and if it corrects the problem you have, you cannot over exercise the UJ's having lubricated
If I have not made myself clear e-mail me Lofty
75. Defective /repair of MAFS
Hi I read with interest your piece on MAFS/ECU on the A class. I'm a lecturer in motor vehicle, we have an A class in the workshop at the moment with all the symptoms of a defective MAFS. We gained access to the 2 glass reed sensors and carried out a resistance check ( manufactures spec is 495 ohm's mass and 10ohm,s temp), the air temperature was out of range. As a college we would like to replace the defective reed sensor, if not both sensors. I believe this is more beneficial to the students than just sending the unit of for a re-build. Do you know if and where I could buy the glass reed sensors.
Sorry I have no idea where these are obtained from, whether BAA would share this knowledge with you I'm not sure as they obviously make a great deal of money doing the repairs. There is also another contact which I put on my page 38 only yesterday but again it a commercial enterprise and I suspect they will want to guard the information. Telephone numbers are available on mypage 38 for both companies '
One other possibility remains however and that is for you to obtain a used ECU/MAFS from a breakers yard, they are of no value to them as they are coded to the car, and then switch the complete MAF sensor ten pins/contacts on the pcb, if you look at my site I have shown this in the photographs, there is in my opinion no reason why if this is done to a high standard why the combined unit should not work correctly on the original car.
76. Gear selector problem.
Dear Lofty, just an e-mail to thank you for your great website, I now use your website more than any other car website. A special thanks for the nearly £1400 + VAT bill you have just saved me on my 1999 A class 170 CDI. I was driving to work the other day on the motorway, and the gear stick kept going into neutral from fifth gear. when I got at work colleagues told me that it sounded as though the gearbox needed replacing. after speaking with Mercedes bonze, they quoted me £1400 + VAT to fit a reconditioned gearbox, and they confirmed to me that the problem was gearbox related. I had to drive home on the motorway, holding the gear stick in 5th gear. after checking on your website first I realised that it might be the gear selector which you suggested it would be, now my car has a semi-automatic clutch system, so I wasn't sure if it was set up as your manual car, however to my delight it was set up the same, and indeed the gear selector was very loose. I ordered a new Part from Mercedes Benz part website, which came next day, and I have just fitted it now and the car selects the gears and more importantly stays in the selected gear. I would just like to say, again thank you, I do not really have any confidence with taking the car to Mercedes Benz, and it was a delight to find the info on your website, and ensured me a trouble free sleep when I went to bed. Kind Regards
Are Mercedes-Benz workshop staff really so naive that they are not aware of this common problem on the 'A' Class or are they just trying it on?
This is not the first time an owner has been told that there is a major gear box fault and that it will have to come out of the car and be replaced. See page 59
Either way it really does pay to not only read my pages of information but in respect of this problem take my advise and carry a spare link £2.00 approx, replace it and get home without delay.
77. Power steering pump failure/water damage.
I have a 1998 A160 Avantgarde, that I bought about 2 years ago, it has about 134,000 km on the clock (around 86 km when I got it)
We recently had flash flooding in our area (20th Dec), I drove through about a foot or more of water covering the road. The power steering went almost immediately, and after reading your section on power steering pumps I could see why, having the electronics so close to the road surface. I called my MB service centre and they could not check it until the 8th of Jan. During this time I only made a few short trips to the local shops. First trip, the car didn't want to start when I came back from the shops, but eventually did after about 15-20 minutes. The next time, the car shut off on me while I was slowing at a set of lights. I didn't even realise it had cut out, until I tried to speed up and saw all the lights on the dash come on. I tried calling the RACV (our roadside assist) when I wasn't able to restart it. While being on hold for about 20 minutes, I tried it again, this time it started. I drove it straight home. The next day or so, I tried starting it again, and all I got was fast clicking sounds. The following day, not even the remote unlock worked, the battery was almost completely drained.
I had to get it towed to the MB Mechanics. They said that the power steering pump was at fault, and that I must have left something on to cause the battery drain. I assured them that I did not leave anything on, and was sure that it must have been linked with the steering fault and/or the flood.
They quoted me $500 AUD for a genuine battery ($250 for non genuine) and $2900 AUD for the power steering pump. Luckily he suggested that I go through my insurance, which covers floods. So I only had to pay $500 excess.
I finally pick up the car, asked for a copy of the repairs and total cost, as mine was blank and only had $500 excess printed on it. I saw that the price for the battery was $140 (Century Battery) and the rest was about what they quoted me. So I drive home everything is fine.
Next day I'm driving down a busy road, slow at the set of light, and you guessed it. The car quit on me again!!
As per last time, I got the car going again before I got any assistance from the RACV. I called the MB Mechanic and complained about the reoccurrence of the problem. But he tried to make it sound as if it was an unrelated problem. But I pointed out to him that I had printed out the faults that had occurred since the flood, left it on the drivers seat as it was towed to their workshop, and gave him a call as soon as the truck left to inform him of the letter of faults/symptoms, and when I picked up the car it was clearly visible on the front passenger seat. But he said he saw no letter.
Sorry for the long explanation. I guess what I'd like to know from you, the guru, have you come across a problem where the car cuts out while driving and seems to drain the battery. Any help would be appreciated as I do not want them to replace part after part until they find the cause.
The power steering failure as you say was almost certainly caused by the flooding, the failure of the car to start since is a different story although could be related, I have not heard of the battery draining in that way although it is obvious that it was caused by a short circuit somewhere on the system. Have MB put your car on the diagnostics and does it show any problems /faults that is the way to go where you have a fault that cannot be located/identified. If they have not done so then ask them why and if I were you I would also contact your insurers and explain that the damage caused by the floods has not been satisfactorily completed by the company involved , hopefully they will contact them.
They say they did not see your letter, I suspect if it had been a 100$ bill they would have seen that! very convenient to say we didn't see it.
Get the diagnostics done and go from there but emphasise that you do not consider they satisfactorily completed the work on the car in the first instance as it let down with hours of picking it up and that you do expect a bill for the test. Has the new battery held up ? if so the PSP pump could have been to problem with the battery drain.. Hope that helps and good luck, bearing in mind your workload you deserve it ' Lofty
Further mail from Owner . Just a quick update. (Remember me?......Flood caused Power Steering failure and battery drain) MB arranged a tow from my house to there service dept, after my Insurance contacted them. Today I got a call from my Insurance, saying that MB are going to replace the CRANK ANGLE SENSOR, which they say is the cause of the car stalling. Should be ready tomorrow.
Another good outcome
78. Wiring loom abrasion /damage.
Hi, lofty
My car had also suffered some minor loom damage in the same areas highlighted on page54. Luckily there was no damage to the actual wires, so repair was easy using loom tape. Unfortunately, the heater hose was badly damaged, caused by the cable tie on the ECU, and had to be replaced.
The heater hose is only available as a complete assembly ,cost £25 ish from Mercedes, not to bad I thought.
The major problem is access to/removal of the hose clip at the rear of the engine. Removing the air filter housing etc improves access; the use of a remote action hose clip removal tool [ and a generous helping of patience! ] enables the clip to be removed. I bought the hose clip remover from Sealey tools, cost about £25, and saved the need to lower the engine.
Hope this info helps
Regards, Chris

This problem is well documented on the main site Page 54, any owner who has not yet inspected their car is in my opinion looking for trouble .This is a real problem that I have contacted Mercedes About, they indicated that they would inform branches of the problem , however if your car is not serviced by them it will not be checked , so take the matter in hand yourself before you car sufferer a breakdown which will cost a lot of money to put right.

Chris was able to repair /replace the hose on his car , However he hasn't mentioned the hassle of draining the coolant before you can even start to replace the hose, as well as the extra expense of replacing the fluid. So check you car before the damage is done you will same yourself a lot of hassle and if you can't undertake the repair yourself , MB will want at least and hour to do the job along with parts and VAT Incidentally you do NOT NEED a diagnostics test to locate this fault, so make sure your not charged.
79. Re-synchronising ignition keys
Just wanted to say that I have just used your method of synchronising the key fob and have successfully started my car again!
It was completely dead today and the doors would not lock either but this worked.
Thanks, Mike.

Re Synchronising Remote Keys with engine immobiliser /Auto lock/Unlock I would point out that I personally have not had to employ either of the following procedures. Synchronising transmitter signal for key fob remote control. I am reliably informed that this procedure only applies to keys that have already been pre-programmed to your car. New keys purchased from MB will pre-programmed to your car's ECU in Germany prior to delivery to your MB branch. However if you have remote key that having been programmed to your car fails to either unlock or lock your car and on which the battery test above is satisfactory, it may well be that it wants re-synchronising with your locking system, Mercedes-Benz direct the following be carried out:-
A. Press the locking (2) or unlocking (3) Twice momentarily.
B. Within 30 seconds turn the key to position 2
Press black button 1 to release key from fob
. page 6
Well done mike and thanks for the feed back. As with all cars there are procedures to follow for certain problems thank goodness we do not all need to use them, that doesn't mean of course that we shouldn't take action to ensure other owners are aware of these procedure, hence the information on my site. . What a pity more people do not provide the feed back, it confirms the procedures do work.
80. Noisy front windscreen wiper motor.
A fantastic site....just bought a 2nd hand A140 Classic, and have found your website absolutely helpful - thanks
Had query about an intermittent squeaky front wiper motor/gear. it is working perfectly but has an annoying loud squeak most often. I guess it just needs a bit of oil somewhere, but it looks as if I'd have to go thro the length removal process to get access to the motor and gears. Is there any sort of access point I can just to spray in some 3-in-1 oil without going to all the removal trouble?
In short NO! It really does depend on what's causing the squeak? If it is on the blade spindles you may get away with running a couple of drops of oil down the spindles, it worth a try, when you put the oil on the spindles lift the blades into the locked position away from the screen, so they can just swivel the arms/blades thereby preventing them from contacting the screen otherwise you will damage the blades on the dry screen. If the dry joint is one of the ball joints you will need to follow the instructions on page 42 Do not follow the air con page details The joints can be pulled off and then greased molly-grease or any light grease will do the job, if your thinking of servicing you own car? Then get an air con filter ( Activated carbon filter ). and change that at the same time. save yourself a job later on. Watch you fingers and loose clothing ,ties etc, if activating the wipers while unguarded the mechanism is very powerful.
81. When I turn on the ignition I only get an SRS light showing in the instrument cluster ?
When this owner posted his question on the technical questions forum he had no answers, and so I responded to him :-
Owners question
I have trawled the forum but cannot find the specific problem I have. Went to start car last night, nothing, no dash lights, just the SRS light. After a couple of minutes trying, it worked fine and purred like a kitten. Parked at the CO-OP, came back, nothing again, SRS only no other lights or sounds, after about 20 minutes of screaming at it, started fine again, like nothing is wrong! Got home, switched off, tried to start, nothing again. This morning started after a couple of minutes trying. I think I have an intermittent transponder/immobiliser/key problem, I have synchronised my key, but it works the central locking fine. Does anyone have experience of this problem and what was the cause, I'm sure that MB will say "immobiliser problem costing scullions", but I'm not so sure as it runs perfectly when started, eventually.
My response. If you have two keys have you tried them both and do the both produce the same same problem ? The owner responded that no he only had the one key.

In that case disconnect you battery leave for 20mins or so then reconnect follow the correct procedures for disconnecting and re-connecting and put the lighting switch to at least side lights before connecting the battery (reduce the serge of power going to the ECU.) That may reset the system. if it doesn't help then I fear you have an ignition switch problem. Hope that helps. Feed back is essential if we are all going to gain from any of these forums!

Owners feed back Well I never!! Disconnected battery for half an hour, reconnected and bingo! it is just started 10 times in a row on the first try. Will leave it overnight and try again in the morning, but initial signs seem good.
Lofty, once again your advice has come up trumps. I will post in a couple of days or so to let you know the outcome

Just goes to show that 'star Diagnostics is not always required and it is a tip that is well worth remembering . After all if your PC at home plays up, you power down and re-start the system, and invariably it sorts it is self out, you car also has an inbuilt computer!!

Report from owner 4 days later and the car is fine. great News.
82. Multiple faults after side impact
I bought an a140 51 reg, been damaged, side impact. No airbags deployed. I have had the rear quarter and both drivers side doors changed. The dash now shows SRS and ABS/ESP and A little orange engine symbol. Auto electrician states its airbag ECU is faulty, plus shows fault on passenger side airbag. (Never deployed) He also states there is a fault on speed sensor, may be gearbox. The guy was not sure.
Can anybody help me, do I need a new it plug in? Can the old one be re-programmed? Please help......should I take it to Merc? if anybody can help sort it I'm prepared to pay u.
please help any info will be greatly valued.

The final outcome of this question was this mail from the Owner.

Just thought I would fill u in on my car, basically the ECU control module was faulty so had it replaced at a cost of 700pounds. The abs esp fault was due to an incorrect rear wheel size, that was free....thanks for your help cheers....should I keep the Merc or get rid of it? they seem expensive to maintain.
With a modern car like the A class things aren't as simple as that, your SRS I suspect is showing because the car has detected the collision and the SRS with therefore need re-setting using star Diagnostics equ. there is also a sensor which may need replacing situated behind the lower centre consul even as you say the air bags were not deployed.
In respect of the ABS/ESP that again is almost certainly caused by miss-alignment of the front wheels in relation to the rears or even a single wheel. The slightest fraction out of alignment and the Abs light will show, was the car checked on a jig for chassis alignment before having the other work done?
As far as the EML (engine management light) is concerned this could be something as simple as the car standing around, if it will run then give a good run and see if the light remains on.
Again a diagnostic test will point you in the right direction, again it could be connected to the impact.
The other point to remember is that if the car was written off by the insurers, you may need to get it re- MOT and inspected before a new tax disc will be issued.
This procedure was set up to stop cars that had been in collisions and written off being put back on the road without a VOSA inspection the also includes verification of ownership. that's if you are British based.
Pleased you got the car sorted out, but you spent far more money than you needed to ! You must read my pages as I cannot answer all the questions fully and keep the site up to date. The ECU which was the most costly part of your repairs could have been repaired for £250, you only have to buy a new one if the ECU and not the MAFS portion of the combined unit is defective, so please read my pages when you have the time then you car will be cheaper to keep and if you really want a lot of information on how to service your car buy my CD Rom that has twice as much information on it as my site. good value at £5.00 plus postage . I'm still unsure where this driver lives in the World?
83. Scorpion alarm dongle keys?
From the information posted on your site I see I should have a black dongle key for my car alarm I was only given the red key with the two fob keys when I purchased my car , can I get a black key anywhere . 
Yes If your car is fitted with the factory/MB branch fitted 'Scorpion alarm system' you can get spare black keys from them .However you cannot get Black keys unless you have the red, so you were lucky in that you were at least given the black key . There is a link for scorpion on mypage 51. It is worth noting that the red key 's or master key is limited to 250 consecutive operations, although I can never see a situation where this might arise!
84. Power steering defect
Hi Lofty,
Great web site, could not have serviced my A class 160 with out it! cheers,
Would you know what the problem could be regarding the power steering. A few months ago now, I drove up to oxford from Hertfordshire to stay with friends, the next day we got in to the car, the steering became heavy, and there was a buzzing sound when the steering wheel was turned, also the battery light came on when this happened, of course this only occurred when slowing down and making a turn, any way after a couple of days the problem went a way, so thought nothing of it, but now it has returned, some one told me that it could be water getting in to the pump and causing a shortage and will right it self once the water or dampness goes. ( this could happen if car driven through a puddle of water or so, as the pump is fairly low to the road. Would be most grateful for any ideas you may have.
Best regards Geoff
Geoff hi pleased you found the site useful, please consider purchasing my CD it has twice as much info on it as the site itself. Your problem low to the ground is correct, take a look at my new page 67 19/03/08 and you will see one of the symptoms of a problematic alternator is the ignition light flickering and the power steering going heavy, get that checked out first then if its ok move on to the PSP I would start by cleaning the terminals on on the front sub frame, the feed the PSP there should also be a blue wire firmly attached and clean that's signal wire from the alternator, located r.h.side as you face the car, the PSP will not run unless there is a power feed all the time when the engine is running . BBA Remain can service the PSP, but the alternator you could service yourself or get and good auto electrician to test the readout/output from the alternator, it should be 13+ volts at the psp if working correctly. Also do not over look you battery condition and age, the battery backs up the alternator when the cars at low revs if it is in poor condition or old 4+ years then it can be suspect, Halfords will check this for you for a small fee and the do stock good batteries that will fit, and are suitable for your car, a vented battery is required Please let me know how you get on, this helps me to help others and to know if I'm talking rubbish or giving the correct or near correct answers to owners. Battery page14 Lofty
85. Problems starting, cured by disconnecting the battery as you suggested.
I e mailed you last week re my A class not starting.... all ignition lights would come on but the ignition just clicked.
Had the battery and starter motor tested both fine...
.auto electrician was booked to attend garage where Merc had been towed ! sat that evening reading Q&A's on your site and found a question about immobilisers....I did as it was suggested...disconnected battery for 30 mins, switched side lights on when battery was re connected and guess what....Merc started first time and has every time since !
thanks for saving me HUGE bill at garage...... hope this trick will save others money great site........................
Great News, it just shows that going to school was beneficial, and now saves you from the clutches of those that 'demand so much for so little,' Not quite Winston Churchill but not far off! that my expression.
This technique call it what you will, has now worked on a considerable number of occasions and has saved owners a fortune, it came about after considerable thought. A large number of us use PC,s if the system crashes or locks up , we can over come the problem by switching off the p.c and re booting it, It came to me that this could work also work with the Computer on your car (ECU) and yes it has worked, many times so it is always worth a try . But bear in mind having disconnected the battery , your windows and esp/abs will require re-setting takes just a couple of minutes, also Please also remember to turn on at least your side lights before re-connecting the battery, there by reducing the surge of power hitting the ECU, failure to do this and you may well finish up with an ECU lamp lit which only MB or garages with 'Star' diagnostics can delete Cost £50 that's if you can convince them them their is nothing wrong with your car. I suspect they would pooh-pooh this method but if it works so what!
86. Oil water emulsion in engine oil filler tube.
Dear lofty as I have seen all your posts man. I think you are the god of the A-class. I bought recently an A140 1998 I have been seeing white stuff on the oil lock. I am dead afraid its the gasket. I think the seller hooked me m8. Would you please advise. thank you
No do not worry this is normal on the 'A' Class, it is caused by condensation in the long plastic filler tube.
One good long journey and it will be gone, however when you change the oil get a none fluffy cloth and a long screw drive or some such tool and wipe out as much as possible before filling with the new oil .
If the head gasket was to go your coolant level would also fall and oil level would rise so if your not putting in coolant fluid then you have no worries just enjoy your Merc best wishes Lofty
87. DIY servicing A
class. Lofty, Hoping for some advice.... I (well my boyfriend is!) about to give my baby-benz its 70k service. any advice on what we should change? also, how do we reset the service countdown? cheers!
Hi, go to my page 47 at the bottom there are two files they will tell you what's required on a given service obviously 70000 could be made up by two 35000 when things that have previously been checked become due again . The re-set procedure is on my page 35 and my CD! Hope that helps. lofty
88. Front suspension springs /failed MOT.
Over the years you have been a fountain of knowledge regarding the A-Class I have contacted you several times regarding my A140 , and you have always been very helpful. (You may remember last year my rather large MB service and Alternator story posted on SVC)
Well yesterday I decided to get the rear shoes and drums sorted (80,000 mile now) at the same time the car was due its MOT. Guess what it FAILED!
Front spring, drivers side had broken, and when they came to replace the spring noticed that the cup on the shock absorber was cracked through. The mechanic at my local garage (Very good, and not MB!) showed me the spring and shock absorber, and they were damaged exactly the same as shown on your website. God knows how long I’d been driving the car like that, but if there had been another failure on the cup, I don’t think I’d be writing you this email! Are MB sure there is not a problem!
Just thought I’d share this story with you, as you may be able to bring it to the attention of other owners.
So another £900.00 bill for my now ageing (9 years old) A-Class, but I still don’t want to get rid of it!
This is a very well known problem on the 'A' Class of all ages and I advertise it to the full on Page 26 I have even been in touch with VOSA to highlight the problem, they contacted MB. MB maintain there is not a problem and they also say that the car will not be dangerous if the spring and cup break!!!! Their words to VOSA not mine Then let them drive it and they still have not instigated a recall!
Shame on you MB.
On my pre-MOT page 48 I do mention inspection of the springs and front support cups located on the struts which I strongly advise to be checked prior to the MOT Alarm, yes of course it shouldn't happen but having looked at other marques they suffer spring damage as well, so what more can I say except check and spray with duck oil. I maintain that the spring gets dry and although there is a bearing at the top there is only an aluminium cup at the bottom, kept oiled & clean there is less resistance and they remain serviceable , dried out they coil & uncoil and the spring then breaks leaving a sharp tail on the lower end of the spring this in turn then damages and breaks the support cup.
Please read my Pages & also Read the page on abrasion to/electrical cables/looms before the damage occurs.
89. Front suspension failure.
Just wanted to say thanks for a great website - it is priceless.
My wife's A-class suffered what I would call a catastrophic failure in the front suspension, exactly as detailed on your website. Fortunately she was only reversing off the drive at the time.
Your the second owner with this problem this week the other car failed the MOT (see above) he doesn't know how long he's been driving around with a broken spring and cracked cup!
Close inspection is the only way to detect this problem and before it causes a real problem, I'm firmly of the opinion that this problem will cause a serious accident at some point so keep an eye on your springs all-round so that it doesn't involve you . the consequences of braking hard with a broken front spring on one side of the car do not bear thinking about so pleas check you car's or have them checked!
Reporting your findings to VOSA may also help other owners
page 26
90. Problems with scorpion alarm system.
Hi there, have just been looking at your excellent website and wondered if you might be able to help me? My A class a140's key fob has stopped working. I can open the car and drive it but the alarm sounds as I drive. Is there any way to disable the alarm and drive it correctly? Local MB dealer says it is a faulty receiver and will cost £622 to repair. I doubt this though as this happened before and the AA fixed it. Any advice most welcome. It is a 99 T reg.
The owner decided to get a diagnostic test done and took the car to Mercedes-Benz! following the visit he mailed sent the following information
Picked it up and surprise surprise it is working fine. Report says, removed scuttle panels, removed wiper arms. Signal intermittently failing with das control module. Current and stored fault with DAS control module - requires new.

Charged £65. Reluctantly paid it. Got home, opened key fob and brand new batteries inside. MB never mentioned it. Will be well angry if that is all they have done for that price.
Might just sell it on now to be honest. Wife needs bigger car anyway soon.
Having mentioned my page 51 on which a great deal of information is available on the alarm, I continued.:- My first point of call would be to scorpion ask them what they think on the basis of the conversation with MB then get the garage to purchase the part and fit, scorpion will not sell direct on the odd bit good luck I wait to see how you get on. Scorpion are very receptive and helpful company

I also sent the owner other information which I felt would help him resolve the problem with links to the scorpion alarm page (page 51)
The the best of my knowledge there is nothing behind the scuttle mentioned apart from wiper mechanism and the scorpion alarm horn unit, and this is fitted with a rechargeable battery on the pcb that is designed not to be replaced. A new unit is required.

If indeed a fault is present on the car then this would have been picked up on the 'Star' diagnostics, why MB should claim to have removed the scuttle and wiper blades is any bodies guess.
The only consolation in this instance the owner only paid the nominal charge for a small/short diagnostics test and that no hours labour charge was made!! I wonder why? I leave you to draw you own conclusion! Perhaps they looked behind the wipers because they page 42 smelt a rat! I certainly do!! a replacement batteries from MB free of charge, things are looking up.
91. Reversing switch problem
Hello Lofty, The reversing light from mine A160 1998 Avant-garde fails. The MB garage has checked it, and says the/a switch (?) has been broken, and needs to be replaced. The have to build the engine out to do so. Is this correct, or can it be an other less expensive problem? Thank you, ,
, No that is not anywhere near correct!! page 59 Take a look at that page it will show you where the switch is . Also If MB do do the JOB make them aware that reverse gear must be selected and remain selected throughout the whole procedure, not being removed until the New switch is in position and tightened. Although this is a fiddly job it certainly does not require the engine to be removed, only a couple of cables on the gear selector moved to allow access to the switch which looks like a sparking plug. Hope that helps
My advise would be to use a Mecedes-benz Independent garage as the one you are using obviously do not know what they are talking about and are not using their own workshop information as a reference to your probable, Independents are cheaper and normally do a decent job for a lot less money .
92. ACS transmission problem
Thanks for your reply. I've found a similar problem and solution on another site. Unfortunately, his A160 is semi-automatic and mine is automatic, so, it doesn't apply to mine. Can't find the link now, so, am typing what I'd printed off last week...mmm...not sure if you could put this content on your website though. Hope the info is still useful in some what ways.
I had a 160 ACS that the pump failed on. The symptoms started with the car suddenly reporting an error on the dash and the car refusing to go into gear. At first if I switched the car off for five mins and on again it usually fixed itself. However the fault quickly got worse to the point it wasn't driveable. I found that a sharp bang to the passenger side wing got the car going again for a short period and when I discovered this was where the ACS pump was I decided to investigate. I would recommend having a go at this yourself if you're handy with the spanners as it is not that difficult and you'll save the £600 (£720 quoted in Sept 2008) odd pounds the stealer wanted to charge me to fix it. Even if your pumps totally buggered you can very easily fit it yourself saving £90 (£120 quoted in Sept 2008) an hour at the stealers.
Remove the passenger side wing, very easy as it is just bolted on. Behind it you'll find the pump it looks like a large cylinder with a tube coming out the end and a smaller cylinder on the side. I removed it completely as at the time I didn't know what was wrong with it but I suspect you can just unbolt it so you can get access to the electric motor on the side (the smaller cylinder). If memory serves there where two screws holding the motor casing on, undo these and pull the casing off to reveal the rotor and actuator. Look closely at the rotor end which is towards the tube end of the larger cylinder, you should see a sort of structure holding two blocks of copper either side of the rotor. These are the bushes and in my case these where the problem as they had worn out (after 60K miles!!)
These blocks have a silver wire coming out of them through a cut out in the cage. As the bushes wear the wire moves along this cut out until it meets the edge of the cage and can no longer self adjust at which point the pump fails. To remove the bushes carefully prise open the end of their runners, slide them out and cut the silver wire (remembering to leave enough to solder your new bushes to). Surprise, surprise Mercedes doesn't stock these bushes (not in the UK anyway) so it was off to my local auto electricians who were able to source me a similar set for the princely sum of £10. Fit in reverse order to removal, being careful with the motor casing, it contains magnets around the inside so it can be tricky to get the rotor end into the casings bearing. And remember you'll need a soldering iron to re attach the bushes silver wire.
If like me, you remove the pump completely and let all the hydraulic fluid out, a simple way of bleeding the system once the pump was re attached is as follows. Switch the ignition on with the bleed valve open, close the valve and switch ignition off, repeat a few times.
When I received a question from this owner about the dreaded 'F' showing on his display and the fact that his car had gone into 'get you home mode', all I could tell him was that on the Auto Clutch System(ACS) gearbox the had a hydraulic pump situated under one of the wings which was responsible for the defect, I was not sure, as my car is a manual if this also applied to the fully auto gearbox.

This owner kindly sent me this mail which may well assist owners with both 'A' Class, and MB 'Smart' cars fitted with ACS gearboxes. many thanks for the information it will I'm sure be very useful to many owners of ACS boxes.
93. Heater tap!!!
Hi Lofty
I have an A170 diesel. I've just started using the heater again and it is either hot (right at the top on the windscreen image) or one click to the left and it is cold. My Dad says it is the heater tap...could you tell me where this is please?
Sorry to trouble you, your website is just fantastic. many thanks.

Follow up /feed back
Thanks so much for your reply, it was spot on!! I got my slave to have a look for me at the weekend and the heater runs perfectly now. Someone else told Dad about there being no heater tap, he's now muttering about 21st century cars....
Once again thanks a lot.
As far as I'm aware there is no tap! On the old Morris minor yes your dad is right there was a tap turn it off in summer and open it in winter On this car I'm not aware of any control valve that you can operate.
It is the case that the heater does not fully operate until the knob is turned quite high up on the dial almost into the red move away from that and it cools very quickly.
The fan control needs to be used in conjunction with that heater dial and also of course the setting , where the warm /hot air is being sent.
The heater is reliant on a good air flow and so you need to consider when was your activated carbon filter last changed ? they do get blocked and this will have a real effect on the heater, the controls as far as I'm aware are rod operated behind the heater consul, not easy to get at and complex, the filter is your first port of call see if that's clean I suspect you have air con and so it is important that its clean for that as well.
There is no adjustment that I aware off so having cleaned/replaced the filter it really is a case of adjusting the knobs all three to get the best from you heater the hand book does have information that may help you in this regard hope that helps a bit.
And do not upset you dad by telling him that cars do not have taps anymore, they are quite often sophisticated valve assemblies integral of the heater control system and are tucked away so that you have to pay large sums of money to get them replaced, oh if only we had simple taps back again, how easy life would become!! But then the garage wouldn't be able to charge you £50 or £100 to carry out a diagnostic test to tell you why your heater wasn't working correctly, and then of course charge you again to put it right.
I have attached a file that will give you some idea of what I'm on about.
94. Front brake pads.
Hi there, been reading your info on the a class, I am changing the front brake pads and discs, pads no probs, but mine are not vented on a class 160 d 2004 reg, can see the T30 Torx but hard in there , but do I have to take the centre hub nut off to get the disc off thanking you, Anglesey north Wales

I'm not aware that the front nut has to come off, that only holds the stub axle and drive shaft assembly the disc fits onto that if you look closely you will see the fit of the disc only although it may look like one ass , Remove the securing screws (T30 Torx)and tap the disk from the rear it will give if you keep going round evenly. Mine aren't vented with holes as some models that's holes in the disc however they are double skin i.e. two braking faces. pages 27 &28
95. Signs of pulley 'V' Belt failure.
Thanks Lofty.
I bought my A140 in May, and several things happened - loss of power intermittently (would run fine for days then suddenly seem as though I needed new plugs) - your site seems very helpful here as it seems it might be the fuel filter.
Last week I was pulling away and I noticed there was suddenly no power-assisted steering, and at the same time a puff of white smoke (or steam?) came from the bonnet accompanied by a smell of electrical burning, and the red battery light came on followed soon after by the red temperature/water light. When I got it home I opened the bonnet and saw some that kind of liquid seemed to be splashed around the bottom of the compartment.
I guess it is either the voltage regulator or the alternator, plus possible follow-on damage to cooling system (?) caused by loss of electrical power. Any suggestions welcomed. Happy days. Looks as though I'll have my head in your CD-ROM for quite a while!
Thanks again
In the first instance are you diesel or petrol?
Sounds very much as though your poly V belt has gone . this drives the water pump , plus the alternator, the steam could have been due to over heating, the red ignition was because the alternator had also stopped. Again driven by the belt and the power steering also powered by the alternator direct, not from the battery.
Belts about £20.00 can be done yourself if you have a means of raising the car or 'Auto check' Storrington, Sussex. could do the job for you, they are down by the schools sell Mercedes smart cars as well.
go to :-
page 57
that will tell you all about the belt and fitting Hope that helps.

PS further mail confirmed it was the poly V belt.

The engine certainly got hot although there is a electric cooling fan the water pump would not have been circulating the water, Chances are a new belt, there are two, air con and non air con, different lengths so get the right one. You may well have got away without doing further damage certainly worth a try
'Autocheck' I mentioned earlier are MB wise and do have 'Star' Diagnostics if required, but they do not need it in the first instance. it is about 30 mins work to fit the belt if they know what they are doing but I advise you to print off that page and place it in the car as they will not have the old belt layout to follow when placing on the new unit. If your doing it yourself and it is possible, then you will need the layout anyway as it is complex without guidance. Stay in touch I'd be pleased to here how you get on and advise if required.(Readers my wonder why I asked if it was petrol or diesel? The white smoke could have been from a blown injector , however having read on it became obvious as all models are fitted with poly 'v' Belts.
Best advise is if you have these symptoms do not drive more than you have to to get to a safe parking lot, then call breakdown to get you home. This owner had driven 7-8 miles! This is not a job that can be done at the roadside. fit a new belt at approx 45000miles approx and its unlikely it will ever happen to you.
96. Problems starting
Hi lofty, Sorry to bother you with a question but I'm a student and the mounting prices of my 'A' class are causing me bother. Only 2 months ago I had to have the ECU MAFS replaced because it had gone silly for no reason, and now my car is having issues starting. The first time was yesterday lunchtime, I put my key in, I got SRS and dash, power was all fine, but no noise when the key was turned to the ignition position. I cursed my luck and took the key out, tried it again, nothing. Took it out one last time and tried and it worked.
Then this morning (very cold) it happened again. If it hadn't been for the fact that it happened the day before I would have thought it was due to the temperature, but this morning I went and got my second set of keys to see if it was an immobiser problem. The car started right away. So I turned it off and tried the old key again, and low and behold it worked. I just do not know what's going on, car has done 90,000 miles, and so far has always been serviced fully by Mercedes authorised people. The only thing I did which I have never done before was fill the car up full with petrol, but its crazy to think that this is what's causing it.
Many thanks, Your site is fantastic and I'm going to buy the CD Rom of you work soon so I can carry out my own work, as soon as exams are out of the way. Tom
Initially I would have said you ignition key wants synchronising with the immobiliser, but as you have said the car eventually starts I doubt that is the case. That in my book leaves two things the ignition switch or starter I would like to think it is the switch rather than the starter as that is a biggish job
. Do you have other keys on you ignition key ring? this can cause damage to the barrel of the ignition switch after a period of time . You say it starts first time with the spare key so is that a key on it is own?
You can see what I'm saying the key without extra weight starts the car whereas the one with struggles.
Try using the spare key for a while and see if the problem still occurs if it does then it is starting to point to the starter motor, although the problem could still be the barrel of the switch, move the key about having entered it into the barrel see if that makes any difference.
Send me you address (UK only) because of high postage and I will send you a CD it will gives you loads of info that's not on my site. Best wishes and I hope that helps you. page 70 Lofty
97 Poly 'v' Belt and frequency of replacement.
Hello Lofty
Unfortunately my local MB garage told me the other day that the reason why my A160 (year 1999, 240000 km) stopped was the tooth belt, which damaged the whole engine.
Strange, I never thought about it – I thought that changing the tooth belt was included in the B service, the big one. Obviously it’s not. The garage told me that they’ll send my damaged engine to Germany and get a certain discount on the new one. But the overall reparation will cost about 4000 £!
I was then searching for an article about the issue in your precious website, but I cannot find anything with that word.
Is it maybe another term in English? Probably not “tooth belt”?
Many greetings from Denmark,
Angelo, You have obviously been one of a few unfortunate owners, although I suspect it more owners than we know about who have suffered a broken timing chain. This is located inside the engine and does the same job as the timing belt(cam Belt) on other modern cars. There was a time when all cars had this metal linked chain the keep the engine timed with all the components valves etc but Mercedes-Benz are one of the few who have retained it.

This chain should outlive the car and it is not right that you should have to pay that much money to Mercedes for the New Engine, Go and talk with them and try and get some more help with the costs.
I will then put the details on my site to warn other owners of the problem.
You are only about the 6th owner who I'm aware of who has had this problem in 4 + years, in one case it happened to the new engine as well.
Your MB branch should not only ensure you get a discount but should fit the engine free as well, this is a big problem for Mercedes if you publicise this information, as they do not lay down a mileage at which the chain should be replaced and obviously didn't either pick up the problem on the last service or warn you of a possible problem.
So talk with them and if necessary contact Mercedes-Benz Customer help line in your Country or Failing that get in contact with the Mercedes Customer care line in your Country or even in Germany.
To see the Chains, there are two, one for the timing and one for the oil pump go to my page 33 the chains you will see on the right hand side of the engine they run just inside the engine casing while the Poly V belt runs on the outside driven by the crank pulley, a pulley that also drives the timing chain, if the poly V belt breaks that to can also cause problems unless you stop driving the car more or less straight away.
The broken timing chain will have done damage more of less straight away and you could not have avoided that. Also is you car always serviced by Mercedes and when was the last service done? These are important things you should bear in mind if you contact them which if I were you I would most certainly do.
Lofty. page 33
98. Engine management light lit following bulb change?
Dear Lofty,
Thanks for the confirmation of my order.
I don’t know whether you can help me, but I forgot to disconnect the battery on my wife’s A Class today whilst replacing some blow bulbs in the instrument cluster and when I reconnected the cluster I noticed that the “engine diagnosis indicator” is now illuminated permanently? Any ideas how I reset it?
Look forward to hearing from you.
You haven't said what year your wife's car is?
if it is March 01 onwards then it will have an OBD2 connector, (by the bonnet release catch under edge of dash) being OBD2 compliant, if that is the case then it will pay you to purchase a diagnostics tool and reset the EM light yourself you will then have it for future use.
There are two other options, one is connect the battery for a min of 30mins and then turn on the headlights and then reconnect the battery, the light may reset, if it doesn't then it is of to either MB workshops or an MB independent, or the AA who may if you ask them nicely reset the light. I will attach a mail received from another reader who is recommending a diagnostics tool that appears to work well with the 'A' Class, he purchased his from E-bay and it only cost a fraction more than you will have to pay MB to delete the light.
if the wife take the car in they may be kind and delete it for her, but I wouldn't hold your breath. This car is a menace when it does this, there really shouldn't be a need to disconnect batteries to replace bulbs but the system is so sensitive it does pay to do so, which is why I make the comments I do .if you do try the battery disconnection method then you will need to re-set the abs/Esp and windows both procedures are on my pages see the battery pages.
I hope that helps sorry I'm sorry I can't be more positive but MB staff have to live as well and they have made sure that the after care of the car looks after them also. if the car is pre that date then the scanner mentioned below is unlikely to help. Best wishes

Quote Hi Bert, This may be of interest to your members. I purchased a Memoscan OBD2 scanner code reader (U581) and tested it on my car (W168) it works great!
Reads all fault codes plus Live Date, clears all fault codes including Engine Check Light. Now when I go to a garage I will know if they are bullshitting me. Cost of scanner £59.99 Post free, on E-bay. Unquote
99. Symptoms of timing chain/timing chain tensioner problems.
Help Lofty, I am in dire straits!! I recently purchased a W-reg Merc A140 with 73000 miles on the clock. It has been a joy to drive, up until a couple of days ago when the engine started making a lot of rattling noise when warmed up, mainly from the drivers side. The noise goes away when the engine is revved and returns on idle. It seems to get worse as the car warms up (sounds worse than a chain is on its way out and have quoted me £500 plus for the job because the engine has to come out. I did not buy it from a trader so I do not have a warranty. Would you please shed some light on the subject and let me know how much I would expect to pay for a timing chain change?
Follow up Feed back
Hello Lofty. Just to give you an update on the problem I had regarding the timing chain. After rigorously searching the net for a solution, I found that a few of the A140 owners worldwide had ended up with snapped timing chains due to malfunctioning timing chain tensioner's. I decided to change the tensioner and hey presto! problem solved! When I took the tensioner apart, I noticed the rubber seal on the piston had hardened which meant that it was not holding the oil pressure. I will try and send you a picture of the offending article as soon as I have downloaded it to my PC. Once more thank you for all your suggestions and your excellent website.
Ouch , what a pity you didn't pick this defect up when you bought the car. Yes I does sound like a timing chain problem, although this is not a common fault on the A class.
£500 is very very reasonable as the engine has to come completely out of the car and the o/s end of the engine stripped to get at the chain and replace it is a lot of work which you could not tackle yourself even if you had a load of gear as few people have the facilities to drop the engine out through the bottom of the car because of the height required.
Take a look at my page 33 and you will see the layout.
However having had got the engine out he will have to remove the poly V belt , so get a new one fitted when he replaces the belt, no extra work but a bit of extra cost
If he's prepared to do that work for £500 bite his hand off, it really is a good price,
I would ask for the old chain which I would like you then to photograph for me I have not got a photo of the chain on my site, it will also confirm that he has changed it! Sorry to say it but I do not trust many garages
page 57
100. 'F' appeared while driving home
Other Fully auto transmission information Q
I'm after some advice.
I've got a 1999 full auto A160, tonight on the dash as I was driving home an F appeared. Luckily I was just arriving home, as the car didn't have any guts to get up a slight incline......OK I have an existing problem with the alternator,,,,the alternator belt tensioner is knackered however still ticking along, I'm waiting for the part to arrive so the car can be repaired on you think if the tensioner has completely given up this could be part of the F problem?

this owner has kindly come back with further information that may help other owners

Hi Lofty
I took the car into MB for a diagnostic check....mainly due to reading through forums and feeling nervous the car would be heading to the scrappies.
Fault stored was P1872 - Gear selector module......."fault is only stored at present and code was able to be erased, if fault reoccurs then new module is required"
They told me that the fault may or may not happen again, however had the fault been "recurring" as opposed to "stored" then a repair would be needed asap.

£73.40 including VAT for diagnostic. Module A1683701309/7088 £274.00
Follow up mail ,
The fault did re-occur see below and Paul ordered the part, however he asked for additional information.:-
Hi Lofty
Excellent info, much appreciated.
I picked up the unit today and was surprised at its simplicity of installation, the unit is held inside the cab by four setscrews and the other end is a push fit fitting onto something...all connected by flexi hoses, I thought from the drawing it was a series of rigid pipe work. Anyway the job I was getting done by my local mechanic today was a fix of a separate botched MB the gear selector module will be fitted for free by MB some time through the week, I'll keep you posted with any relevant info.
Just a quick question.....if MB give a false diagnosis which results in buying parts that they recommend will cure the problem then the problem still exists, what kind of come back is on the customers side......slight catch, parts not fitted by MB.
Although I have heard of this 'F' displaying on many many cars along with the car going into 'get you mode' I'm not aware of what causes it and have never seen the reason printed. I communicated this to the owner in question.

Thank you Paul for the information dated 20/11/08

Paul had the selector module replaced on his car and mail recd on the 15/12/08 was that the problem was resolved although there was some hesitation for the car to change gear in some cases, hopefully this will settle down as the car get used to the driving style.
101. What is the ASR switch for?
What is the ASR switch for what does it do?
The ASR switch is tied in with the ESP/ABS systems, when you press that switch once you will see a triangle comes up in the instrument display, that indicates the systems are switched off. When it is ON and you get yourself into trouble with a skid or the car for some reason goes out of control, burst tyre for instance, the system will take over the braking control, even though you have full pressure on the brakes the car will only brake the wheels in such a way as to correct the skid, spin etc, the steering angle sensor located beneath the steering wheel also plays a part in this by telling the systems the position and angle of the wheels at any precise moment in relation to direction of travel
When the ASR switch is pressed the Orange triangle appears, systems are deactivated, When the roads are for instance icy and a wheel spins you will hear the ESP/ABS come in with a series of gunning like noises, this is the system braking the spinning wheel trying to gain control, bit like the old method of manual braking (cadence method) brake, release, brake, release, but avoid actually skidding the wheel, when all traction is lost, the ESP/ABS replicates that but does it automatically for you again non of the wheels will be locked.
When the system is trying to correct the wheel spin, in for instance muddy or icy conditions, Stop the car, press the switch to deactivate the systems, you will now have manual control and can pull away slowly gaining grip without the dut, dut,, dut, dut, noise. Always switch back to systems ON triangle goes from display as soon as possible as these systems are fitted for your safety. Hope that answers your question normally this switch and therefore systems would not be deactivated. (That is my understanding and from the layman's point of view I do not think you will find it is to far out. Although I suspect that the technicians would add considerable more information to the answer)
102. ECU Repair Hello Lofty,
I have been reading the relevant section relating to my problem and just need a bit of feedback from you.
I have been to the local Merc. Dealer and come home with the printout of the diagnostic analysis, , , , frightening ! ! , and the repair quote is £1,200
The diagnosis Page one is attached.
The “f” faults have been corrected, but I am left with “F”, which is the ECM.
On your web page you made mention of two establishments that are able to repair at considerably less cost, and I was just wondering if you may have had any further advise of these guys.
My baby has now done 60k and is in very good overall condition, so on the one hand I do feel that it is worth the repair, but at the same time have to accept that it is probably not worth a hell of a lot more than £2,250 if I am lucky.
Any suggestion would be appreciated.

The CD has just arrived and I have followed your instructions, , , , ,Brilliant to say the least.

Regarding my ECU, I have been in contact with ECU Testing and right now the unit is on the way to them, they sound like a super bunch. I have an A 140 of similar vintage as mine, on loan and it certainly feels a lot more responsive than mine, engine is really crisp. Hopefully the repaired ECU will make a difference. Mine is an old A140 (W168) 2000 petrol, semi auto elegance with 60k on the clock and I have to confess that I do like it, and certainly have no desire to part with it, but without the less costly ECU option, I did think that I should get rid of her. An earlier photo of her is attached.
I will let you know what the results are but in the meanwhile would like to place on record how appreciative I am of your support.

Follow up mail-
Good morning Lofty,
This must be some form of mental telepathy, , , , I have just come back from the garage and the repaired ECU is fitted and the baby is back home.
The car is very much more responsive and the ECU crowd were brilliant.

I really do appreciate your help and advice.
Will be in contact, maybe later on today, will you be there.

P. this is almost certainly a MAFS problem or could be a problem in the ecu, either way contact ECU Testing on Monday and, 1 mention my site, that gets you 10% off any work they do for you . Explain the situation to Roger and mail him the diagnostics sheet/info you have, I'm confident that he will be able to sort your ECU/MAFS out and return it to you. You can remove the ecu (you do not say what model your car is) if petrol then follow the procedure on page 38
get it to them, they will return very promptly, you replace the ECU and jobs done £250 for the repair plus vat and carriage less 10% on the work only, that is massive saving over the MB costs
If you have problems come back to me. You MUST mention my site to get the 10%
hope that helps MB will fit a new ECU which includes the MAFS, the unit will be guaranteed two years max the same as your own repaired unit, even when repaired it will only work on your car as they are coded to your vehicle.
So do not buy off e-bay you'll now see these units like the keys they will not work on your car. good luck I'm a mail away .
If this works out for you as I'm sure it will consider purchasing my CD this has masses of info on it that's not on my site and it will keep your running costs to a minimum
Love the picture of your car. Very nice, well worth sorting out the ECU at any price within reason.
You will find the car back to normal and as good as the one you have on loan, however do check that the fuel filter has been changed and also give the repaired ECU time to settle down after fitting.
I had mailed Roger (ECU testing) so he was expecting you call. Best wishes

Thanks. P great new another satisfied customer who will have saved at least £900.on the MB cost why OH why can't MB offer this service instead of charging customers £12-£1300 to replace a component 90% of which is still working 100%
it is a rip off!
104. Radio aerial location?
What a good site this is. I have just purchased an A140. It came with the original Sony cassette player xr-c5300r. This probably sounds silly, but I can't get any stations to play. The stations have been pre-set by the previous owner. Could you tell me where the aerial is on the car ? The only sound a have is hissing, so there is power to the speakers. Many thanks
D Hi
Two things have you the code for the radio, it may pay you to try putting in the code, if you haven't got it you may need to contact mercedes the handbook may also contain the code.
Look in the documentation you were given with the car hopefully it is there.
To answer your question the Ariel in in the rear spoiler but the connection is at the top of the rear door.mypage.24.htm
105. Low mileage to the gallon since ECU/MAFS repair.
You may recall that I had my ECU repaired and refitted to my W168. I certainly have no hesitation in saying that it was a brilliant alternative and considerable saving. However, there is one thing that doesn’t seem right.
Now, I know that you said it would need some time to settle down but the consumption is disappointing. Prior to the repair I was averaging about 35mpg in town and 45 on the open road.
The last two tanks have produced 28mpg and 35. Am I still in the settling down stage ? I might add that when the ECU was refitted, the garage also replaced the air filter and fuel filter but other than that nothing else was changed.
When you get a chance, let me have your thoughts on this. Cheers

Hi Lofty,
Wow, that’s food for thought hey. It might well be that having got accustomed to somewhat flat or sluggish performance but with good fuel consumption, has created a jaundiced picture and that this better performance does result in increased consumption. Just something I have to accept, but the difference is quite disappointing. Sure, I will check it out over the next few weeks, but in the meanwhile I think your idea of a gas analysis at a MOT test station is a good one. My MOT is due on the 9th February, and so is the road tax. I will have the plugs examined and replaced. The reason for this is that they were replaced 8200 miles ago, so maybe this is another avenue to follow. The cloth over the exhaust will be tried out on Monday (5), , , watch this space.
I have been reading a few road test reports and it seems as if the town consumption is within the test results, , , but my open road figures are very low. The best open road figure was 43mpg in September, as against the current best one of 35mpg.
As you say, , , run the car for a few weeks and then decide. I will report back to you.
P thanks for your mail, I note your comments with interest as I have heard of one such situation where the fuel consumption increased after the repair to the MAFS. The company in Question was ECU testing which I think is also the company you used?
Can I ask you to contact R on their return from the break and speak with him about the problem . This could be some thing to do with the new MAFS but to be honest I'm not sure what they do apart from fitting new reeds
I will drop R a line now and ask him about this, I do know the last owner did not resolve his problem and along with the age of the car he decided to get rid of it buying a Honda, I trust that You can resolve your problem without that degree of action.

I would like to stay in touch with you on this one, and if you do manage to come to some arrangement /outcome would appreciate the information
Hoping you can resolve the problem & Best wishes For the coming New Year. Lofty . As a result of this mail I contacted the company who carried out the repair myself and as usual they were very helpful.
Quote We can re-test P's MAF on our flow bench if he wants to send it back in, we can compare his MAFS readings against a new unit that we use as a reference. I have not known it before but If we have set his MAF incorrectly then we can easily rectify this on the bench. We have also had reports of higher fuel consumption from a couple of customers in the past but when we have tested the MAF voltage it has been perfect and when tested on the gas analyser it has been fine - I am not sure if it is the odd customer that is used to driving with a low voltage MAFS that causes sluggish performance but fantastic fuel consumption as it makes then engine run very weak, but then after having the MAF rebuilt they have all there power back and tend to use more fuel due to the extra power under there right foot.
We have tried to lower the MAF voltage slightly on one customers MAF before on request in an attempt to improve the fuel consumption but it just makes the engine sluggish again. Kind regards
Peter Please find attached a mail received from R @ ECUtesting . The content is self explanatory. I can only suggest you continue to run the car for a few weeks and then if you feel it is running rich a white cloth over the exhaust outlet and then rev the car, you should not get much soot.
2. The other check is to remove a plug and check to see if it is sooted up.
3.Third option is to get it to a MOT test station and get them to do a gas analysis, if the mixture is out it should show in the readouts. Lofty
106. Diesel fuel filter replacement problem.

Still using the CD regularly as my wife and daughter both have A170s. Currently changing the front springs on my daughters as one coil has snapped and unfortunately the aluminium spring support on the strut has cracked also! Changed the alternator on my wife a few months ago and service them both as required. One issue I struggle with is when I change the diesel filter I do not know how to bleed it through and I can't find this info on your CD. I currently end up cranking the engine over until the battery is nearly flat and fingers crossed they start. There must be a correct way to do this! Any ideas?
One issue we had with my wife's recently was an intermittent electrical fault where when the ignition was switched on only the SRS light would illuminate on the dash. Under these circumstances the car would not crank over (not even a solenoid click) yet all other power (lights etc) was fine. Thankfully before diving in and changing the starter motor which looks a nightmare (thinking it was the solenoid itself) it turned out to be the ignition switch on the end of the ignition barrel. Changed this and fault gone!
Any suggestions on the diesel filter gratefully received
H. Pleased your finding the CD useful, This is the only information I have and it doesn't really mention the bleeding aspect.

However when I used to change my diesel filter :-
1. Remove old filter clean container replace seals as nec
2. Fit new filter.
3. Fill container as near to full as possible with diesel.
4. Re-install cap/top of filter housing.
5. Re-connect /secure hoses etc. as per information attached.
It should then only take a couple of turns of the starter to start the car, short busts are better than one long wind. .
107. Cleaning contacts/repairing combination switch.

Hi How do I get to the electrical plug for the indicator stalk. I want to use a switch cleaner to clean the contacts. The full beam is not going off. The stalk is ok, I can push it back and towards me.
Matt , you will have to remove the steering wheel, and when you do I'm sure you will find the switch broken as shown in the photo on my site, this can however be repaired using a small plate or glue but at present I can't say which glue would be best. I would plate the weak area and I'd use the screws from an old video case to hold it together they are made for plastic and hold well just use a small pilot hole they are self threading . Hope that helps see page 49 & 50 for information . lofty
108. Stuck bonnet
Just spent an uneasy night! Yesterday I tried to open the bonnet of my 160 classic Y reg without success! Spent last evening reading your page about what I should have done and haven't!
Today I've revisited the scene to discover that the bonnet catch lever was offering a certain amount of resistance so I concluded that the cable appeared to be intact. I then wedged the lever 'open' with a piece of electrical plastic cable sheath/cover. Then in order not to damage anything I 'slapped' the bonnet and after a flew blows the catch released. So belatedly and after treading that very dark path in thought of what do I do next? - I've done all the things you suggest! So the moral is - do not neglect to lubricate this item . . . . . what could happen doesn't bear thinking about!
All good wishes and thanks again for your CD.
I'm pleased you managed to open your bonnet, I wouldn't have been able to offer any solution to the problem it really is a nightmare , that's why I have put in an emergency pull without it I do not know what you could do All the best for the new year , well what's left of it Silicone spray on that release and least once every six months and if you get time put in the emergency release then you know your ok if the other one does for some reason fail.
109. Poly 'V belt pulley bearing failure
Hi Lofty, I am looking through your A Class CD Rom which has already paid for itself by identifying a drop-link problem ( now solved ) but my A160 Auto (1999, S Reg, 68000miles ) has now developed a whining noise that is rev dependent, also audible when stationary, both in neutral and park, if the engine is revved up. The auto transmission seems normal. I see from your CD how to check the transmission fluid level but have not yet bought the dip-stick. Could this whine be water-pump related? There is no evidence of any coolant fluid on the ground around the car. There do not seem to be any rattles, squeaks or knocking noises from the engine bay at tick-over, only this whine as the revs build. Any suggestions most gratefully received. Thank you again for a great product. Regards, Graham
Graham, this is almost certainly a poly v belt pulley wheel bearing , the new wheels with bearing cost approx £20 from MB and you can do it yourself if you can get under the car safely. Space is tight but it can be done with a bit of patience. The noise will be directly under the drivers seat . Good luck please let me know how you get on. Water pump? I have not heard of an 'A' class with a water pump problem to date
See also my page Poly V belt page .57 and do not leave it too long as the pulley's can cease causing the belt to fray.
You would be well advised to replace the belt at the same time unless done recently and use your Vin when you purchase the belt, Air con is longer than without air con
110. Where is my battery located?
Brake problems
Sorry to bug u but I was wondering if you could help with a couple of questions...
1. this may seem like a blonde question (well, because it is!) but please could you tell me where the battery is in my A160??
2. I was driving my car on Monday morning and had to stop using the handbrakes as the brake pedal didn't do anything! I didn't see any warning lights or anything - but then I was more worried about stopping! I was just wondering if you know of any one else that has had this problem and what may be the cause... The brake fluid is all topped up, all pipes connected etc... also, the brake pedal depresses about half way and then hits a stop - but still feels quite spongy, does it feel this way in your car? Sounds silly but I cant remember what it did before now!

Further info recd
After having a look round we could not find anything that was obvious so, we have now changed all 4 brake lines and bled the system. brakes are now a lot more responsive.
What we did notice whilst doing this though - which I do not know if you may want to mention to fellow A class owners - is that the clip holding the ABS line and the handbrake cables in the rear wheel arches had snapped, meaning my tyres were nicely wearing away my ABS line... luckily, accident averted thanks to some insulation tape and some trusty cable ties!!!
Thank you for your help, it was very useful when looking over the car
I have accidentally deleted the message sent to this owner, I was able to point out the location of the battery, under the drivers feet, covered by the hatch plate. The second problem she had was more serious . I was thinking that the problem may be caused by leaking master cylinder seals/servo problems, however as you can see from the reply from the owner the problem has been overcome along by replacing brake lines with a warning about missing clips on brake and esp connections.
111. Topping up coolant reservoir.
Hi Lofty
Thanks for sending me your CD a while back – it has already proved helpful when changing the front and back bulbs. You were correct, the back set is easy but the front lamps are terribly difficult.
I think I may need to top up my coolant (my A140 was purchased in Nov 2004). Can I use the Mercedes Benz coolant neat, or do I need to dilute with water. If so, how do I measure it?
I would really appreciate your help on this one. Regards
Take a look at this link mypage.43> ideally you need a small hydrometer as shown on my site firstly measure the viscosity of the coolant with a hydrometer and add /top up with MB coolant /corrosion inhibitor I simply followed the instructions on the container it shouldn't want much topping up, do it when the engine is cold and do not fill above the mark on the side of the coolant reservoir as it expands and will go to waste.
I do not advise using other coolants or mixing coolants, the corrosion inhibitor is essential in this engine and the MB fluids will meet all the requirements specified.
112. Power steering problem
Please My 1999 160 has a problem ???? now and then when turn the steering wheel all the way to the left/right I loose power steering , it goes all the way to left or right but does not come back but if I switch the car off and on again it comes back to normal, and when driving its ok, just when I'm parking etc.. I loose the power steering ?? is driving me mad I have to stop and start the car 3 4 times to park, by the way your site is amazingly helpful thank you.
Feed back
thank you for your reply, all that is good I think the pump is faulty it looks like is working on and off even when I'm not steering, I am getting one from BBA Reman..... ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU
If you check the fuse allocation list it will tell you which fuse supplies the power I would be inclined to pull and clean the spades on the fuse, I feel sure there is also a nominated relay that may also be suspect you could try switching the relays over to see if it makes any difference if yes then replace the duff relay . Also fixed to the chassis frame nearside engine bay you will see a small plastic box not far away from the power steering pump those the terminals in that may need cleaning
Fluid level in the battery and psp are important If all those items are ok then it could be the power steering pump at fault or the alternator, the reason I say that is because when parking the alternator is running slow if it stops producing power then the power steering will fail as its a direct supply the pump does not run off the battery Also if you battery power is down the all the power being produced will be taken up by supplying other components including truing to keep the battery charged hence the PSP will fail because of insufficient power .
So Halfords if your UK based to check you battery check the connections and fuse if you ignition light comes on while running slow parking your alternator is at fault and lastly the psp may need to be refurbished pages 49&50
BBA Reman will repair you pump for £135 ish mention my site to get 15% off the repair costs.
Hope that helps all the information with photos is on my site Please help me by feeding back information as to the fault when you have sorted it out, it is the only reward I seek
113. Problems getting Diagnostics tool to work on my car!!
I recently bought a code reader GS500 from talk to my car ( did receive the discount ). And on trying to use the instrument it tells me it won't connect to the vehicle. The car is a A140 W Reg have you had any look with the unit you bought. And do you know if there is any codes for the A class, I have been in touch with the supplier by E-Mail They do respond but with no real answers.
And I am reluctant to send it back at this point due to their being a further £20 handling charge if unit found to be OK .
Also I was given a Haynes Manual for the A class for Christmas ( from my Daughter ) To service her car, and there is no mention in the use of a code reader. The Book reads OK but the pictures are a bit dark.
Any Info would be helpful Regards Edmond

yes the plug does fit.
There is every chance the unit will not work on your car, your car being pre 2000 manufactured reg.
EOBD was not required on cars petrol prior to manufacturing dates ,2000 for petrol and diesel 2004 although your car is fitted with a connector I doubt it will read any codes even if the connector fits. The connection is fitted and used by MB using 'star' diagnostics by their workshops
. Does the connector actually fit your diagnostics connection? Even that can be different on pre 2000/2004 cars
EOBD(European On Board Diagnostics)is the European equivalent standard for the USA version OBD2 OBD2 was enforced in some us states as far back as 1996 but it was not required on cars sold into the European market until 2000/2004. Hope that helps

Just because the plug fits doesn't mean your car is EOBD compliant you will need to check that with MB
114. Problems caused by fitting LED bulbs
I wondered if you can help me I have just purchased a very nice condition 1998 A160 A Class for my wife.
I have just taken it in for a MOT and the car failed on the rear light cluster the problem being the a rather unusual LED Cluster Light Bulb. The MOT tester failed to get a live of the the light cluster block on the light socket.

We agreed I would take a look at the unit and test it out I have the bulbs now working but alas the bulb cluster works but the car would not start after plugging the unit back in I have used WD40 on the unit and dried it as best as I could (its fully dry and clean now. Anyway to cut to the chase the engine seems to have enough power to turn over, I have disconnected the battery over night and just tried it again but the engine does not flicker into life!
Any ideas please?
I have taken a look around your website but I am a little amiss to know how to get her started.

Feed back
I decided to try a charge on the battery temporarily until getting a new battery and hey presto it fired up ok - Just took for a long run and will see how it goes for a while.
The battery I notice is a one Merc type and has the clear tube fitted.
Strangely the rear led bulb is working fine now but I think the problem is that the pins on the actual bulb seem pushed in slightly - I must admit I notice that with these cars the low battery fooled me a little as it seems on most other cars you seem to get the slow sounding starting motor and the dimmed dash light and the drained sound the A class still sounds perky so.
Thanks for the Advice - Its my second A 160 I did contact you last year with my other Avantegarde phase 2 that was a Auction scrapper and had a number of electrical faults and front pads worn to more that minimum but I must say its been great since the few jobs I did myself.
Thanks for the Help
Almost with out doubt the battery is shot, if you can get to a Halfords store they stock a battery for this car which is vented, having said that because the battery is potentionally in the car it has a vent pipe that connects to the battery and vent's under the floor if the vent is the wrong end simply use a longer tube. DO NOT Turn the battery round. Positive to positive (+ to +) -Neg to neg is a must
That will almost certainly cure the problem .

This car is very particular about a fully charged battery as everything is electrical, just playing with the lights was the final straw

The LED bulbs should have made any difference but you need to take car where they are used, they do sometimes create problems with such things as indicators. Because they do not use the power of normal bulbs the winkers/indicators will not wink/flash and therefore a dummy load (capacitor) has to be introduced/applied to the circuit, which defeats the object of fitting them. My advise would be to use those in the reversing lamp and return to normal bulbs for all other circuits.

But you will have to check that capacitors have not been fitted, or the demand on the circuits will be more than it should be.
The garage should be able to do this for you. Not MB they will charge a small fortune place a meter on each circuit that's been fitted with the LED to check the demand in amps.

Hope that helps Please let me know how you get on

If you have a second vehicle Halfords will test the 'A' class battery on site, it may only need a good charge?
115. Whining noise from front wheel area?
Thanks for your forum, which is incredibly informative
. I wonder if you could point me in the right direction please?
I have an A140, petrol 1999 RH drive. Over the last few days it has developed a whining sound, which sounds like it is coming from an area around the right hand (driver’s) front wheel. It increases in pitch as speed increases, but sometimes disappears (at around 70mph). It sometimes stops when the clutch is depressed. It does tend to come and go a bit.

There are two ideas on you website – (1) the thrust bearing – but the noise would be more central or LHS I would have thought or (2) the v-belt (p57), but I am not entirely sure if that would generate a whining sound.
I suppose it might be a wheel bearing?
Any thoughts.
Many thanks. P D
I responded to the owner suggesting that the problem may be a poly v belt tensioner pulley wheel bearing. Which as it turned out was the case. The owner was able to carry out the repair himself. page 57
116. Problems with central locking
Hi Lofty, I have read through all the FAQ’s regarding A class Alarm but no answer has yet helped, this is the problem my Wife’s A class experienced last night.
1. She locked the car with the remote, returning to the vehicle an hour later the car would not unlock with remote.
2. Used the key to open drivers door, alarm went off.
3. Tried to use the “touch keys” but alarm continued to go off. 4. Replaced batteries and tried to re sync the system. Did not work – car will still not unlock- indicators do not signal.
5. Checked vacuum pump in boot area, appears to be dry.
6. Had car “rescued” to home address and is now an expensive paper weight.
Tried both sets of keys with new batteries, no joy,
Any ideas?

Feed back
I disconnected the battery, reconnected after 30 mins. Alarm sounded again, waited until it had cycled for 30 seconds and silenced. Then I did the following to synchronise the key fob.

Pressed both the unlock and lock together and held for 10 seconds, then released and to my amazement the car then locked and unlocked with the key fob.

Many thanks for all your help, wife happy and now I will be fed again!!!
Disconnect the battery for at least 30 mins reconnect using correct procedure positive terminal first, Put side lights on before re-connection try the keys . This should allow the ECU to re-set it just might work Please feed back either way Lofty .

follow up post
Have you checked the lights is the main battery Charged. In these sorts of situations every thing is suspect until eliminated

follow up post Robert you need to determine the state of the car's battery before going further, it may well be that the battery has gone and that's why there wasn't enough power to even cut the alarm. Halfords will test your existing battery and can sell you one suitable for the A class which must have a breather as it is housed in the cab
do not worry if the vent is the wrong end simply buy a piece of longer tube and push it through the same hole in the floor , vents to outside. you may even get away with charging the present battery but it should be done out of the car.
Hope you sort it OK and would appreciate you letting me know how you get on. The alarm siren is probably running on the rechargeable battery in the horn itself so that may well run down but do not worry it will recharge when the car is back and running.
117. Alternator/ charge light showing
Hi Lofty Great site, I will be buying the CD. I have a strange fault with our A170 cdi early 2001,for the last week or so the alt light has been coming on and going off intermittently, yesterday whilst driving the alt light came on for a short while then went off again, then it did it again and i also lost the p/steering, we turned around and headed home then the alt light went off but still no p/steering. Got home checked out your site found out about the link between the alt and psp. checked the belt all ok, checked the alt output all ok, checked the blue wire feed to the psp all ok, checked the psp fuse blown, replaced fuse- psp working ok, alt light off, went to bed. Day 2 started car this morning alt light went off then came back on in seconds, no power steering fuse blown again !!!
Could this be a alt fault causing steering fault ( in my experience alt's die and stay dead ) or psp pump fault causing problems with the alt ??
Any help gratefully received, M

Feed Back
Just removed the psp to inspect and found the pos, neg, blue wire had all rubbed against the chassis hence the various faults and fuse blowing, just about to put back together will let you know if all is ok.
cheers matt
Hi Matt Chicken and egg which came first?
There is no doubt that the PSP problem is linked to the alt output,

If you leave the PSP fuse blown does the alternator work ok with every thing running that all the power you can possibly demand?
radio wiper screen wash rear window heater interior lights full headlights Etc if yes and it doesn't produce a problem then i would say the alt is OK

However what is your battery demanding, how old is it what's it is general condition. Although the battery does not run the PSP if the battery is on the blink it will demand more power from the alt which may over load causing the PSP to starve of power .although I'm not sire that would cause the fuse to blow? If that's ok then i would suspect a fault on the PSP although normally they fail by running all the time ignition on or off !!

If it comes down to the defect on the PSP, BBA Reman will repair it for £135 less 15% IF you mention my site You can use the car although you won't of course have PSP so take care leave the fuse pulled if you do not have to use the car so much the better.

You could check the terminals near side engine bay in the black box just make sure there is nothing loose but other than that I can't think how you can test, for the defect I doubt it would even show on the Diagnostics in any case if you haven't got your own it will cost at least £50 a large part of the repair cost and it would need to be MB because the car is pre 2004( EOBD diesels 2004 )BBA Reman would test the pump for you but I'm not sure what they charge.
Hope that helps
Please keep me informed it helps me to help others.
118. Battery problems failure to start.
Hi Lofty, I am glad that I have found your site, a mechanic recommended it!
I wonder if you can help. My car will not start there is battery power - good enough to use the radio, electric windows and the lights do not appear to dim when put on. On Saturday the car would not start so I tried to bump start it with kids and wife in the car and after many failed attempts I had given up. So I jumped in the car and thought I'd just turn they key and it started! Went out and parked up and the car started ok on return. On Sunday the car did not start and did not after trying to bump start or trying to rock the car in gear to liven up any starting motor! All the ignition lights come on lighting up the whole dash however the SRS light goes off first, followed by the seatbelt light. My keys have seen better days however I have tested the fob and the red LED comes on once and goes out. I have tried to Synchronise the Remote Keys with the engine immobiliser by pressing the key fob unlock twice and then turning the key to position 2 however this has not worked (but I may be making an error) Last night I tried to jump start it off another car and nothing happened and then this morning (Tuesday) I have tried a "reboot" by disconnecting the battery and no change still.
I am really hoping that I am missing something here and that it is not the starting motor - are there simple tests or would an AA/RAC person being able to do some assessment and state its "X" If so I am joining..... This is my wife's car I do not have a car as work is around the corner... well until yesterday when I have been told due to a restructure I have to commute 30 miles each way so now I need a car myself and so do not need this car to go wrong! or cost stupid money! Any advice?

Feed back
Update - Faulty BATTERY although power there not enough it seems - so spot on with advice! As I had no transport I got a guy to come around who deals with immobilisers key fobs batteries etc and he confirmed exactly the same as you. Checked battery to see if any warranty on and had 3 year - kept invoice and had 2 months left! Car runs again and starts again and again and again - many thanks

Thanks a man in need of some good news!
My first port of call would be Halfords and get them to do a battery check, you need to know that the battery is 13volts plus , if its below that then there is every chance the car will not start.
Can I suggest you do then come back to me if the battery is given a clean bill of health . Do you know how old the battery is?
4 years plus and it is suspect if its the original 5 years plus and it is suspect even though the lights etc work .
The power they take is nothing compared with the power required to start the cold car.
If the battery does need replacing then Halfords sell one for your car, it must be vented and the vent tube drops out through the floor if the vent is the wrong end of the battery simply purchase a longer polythene tube and connect to the battery. Halfords will fit and advise
MB will charge the earth and want to put the car on diagnostics etc so avoid them at this point.
No the AA RAC would not be able to tell you what the problem was without testing the battery and putting the diagnostics on your car , battery is the first point of call.

for readers.
The old method of rocking the car in gear when starter problems were apparent was to release the bendix ( Starter dog ) that used to jam in the ring gear, (The large cogged ring that fits onto the flywheel of the engine crank.) With modern starters the starter dog is thrown forward by a solenoid and so rocking in the car in gear is no longer a helpful or valid way to clear starter problems, so same your energy!
Rear Shock absorbers Dear Lofty, Can I start by saying what an invaluable source of information your site has been to me. Thank you very much indeed.

When I found the nearside rear damper leaking I ordered a pair of new ones and after looking at your site advised my wife at midday that we will go out at about two. When will I ever learn? At six o'clock, in the dark, after calling on a friend for assistance the job was complete!

Not your fault I hasten to add, but mine for not looking at my own car first. I can see in the pictures of your car's rear suspension that the inner top bolt to the damper is accessible. On my earlier car (1999) it is barely so. If only the nut was welded to the sub frame it would be a simple task, unfortunately it isn't. Removing the wing liner will get you nowhere. What you have to do is expose the quarter to half inch gap between the sub frame and the main chassis from underneath the car. This can be done by removing the sides of the rear floor pan completely, cutting the very edge off ( half inch at the most), or levering them to one side. You can now just see, with the aid of a torch, the inner nut. This can now be accessed with a flat spanner. Assuming you've got the car jacked up, etc, just jack the weight off the damper and remove the bolt. There is no need to remove the spring. Replacing this nut is relatively easy if you weld or glue in some way, a thin strip of metal about six inches long to the nut and bend it to the shape required to present the nut square-on to the bolt as an assistant carefully screws the bolt in. Take your time. A torch on a fixed mounting is invaluable.

The bottom nut has it is own problem. Some kind of super thread lock is employed with basically welds the nut and bolt together. I broke a good quality socket whilst using four feet of scaffold pole! Even cutting the side off the nut did not persuade it! I cut them both off with an angle grinder and got the replacement bolt kits from my local Mercedes dealer. They are about £5 per side. Buy the kit and cut the nuts off is my advice!

I did try to take some pictures but you can barely see the top nut with your eye and a torch and I could not get enough light or the flash to get up there.
As a postscript; I replaced the front springs and struts recently. You know why! The struts are mounted with adjustment for wheel camber angle and before I started I checked both sides. The offside was perfect (1 degree negative) but the nearside was way out at about 3 degrees neg! No wonder the tyre was wearing oddly. When I came to change them I could see the bolt had moved, probably hit a pothole very hard. Worth checking. I made my camber angle tool using a known level surface, a geometry triangle, a protractor and a small level with a bubble. Set the triangle at 1 degree off vertical with the protractor on the known level then fix the bubble level to read flat on the side. One cheap but accurate camber angle tool!
Obviously you have to make sure the car is dead level as well.
Sorry I've rather rambled on here Lofty but I thought you might be interested. Keep up the good work and thanks again, Jerry
This is jerry's report and experience on changing the rear shock absorbers on a pre-face lift W168 a class . You have been warned.

Thank you Jerry for your comments and observations I have noted them lets hope other owners do the same pre-warned is pre armed!
Clutch/gearbox Hi Lofty,
Thanks for your web site it is a wealth of information. I have owned a MB A140 for the previous 2 years and it has been a wonderful car. Could you please help with a problem that I have with the gear change. Since I have owned the car I noticed a slight clunk or thud as I engage it into 1st gear. This can also happen as you go up and down the gear box. However, it is very intermittent. Sometimes it is very smooth and others times clunky / thuddy.
As time goes by it seems to be getting slightly worse. Depending on how hard you drive it. I have taken it to my local car mechanic and he said it needs a new clutch, which is a big job. Could you please shed any light on this problem?
Gary you do not say if this is a manual gearbox?
If it then you need to look at the mileage I would expect to get 80-120 000 out of the clutch. Having said that it does depend on how it has been driven in it is lifetime. If its a low mileage 55- 70-000 then I would be looking at ensuring the brake/ clutch reservoir levels are correct one reservoir servers both.
Then ensure the fluid has been changed as recommended, and thirdly ensure the clutch is fully bleed to ensure no air is in the hydraulic system. Most if not all of this information is on my pages.

If you do have to get the clutch done, then while the engine is out get the poly v belt replaced and the tensioner pulley bearings checked for smooth running and consider replacing the timing chain tensioner if not the chain it is self, I know that will add to the bill but if you are keeping the car it will prove to be worthwhile.
Although MB say there is no need to change the gearbox oil I found mine to be low and so replaced it certainly helped to make the box smoother.
However there is merit in what your mechanic is saying , it does sound as though you either have air in the system or the clutch is well worn.
Hope that helps
121, MAFS problem
Hi Lofty,
I just wanted to send you an email for help that I received from your website - My wife owns an a-class 1.9 Avantgarde and it developed issues with power and general erratic behaviour (stalling / won't start etc). By researching information on the web for this I ascertained it was an issue with the ECU / MAFS unit, but was not very confident as I am not really mechanically 'car' minded (I have a degree in electronics though!)
- I discussed with MB whom decided £1400 sounded a reasonable figure for repair!! and as a result after a few more searches on the web, I thankfully came across your site - This provided me with the name of a rebuild specialist (BBA - Reman) whom I delivered the part to yesterday. In short they discovered a fault in the sensors and replaced for £215.05 inclusive of my Lofty's discount!! :-)
. I have just purchased one of your CD's via pay pal and look forward to receiving in the future.
Once again my sincere, heartfelt thanks to you and your site - amazing seems like a suitable superlative to me as I type this mail. Many thanks,
'R' You just made my day, that is now some saving on MB prices, do they really deserve to stay in business?

I'm so pleased you found the site, and that you got the unit repaired. Did you remove and fit or did MB do the job? normally they will not entertain fitting a repaired unit . insisting on new for obvious reasons.

Thank you also for purchasing the CD I will have that in the post to you first thing tomorrow. Sorry I missed this evenings post but I have been out. You should get in on Friday first class.
122 Problems with car after garage work.

Dear Lofty, I am new to your site but have taken the time to search all the questions before asking you to advise me. My A140 recently came back from having the front flexible brake hoses replaced by my local "Mercedes Benz Official Workshop". Since then a creaking sound comes from the area of the left front of the car when I drive slowly forwards or reverse with left wheel applied. It seems to be gradually becoming more intrusive (unless I am just listening more attentively to it). At small deflections of the steering wheel, such as for driving at normal speeds, the steering feels fine and there are no strange sounds - it is just apparent at slow speeds when manoeuvring, for example in car park. With the wheel turned to the right there are no such sounds. Any ideas?

Very many thanks for your help - I will look at the questions area of your site for your response unless you can respond directly - I am not too clear about how the site works.
I shall be placing an order for the CD.
Thanks for your help.

Feed back received from D :-
Hello Lofty, The problem was diagnosed as a N/S top strut mounting (apparently made of rubber) that had perished. Apart from trying to persuade me to have both sides changed they did the job for less than £150 and the car is now fine. The only disappointment was that Warranty Direct wouldn't cover that item. Anyway, thank you for helping me with the diagnosis. I shall continue to visit your site to learn more about the A140 and keep you posted with any more snags!
best wishes,
D, Yes i always answer the mails direct, the Q & A Page is just some of the many questions I've had.

Where I feel the Q & A Will assist other owners I simply put it on the page, Both question and the outcome. If I get to hear! Not all owners have the courtesy to keep me informed

Your car, I wouldn't even bother to try and find the answer simply take the car back and explain that you are not satisfied as the noise wasn't there before and get them to inspect the work they have done after all they didn't do that job for a pittance

If they refuse Tell them you will take it to another MB branch and any work found nec, caused as a result of their bad workmanship or neglect will be charged to them, failure to pay and you will take up with the Consumer Direct.
I doubt it will come to that but you need to get it sorted, also make it clear that if they find other work outside of the original remit, you are to be consulted before any work goes ahead as you will not pay further monies.

Make sure your talking to the Service Manager and not the boy!

You do need to inspect the front springs, also the brake, metal hoses go into clips to fit the new flex hose they will have had to remove these there is every possibility that the metal hose has been left unclipped and that is making the nose as the wheels are turned .
Either way do not leave it, get it back, call them first and explain you want it inspected post haste. hope that helps

Follow up
D, many thanks for your mail, can't say as I have heard of this causing a problem before but if it is cured the problem then great. That component is expensive for what it is and has been subject of a lot of discussion between Mercedes and myself because although the bearing cage part of that assembly is made to carry 32 ball bearing they have only fitted 16 what one might call cut backs.
Obviously it was disturbed when they jacked the car up to do the brake hoses. If you want to see what they fitted see page 26, that shows the units which include the top spring cup, swivel bearing and rubber buffer that acts as a stop for the shock absorbers

If you want to confirm they did fit the component they say, the two white clips under the bonnet by the top of the strut will be white and new when compared to the other side.
I'd watch MB like a hawk and when they did work for me, only twice, MAFS and one service I asked for the defective bits back that way I know they have done the job, and just as well, because I have now been able to get my old ECU/MAFS repaired and it is re-usable on my car. It won't work on any other car because it is are coded to my vehicle.
Take care and safe driving,
123.Erratic tick-over A170CDI.
Diesel A170cdi MAFS

Hi Lofty,
Bought your CD Rom this morning after reading some of the excellent information on your web page. Can I ask you a question regarding my wife's 2004 A Class A170CDI with 49,000 on it? For a while now we have been having a problem with rough idling, sometimes worse than others. The car drives OK, it is just on idle that it seems rough. I have also noticed it is a wee bit more smokey on idle than it used to be, while driving it seems normal. The car also passed an MOT last week, so it seems the emissions are OK.
I used to think it was worse on colder mornings but now that the better weather is here I'm not so sure. The car doesn't use any water or oil and as I say drives fine otherwise. A friend told me it would have to have a Diagnostic done on it by Mercedes, but I was quoted £110 for this.
Have you come across this problem or do you have any ideas?

Follow up
Hi Lofty,
Thought you'd like an update on my idle problem on the wife's A170 CDI. I managed to get a diagnostic done on the car through a friend FOC, not a Mercedes Workshop. Anyway the Diagnostic showed no fault codes but on checking the data from individual components there was no reading from the MAF Sensor. The sensor was also removed and checked seems to be faulty. While this was out I got all the part numbers etc. Just in case. I priced the sensor at my local Mercedes Dealers and was quoted £227 plus VAT. I managed to locate the same Bosch sensor with the same part number for £50 (New Part) I think for £50 it is worth a try.
I'll let you know how I get on.
Also got the Poly V Belt changed this week, it had been quite noisy. I think it is the worst belt I've ever had to change. But got there in the end, not noisy now. Got your CD earlier this week, thanks again.
Regards, M

Follow up information
Hi Lofty, Sorry it is taken me so long to get back to you but we've had a lot of problems with the car in the past 2 weeks. First of all if you remember I was going to try a new MAF Sensor the last time I contacted you. Unfortunately this didn't cure the problem, so this was returned for a refund.
The car was getting worse and my wife was worried it was going to breakdown while she was using it, so we decided it had to go into our local Mercedes Dealers for a proper diagnostic test.
The test showed 2 faulty injectors. To replace 2 injectors was going to cost £1000 but they advised us to have 4 injectors fitted at £1500. After thinking this over we decided to have all 4 replaced.
I didn't want to have 2 replaced then sometime down the line have to go through all this again to get the other 2 done.

Anyway the job was done but when they road tested the car one of the injectors popped out. One of the securing threads had failed. They had to get this repaired by an engineering company at a cost of £85, This was not added to our bill as this was down to poor workmanship on their part. We got the car back yesterday afternoon and it is running really well again. Fingers crossed we do not have anymore problems for a while.
Thanks again for all your help and information from your excellent web site.
It could be something as simple as a camshaft position sensor or crank shaft position sensor problem is you won't know without the test, but look for a MB independent generally they are more interested in the customer and the car and are cheaper as well.
Yes I would appreciate the outcome.
Best wishes :Lofty


Well done M

Good work, in the week give 'ECUtesting' a ring speak to Roger the governor, details are on my site and the CD page 38 see if they can rebuild you original MAFS then if you do have a problem with the Bosch you will have a spare if he can then mention my site for 15% off the price.

I have heard of this MAFS on diesels before but have not even been able to locate it on the diagrams i have, it is obviously on the induction side but where precisely I'm not sure.
I have seen them on e-bay, flat shovel shape held by two bolts? If you could send me a photo of the old unit and the location of the new one pin-pointed I'd be grateful the information I know will help other diesel owners who have enough problems without the MAFS playing up
. For your future reference also see the revised page 57 and the availability of MB parts at reduced cost and post free if you mention my site. Pleased you got the CD Ok.
thanks lofty

The cause of his problem was indeed a lot worse and the cost was high.
BUT it could have been a lot worse, in this case it appears the injectors were removed successfully, in a great number of cases the end of the story is not so good.
Read the details on mypage 98 and the experience of one owner, and they are not unusual, so keep a close eye on your diesels for leaky injectors and if you spot it act fast or they will become carboned into the ports.
124 Ignition switch
I would like to thank you for your useful information you have on your site. I had a problem with my A class 170 cdi, I took to a garage and they told me they can do nothing because they do not have Software only Mercedes Benz dealers have software.
I remembered your site and started to study , i found that i have problems with "Ignition Switch Connector", only the SRS light showed on. I replaced the Switch and the car was as new :)

P.S: with the right tools and my laptop connected to your site it took me 3 hours to do the job
Well done J a good outcome. The photos were send to me by another owner and with a bit of research and help I was able to put the information together along with information from other pages, pleased it helped you.
You certainly saved yourself a fortune.
If you haven't got my CD then it really is a good investment apart from the site it also has masses of information relating the the mechanics of the car and the majority is appropriate to all models .

This is a classic example of how with a bit of information and the right tools you can save yourself hundreds of £££ at a stoke, however you do need to follow all the procedures set out and know when to stop!
If the job is too technical for you or you are in doubt then get a mechanic friend to help you, or seek the help of MB or a MB independent garage in these circumstances it all worked out well but you could end up spending more than you bargained for so take care. page 70
125, Timing chain snapped
Hello mate I have A class 160 mercedes the timing chain snapped I took the head off the valves are bent what do you suggest, what should i do get another engine or repair the head and get new chain. can you let me know please. thanks 'A'
the cost of parts is such that it would pay you to try and get another engine , it is not just valves chains etc it is also gasket sets and the fact that the engine has basically to come out to do the repairs

If you can get just a reconditioned head or a good head then OK it might be ok But you will still need a gasket set and chain, chain tensioner etc , so I'm afraid only you can decide.
e-bay may be a good place to start for the engine but you do need to check what mileage it is done or you could still need a lot of parts.

Mercedes E-bay

For instance if your car is high mileage then you need to consider the state of the clutch on your car, that would cost, then there are things like the poly v belt it would be false economy not to replace these items on the engine while it is out . Its also a very big job to replace the remove and replace the engine, you really do need garage facilities,

The engine from another car would run with your ECU but you need to be careful because some items are coded keep all the sensors from your existing engine.
Very difficult to advise you without knowing how DIY you are, it is a complex job and many of the tasks you will need an assistant
, Garage prices are likely to make the job uneconomical Sorry I can't be more helpful .

How many miles has your car done and did you not hear the chain rattling?
126. Starting problems
Hi Just ordered your CD but was also hoping for some advice...
my A class has some intermittent starting problems that I'm trying to get to the bottom of (while hoping its not the starter motor)
when you turn the key all dash lights come on but the engine fails to start there is no turn over just silence. You can come back at a later time and it starts ok. or sometimes not for days. I have read a number of different suggestions on your site, and so have replaced both the starter lockout relay and Ignition switch connecter ( which i thought had cured the problem as the car worked for 5 days no problems, but it has returned with a vengeance and now the car hasn't started for 3 days)

On one occasion the fuse for the starter relay had blown, replaced it and the car worked fine for a few more days, but now the fuse is fine but no start-up.
We only have the one key for the car so its hard to tell if its that that's causing the problem.
The battery when tested on a volt meter reads between 12.3 - 12.5v could that be the problem?
Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the great site
Follow up
Thank for the swift response, unfortunately the car does bump start. So I think it must be the starter motor ( was just in denial) I've not really got the space to swap this part at home would you have any idea what MB would charge to do this?
'L' yes thanks I have just mailed you re-cd which I will put in the post when i have answered or tried to answer your mail.
If you have replaced the relay and the starter switch then I fear the problem is the starter motor . It is a common fault on this car for the starter to remain silent which is unusual as most cars at least click the solenoid but on this car nothing
Your battery voltage sounds Ok .and i do not think it is related in any way to your key as this throws up a message 'start error'.
I am sorry to say that this does sound like the starter, It can be replaced by dropping the engine which although is quite involved is easier than removing it.
There are files on the CD which would take you through this procedure but you have a means of raising and working safely under the car, space is tight replacing the starter in this way but it can and has been done.

Sorry i can't be more positive but if I told you it was the key it would cost over £100 just to replace that so cost wise there won't be lot in it and I'm confident that will solve your problem.
If you feel i can be of further assistance mail me I'll always try to help, thank goodness so far have not had to undertake such jobs myself. It will obviously pay you to fit a new starter motor, can I suggest you send the contact on page 57 a mail to get a quote he deals direct with the suppliers but he will need your Vin number, please stay in contact I would appreciate hearing the outcome which I hope will be positive.

You could get a second opinion from the AA/RAC if your a member or indeed an independent Mb garage
MB will come up with allsorts of fault codes which I fear will only confuse the situation further .

If it was the Ignition switch you would get SAS lights and nothing else on some occasions and all lights on others so I'm confident it is not the switch .

You could charge you battery I would expect to see 13 volts + when fully charged, but I'm sure at the end of the day you will finish up changing the starter motor.
The other confirmation of this is if the cars manual does it bump start? if yes and runs well then that confirms the diagnoses.

Follow up

'L' I wouldn't even consider MB, Go to a MB independent they will be very much cheaper and they will do a better job, It might even mean going out of your way but it would be worth it .
You could even try a normal garage, a good mechanic who works with his hands and uses his head will easily be able to lower this unit, certainly worth a try. But with starter I suspect your looking at £450-500 with the starter.

MB more either way there is no reason why you should not get the starter from the contact and then get it fitted by the garage of your choice, you would save a considerable amount doing it that way but get a quote for parts from MB and the Supplier on mypage 57 that way you will be sure of the situation. you will need to provide your Vin number.
127. Can I change my own spark plugs? Firstly, I own the A140 (2004 model). There are 32,000 miles on the clock so it’s time to change the plugs. I’ve never changed spark plugs before, and my level of mechanical experience is very limited, so I’ve a couple of questions to ask you. Hope you don’t mind!
Thanks for posting the module cover tool so quickly.
I went to Halfords earlier this week, and bought a set of spark plug tools (£23), plus the Bosch Super 4 plugs. The set contains the following tools:
3/8 drive flexible ratchet
2 x 6 inch extension bars
1 x 10 mm Spark Plug socket
1 x cleaning brush

I also bought some Copper Grease (spray) for loosening bolts etc.
I will also get the E10 and E12 Torx sockets (as mentioned on your site).

Q. Are these tools sufficient?
Q. Do I also need a 1/2 drive ratchet and/or shorter extension bars (3 inch) ?
Q. On your site, you give the torque settings for the plugs and bolts.
How do I tighten the plugs etc. to the correct torque?
Do I also need to buy a torque wrench (£50 in Halfords)?
Q. Do you recommend I lubricate any of the bolts before extraction.
Lastly, in your opinion, is this job too complex for a novice like me.
Feed back
Dear Lofty
This is just a brief note to sincerely thank you for your recent advice on changing spark plugs on my A class. Everything went very smoothly, and I changed the plugs on Sunday morning without incident. The module cover removal tool worked a treat!
The detailed instructions and accompanying photographs on your website make, what is potentially a difficult job, relatively straightforward, even for a complete novice like myself.

Once the module cover was off, I could see clearly just how fragile the two retaining lugs are, and how easily they could be damaged. As it turned out, after I located the two slots on the bottom side of the cover (the difficult part), the module was eased off in seconds.
Removal of the module itself was surprisingly easy, once I remembered your advice to ratchet in the two E12 Torx extraction bolts evenly together, rather than singly (one followed by the other). Once the extraction bolts were fully home, the module came out without any effort or force. Before inserting the bolts, I also lightly sprayed them with copper grease which may have helped.

As per your advice, the 3/8 drive ratchet, 6 inch extension bar, plug socket, plus E10 and E12 Torx sockets were all that was required (£30 total in Halfords).
Similarly, as you indicated on your site, provided you use the 3/8 drive ratchet, there is no need to remove the o/s angled bracket to get at the plug on the far left. Attaching the extension bar will provide you with the necessary access.

I closely followed your advice about removing and inserting the plugs, and they came out very easily. I used the plug socket and extension bar to manually thread the new ones back in again, finishing off with a ¼ turn of the ratchet. Perfect.
All in all, a very smooth operation. I suspect previous reviewers who experienced problems removing the module may have forgotten your advice to screw in the two E12 extraction bolts evenly.

Incidentally, I recently purchased the Hayes A Class manual (£19.99). Very disappointing. There is no way that a novice like myself could ever renew spark plugs (or any other task) using the limited amount of detail in the Hayes manual. No mention of the module cover, extraction bolts, tools etc, and one tiny black and white photo. A waste of money.

With MB charging in excess of £100 for the job, even after purchasing the tools and plugs, I still saved over fifty pounds, not to mention the satisfaction which comes from doing the job yourself.
Once again, my heartfelt thanks for your excellent website, email support and module cover tool ( a very clever device!)
Postscript: I’ve just driven 80 miles this morning (Londonderry – Belfast) and have already noticed improved fuel economy and slightly better acceleration. All for a £20 set of plugs. Now for the air filter!! 'R'
'R', Yes this is a job you can do. The 3/8 drive ratchet 1 x 6" bar and 10mm plug socket is fine, you will not need the spray for an of these bolts, although you could if you wished put a very small amount on the module fixing bolts when refitting .Use the rigid extension your then able to see when the plug is aligned with the port Follow the information on my page and you won't go far wrong. You obviously won't need the brush because you fitting new plugs.

The most important bit to remember is these plugs are recessed you can't hold the plug and screw it into the head as one would normally do. So place the new plug in the socket fit the 6" bar and then locate the plug square to the plug port and screw the plug in clockwise using the bar only, If you feel it not engaging turn it anti clockwise slightly then clockwise the thread will engage, when you are completely satisfied that the plug is located having turned it two or three turns only then apply the ratchet and tighten, The torque is mentioned but the amount of room is such that you wouldn't get a torque wrench in the correct position to use it so tighten the plugs firmly. That's tight but no silly tight, I.e. do not extend the ratchet with any form of extension
They are all fitted with the compression copper gasket rings any way so you should be fine.

The reason we take great car in screwing in the plugs by hand initially is because the plugs are steel and the head is aluminium and we do not want to damage the threads in the head Take your time and you will do just fine.

Please let me know how you get on.
The job costs about £100 if done by MB so think about that as you do the job and do not rush it.
Make sure you get ' Torx' bits Sockets to fit your 3/8 drive ratchet

Receiving feed back like this makes this whole site worthwhile, and it just goes to prove that what car manufacturers say that owners cannot work on their cars themselves is total rubbish, there are in my opinion still a considerable number of jobs that can be safely undertaken even on modern vehicles providing you have the correct tools for the job.
128. I still have starting problems even after replacing the starter motor!!
Hi Lofty
I could not find the email address for asking questions about A class mercedes. I was so pleased to find your forum as I have been searching the internet for a solution or explanation to my problem.
I have an A 140, 2002 that has done about 85000 miles. It has always been reliable but now has a starter problem.

I have read through all of the questions/answers related to this but have not come across my exact problem although it sounds very similar to many of the e-mailers.
Like many of the other, one day it would not start. Left it for 5 minutes and it started no problem. About 3 weeks later, same problem. Left of 5 minutes and started ok. 2 weeks later, wouldn't start and could not get it to start. Next day started first time. This then started happening on a weekly basis, and you had to leave it for at least half an hour.

Took it to my local garage who said they thought the started motor had gone. Booked it in to be done the next week. Replaced the starter motor and it will not start!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have phoned Mercedes who say that it must be the computer, over £1000 for the part and must go the MB as it needs to be programmed to the car? The garage has told me that as an alternative, they could fit a button on the dash that connects to the starter motor so that it can be started. I am very worried. What do you think?? Appreciate your advice. 'R' (female)

Feed back
Hi Lofty
Finally a conclusion to my problem.
I took all of your information to my garage regarding the starter lockout relay and gave him your website address. The starter relay was not where you had described, even the the fuse and relay diagram with the car said it was. He phoned MB, they said it should be there.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, there are 2 types of starter motors fitted to my model A140. One has a starter lockout relay as described and the other has it built in to the starter motor.
The new starter motor MB supplied was one that has a separate relay and the one they should have supplied was the one with it build in. The starter motor was replaced yet again and now it is working. page 66
If you hadn't planted the idea in their heads that they need to locate the starter relay, I do not think this problem would have been solved and they would have gone along with MB thinking it was a problem with ECU.
thank you.
'R' Hi
Forget what MB say for a start, even if the ECU does want a repair we have a company that can repair or replace the ECU and re-code for a max of £350 less 15% if you mention my site .see my page 38 BUT I'm sure it won't come to that

Have you tried replacing the starter lockout relay?
it is situated under the bonnet in the black box secured to the bulkhead left hand side. you have to search carefully in the box because the relays are deep in behind the loom wires, you can get at them from the passenger side by pulling the carpet back but I have never removed one, they are held in by small clips see my page fuses and relays
There is every chance that's the cause of your problem When you turn the ignition on do all the instrument cluster lights come on as normal every time?

I wouldn't have a modification done as you may well cause other problems, gone are the days when you could just stick in an extra switch, the 'can-bus' system is all interlinked and one item affects another when they go wrong. Did you get a diagnostics test done before you started any work?
Come back to me if you want further information but in any case the car does not want a £1000 new ECU lofty

Lessons have got to be learnt from this owners experience, I'm not aware what information was supplied to the MB garage supplying the starter motor, but it is essential that the VIN number not only be supplied but that the garage MB parts use that VIN to find out what spares are appropriate for your car, if you purchase parts using the Vin and they turn out to be as in this case the wrong parts for the car, seek damages form MB for the costs incurred in the installing and removing of the incorrect part they might then take more care with the next customer.
There is a warning on my starter page about the different starters, only you and the supplier can ensure the correct one is supplied and fitted, lowering the engine twice to fit and remove the starter is no joke. do not GET CAUGHT OUT BY THIS MISTAKE.
129. Air Conditioning compressor problems.
Just come across your excellent site
I have a W reg A Class 140 with a whining air conditioning unit and I wondered if you knew of a way to disengage the air con so the whining stops.
I have already replaced this once and wondered if there was a belt that ran the rest of the functions whilst missing out the air con unit
Thanks for your help and consideration
Scott ( Scotland )
Scott, I'm not aware that you can fit the smaller belt and leave the air con out of the system However I understand that if you remove the wheel shaped fitting on the belt end of the motor the system compressor should be isolated, see my air con page I can't be sure because the info came from another owner but it is worth a try. As far as your compressor is concerned you may find that all it want is a replacement bearing which can be fitted with the unit in place as it is the belt end bearing that goes
You may also find that its one of the Poly 'V' belt pulley's that's causing the noise, if that is the case the supplier on my page 57 can supply all the parts you require post free and at less cost than from MB. parts Lofty
130.Noises from under the car
Dear Lofty,
having recent replaced the fan belt on my 1999 A 190 I am now hearing new noises coming from underneath my car.
At low speeds any sort of bump seems to rattle the underside of the car. It is not the exhaust as I have checked this and it is tightly held.
Also my front suspension is very noisy when going over speed bumps, sort of clunky.
Could these two be related? Do you have any thoughts on what this might be?
Two possibilities The drop links could be worn? and almost certainly the under-pans need tightening , I finished up getting new fixings for mine because a few of the speed nuts were stripped they are very cheap and you will readily get them from MB parts . It would be worth checking the the floor under-pans are fitted correctly as they over lap also on the near side there is a strip in line with the sub frame mine was loose and chattered for years before i finally discovered what it was I have now screwed it using the same type of fixing bolt so as to make life easier when i next need to undo them, crawling out from under the car for a different spanner is no joke.
Hope that helps .
131 Failure of folding mirrors.'A'140
We have corresponded before and I have been reviewing the online data in vain for details concerning the electric mirrors on my '51 reg A140 Elegance. Recently the two external mirrors, which on my model have electric adjustment and folding mechanisms, have refused to fold. The electric adjustment still works but this is controlled by a different switch. It occurs to me that it might simply be a fuse as on the day they failed first the left mirror refused to work and then both of them. I have a feeling that if I take it to the MB workshop it will be a drastic solution. Any ideas?

David have you checked the fuses? I can't tell you which one it will be but it should be listed on you fuse allocation sheet housed along side the fuses in a slot forward of the fuse board under the drivers seat.
Remove the carpet and you will see the panel, remove that and fuses are easily reached.
BUT if you are going to check them one by one note the blank numbers first it is very easy to put them back in the wrong slot!
It may be a case of testing the motors there is folding however if you remove the Glass mirror and heater panel you should be able the access the motor that powers the folding mechanism but watch your fingers these things are quite powerful.
Also look in your manual to see when they open and close.
I understand they open when the ignition is turned on and close after it is turned off ? You mention a switch so you could test the power supply at that switch,

The other thing to bear in mind is that the wiring is enclosed and hinges with the door so there could be a wiring fault at that point.
Check for power first, there are known failures of the electrical components at that point and MB do a repair loom for defects in that area.
Mirrors, folding and adjustments as well as (SRS)airbags can be affected, with the mirrors they simply stop working, with the SRS (air bags ,the SRS light will show on the instrument cluster and cannot be extinguished until the repair is carried out. It is not possible to extinguish the SRS warning light with hand held diagnostic tools Star MB ,must be used although more sophisticated tools are now becoming available they still cost a great deal on money.
132 Wiper blades Clashing A140
I have been looking at you fabulous web site.
I have a 2001 A140. I have had problems where from time to time the wiper arms clash.
I have had to put 600mm blades on both arms now & it is better but they are still very close when in use.
Do you think it could be that the arms have been replaced wrongly at some point? If I put a 650mm blade on the drivers side arm it would overlap the passenger side when in use.
I have had a look at the wiper blade section on the web site.

what is the optimum gap between the blades when in the home position? I'll then then check to see if mine are correct

Tim, I have only just back from hols so am not fully tuned in yet
. However I suspect somebody has replaced the activated filter without setting and marking the arms first, MB Garage?

All I can suggest is make sure the arms are the correct length, that info is on my site, the longer of the two arms going to the drivers side
looking at the photos on the wiper page set the blades square to the base of the screen both arms laying horizontal
From the base screen rubber 50mm to the wiper by lifting and allowing the blade to settle on the screen
There is then a 65mm gap between the two wiper blades.
( on my car & I have never had a problem even though they have been off at least 6 times since I purchased the car)

The measurement is taken from the central rivet where the arm attaches to the blade in each case. To adjust remove the metal cover over the wiper arm nuts, (release screws under bonnet) With the wipers turned to no 1, occasional wipe, Wet the screen either hose or washers
Using the ignition key to control the arms sweep the screen
The tip of the drivers wiper on my car clears the passenger wiper by 30mm +- 2mm at it is closest point
remember we are talking of the distances between the top end of the drivers blade, and the side of the passengers' wiper, rubber blade which is obscured on my car as I have fitted a second deflector.

Hope that helps remember the screen must be wet or you will not get the correct settings when setting the blades you must lift the blade then lower and allow it to settle on the screen, that releases the torque on the arm & blade

Please let me know how you get on and I will then add the result to the Q & A page 3, feed back is essential and the only reward I seek.
133 Problem with rear suspension
I've got a problem with the insides of the rear tyres wearing. The wheels toe out at the back ( /---\ ) I have noticed 99% of other A Classes are the same and do not sit on the road squarely.
I've had it checked and the bearings, springs and shockers are fine, no wear and tear at all.
I wondered if you knew what length the rear springs should be? Perhaps they are too short or weak to push the car down onto the road enough?? Do you have any other suggestions?
Feed back Hi Lofty
Have just got back from my local Mercedes dealer in Peterborough. Had a technician look at the car and there is nothing at all wrong with any of the bushes, shockers, springs or the wishbones. He said its what some models of A class do, Honda Civics are the same.
I was advised to rotate the tyres I've got ( Pirelli P6000 which I do not much like anyway) and then swap them for a softer compound tyre which should reduce the amount of wear.
I love the car to bits, it is a little niggled that I can live with!!

I've not heard of this being a problem previously, if I had the problem you have I would say the rear trailing arm bushes were at fault, it is they that control where the rear wheels are in relation to the road , no matter what length the springs they would not affect the tracking on the rear which is what is out if you tyres are wearing unevenly.
Your best bet is to take your car to a good tyre company who are able to check the tracking NOT QUICK FIT, look for a well run company who know what they are doing and get them to check the rear tracking.
If they say it is out then there is no adjustment, but it would confirm my thinking that the rear swinging arm bushes are worn, although it sounds unusual for the tyres to wear in that way.
The swinging arms can be purchased as a unit and fitted or the bushes can be replaced but first you have to get a confirmation that that is problem .
I can think of nothing else that could cause the problem.
Please note these are not adjustable so do not let the garages kid you that they are.

that's good news but I've been running my site now 5 years had my car just on 7 and I've not heard of a single 'A' Class with a rear tyre problem, Fronts a couple caused by tracking after changing struts
Anyway that's good news and with your new tyres you should be ok for many thousands of miles. Good luck Lofty
Well you win some you loose some, I'd be interested to hear what happens when the new tyres are fitted and have done a few thousand miles, I hope for Lucy's sake they are OK But I'd be watching them very closely. page 21
134 Oil warning light comes on following garage service.
Hi Lofty,
I have been going through your CD and also your updated site to see if you or any of your readers have had the same trouble I am having.
My oil light is starting to come on intermittently in the last week or so.
I use the car maybe once a week and have had the car serviced in the middle of June.
The oil dipstick shows there's enough oil and the oil looks the right colour.
So I think the garage did change the oil and filled it right.
I went back and they said that it could be the oil pressure but they would need to hook it up to a diagnostic machine in order to trace the fault.
That will be another £60 minimum before we find out what the problem was.
Have you had any experience of this fault or heard the same from one of your readers?
Many thanks in advance,

Follow up mail,
Thanks for that - I did check again and it is over the MAX mark - so will ask the to remove some oil as you say. Many thanks!
do not worry about it they have put in slightly too much oil, go back and ask them to take out 25cl that will cure the problem, check the oil while the engine is hot and you will find the level slightly high see the note on the filler cap!
Better to be slightly under than over lofty
135 Severe Problems with Automatic gearbox
Dear Lofty, I looked for a user feedback function on your website, but as I could find none I am sending this report by e-mail as a contribution to the fantastic service you provide to A-Class owners worldwide. You may recall that we have been in touch last year, when I purchased your excellent CD-ROM. To recap my status, I live in Brazil and have owned a 2002 A190 (fully automatic gearbox) since new.
Earlier this year, as I returned home from a trip some two hours away, I got the dreaded "F" code on the instrument panel. Luckily, I was only a couple of miles from home, so I was able to limp along in whatever gear (probably 3rd) the car was stuck in.
To make a long story short, the problem was diagnosed as a massive failure of the auto box module. As this part alone costs in excess of six thousand US dollars (approx. 3700 pounds) at local Mercedes Benz dealers, I had the service done at an independent shop, which sourced the module from Europe and also replaced a number of other items (K1 clutch, assorted gaskets, coolant etc.). The grand total, including labour, was about the same as I would have paid at a main dealer for the module alone - still pretty hard to swallow, though. Not to mention the fact that the car was out of service for almost three months while the module was being sourced and imported.
This problem occurred at approximately 32k miles (48000 km), so I would urge all fellow A-Class owners to replace the coolant at shorter intervals, as you have already advised, and also to be mindful of anything that may cause the module to operate at abnormally high temperatures.
The A-Class has a lot of things going for it - but the auto box is definitely not one of them, judging from my experience and that of other owners. If you think that my experience is worth passing on to your readers, please feel free to do so.
Kind regards, Paulo
I have published this mail because its highlights the problems that can be suffered with automatic gearboxes/transmissions.
All owners of such 'A' Class would be well advised to ensure their vehicle coolant is changed at the prescribed intervals, this ensures that the correct proportion of corrosion inhibitor is present in the cooling system which also circulates in the transmission, failure to follow this rule and valves within the box can corrode causing damage costing many thousands of pounds along with the labour costs
If you are replacing your own coolant and all the details are on my site ,you are advised to use Mercedes Fluids that will ensure you get the correct % of coolant plus corrosion inhibitor page 43
136 ABS/ESP sender ring becoming detached from the neck of the drive shaft.
Hello Lofty, I have just ordered your CD and it may cover this, I intend to replace the o/s drive shaft due to the ABS ring having come off ,can I split the CV joint and replace the outer bit complete with ABS ring thus not disturbing the rest of the shaft & support bearing ? (its a full auto a160 )
D, Hi, Yes the drive shafts are covered, but i do not know if you can purchase just the outer, you obviously have the ring? have you considered re-bonding it to the shaft it only revolves does no work so it should stay in place no problem something like 'Araldite' a two part adhesive which you mix and apply, dependent on how close to are to the gaiter you could even heat it up, you may even have to heat the ring to get it back onto the shaft, give it a go clean the area well with wet a .& dry, or fine paper then give it a go what have you to loose.

Feed back
Because the ring was broken the owner fitted a good S/H drive shaft with a sound ESP/ABS sender ring.
138 ESP/ABS instrument cluster light stays on following fitting new Front discs.
hi Lofty,
I changed my Front rotors(discs) and pads on my 99 pre face lift 168.(6 weeks ago) All fine, except occasionally the ABS light came on with the BAS/Tics light i.e., sharp breaking or over a bump). Switch off engine and it re-set. this has only started since i changed the pads and rotors then on motorway, hard brake and the lights are now permanently on. Are there sensors i can clean/change. i have sprayed cleaner (for Airflow meters) on the sensors by the hub, no luck. Are there other sensors that i can look at replace that maybe i damaged?
thanks lofty I E Auckland New Zealand
This almost certainly the brake light switch problem as on both occasions you say you braked, the details are on my site I had the same problem and changed the brake switch it costs £10 approx and takes seconds to fit no tools required. (see my page 18 for details) Please let me know if it cures you fault.
The only other thing you could check is the sensor connections going to the ABS/ESP sensors you may have loosened one but my money is on the brake light switch. The sensors under the wings are situated just above the grooves on the outer end of the drive shafts. please feed back info.
138 Brake problem loud noise from car when I press the brake pedal hard?
Hi when I'm driving and hit the brakes all seems ok, but if i hit a patch of rough ground or brake a little too quickly, i get a lot of vibration on the brake pedal also hear a loud grinding noise/ or sometimes a noise that can only be described as a coiled spring being released. any ideas.
If you hit the brakes hard and keep the pressure on you should hear a gunning sound, this is the ABS (Active Braking System) coming in and preventing the brakes locking the wheels, If you know anything about cadence braking, that’s what you do, press release press release until the car stops. MB designed this system that is now fitted on a lot of cars and it does the job for you BUT only if you press the brake pedal hard and keep the pressure on. proved to stop the car quicker and without locking the wheels even on wet surfaces I strongly suspect that is what you heard. Not sure how you spell Cadence what I can tell you is its difficult to do releasing the brakes and reapplying several times when your approaching the rear of another vehicle takes a bit of doing until you have confidence in the method with this car it does it for you. page 18
139 Stuck Injector Problem Resolved
Hi Lofty,
Great website and incredibly useful information. I would just like to add my thoughts on the problem with the A170 sticking / blowing injector issue.
For a few months I had been experiencing a fumy type smell in the cabin (think exhaust). On inspection of the no. 1 injector, sure enough this had been blowing and as a result had pretty much encased no. 1, much of no. 2 injector and almost all of the claw and bolt holding the injectors in place with a carbon residue that was incredibly hard and brittle and very difficult to remove. As identified by the information on your website, I was now faced with a problem of successfully being able to remove the injector in order to be able to reseat with a new copper seal.
I described the problem to a diesel engine technician friend who has worked on pretty much every diesel engine this side of 1980. His solution to remove the carbon build up? A liberal coating of Nitromors paint stripper on the carbon to be left overnight!
Being somewhat sceptical, I carried out his advice and liberally applied a couple of coats of Nitromors, being careful not to get any on the surrounding plastic surfaces (in particular the plastic shrouding on top of the injectors) and left this overnight. Sure enough, the following day, the Nitromors had done its job and greatly softened the carbon to an extent it could be dug out with a screwdriver, exposing the clamp, bolt head and pretty much all of the no.1 and no. 2 injector. And I am pleased to say that upon removal of the bolt and clamp, both injectors could be removed with a little carefully applied force.
Once removed from the engine, I cleaned the remaining carbon deposits with a wire brush, installed new copper washers and using a new bolt, re-seated the injectors, clamp and re-torqued. And I am pleased to report that this has cured the blowing injector / fumes entering the cabin. I would only add that whilst doing this job, I was careful to make sure that as little Nitromors / carbon muck fell down the injector bores when the injectors were removed. As a precaution, I also put a thin piece of hose down injector bores and applied a vacuum to suck out any remaining muck that may have fallen down.
I am hoping that by sharing my experiences, this information can be used by other A Class owners to avoid costly repair bills on what appears to be an all too common problem on the diesel engines. As such, please feel free to use whatever information I have provided as you see fit on your website and CD. All the best

Thanks very much for the information I will post your email of the diesel problem page and on my page three where anybody looking for answers may look
I'm also very pleased you were able to resolve your problem , obviously the guy you spoke to was a mechanic and not a Mercedes Fitter. Their answer is to charge the earth trying to remove them and then declare that you need a new engine, so you saved your self a fortune well done and good luck with the car. page 98 Lofty

Readers of this item please see also details on page98
140 Changing light Bulbs
I just noticed that the small Parking light inside the main Beam dome on the N/S needs a new bulb.
It is very awkward to get at, then I noticed on your CD an alternative method of replacing the headlamp bulbs, i.e. remove the Headlamp assembly itself.
My question is this. If I am only replacing one bulb, do I also need to disconnect the vacuum tube going to the height adjuster diaphragm, or can I simply lift the Headlamp assembly out a small distance and replace the bulb.
Further, how do you adjust the Headlamp alignment itself. I notice there is a knob in the Cabin, but also some type of adjuster in the headlamp cluster itself. Which one do you use?
Feed back
Just a quick note to thank you for your advice regarding changing bulbs in the front headlamp cluster.
I used your alternative method, as indicated on your CD and it worked a treat! As per your advice, after removing the retaining screws for the wing, valance and lamp assembly, I gently lifted out the lamp assembly just far enough to replace the bulbs. I used a ¼ inch driver, adaptor, and 8 and 10 mm. sockets. The bolts came off really easily.
Originally, I was just going to replace the side lights (W5W) but as access was so easy, decided to renew the dipped beams as well (H7). The entire job (both sides) took me under 45 minutes.
As I do a lot of rural driving, sometimes at night, I decided to use upgrade lamps (Philips X-treme). These bulbs really boost the light 75%.
Your alternative method is so easy, compared with trying to access the lamp assembly from the inside. A real nightmare for anyone whose ever tried it.
Thanks again, Lofty. Your website is a real treasure trove for anyone with an A Class!
You should be able to replace the small bulb without touching the main lamp its self but you will need pointed nose pliers to ease the bulb from it is housed position. Its a job but can be done do not touch any of the adjusters at all or you will have to get the beam reset. You can drop the headlamp forward using the method on my site but do not short cut, you must remove certain other fixings to get the head lamp to come forward. Bulb changing is then easy take great car not to drop/damage the lamp unit.
do not disconnect the vac unit or hose pages 9 &10
141 Problems with central locking and locked boot.
I wonder if you could help I am having problems with the central locking on my 2001 a160, when the key fob unlock button is pressed the doors do not unlock but the indicator lights do flash like it worked. same when you go to lock the car the locks do not respond yet the lights flash as if it did. so the car has to be opened manually the problem with this is that although the key fits into the boot lock it does not turn so I am unable to access the luggage compartment. also the doors no longer lock automatically on the auto lock button on the dash or when the car accelerates over 10 mph. Any advice would be gratefully received Feed back
I have just got access to the boot from inside using the lock mechanism. I have had a look at the vacuum pump and there is no water in the housing that some people have said causes this sometimes to happen and can see no problems with the pump it is self. Any idea how audible the pump is when it is operated as mine makes a click but not very loud? Feed back
Lofty Unfortunately with a two week old in the house it was necessary to get the central locking working as soon as possible what with car seats and prams etc. At some point someone has changed the boot lock and not passed the new key on to us when it was sold. so without central locking it could not be opened so buying a new vacuum pump from Mercedes-Benz was my only option. So here's the sting, £148, but on the plus side plugged it in and worked straight away. Thanks as always for the good advice. Cheers
There is a page on 'open stuck boot on my site' page 25 i can only suggest you read that and then make a decision if they the way you want to go , there is very little damage and the replacement plastic strip only holds the spare wheel cover down You can then open the boot and then free it off . it does sound as though you have two problems because you should be able to open the boot with the key. Give it a good spray with WD40 through he key slot and then when you try open it press the boot lid shut while you turn the key then lift . hopefully that will work. Please keep me imfd You may get away with servicing the pump the other thing is if you have two keys try both.
Further mail
The pump runs for about 3-5 secs when the remote key is pressed a wrrrrrrr sound but you can hear it distinctly running, so your problem is the pump . Be worth taking a look at
mypage 41 'Vac Pump' and then stripping it clean and service who knows you may save your self a great deal of money, £100 approx. good luck. Please let me know how you get on.

Feed back When pressures must, well done when you have time service you old pump good clean up and sell on e-bay All the very best to you and your new family you know where i am if every i can be of assistance . best wishes Lofty. it is a pleasure to be of help
142 Recently purchased an A class 170.
Hi Lofty, I have not sure I have done the right thing having read through the FAQ page, anyway my daughter wanted me to get one so she could loan it!!
I did have a test drive and noticed a couple of niggles a knocking noise from the front and rear end which I suspect is the link arms & the rear bearings on the trailing arms, I can put up with that for now.
The worst one is the gear linkage, it is very stiff when trying to move across the gate, when shifting from 2nd to 3rd, its hard to align it so sometimes you hit 5th, likewise when chopping down from 5th to 4th or even 5th to 3rd, I have now hit 1st three or four times, having only done 100 miles to date.
Its also difficult to come out of 5th sometimes feeling as though you have to yank it. I have looked at the linkage and seen how it operates, applied WD spray, where the rod goes into the box, thinking this rod was the problem. do you think it is liable to be a tight cable from the gear lever or the gear lever ball itself? does the unit come off from under the car easily? I have a full tool kit in my workshop including a 2 post lift, and have done many jobs, just asking if there is an easy solution to this problem.

Whilst looking through the common problems the injector on the diesel looks a bad job, It crossed my mind when reading them all why do people buy new engines, and or have to remove them, why cannot the head be removed and the injector removed with the head off if its impossible to remove in situ, or have I missed some major head removal info somewhere. I have ordered a CD and hope I do not really need to use it too often, keep up the good work with your site, very informative Cheers R
R thanks for your mail, also for the order for the CD rom which I managed to get in the post so that will be with you Monday.

Problems, injectors first because that answer is now simplified by a recent mail, in short Nitromores melts the carboned diesel residue and you are then able to shift and remove the injectors up and until now there have been many many owners who have have had to replace the engine.
However the Nitromores has from what I understand cured the problem for getting rid of the solid diesel residue and you can then fit new seals and hopefully all then will be well, obviously it is not that easy but at least now you have an answer to getting the injectors out if the are welded in by carbon.
(Please read the instruction on the 'Nitromores' container before using)
Gear Box I have never heard of this situation before there are very few problems on the manual box apart from the small link under the bonnet that goes missing making it impossible to get 5th and reverse gear.
My first job with your car would be to change the gear box fluid and ensure the level is correct, then remove the Leather surround of the gear stick and check the linkage there spraying that with silicone spray will do no harm, then do the same at the engine end, That I feel would go some way to curing the problem, incidentally there should be nothing under the leather surround other than the linkage, good place to hide a bag of money or drugs?
Just joking but some owners do silly things to try and cure faults, for the gearbox manual? see my page 59

Rear and front knocks, firstly check for broken springs in the case of the fronts spring support cups as well hopefully they will be ok but this car eats springs unless they are kept sprayed with a light oil, I use duck oil and still have the original springs front and rear and they are still like new. rear springs are a 20 minute job each side, fronts are more difficult but the complete strut come comes out as a unit, BUT make yourself a gauge so that you can get them back precisely as removed, otherwise you will have to get the camber and toe checked which adds cost to the repair, having said that it does ensure you get maximum mileage from your tyres. my page 26 Drop links cheap and simple to fit, my page 29 Use MB parts they are quite often cheaper and they are good quality, things like injectors yes shop around they can be bought cheaper else ware.
If you have further questions come back, I'm not a mechanic but have accumulated a bit of info over my 70 + years for 7 of which I've had the 'A' class good luck with the car I'm confident there is nothing on it that you will not be able to sort given time.

The end product of the stiff gear box linkage was the selector mechanism on the top of the gearbox, in this case a swivel pin had all but ceased making gear changing very difficult.
The new owner persevered with oil and WD40 as it has now eased to the degree that the car can now be driven. At this point I do not know the reason for the pin being so stiff, it could possibly be slightly bent or caused by the car being laid up over a long period.
Certainly it is the first defect I have heard of with this assembly apart from the Black plastic dumbbell link going missing or coming detached and the reversing light switch, which does cause problems on some cars.
If your reversing switch goes defective please ensure you read the material on mypage 59 before even touching the switch, or you could be in for a big bill or loads of unnecessary work.
143 trickle battery charging without removing battery?
Hi Lofty
I read your page on the slow battery charger and would like to know what you opinion is on using the Ctek charger without disconnecting the battery?
It charges at 14.4V 3.3A.
The Mercedes A class web site says it must always be disconnect when charging the batter when situ.
However the Charger Manufacturer. Says its ok no to disconnect (see their reply below).

From: på ctek []
Sent: 19 October 2009 16:28
Subject: SV: support (EN-GB): Zafir 90
Dear Owner
You do not need to disconnect anything while charging, because CTEK is a very safe device to use. It is non-sparking, reverse-polarity proof and electronics safe.
We also deliver chargers to Mercedes Benz and are very familiar with the vehicle, and they with us.
Just to check that your battery is ok, no broken cells or other problems, and you get an excellent charge.
But, of course, if you like to, you always can disconnect, but for safety reasons due to using CTEK, you do not have to.
Best regards,
Teresa Eklöv. CTEK
PHONE: +46 225 351 80FAX: +46 225 351 95 | WEB:
You will see from my pages that I also trickle charge my battery in situ.
With what the manufacturer has said it should be fine, although my charger is automatic and only trickles 1 amp hour,

The only thing I would check is that the vent tube attached to the end of the battery is connected and goes through a hole in the floor, this will allow the gases created while charging to vent outside the car, in any case the battery fitted to you car MUST have a vent tube check also that the fluid level in the cells is just (1/8" approx) above the plates which appear as a sequence of lines when you look into the battery filler holes check each of the 6 cells

Some batteries are considered to be maintenance free, but if the facility exists for checking the fluid level then do so before charging or at least every 6 months.
Keep the trickle charge to a minimum and it should be fine
(Trickle charge = Low charge applied to a battery over a long period of time)
Boost= Boost, High rate charge applied for a short period of time) This type of charge should be avoided as it will cause heating of the battery and may cause it life to be shortened. Lofty
144 No lights on instrument cluster when ignition is turned on .

Hi lofty, I have a problem now that I can _ t start the car. I have trawled through your comprehensive CD, but I cannot find a similar example of my fault. I hope you can help. The problem is that when trying to start the car, there is no display of any warning illumination; only the SRS light comes on. At this point the blower, wipers, windows all work but the horn and indicators do not. I have had the MAFS replaced at Mercedes one year ago, and the car has been fine since. I did notice a slight deterioration of the intensity of the panel lights over the past week, which made me think that a relay was maybe on the point of burning out. I have checked all the fuses although I have not pulled them out, I checked for voltage across each one for consistency, so I guess it could still be o/c on the connector. Any help is appreciated, and I will contact you if I find out what went down. Thanks.
Feed back
Thanks for your fast response, firstly, the battery is brand new at two month old and is in excellent condition. I measured the terminal voltage, and it is sitting just above 12 volts. I have exhausted all my possibilities and will leave the battery disconnected overnight (sidelights on) and hopefully this will discharge any residual potential. I mentioned the wipers operating and the horn and indicators not working only to indicate that in this position on the ignition switch there is a split with electrical devices that you would not expect, so I guess that rules out the ignition switch. I know a very good auto electrician; it looks like he will be getting a call. I will keep you posted. Thanks again.

Feed back
Thanks again for your help, sorry about the delay in responding, but I wanted to make sure I had something definite to tell you. I did the battery disconnection, as you advised, and left it in this condition overnight, with the sidelights left on as I imagine this would discharge any residual charge in the system. I reconnected the battery then switched off the sidelights, then tried to start the car in the normal fashion, only to find the same condition was apparent. I left the ignition in the on position for about 1 minute (I don _ t really know why) turned the key to off, then turned back on again, and the dash all lit up again as normal, I started the car at this point and it ran like a dream, as if nothing had happened. I asked my mechanic friend (you got to have a mechanic friend if you have an A class) and he confirmed that there is a Renault car had the same problem as me and the fix was to disconnect the battery and short out the battery terminals for 15 mins to clear the ECU glitches, then restart as normal. I can only hope that this is correct as I don _ t like the idea of there being a loose connection somewhere, but it has never failed in use (i.e. driving). I am now giving up on the Merc and it is crazy ways, I simply want a car that runs and not a computer that requires a reboot before driving. I Hope this information may help you to help others, as I am sure it will happen again somewhere. Many thanks for your help, cheers.
My immediate reaction is to battery condition?
Secondly if you are sure the battery is OK then disconnect it leave for about 30 mins and reconnect positive terminal first. But check you battery has at least 12 13 volts stored anything less will cause problems. reconnect the battery put your lights to at least side lights before doing so, turn off after connection this reduces the spike of power hitting the ECU
That may reset the system, but check you battery power first, because things like wipers work doesn't mean the battery power is sufficient then power up all the other electronics including turning the starter
Hope that help please let me know how you get on

Feed back
have you looked at my fuses and relays sheet on site are there fuses that supply power to the instrument cluster if so check them, but take care there are some spaces and so it is easy to put a fuse back in an slot.
If you have a digital take a photo of it first or compare it with the one on my site and see if the layout and rating is the same.
Print off a copy and carry it with your hand book.

Feed Back
Ken thank you for the information basically that is what's happened before.
Your find the car will be fine now, remember unless you can afford NEW you could buy worse than you've got, all modern cars have problems look at the Renault dash problem at present £650 to put right unless owners send them to 'ECU testing' who are repairing as many as six a week. So take care what you buy.
145 ECU Water damage
This is a Classic and maybe of help for fault finding for someone else who visits your site for help.
My sons X Reg A Class car failed the MOT. Rear swing arm bearings were knackered on the drivers side + new springs were required.
After removing all the components and replacing the bearings in the swing arm I thought, great job done. Now just remember here the car was driven from my son's house too mine where I have the tools for the job, just swing arm bearings and rear spring change!!

After the swing arm repair I jumped in the car to start the engine and got a very slow cranking and sometimes-normal response from the starter motor and immediately thought the battery was flat. I checked the battery, which was at peak performance. Cringing, my mind wondered off to the starter motor or maybe the ABS sensor on the side I was working on had a fault after replacing the swing arm bearings.
After trying several thing's I could not find a problem with either the battery or the sensor. What I did notice was when I tried to start the car; the engine was cranking over slowly on the starter motor and for some reason the relays were all clicking away madly. I then checked all the relays including the K3 starter relay and could not find a problem. I tried to start the car by towing it, nothing dead. Over several days of fault finding and banging my head against a brick wall and tearing my hair out, good or bad, decided to let the garage have a go. Except for MOT's this would probably be the second time I've taken a car to a garage in my life. They first said the ECU was faulty and then they changed their mind and said it is the ignition switch connector. They changed the ignition switch connector, still no go.
Then the ECU became prime suspect again. They removed the ECU which I sent off for testing to Result was the ECU was knackered and had water ingress. The ECU had previously been repaired and not sealed correctly and I guess when the water bottle was being filled up to overflow and it was spilling onto the ECU!
Cost for the new ECU was £500 + VAT + the £235 fee I have to pay the Garage for finding the fault and changing the ignition switch connector and this all for helping someone else.
I suppose the up side is I saved my son £300 + for repairing the swing arm + £1400 that Merc garage would of probably requested. Anyhow, Lofty, great Web site. Best Regards

One fault after another which in this case could have with thought been avoided, once again owners let down by professionals.
I have suggested the owner contact the previous repairer if only to convince them that that their workmanship is costing money. If you car's ECU has at any point been repaired by BBA Reman check page 38 and ensure the hole in the top right edge has been sealed seal if necessary.
146 Crank shaft or Cam shaft sensor at fault?
Hello Lofty
the car is finally fixed.
After days and days of scanning. The reading always came up with a 'crank shaft sensor error.'
The car continued to run on two cylinders only.
I installed a new crank shaft sensor but still this did not fix the problem I took the car to Mercedes place and again their top of the range scanner read the same. They changed the same sensor but still this did not fix it.
I took the car back and parked it in the drive way for a week. I honestly felt like calling the scrap metal people to come and take it away.

One morning it came to me, a CNC laser cutting machine that I used to write CAD programs for. This machine came up with a fault in one of the sensors but the signal was conflicting with the actual problem.
And a completely different sensor was the cause of the problem and when fitted was the cure.
I ordered a cam shaft sensor and installed it. Believe it or not. The car is back to life and the problem is gone.
So when your A160 runs like rubbish and the scanner is reading crank 'shaft sensor' you need to have a beer and think out side the box.
My wife and I are not sure if we will keep this car after all these dramas. In my opinion, this car is badly designed. What do you reckon?
This owner initially contacted me with a starter problem and we exchanged many e-mails which eventually resulted in him having to get the starter and ring gear changed which of course was and engine/gearbox removal job, not a job for the faint hearted or some garages who refuse to work on the 'A' Class.
This job was done successfully by a competent established mechanic in a well equipped garage but on completion of the job the car then became unreliable only doing a few miles before it packing up, It would start again after a while but would then let the owners down again, it was also discovered that when this happened the engine was only firing on two cylinders.
So one automatically thinks of ignition module problems, but this engine was missing on cylinders 1 & 2 so the coils could not be the problem.
To my mind the firing order would be 1342 from the timing chain side and so the coil would service 1 & 3 and 2 & 4
Diagnostic tests showed that the crank shaft sensor was defective and so the owner replaced the sensor, still no joy
. After many weeks of heartache and having spent out on the starter, starter ring gear and having had the clutch replaced at the same time the owner nearly gave up, numerous diagnostic test on hand held and a test by MB on 'Star' diagnostics declared the crankshaft sensor at fault and so another sensor was fitted, still no joy.

Then the owner who had having suffered a fault on another item of electrical equipment where the test showed the wrong sensor at fault, not a car, prompted the owner to replace the cam-shaft sensor.
'Hey presto' loud cheers from New Zealand, the two duff cylinders came back to life and the car was back to it is old self and running well.

However as often happens the owner it appears has lost faith in the car and MB to locate faults, despite their sophisticated diagnostics tools and is now considering whether to keep it or sell it.
I say no, keep it, you have done the big jobs, clutch and starter plus ring gear, run it see how it goes.
Buying another car doesn't solve the problem because all modern cars have sensors and starters and so you may well buy a car where the self same problems occur. 'Better the devil you know than the devil you do not .' Now if you can afford a new car that may be a different story. BUT because the car will have a warrantee you will feel obliged to have it serviced at the prescribed periods, that in it is self can run into many hundreds of £££ so consider carefully. The moral of the story, it is cheaper to by a cam-shaft and crank-shaft sensor, and try these before having an Mercedes-Benz 'Star' diagnostics test done, the cost of the test alone will pay for these items
147 Severe Camber problem?
While I sold our Mercedes A Class 2001 A140 a while ago, the lady who bought it has taken into my local MOT dealer for a service and he noted the off side (drivers side) front wheel is leaning in three quarters of an inch over its height.
He rang me to ask if I had any idea what it might be ... and whether it reflected on any work carried out in the past.
It did have a coil spring and damper fitted on that corner in 2006.
He’s considering fitting a new suspension leg but doesn’t want to if it’s going to turn out to be something different.
Is it something you have come across in the past?
I would conclude that when the front strut was replaced possibly by MB that they did not mark nor check the camber & toe after fitting the new unit which is not unusual they appear to now nothing about this aspect along with many others, and I have been made aware of this problem previously.

This is not uncommon, the suspension leg is simply locked into position by two bolts lower end these have to be adjusted precisely to give the correct camber angle the, (the vertical pitch of the wheel in relation to the car), the toe should also be checked (The angle of the wheel inline with to the direction of the car ) following such a repair a failure not to do so will result in extreme tyre wear on either the outer or in many the inner or outer edges the incorrect toe will produce a nodged type of wear on the complete tread width. see page 26 If I were her I would take the car to a good tyre company who has the digital equipment tracking alignment tools, to check these measurements and get both sides checked, that will with out doubt correct any problems she has, normal garages do not have this sophisticated equ and as appeared when the strut was fitted guess the position of the strut .Dependent on the garage she is having the scar serviced at even with a new strut they could repeat the same error unless they know what they are doing and have the right gear. . I had done work on my struts but watched the tyre wear closely after the repair, no problem, however having just had two new front tyres fitted had the car checked even with my care while doing the job the nearside adjustment was our by a small amount, having had it correct the car drives better. Hope that helps [Lofty]
148 Car won't start!
Hi Lofty, I have a problem... My 140 has been fine for months, although I hardly use it, except at weekends etc, and last Wednesday I started her up, just to blow out the cobwebs, and she started fine, left running for 10-15 mins and switched off.

I went to take her out to go shopping, and could not get her to start at all. At first attempt she started, but then cut out, as if she'd run out of fuel, so I went and got a gallon and put it in. (the low fuel light was on, before the top-up, but I didn't think I was even close to running out.)

Since then I have tried to start, but the engine turns over well, but no sign of firing into life. Any suggestions as to where to look will be welcome.

Follow up mail
Hi Lofty, Quick note to say I checked the fuses, and surprise, surprise.... fuse number 6, which feeds the fuel pump relay has blown!
However... the fuse in situ is a 7.5 Amp fuse, and the handbook or rather a diagram sheet which is located alongside the fuses in the fuse compartment, (and you web page), shows it should be a 30 Amp fuse!!
I wonder why there is a 7.5A fuse there in the first place? I'll get a replacement fuse (30A) when I go out, and let you know how I get on. Cheers,

follow up
Hi Lofty, Just to let you know the car is now back in action. Replaced the fuse, and she started second turn of the key. Thanks again for the support.. it really is good to have someone to talk things through.

I suggested that this may be a low fuel problem, the owner was aware the tank was low, he put 1 gallon into the car, but it should be remembered that the tank on this car is large and flat so i gallon would be well spread, however a further 2 gallons didn't help either, remember running the tank to empty can cause real problems and block the fuel filter with the sediment which is in most tanks

The only other things could think of is fuel pressure which again can be reduced by the blocked fuel filter and the connection onto the ignition module.
The fuel pressure would need to be checked with a gauge which connects on the facility on the fuel rail behind the air filter housing and the ignition module connection could be check by removing the fixing and then praying with something like 'Electrolube' or WD40

As non of my suggestions had worked I asked the owner if he had checked the fuses?

On doing so it was found that the 'fuel pump fuse' 6 which provides power to the fuel pump relay had blown, But more than that, it was a 7.5 amp fuse and not a 30amp as it should in fact have been .

This indicates that at some time previously time unknown the fuse had blown and been replaced by an incorrect value fuse.
But consider why did the original fuse blow in the first place?

If this happens to you then consider when the fuel filter was replaced, the filter should be changed at approx 50000 if you car has done more than that without a change, get it done. If the correct value fuse is fitting and subsequently blows it could be a warning that the fuel filter is in need of replacement I.e the fuel pump is working harder than it should to provide fuel to the engine , overheats and blows precisely what it is designed to do , Ie protect the fuel pump. This situation could be caused by a dirty fuel filter due to it is age/mileage or the fact that the tank has been allowed to run low/dry, this filter will if that is the case need replacing as a matter of some urgency if the pump is not to be burnt out in the longer term, and it is not a straight forward job to replace as the pump is for obviously reasons fitted in the fuel tank.

149 Surface Water can cause real damage
I have fitted my rebuilt MAFS and the car is no longer pulling back but there is still a constant engine judder.
It ticks over ok most of the time, and even sounds ok when revved but as soon as it is driven it has a constant judder, splutter ( it makes the seats rattle, like sitting on a bus).

Today I completely removed the throttle body and cleaned the whole thing thoroughly with carburetor cleaner, the butterfly was not sticking in any way and the whole operation of it seemed fine.
I reassembled it all and still no difference.

I then thought maybe water had got in the fuel system as all these problems first started after my wife drove through a bad storm with a lot of surface water on the roads.

I purchased some stuff called dry fuel which is supposed to emulsify any water in the system letting it burn off, but once again it has made no difference.

The MAFS was completely shot, the reeds were burnt black and roger at ECU Testing said that it was not operating at all as it should so I am safe in the knowledge that this part was faulty.
Do you know of any other thing it could be, or could something have been damaged by running it with a faulty MAFS.
my oil warning keeps saying minus 1.5L as well even though there is plenty of oil in It.
Sorry to trouble you again but I am stuck for ideas. Kind regards

Follow up mail

Hi Lofty, Problem solved, I replaced spark plugs this morning and still no difference so I had a test done and it was misfiring on cylinder 4. I purchased a new ignition module from MB for £89 + VAT fitted it and it runs like a dream.

It may be worth mentioning on your site the amount of damage that can be done by driving an A class through water even at a slow speed as it has cost me a grand total of about £400 with me doing the labor myself.

As for the oil light, on the diagnosis it said that oil level sensor faulty, oil temperature sensor faulty, once again only since the storm these may have been damaged from when the ECU packed up.

Thank you so much for all your help over the past week and I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas Thanks again.

. Cheers mate you're a star. There are not many helpful people left in this world who would even be bothered to take the time to give someone advice. Top marks to you and your site (I'd have never have sussed using the module bolts to extract it). Thanks again Take care, people like yourself are priceless

T, from what your saying I would check the ignition module it sounds very much to me as though your car is missing only firing on two or 3 plugs failing that you would need to get the camshaft sensor checked and then the crankshaft sensor checked both of these affect timing. There is also fuel pressure has the fuel filter been changed at the prescribed 50,000 miles fuel starvation could also be the cause. It really is just a case of eliminating the problem, if you have a diagnostics tool see what problem code comes up it should be recorded on the ECU. Sorry i can't be more specific but there could be a number of reasons why you have this problem.

Follow up

T, Having read your mail again, I think you will have to get a diagnostic test done, it could be that one or both of the Co2 sensors have been damaged by the defective MAFS.
If that is the case see my site page 38 for reduced cost replacements.
In respect of your oil level sensor that might be sorted by doing an oil change followed by flushing oil then the replacement of a good quality oil.
See if you can find a good MB independent garage to check the diagnostics and also delete any trouble codes if there are any showing.
That will give you a clean start although I suspect roger would have deleted any remaining when he did the repair.
Sorry i can't be more helpful, but i would remove the ignition module and just check that everything plug wise is OK.
Follow up
Pleased to have been of service and Help.

I have mentioned in several places the problems of water damage including to the alternator and Power steering pump you can as I say on 'take the horse to the water you cannot make it drink!'
I have mentioned the problems caused if owners do not heed the warning then i can do no more.
I'm never the less sorry that you have suffered these problems and trust you are at least aware of the results of only a small amount of water which can cause real damage, more so to the a class petrol due to the location of the plugs, By the way do not ditch your old coil pack it may well dry out in the long term.

Same applies to the oil level sensor, that to may dry out in time, you can't replace it anyway without lowering the engine, so just read the level 3 monthly and forget it it may well sort it is self. best wishes Lofty
150 1999 A190 Elegance - Heavy steering

Merry Christmas
I replaced the starter on my daughters Merc at a mates garage. I used a ramp and managed it without totally dropping the sub frame; I loosened the two front bolts and removed the rest. Wouldn't _ t like to do it again but drove home feeling chuffed that all was well.

The next day my daughter drove to school (teacher) and complained of very heavy steering and no self-centering. Back at my friends garage he used a snap on fault finder, it suggested a problem with steering angle sensor.
I was and am an old school mechanic not an electronics/ computer buff.
If steering angle is out its by 360 degrees! As I marked the uj. I have disconnected track rod ends, I hot wired pump and still it is heavy. I can hear the pump change tone under load but the fluid seems static when viewed.
The steering gets lighter after a while but it is never back to normal.

Please help if you can.
(she did go through a ford/shallow water about two weeks before starter played up. Water damage?)

Follow up mail
Thanks for prompt response, ditto about the sensor. I have removed and cleaned all connections pump is definitely getting power from battery and alternator and has good clean earth. Cannot understand wire going to traction control unit, is power steering speed sensitive? And does mine think its doing 120 mph? Hence very little or no assistance. Repair I have no idea. Received CD today ta, have a good one and a happy new year to you. J
Follow up mail
Dear Lofty, lets forget wiring, do the other symptoms described or the water/ford immersion suggest a knackered pump?
Does your contact in Kent do an exchange pump as car is needed to be kept mobile.
yours Jerry

Lofty Haynes manual 12.23, green/black wire goes under washer bottle into loom to ESP control unit. Factory fitted as there are four wires on the pump multi plug
Follow up mail
Lofty you were spot on about Uj, but as to why it happened after starter repair I have no idea. Received CD today ta, have a good one and a happy new year to you.
J, you have lost me somewhere?
The starter.
Obviously you had to remove wheels etc to be able to drop the front sub frame to get at the starter. I can't see where the steering angle sensor comes into any of this or even the marking of the UJ position?

I suspect it is much more likely that a wire has been dislodged as the engine was lowered, even though it was a small amount.
There is a single green wire that goes from the alternator to the Power Steering pump (PSP) it is that, that signals the pump to run when the alternator is running if that is dislodged or not attached then the pump will not get a signal to run
Check also the wires in the small black box on the n/s of the sub frame ensure these are all secure and that the earth is well attached.

Fluid level in the PSP reservoir, also, worth checking the level.
Almost certainly this problem is associated with the starter job and only a close inspection of the starter connections and PSP connections will in my opinion resolve it.

I can't see how the 'steering angle sensor' has any effect on this, if you'd had the steering wheel off, then yes I'd agree you could have upset something in that area but no i do not think that is the problem.
Sorry I can't be more helpful page.49 mypage 66 or mypage.68 may help
Further mail The only reference I have to the wires which would normally be connected to the pump are on my CD or in the photo on my site the pages ref i gave you. I'm not aware that a wire goes to the ESP/ABS system unless it is a common earth or you car has for some reason had a wire added. Having said that your car is also earlier than mine so there could have been changes but i doubt it
Further Mail
Dec 20, 2009 at 6:18 PM, lofty wrote:
Yes they do have a replacement /exchange pump if you give them a call a speak to Mark the manager he may be able to enlighten you on whether this is he only pump failures I've heard of are pump running all the time, and total pump failure I've never encountered the motor running without the psp assistance as you appear to have.

In my book for that to happen the drive or impeller would have to in some way be detached from the pump Bosch motor bearing in mind you have had the front wheels off. I would be inclined to remove the wheels or at least jack them off the ground but keep the drive shafts level and then test, try turning the s/wheel without the engine running and then with the engine running see if the pump is assisting the steering.
if no then look at the linkage and make sure it is not seized.

In the first instance look at the lower UJ on the column that seizes solid but can be released with WD40 then greased I have had cases where the steering wheel has been very stiff but after servicing the UJ all well and I'm putting my money on that UJ on your car.

I would appreciate you letting me know because if it is the pump mechanical drive then that is a new failure and one that's worth mentioning.

But take a look at the lower Uj first.
See mypage 49 mypage 50 it is a common fault.
In conclusion
J I have added you question and the cure to the Q& A page three It again highlights how mechanics jump to conclusions rather than explore the problem and diagnostics can only confuse further.
This little affair could have cost you thousands for steering column and PSP plus the steering angle sensor which would have been fitted without question. when in fact non of the items were required . As for the problem being highlighted following the starter job I can't account for that unless your daughter drove another car while her's was off the road, then on getting back into her car realised just how stiff the steering was . One things for sure it didn't seize over night, this has been getting worse over the last 12-18 months . Just pleased you got it sorted.

As a general comment.
I really would like to know just how many power steering pumps and steering columns mercedes have changed on the 'A' Class to overcome what is a servicing problem

When the lower (UJ) Universal joint (swivel joint ) On the steering column seizes it presents both PSP and steering column failures both are extremely expensive to put right, when in fact all that required if caught early enough is a can of WD40 and a pot of good quality grease £10.00 including the cloth to wipe you greasy hands on.
only following repeated problems did i investigate and find the cure for these problems , do not get stung my garages who are guessing what the faults are, Diagnostics tools will not find nor cure these faults only good servicing and a bit of common sense.
The decision is up to you I can only provide the answers, whether you choose to read and follow the advise is up to you.
LoftyIn conclusion
151 Ignition light showing , power steering failure accompanied by a metal scraping noise?

Just thought i would keep you updated stripped down the car today removed the belt and checked the pulley wheels all are in good condition with none slipping.
We noticed that the Alternator had a little play in the shaft.
We have removed the alternator and checked and it seems apparent that when the alternator requires to produce more power it is energizing and the internal fins are catching on the casing and making the same noise that we had been hearing.

Called Merc-aid who is a friend of my friend and he pointed to the alternator he did ask that if we were to turn of the ignition and turn it back on again would the sound stop we confirmed that it did he was sure it was the alternator so we removed to check and found it making the same noise when we removed it.

Called Mercedes to order which wasn't in stock and that they would have on for us tomorrow at £306.11 (4/1/10)ordered the part and them realized it was a 'Valeo' alternator called our local stockist who has got us the same Valeo alternator with the right codes as mine and amp output for £156.00. This is being delivered tomorrow and crossed fingers hope this resolves the issue i will let you know.
Thanks 'B'
Intermittent failure, Power steering going heavy, ignition light coming on, metal scraping noise from below the drivers seat area.

However following inspection 'B' found that it was not the crankshaft pulley wheel as I suspected but the alternator
. Please read his mail opposite.
When B contacted me with the above symptoms on his 'A' Class I directed him to the crankshaft pulley wheel outer bonded surface which becomes detached from the pulley wheel and thus slips as the metal portion of the wheel turns, which causes a grinding noise as well as in some case the poly V belt to be thrown from the engine or substantially damaged. The drive surface of the crankshaft miss-aligns and in some cases dislodges the belt from the various components,
where this happens it should be born in mind that the water pump, alternator, air conditioning, and power steering will be affected even though the belt may be turning to some degree in the early stages of the defect materializing. It is therefore wise to stop the car and engine at your earliest convenience or damage to the engine will be caused by overheating.
This is the first instance of which I'm aware where the alternator has been the cause of this noise and defect symptoms, it is therefore worth mentioning in this section.
151 Ignition light showing , power steering failure accompanied by a metal scraping noise?

Just thought i would keep you updated stripped down the car today removed the belt and checked the pulley wheels all are in good condition with none slipping.
We noticed that the Alternator had a little play in the shaft.
We have removed the alternator and checked and it seems apparent that when the alternator requires to produce more power it is energizing and the internal fins are catching on the casing and making the same noise that we had been hearing.

Called Merc-aid who is a friend of my friend and he pointed to the alternator he did ask that if we were to turn of the ignition and turn it back on again would the sound stop we confirmed that it did he was sure it was the alternator so we removed to check and found it making the same noise when we removed it.

Called Mercedes to order which wasn't in stock and that they would have on for us tomorrow at £306.11 (4/1/10)ordered the part and them realized it was a 'Valeo' alternator called our local stockist who has got us the same Valeo alternator with the right codes as mine and amp output for £156.00. This is being delivered tomorrow and crossed fingers hope this resolves the issue i will let you know.

Intermittent failure, Power steering going heavy, ignition light coming on, metal scraping noise from below the drivers seat area.

However following inspection 'B' found that it was not the crankshaft pulley wheel as I suspected but the alternator
. Please read his mail opposite.
When B contacted me with the above symptoms on his 'A' Class I directed him to the crankshaft pulley wheel outer bonded surface which becomes detached from the pulley wheel and thus slips as the metal portion of the wheel turns, which causes a grinding noise as well as in some case the poly V belt to be thrown from the engine or substantially damaged. The drive surface of the crankshaft miss-aligns and in some cases dislodges the belt from the various components,
where this happens it should be born in mind that the water pump, alternator, air conditioning, and power steering will be affected even though the belt may be turning to some degree in the early stages of the defect materializing. It is therefore wise to stop the car and engine at your earliest convenience or damage to the engine will be caused by overheating.
This is the first instance of which I'm aware where the alternator has been the cause of this noise and defect symptoms, it is therefore worth mentioning in this section. Thanks 'B'

The owner has since confirmed that it was play in the alternator main spindle that was allowing the cooling fins to contact the outer casing thus causing the noise.
152 Rear screen washer problems.
Hello, I have a 2001 A160 here in Germany and I have e-mailed you in the past. I currently have a problem w/ my rear washer system. I does appear that the pump is supplying fluid to the rear and I have purchased a new rear water jet (this is mounted/clipped into the rear fairing above the rear windscreen) but when attempting to install it does not seem to mate with the internal tubing. I have read your web site in that you have not worked this area as of yet, but perhaps you may have now. Do you have any suggestions?
Feed back Thanks for the advice, You are absolutely right and I will attempt to use paypal or other form of secured payment to donate. You have helped me in the past and it is always appreciated.
You need to test the pump and ensure the water is leaving the pump, then check the hose at the top of the boot lid and ensure fluid is reaching that point. More often than not the hose becomes detached and water runs down inside the boot lid into the boot area flooding the vacuum pump recess, so check that for dry condition as well, As far as fitting the nozzle to the hose, a difficult job in cold conditions. Compare the nozzle with the one removed for likeness and ensure the spigot that fits into the hose is not larger than the original.
Put the end of the hose in near boiling water and then try fitting the nozzle, also you will need to withdraw the hose through the boot lid to fit the nozzle as far as I'm aware the nozzle simply fits /forces into the open end of the hose.
If the tubing has hardened to the degree that it has become inflexible replace the hose, pull the new hose into the boot lid by attaching it to the old hose, this can be done by pushing a semi stiff wire through the old hose and the new some assistance may be required from a third party.

Another problem solved as well as a satisfied owner
153 Windscreen washers frozen?
My windscreen washers were frozen due to not knowing i could put anti-freeze in washer bottle. I did put some anti freeze in while it was still frozen after seeking advice. Ever since weather return from freezing my pumps have been blocked!
Is really frustrating as I just do not know what to try? I keep having to,by hand put water on the screen,as I know its not good to run blades on a dry screen,or is it good to keep pumping washers. I must sort it asap-I think it could be due to algae build up? Any suggestions???
Firstly disconnect the electrical plug to the pump at the base of the washer fluid container remove the washer bottle and clean it thoroughly Then you can do this by lifting the yellow lever My page 4 that hold the container in the car move it away from the metal cross member and then up , having removed the electrical connection, as you lift it up you will find the pump and tubing is still attached ease the pump from the plastic container by twisting and pulling it up and away from the container, it only a push fit into a rubber grommet/seal
Having done that you will be able to take the container in doors and thoroughly clean it using washing up liquid or some such cleaner
Having done that you will need to clean the hoses through, Replace the container, as you lower the container into it is location refit the pump pushing the spigot firmly through the rubber grommet/seal. The container has a moulded spigot at it is base this fits into a hole on the sub frame, if it is not located you will not be able to re-fit the container correctly so watch that point
Re-connect the electrical connection to the pump.
Once in location with the lever re-positioned put about 1.5 litres of warm/hot (not boiling) water into the washer container.
Then with the engine running to save draining your battery, operate the front washer facility, switch on using the combination switch . The pump is a self priming pump, although it may take several minutes stopping and starting the pump several times may help.
Once water reaches the screen repeat the procedure for the rear screen, switch is on the dash
When both are satisfactorily spraying water onto the screens, put one container of Mercedes Screen Wash part No to the large washer container.
Top up the container with clean tap water.
The Mercedes washer fluid is anti-freeze as well as screen wash, Good value as it is last some time, and the nozzles are electrically heated so you should have no problems in future .DO NOT MIX different manufacturers FLUIDS may causes clogging and may block nozzles
Please let me know how you get on and as I have not had the specific question before I will add it to my page 3, with the outcome so please sent feed back . Thanks if your not clear re-mail me.
Boot fails to lock/unlock automatically or with key.
Hi Lofty
. Thanks for the prompt supply of CD, However I'm still struggling to solve my problem.
My tailgate won't lock with either key or remote. All other doors lock OK with the remote.
I thought we had it licked when I read that if the rear screen wash fails to function (As does mine) this often causes a problem by filling the vacuum pump area with water and damaging the pump assembly. I have checked and can find no water in the housing.
Would I be right in thinking that if the problem was the vacuum pump then none of the doors would lock? I wonder if you can suggest any other area to check as I've trolled through anything on the CD that seems likely to help without success.
I was hoping I might find some pictures on the CD showing detail of the vacuum tube and screen wash entering the tailgate.
I only purchased the car about 4 months ago and initially the tailgate lock functioned correctly. I like the car but some things seem a bit under engineered which is almost unique with German manufacture.
Any advice and help you can offer will be most gratefully received.

Feed back
Many thanks for the advice, I had to strip out the whole lock assembly and using release agent free it off.
I suspect the assembly was out of alignment and it still seems a little reluctant to operate but after several attempts it has not failed so fingers crossed it is cured.
It would seem that the key I have for the rest of the car does not fit this lock which must be a replacement so at some stage I will need to replace. I didn't mention that the car whilst being 10 years old has only done 50,000miles so should still have a lot of life yet.
Once again let me say how much I appreciate your help.
No problem. Your right the other doors wouldn't lock if the vacuum pump had failed. as for the non working rear washers it could be either a blocked nozzle or the tube is detached at the top of the rear section inside the cab you would need to check that to confirm that was OK before checking further. See page 42, site or CD As for the boot lock this will almost certainly be caused by lack of lubrication, again you need to remove the boot lid inner panel and then make sure the mechanism is free and well lubricated, make sure you have the keys in you hand or pocket because the car will lock when you play with the boot lock, then you have to climb through the car to retrieve the keys, also because the boot lid is open the alarm may well go off.
It could a loose fitting onto the vacuum actuator but I doubt it, having lubricated the lock and got it working make sure the 'U' fitting onto which it latches is also lightly lubricated, I do mine all-round including hinges at least twice a year with 3 in 1 light oil/aerosol Hope that helps.
See page 41 for vacuum hoses & fittings. page 25 for boot lid details. Having removed the lid inner lining, exercise the lock mechanism manually there are photos on page 25. Hope that helps I would appreciate hearing how you get on.

Follow up
Well done 'J' if the lock doesn't work easily then do try to fully align it because this car is notorious for the boot lid jamming and it is difficult say the least to then open it when it does, you will see I have a special page for just that.

The key should unlock the boot so it my still need a bit more attention, the price of the key at £110-120+ may make you change your mind, about the key? If you have two keys try both in the lock also try to lock, turn the key with the lid open then you will see the mechanism working
I do not know if you can get a replacement lock barrel if needed to match the existing drivers door lock I suspect it still wants a bit more work or lubrication and may cure itself as the lubrication you have applied gets into the mechanism
155 No lights on instrument cluster car is dead!
My A160 is dead. When you put the key in and turn it, nothing happens. Nothing lights up, basically anything usually attached to the ignition is not working.

Additional details:
New battery fitted 3 weeks ago
Ignition fuse is not blown
The headlights, locking and interior lights work fine
Any ideas?
follow up mail
Cheers for the great advice lofty!
I tried the battery disconnection and it was no different so I checked the fuse you suggested.

It had blown and replacing it made it come back to life.
I have been to a local mechanic who load tested the battery, he said its fine.
I asked what could cause the fuse to go and he said that they just go sometimes but if it goes again there may be an issue.

I would not have known where to start without your help and website.
Thank you so much for providing brilliant help and saving me an arm an a leg!
In the first instance I would still check the voltage at the battery anything less than 12volts and the car will not start, new batteries go duff as well as old, I've just myself had such an instance. If that's Ok then It sounds as though you have a starter switch defect have you tried several times?

If yes and the voltage is OK. Disconnect the Battery positive terminal first, leave for a period say 15 mins turn the lights switch to at least side lights position
Reconnect the battery, positive terminal first
followed by negative
switch off lights
check dash display if OK try to start the car.

You say you have checked the fuse, I have an idea it is fuse 8 ( 30amp) but check there is a fuse that feeds the relay see my fuses and relays chart page 15 check also fuse 30 please let me know how you get on . Lofty

Follow up
That's great news, remember I do have a CD that has loads of info on it that's not on my site, The proceeds also help me keep the site on the road. so unless you have supported the site in some way please consider purchasing the CD or making a small donation. Good luck with the car, I'm confident you will now be OK. Lofty Lofty
156 Coolant temperature warning displayed on instrument cluster.
W169 A150SE
The instrument display says coolant warning visit workshop and the cooling fan remains on. I toped up the coolant level and the display warning went away for a short while and then came back.
There is no sign of a drip and the fan remains on all the time. Do you think this is a between 80 & 100 which is normal. Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Follow up
Fan and warning comes on when the car is warm say about 15 mins after running it. No sign of any leaks/drips and coolant wasn't low so i only added a very small dribble.
I suspect a sensor somewhere, odd thing is the temperature rises to about 90 normal so i reckon a sensor as it thinks its is hotter than it is. thanks
Further follow up
Hi lofty The variable fan controller connection and fan parts are corroded, unusal for the age but I do live in an area with higher than avgerage rainfall
I've ordered the bits from MB
Thanks for your help with this one 'D'
Not had this one before.
Does the warning lamp/fan come on straight away or as the temp climbs if it is on from start then yes I agree it could be the sensor. The box on the front of the rad and condenser if you have air con is the variable fan controller so it would be worth checking the connection on that. When you said you topped the coolant up was it low and if so have you any leaks
If the car's running ok then fine but if it is lumpy the dip the oil with the stick and check for oil partials on the dip stick,
When head gaskets goes which is rare on this car, the 'HI' oil lamp shows if water has raised the oil level when you start, so that should be OK. W169/A150 that's makes a difference and you may not have the variable fan control?
The problem is with MB they will want to put it on diagnostics which costs, and even then they do not know the answer, it would be cheaper to buy a temperature sensor and fit it without the test, min charge for a test is £50 approx so you can see where I'm coming from.
If the water level is stable since you topped it up then I would go for the sensor and take a chance, if with the new sensor the fan continues to run then you have got a problem and would possibly have to get a test, unless the workshop can put there finger on the problem without which I doubt.
There is a electrically operated thermostat but I wouldn't expect the heater to work efficiently if that was stuck closed and if it is stuck open you shouldn't have a problem accept the car wouldn't run well until the engine was fully warmed up.
I can't really help further. But would appreciate you letting me know the outcome
Follow up
Agreed i would go for the sensor, after you have checked the connection onto the variable fan controller if fitted to the front of the rad. Good luck please let me know how you get on.
157 Car is Stuck on the drive and won't start.
Hi Lofty In the page about keys and their re-synchronizing with the immobilize you mention Mr Lapou and his success mending his problem when bridging two contacts together, these being shown as "A" in a picture. This is the same problem I am having but I can't find the picture on the page showing contacts "A" Could you enlighten me please as I am presently stuck with an A Class in my drive that's not going anywhere at the moment.
Full marks for the web-site by the way, well done to you
feed back

Further to my question earlier on bridging the remote contacts, there is also a Start/Error message on my dashboard and I recall my wife saying the red light on the alarm/dashboard had been flashing for the past month or so.
After further reading on your site, I've now concluded that my Siren Unit is faulty and I should contact Scorpion for a new one. Like yourself I think that £30.24 is not a bad price to pay to get it back on the road.
Do you agree with my diagnosis? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Feed back
Ok will do and I'll let you know the result. Thanks for all so far.
Feed back
Success. well done and thanks. It turned out that my key didn't give the battery voltage flash but did after cleaning so I think when I was using my key the immobilize was getting a bit confused since my wife's key was still ok. Anyway all is well now touchwood and I'll get new batteries for both keys tomorrow. Do you have any spark plug access keys left and a donation is on its way. Thanks again
Owners beware there are many things to check before resorting to that procedure.

I have spent hours looking for the missing photo and cannot locate it.
I have taken another photo see page 6, and as far as I can recall it is the two I've marked AB
However this is a last resort have you tried every thing else fob batteries etc / what message if any are you getting on the dash with the key at position two?

Although I agree with your diagnoses of the alarm horn battery cure by replacing the horn, that is not in my opinion the cause of the car showing a 'start error' message that is caused by the immobilize not recognizing the transponder in the key fob

In the first instance try disconnecting your battery for 20 mins or so then reconnect, remember to follow the correct procedure i.e. positive off first, back first and turn your light switch to at least side lights this reduces the spike of power hitting the ECU before the battery is reconnected.

If that does not help then you will need to re-synchronies the key as it is lost contact with the immobilize

That should re-synchronies the two items allowing them to speak to one another, which they are not doing at preset. The procedure is in you handbook or on my site.
P, Thank you for your generous donation. Yes I do still have tools available.
158 ABS/ESP & SRS lights problem/cure?
I had a problem recently which had me stumped for a while (on an 'A' class 160) The ABS and SRS(?) lights came on after reaching 25mph.
I cleaned all ABS sensors and rotors, replaced stoplight switch to no avail.
After having a think about it; I looked for other faults on the car. The steering wheel was turned to the left about 45 degrees, so I re-aligned it by shortening one track rod and lengthening the other. Hey Presto the lights no longer come on. Regards P.F 
P. I must say that's the first time I have heard of that being the answer or the cure
Do you know the history of the car?
If the steering wheel was not correctly positioned then the clock spring should have picked that up and the ESP/ABS/SRS lights would come on.
I suspect that either the steering wrack has been removed for some reason and the tracking not re-aligned correctly that's why it is important to check the location of the notch on the bottom of the column before starting work.

If yours is not aligned in the deed ahead position then I suspect you have a clock-spring adjustment problem or the steering wheel is not re-aligned correctly which you have overcome by adjusting the track rod ends.
Id be interested to hear if you steering column is aligned as marked when the wheels are dead ahead & whether you are aware if the steering wheel has been off for any reason recently as it sounds as though it has been incorrectly replaced.
Further advise offered
As track rods ends do not adjust themselves to the degree where the steering wheel is out of align by 45% this must be caused by something out of the ordinary, be it a bent track rod or severe kerbing, either way it must be fully investigated before taking the action you have taken even though it cured your problem.
The question now is will the car know where the wheels are if the car gets into a severe skid?

P having given some further thought to your situation you must check the position of the wheels when the indicator at the base of the steering column is aligned. The steering wheel lock also normally locks when the wheels are in the dead ahead position.

The clock-spring (steering position sensor)situated beneath the steering wheel is the sensor that tells the car where the wheels are in relation to the alignment of the car, if this is not set up correctly you could have real problems in an emergency, just adjusting the track-rod ends is not the answer or a safe cure as to why the lights were on
. Almost certainly this was the steering wheel incorrectly positioned or the clock-spring being defective or incorrectly wound.
What you do is up to you but I'd not feel safe without checking the various settings see my pages 49 & page 50 apply
159. W169 Problems with vehicle height & ground clearance.
I just hit on your site and you seem to be the expert. Well done. I've just purchased a brand new 'A'180D Elegance.
I am delighted with the car except for one particular aspect - the lack of ground clearance. Indeed, it is impossible to negotiate kerbs, speed humps or uneven surfaces without "grounding" the underside.
I've had it checked and Mercedes say it is OK but it certainly isn't fit for purpose especially in the road conditions we have to contend with in the Midlands.
Ever heard of anyone else making the same complaint? Regards, C.
Thanks for your donation, One of the points I make on my site, Page 56 is the very small amount of ground clearance in fact it can be measured with a house brick which is not a lot of space.
The page in fact covered a side sill that I damaged while dropping off a kerb very little clearance to the determent of the car. I've not had comments about a problem even though I suffered problems myself. If MB say your car is ok then I do not know what you can do you could possibly get stiffer springs but the ride is not that great to start with and that would only make it stiffer and not increase the height.
I think if you have real problems then I would go back to MB and complain, see what they suggest But their after sales is not normally very good so you may have to push the issue to get something done. I appreciate that we are talking two cars your W169 has a different rear suspension set up to the W168 and it certainly needs it.
Also keep a close eye on the springs front and rear the existing car breaks springs although I'm firmly of the opinion that it is because Mercedes Run them dry, I spray mine with ' Duck oil' and that protects them from rusting which is half the problem.
Also you might like to look at the steering column on your car, the lower UJ will be fine at present but again MB leave the UJ dry with the result that it actually ceases, although your car will be under warrantee I would grease the lower UJ it will prevent rather than cure the problems experienced by hundreds of W168 owners and I have no reason to see why the W169 should not be the same as it gets older.
Follow up mail
When MB say they can't do anything about it that's not true they like you if the car wasn't NEW could look for tyres with a stiffer tyre wall profile, that would make some difference, a good tyre supplier would be able to advise you. Look on my tyres page 62 they would help you there is a link there to a good tyre company. Lofty.
160 Problems with Poly V Belt Shredding
Hi! I'm Mile from Macedonia.
My daughter has A170 CDI (W168.008) from 1998. We have problem with 'V'-belt and maybe pulley. V-belt was tearing three times in last one month.
My car service agent three times replace it with new one (5PK 1720, 5PK1718) but after 200 km v-belt was tearing again.
He replaced alternator pulley and guide pulley but the problem still exists, and other v-belt was torn.
Can any one help me to solve this problem and what is right number (sign) of v-belt for A170 CDI (W168.008) with motor number OM668949. Thank you
Dear Reader
I do not now normally answer questions without a small donation to my site, however as it is your daughters car I will try and help.
If you look at my page 57 you will see problems and causes associated with the belt.
There are only two belts. 1. One for cars with air conditioning
2. One for cars without so only one will fit your car.
purchase you replacement belt from Mercedes-Benz using your VIN number and you will be assured that it is the correct one for your Car.
However whoever is fitting it needs to ensure that the main crankshaft pulley wheel and guide and tensioning pulley's are running smoothly and are in sound condition.
It sounds to me as though the main crank shaft pulley wheel is running out of align which will shred the belts
If you look at the page you will see that the outer surface of the wheel becomes detached and although remains in position for a while runs out of align, another cause is ceased belt pulleys these apply undue wear on the surface of the belt and the belt then shreds.
All of the components associated with the poly v belt need to be inspected for damage and wear and replaced as necessary along with the tensioner which is when working correctly very strong, however it is not normal to have to replace more than the belt.
161 Where to I place my axle stands while working on the car?
Hi! First I just have to congratulate you to a awesome page covering the A-Class! I'm really impressed. I'm a bit of a petrol ead myself but mostly doing BMW's However I'm about to do a minor job on a A140, so I found your page. But there is one thing I (and I assume some A-Class owners as well) haven't been able to find any info about - where do you place your jack-stands? I'm not really used to have a jack-points poking out thread plastic sheets - but I must say it was really easy and nice to use those. But the question is - where do I place the jack-stands? I could not really find an answer on that question. I'm about to do a smaller front brake job and would like to remove one front wheel at a time (I will never crawl under the car supported only by a hydraulic floor jack). Have you seen any info in the A-Class community regarding where to place jack-stands?
A good question but a not so straight forward answer.
Unless you have had the plastic under floor pans lowered on your car you will be sceptical about the jacking points which as far as Mercedes-Benz is concerned are there for supporting the vehicle while you remove and then re-fit a spare wheel. They do not envisage you needing to jack the car for any other reason, as they will be doing all the work and maintenance on the car !

Wrong! Many owners simply cannot afford garage prices and more to the point, Mercedes-Benz workshop prices to service their beloved car.
So where do we place jacks and axle stands.
Well the 4 jacking points are secure being mounted onto the under floor of the vehicle
In addition you can jack with care under the wishbones (front Suspension) or on the cross member set to the rear of the front spoiler, which is part of the engine sub frame in addition you have the rear sub-frame, all sound jacking points with care.
However when placing jacks or axle stands make sure you do not damage flexible as well as metal brake hoses and pipes etc.
Do not jack or support the car on any part of the car's bodywork or structure unless you have first ascertained the structure of the cars underside, where possible use blocks which spread the load rather than using a single point of support such as the head of an axle stand.
Never rely on jacks alone, for further details see mypage 5
162 My car was fine now it won't start
My A140 had been working fine, no problem at all and fully serviced 2 weeks ago.
The Mechanic said the car was fine, the only problem was the rear brakes shoes needed replacing and to get them done very soon - within a month. I haven't got around to getting them done yet.
But yesterday morning, the car failed to start. No ignition, no cranking, the radio, keys etc work fine. The dashboard was lights up. with no warning of any problems. The engine just died without any warning overnight.
The day before yesterday, I was still driving it perfect. No indications that something was wrong while I was driving.
My Home-Start break down service tried to jump-start. It didn't work, so it was towed to the garage, who serviced my car 2 weeks ago.
The mechainic there said the starter motor had gone. I didn't believe it.
This is typical of the mail I get where the 'A' Class performs 100% then suddenly out of the blue fails to start.
As the owner says the dash lights up and the radio works which suggests the battery is Ok, however it should still be one of the first things to check.
In the case of this care the breakdown service used by the owner attempted to jump start the car with out success which tells us the problem isn't battery alone, however in this case the car's battery was down to 11.5 which initially points to a battery charge or condition problem that needs to be sorted before committing further monies. This car will not start if the battery is below 12 volts
The owner had a new battery fitted and fuses checked, finally having the starter motor replaced which cured the problem

But you will note in the owners own words there was no clicking from the starter, in fact this is a common comment nothing on this car pin-points a starter problem.
Equally do not waste you money on Diagnostics because that will not pin-point the starter defect. If my car suffers this problem.
One definitive way of proving the problem is the starter with car's with manual and ACS gearboxes is to try to 'tow start' if the car starts then almost certainly the problem is the starter. Owners of car's with automatic transmissions you should be aware you cannot tow start you cars by towing.
I will be checking battery Voltage looking for 12volts +, check Fuse 30, Starter lockout relay, and attempt to tow start before condemning and replacing the starter which is an involved job, not easily undertaken by DIY owners because the engine has to be lowered which requires the car to be elevated to a reasonable height
Please read mypage 66 carefully before purchasing a replacement starter motor or it could be money down the drain in the same way it is false economy to fit a second hand/used starter.
162 Problems with ignition key not starting the car
Hi, I have been using my Spare Key to drive my car for 3 days, on reverting back to the Main Key and the dashboard is indicating "start error". The Main Key is opening the drivers door but cant start the car.
However, the car starts well on using the Spare Key and move well with noticeable problems. I will appreciate to know where the problem is and how i can solve it. Kind regards, P
Follow up
Hi Lofty, Yes, the Key casing has split and as i said before, their was no batteries in the casing before the split. i.e. the remote part of the fob has not been functioning.
After the split, I opted to use the spare key which am still using even now.
Over this weekend, I opted to put together the casing tightly to position as before, no batteries and that's when the Start error emerged.
The Main Key can open doors but cant start the car. I have no owners manual.
Reading from your site, re-sync seems to occur when the remote part of the fob is working. What about when you are manually using the Key to only open and start the car? How do we re-sync the key in a remote less situation? Lastly, i will purchase the CD via paypal soonest. Kind rgds
Follow up

Yes, i did find it, fixed it back to the casing and the key is working well. Thanks sir.

If you have an owners handbook see re-synchronize keys If not take a look on my page 6 to see the procedure Hope that helps,

Follow up
Have you read my page 6 re batteries etc Are there any signs that the key casing has split?
Follow up
If the batteries are OK following test then synchronize the key using the procedure on my page 6 either on my site or CD

Patrick, If the key casing has split then there is every chance the transponder pea which is situated inside the casing has gone missing if this is the case then the car cannot recognize the key and it will not start the car
You can use it to manually open the doors

IF the pea is still in the key casing then you will need to put batteries in it for it to work remotely although the key should start the car without batteries in the fob. If after fitting batteries and testing the remote operation it still doesn't start the car then follow the re-synchronizing of the key procedure on my mypage 6 If that doesn't work then almost certainly the pea is missing from the damaged casing.

Keys are only available from Mercedes-Benz on special order and cost well over £100 each
Follow up

As it turned out and after a number of further e-mails one of which described the transponder the owner managed to locate it and re-insert it back into the damaged fob casing, he was most fortunate as the transponder is not much bigger than a single grain of wheat(corn)
The key now works and with batteries fitted the remote facility also works.
At least he now has a spare key and saved the cost of a new key which is in the region of £150.00, which has to come from Germany and of course is coded to work with the owners car.
A very succesful ending.

Do remember that without the correct transponer which is coded to your car only and installed in the key fob casing your car will not start you will simply get, as did this owner 'start error' which will appear on the instrument cluster when the key is turned to position 2
163 Front Electric windows will not operate
Front windows of the car are stuck-one open (driver's side cant be closed) and the other one is stuck up (passenger's side cant be opened).
The back windows are working well.
Your advice will be highly appreciated.
Follow up
It isn't working. have done like 100 short and long presses, windows are stuck, 1 up the other down.
May be I did something wrong when trying to close the window on the driver's side.
Follow up
The fuse was the problem and i got it replaced and everything is back to normal again.
have you followed the procedures for re-setting on my page 63? have you checked fuses?
Not where you remove fuses from, as there are gaps.

Follow up
Did you check fuses?

There is a module on this car for control of windows front and rear but you could only find out what /if there was a problem by having a diagnostics test done

The question is the age of the car. If pre March 2001 only MB, or independent MB can test post March 2001 almost any garage should be able to read the fault codes.
But I'd check fuses first. hope that helps lofty

None of us are right all the time, but if a suggestion is made it is worth considering and if you agree then follow that advise, it may save you time, anxiety, and e-mails in both directions.

Another happy owner.
164 Symptoms associated with a Crank shaft position Sensor Defect

Car: A160 1999 model, 150,000km.

Problem: intermittent stalling at idle, engine cutting out across the rev range and intermittently, car becoming increasingly difficult to restart after stalling (engine will crank but not fire). Engine will eventually restart after sitting for an hour.
No engine warning light and I suspect no codes either.
Solution: faulty crank position sensor, car will restart after a squirt of freeze spray on the sensor body. Purchased and installed a new CPS sensor from the local Bosch dealer (A$140) I think MB wanted around $200 for the same BOSCH part.

I hope this helps someone out there, as at first I was dreading the MAF problem so common on other cars. Cheers from Australia
One of the problems with modern cars is finding out what the cause of a given problem is.
More often than not it will be suggested that you get a diagnostics test done .
That's Ok if your car is of an age where you can use any garage to do the test, but if it is earlier that Feb 2001 petrol or 2003 diesel then you are compelled to go to either Mercedes Main dealers or an Independent Mercedes garage, in both cases there are of course cost implications before the fault is even corrected.

Greg here has kindly provided the symptons associated with a
Crank shaft position sensor fault
which will allow you to compare the symptoms your car is producing and determine whether its worth fitting a new sensor in preference to paying out for the diagnostics test.

Only you of course can decide but either way if it doesn't cure your particular defect you won't have lost a fortune trying.
Thanks Greg for the info.
165 The importance of good earthing points and clean terminals is clearly highlighted by this story received from a fellow owner.

CDI/168, now with 115000 miles on the clock:
A couple of months ago I noticed that the 'oil-can' symbol was showing on the instrument display while driving along, followed soon afterwards by the whole display flashing on and off. I stopped and checked the oil level - which was OK.
I proceeded carefully with no obvious signs of any problems.
I later had a diagnostics test carried out and the fault-codes read and reset by a local expert (not Merc) the results indicated:- A brake-light fault (I had much earlier had two brake lights fail together,) as well as an air-flow mass sensor fault.

However as there had been no indication of poor running and the car continued to return good mpg, I assumed this to be a rogue indication and ignored the fault, the car continued to run without further fault indications for approx a month.

Then I had a reoccurance of the instrument cluster flashing lights problem, as well as the assyst service indicator re-set itself complete with the two beeps confirming it is re-set. This happened on two separate journeys in sequence.

Reasoning that the fault was probably a result of a bad connection some where, I removed the battery, unplugged and re-plugged all the fuses, opened the ECU box to see if there was any corrosion, (which was very clean) and slid all four ECU connectors out a little then back in again.
These contacts, if slightly corroded, can be improved/cleaned by the sliding/scrapping action.

I had been looking for the earthing points to the bodywork and found one on the inside of the front nearside (left) wing, situated below the removable windscreen wash fluid reservoir.
This earth terminal has two brown wires attached to it, probably one of which could well serve as the ECU earth.
The terminal post and the lugs all had a slight amount of oxide dust on them.
I cleaned these using a brass wire brush ensuring they were clean, re-assembled, and then protected them against further exposure by coating them with petroleum jelly. The good news is that I have now covered a further 200 miles with no reoccurrence of the problems encountered.

My explanation, if the outcome is maintained, is that many of the Sensors, actually use the same earth used by the ECU, Dragging that input voltage down to logic "low" or indeed momentarily breaking the continuity of power to the components involved.
If the ECU earth had itself raised in voltage, due to the oxide/insulating contact (a bit like an old-fashioned metal/oxide rectifier), then the ECU would have received all sorts of spurious inputs causing the flashing warning/lights on the instrument cluster as well as the re-setting of the service assyst.

I am still hunting for the illusive earthing point said in the Haynes service manual to be inside of the RH front wing so far without success.

Other major faults to date:
1. Gearbox re-built by local expert, due to "worn-out bearings" at 70k miles;
2 All four suspension coil springs replaced as they had fractured near one end
3 Collateral damage to the front strut spring pans caused by the fractured springs.
4 Drop link replacements (now ok with improved drop link design)
5 Several problems resulting form poor workmanship by Mercedes-Benz garages in early days while the car was under warrantee.

David Thank you for this information which could clearly help an owner suffering the same problems.
I can't add much to this information except to say that the flashing instrument cluster lights has been brought to my attention more than once, it is cause remaining unexplained until now, Earth faults on any car can be a real headache and more often than not difficult to trace.
Certainly I have not heard of the assyst re-setting on its own which in this case, according to the owner it did more once.

When ever I see a car with one bright headlight and one poor I say dodgy earth and having caught out by earth faults know I'm right.
It is worth noting that there is a large earth terminal that connects onto the engine block just to the right of the oil drain plug beneath the car, worth checking when you next change your oil.

166Ignition Remote key fob will not always unlock /lock car
I'm emailing you in the hope of maybe pre-empting a problem on the horizon. Today the central locking system took a holiday.

Not even the button on the dash would operate the system.
I just had a good look at the page 41 on your web site and so checked key fob batteries, fuse (No°29) etc, then had a look in the boot at the pump system.

I felt carefully around the sponge casing and noticed that it was completely dry (although I do know for sure that the rear windscreen hose has come adrift).
Strange thing is that the central locking now works normally again!!
I only felt gently around the top of the unit and cables but it is as though I did something to make it work again.
Could this be a bad connection or something?

Follow up mail

Thanks for that Lofty - yes the symptom you describe is exactly what happened.
I will check it out as soon as I get back. From the look of it in the photos, I only need to disconnect the 'manifold' and the white tube and cables to be able to simply lift out the pump. If it is damp I'll get the hair dryer on it and do the plastic bag trick you recommend.
Follow up mail

Well I spent ages hair-drying the foam rubber housing to get it really dry, and I cleaned the connectors with boiling water, cotton buds and some fine emery paper on the pins. Put it all back this morning in a watertight polythene bag and it is been working consistently ever since. Hopefully that's the end of the matter. It remains to sort the rear screen washer problem, but ever since I noticed it was leaking (back in June) I have avoided using it.
Many thanks again for your help.
Best wishes,

When you say it packed up was the key operating the light and no action from the pump?
If that was the case then check the pump As Soon As Possible(ASAP) and if it is wet dry it out, inspect and replace There are details on my site.
I would certainly inspect the pump more thoroughly and make sure that the whole thing is dry
I'd then lift it out and place the whole thing in to a water tight bag, polythene food bag is ok no holes leave the top open and trim it off level with the boot floor level top of the recess That will ensure the pump security against water damage in the long term
While your there re check the connection and ensure it firmly fitted/housed

The answer in this instance has been provided in the owner's question? The rear screen washer is known to be faulty the hose having become disconnected.
When that occurs and the washer is inadvertently operated washer fluid runs down (services 5th door)into the lower boot section and then finds its way to the lowest point which is the well/recess into which the vacuum pump for the central locking has been placed.
Well done Mercedes Benz design team another built in money spinner.
The answer is to carefully remove the pump complete in it is casing and check for moisture which is more often than not the cause of the locking failure, the pump failing to work.
Carefully remove the absorbent pump casing and inspect the pump for water damage along with the connections both male and female.
The action needed to sort this problem can be anything from drying out and cleaning the pump and contacts to having to replace the pump complete which is not a cheap item to replace.
More often than not is salvageable if you are prepared to spend the time cleaning it up, there are details on my page mypage 41 see also additional information link, the content on which was kindly provided by Edi who suffered the same problem.

Whether you are able to salvage the original pump or not it does pay to place the pump inside of a polythene or water tight bag/container to prevent a reoccurrence in the event of washer hose problems.
167 Mobile phone has adverse effects on ECU software
Today I had an very interesting experience.
I was driving and my mobile phone was located below the CD player. Suddenly my phone rang and at that moment BAS/ESP and ABS indicators turned on. I turned off the car and turned on again. The lamps turned off !!!
For your information.......
Because of the nature of the electronics of your phone and the A class I'm not surprised ,position the phone in such position where its likely to interfere with the ECU software. I have an arm rest between the front seats and stow the phone in there.
However In the UK it is illegal to use a mobile hand held phone will driving and so it is not turned on.
The symptoms that you describe could also be responsible for causing an accident, any interruption to the engine power could distract the driver to the degree that an accident results.
Although no illegal hands free kits can also cause the driver to be distracted when responding to a phone call, the these days you need 100% of your attention on the road. My advise no matter where you live is turn it off while driving.
168 Long term starting problems during cold weather associated with instrument cluster light failure I am wondering if you can help me out. I have a similar problem (Dave) just has the problem stated on your website I have a Y reg A class Mercedes Benz with 98000 mileage. I have had starting problems for a while almost 2 years but the starting problems only becomes frequent in the cold weather. At times It would start and at times it would not start. It would show all the lights in the Instrumentation Cluster but the starter motor would not turn. If I try a couple of times it would then start. At times in btw the starting trails, only the SRS light will come up.
I have gone through your website and I suspected it is the ignition Switch Connector. For the past 7 days or so I have been jump starting the car by pushing it into free run and turn the ignition key to 2 and then using gear 2, because the car would not start again.
Just last night, when I needed to go get something from the corner shop and needed to use by car. As usual I know the only way to get the car to start is to jump start it provided I have all the instrumentation lights on the cluster when the key is turned to position 2. But to my disappointment, only the SRS lights came on. I then tried couple of times and all of a sudden all the lights came on. So I seized the opportunity to push start the car.
Immediately jumped start the car by pushing it started, then in a split second, all the cluster light were off again. While in the process of turning the key in the ignition so many times, the whole ignition fell apart. I had the lock barrel fall off and the transponder coil is just hanging.
I have managed to put back the lock barrel but the transponder coil is still hanging. Now if I try to start the car I get a START Error message come up on the cluster display.
As you can see I have bought your CD hoping to be able to use it to but back the transponder coil.
Please advice me what to do. I want to save as much money as I can. I do not really want to take the car to a garage because to be honest the car is not worth much. If I can get the instructions on how to put back the pieces I really thing I can do it.

Feed back
Thanks for your prompt reply!! Do I need to take apart the whole steering wheel section as in, to put back the receptor ring. because it looks like the receptor ring doesn't not fit into that circular hole when I tried it.
Feed Back
I think I have done it the other way round. I have already fit the lock barrel into it place which allow me to turn the ignition key while the transponder coil is hanging.
Feed Back
I have been able to fit back the Ignition key, but something that looks so simple was very complicated to but back. I have turned the ignition key and no more "start error" but still the engine would not start.
I have looked for the black box you mentioned in your previous email and I have looked in the front nearside and not sure if I am looking at the right thing, so please can you confirm that the black box you are talking about is the one in the attached pictures
Feed back
It worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I removed the black Box, gave it a good clean, applied petroleum jelly. At first when i started the engine, it would not start, maybe I was meant to leave it for about 2 Min's for the computer to settle down, but after 2 Min's and I tried again it worked.
I have tried it couple of times now and the engine does start.
I am really grateful for your assistance.
The reason you are getting 'start error' is because the transponder pea in the fob is not close enough to the receptor ring, you need to replace the ring it goes into the plastic cowling in such a way as to surround the key
Having dealt with that it sounds as though you either need to check the earth connections or fit a new ignition switch that does not affect the key it only replaces the switch which is operated by the key .
It is remotely possible that you problem is the starter but I'd deal with earth first then the switch then the starter in that order
There is an important earth cable in a black box close to the power steering pump on the front nearside, the earth wires are brown remove those and make sure they are clean and secure . If that doesn't cure the problem the switch is the next suspect item.
Read question 165 on page 3
that will explain the problems that dirty earth connections can cause .
You may also find that your battery needs a good charge , that can also cause all sorts of problems as the ECU does not get sufficient power.
Feed back
I've not had mine out but if it feel out then you must be able to put it back without removing the steering wheel You said the locking barrel fell out if that's removed can you not put the ring back in then re-fit the locking barrel? What ever you do do not break the wire!

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Yes that's the one (situated on the near side of the engine bay below the screen wash bottle near the power steering pump), give everything in there a good clean and ensure the contacts a lightly protected with petroleum jelly or some such anti corrosion product.
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I do not know how the barrel come away from the switch so can't help you Either way the ring has to go either over the barrel or the ring positioned and the barrel placed into the center of the ring which holds it in place. You may be able to remove the barrel using the ignition key Sorry I really can't help on that one.
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I do not know how the barrel come away from the switch so can't help you Either way the ring has to go either over the barrel or the ring positioned and the barrel placed into the center of the ring which holds it in place.
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Wonderful that's great news Take care and all the best for Christmas & the new year Lofty
169 Type of battery and Auto Gearbox 'F' problem
Dear Lofty,
Why is a battery with vent essential on this car? Why wont a "dry" type battery do?

Also I am trying to solve the "F" problem on my 1999 automatic A160.
Tried cleaning sensors but after a week "F" re-occurred .
Put a new battery(dry) but problem didn't go away. What do you suggest?
Thanks for your donation

The reason the battery is vented is because it is under the drivers seat, and so as all batteries when charged/discharged by the alternator fumes are given off which can be harmful if breathed.these are better off going out to atmosphere.

The ironic thing is that even dry batteries gas off, as they are discharged/charged. Dry cell powered electrical appliances quite often fail when the batteries contacts are exposed to the sulphates that are gassed off
This is normally dealt with by wiping the contacts of those cells off with a wet close which allows the residual power remaining in the battery to be reinstated. There are other factors as well, would for instance a standard alternator be suitable for charging a dry cell battery?
what size would that battery have to be to give you the Amp hour rating of the one required for your car? Is it available at reasonable cost?
With an Auto Gearbox it is most importaint that this rating is correct to ensure adequote power to the electronics of the Gearbox at all times.
The battery on my car is a chloride battery, where as not many years ago they contained sulphuric acid, in both cases the battery should be able to vent to atmosphere via the tube provided rather than allowing fumes to build up in the cabin of the car. if it is under the bonnet as with a number of vehicles then no problem.

Your 'F' Problem
Was the fault existing code stored on the ECU deleted, that way you will be able to see what's causing the problem.

Have you tried replacing the brake switch, this can cause the 'F' problem and only costs £10.00 from mercedes takes seconds to fit so it is worth a try before you delve to far . Also I take it you have read my page 59a?

I can't really add to your question over and above what is on that page, the 'F' problem is a very difficult problem to over come and find the cause for.
Brake switch, Selector module ( gear stick module) are two of the most common causes but unfortunately there are other more serious cause which require the GB to be fitted with a new Valve selector module which does cost a lot of money

Because your car is a 1999 you have no option but to go to MB or a MB independent Garage who will be cheaper and get them to do a diagnostics test , later cars can get problem codes using hand held diagnostics tools, yours has to be done on a 'Star' diagnostics tool. This normally costs £50. for a small test and £100 plus for a long test but inquire before you start investing in the cure because the bills can soon add up.

That should locate the problem and then you can look at the cost implications.
It may well be that your car still has the original auto gearbox fluid, if that is the case then it may well be that by changing the fluid the fault would be deleted but without a test it is very hard to advise, and even that job is not easy or cheap unless you have contacts in the garage trade.
I'd start with the brake switch, you have done the battery, and cleaned the infra red detector's? The diagnostics test apart from the Brake lights switch does sound like your next option.
I hope that helps .
170 Loud metallic noise when on full lock
Hi Lofty, we have a 2001 A160 on 48K miles.

With the steering on full lock in forward or reverse we often hear a very loud metallic "clunking" noise and the front wheels feel like they are wobbling or slipping sideways. it is loud enough to make people turn and look!
Our local garage said it was a CV joint and changed it, but then called me today to say that did not fix it and it looks like the chassis is out of alignment, so its going to be checked Monday.
Have you ever come across this problem or know what it might be?

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Message just received from garage: Hi mate. Checked near side Front suspension spring again and appears ok. Going to remove strut assembly, remove spring check and refit. Check top strut mounts. Can c no sign of breaks or missing sections but the symptoms are classic of a broken spring! Phoned my two contacts and both say look at everything but could be a spring. Short staffed at present but promise you it will be first job tomorrow.
Best regards,
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You won't believe what cured it in the end! After completely dismantling the suspension and finding no broken spring, a brother in law of one of the mechanics who worked for Mercedes suggested swapping the worn front wheels for the two new rears and the problem stopped, but no one can explain why??? Best regards, Warren
Thank you for your donation.
The slipping sideways you mention could be down to the toe and camber of the wheels I myself experienced this but without the clunking noise
I had the toe and camber checked by a very good tyre fitting Company who had laser alignment equipment and the car was totally different to drive
I put that down to my having fitting new bearings at the top of the struts and hadn't properly realigned them which is very difficult without the right gear.

Because this is so apparent when you are at full lock I strongly suspect a front spring Broken at either the top of bottom
as you turn the wheels the spring is wound up or unwound and then springs hitting the strut that would be the noise you hear in my opinion You wouldn't notice this when the wheels are in line .
mypage.26.htm take a look at that page then check your front springs you will loose the tail of the spring , you may also have a broken support cup which is part of the strut.

I would have expected the garage to check for broken springs before touching the drive shafts , so if it is the springs/spring then seek a large discount on the part fitted which wasn't required and ask for your serviceable UJ back .
I indeed I'm wrong and you can't win them all then I'd check engine mountings I have never heard of this car requiring new drive shaft UJ's
I would appreciate you letting me know the outcome I will then put your question /answer on the Q&A page that helps other to avoid unnecessary cost as has happened in your case
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Have you got the car? Were you able to make any checks on the springs?
there have been many cases where the garage say the springs are OK, if in fact the tail has been broken, they need to jack the front wheels fully up to spot the problem but also take care the drive shafts are not drawn from the gearbox.
Please stay in touch, I like to hear the end of this story.

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Firstly let me say I'm pleased you eventually found a cure .and for letting me know the outcome it is a first, can't say as I'm come across that one before, wheel wobble cured by switching fronts to rear yes but not clunks and bangs no.
I hope you have thoroughly inspected the wheel for defects. as there has to be a reason somewhere for the noise to be that bad.
Have a great Christmas & a Safe New year

My only conclusion to this problem is that the drive shaft was being drawn from the gearbox/ differentional due the wheels being at full lock, this has the effect of shortening the drive shaft and the metallic noise that was heard was the crown wheel slipping on the end of the drive shaft spline.
This has happened before but with a more expensive out come, in that the tip of the drive shaft sheared off and dropped into the gearbox In this case it slipped the teeth on the shaft rather than breaking it off. But that only my opinion. see page 29 for photographic evidence of that problem. top of the page with a warning.
171 Problems with Central Locking
Hi Lofty
Firstly as the new owner of a Mercedes A140 (51 reg) with no manual I can't begin to tell you how pleased I was to find your site! The pictures and step by step instructions are brilliant.
The car has developed a problem that I'm hoping you will have come across before and will be able to suggest a solution.
A week after buying the car the central locking stopped working.
The central locking still fails to work though. Neither the key in the lock, the key fob or the dashboard button locks all the doors. I can turn the key in the driver's door to manually lock it and can push the buttons down on the others (except one of the passenger doors - which is permanently down - although it did use to work)

You can hear the pump trying to work the it won't lock.
Also the interior lights do not switch off (I guess they are linked somehow to the locking).
I have checked the battery in the key fob and synchronized the central locking as per your websites instructions but no joy. The vacuum pump is clean and dry and I have just replaced this with a 2nd hand part, but with no joy.
Any ideas? Maybe the battery or maybe the boot lid alignment out? Or maybe something to do with the rear door mechanism?
I will make a gift to your Paypal account now!
Kind Regards
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The interior light problem is still there, i am convinced they are related as they both happened at the same time.
But i do need to check the plastic switches on the other doors. I shall do that next time a walk past the car!!
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We are booked in for a diagnostic at our local Mercedes specialist on Monday, will let you know the outcome!
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Just thought I'd let the you the outcome of my A140's trip to our local Mercedes specialist.
Central locking & lights all sorted - the problem was a faulty drivers door switch so the car wasn't registering the door as shut hence it wouldn't set the alarm or dim the interior lights.
The part cost a fiver and plus a few quid labour it was all sorted for £60 (and they also reconnected the rear washer wiper which wasn't working & valeted it for me too!).
Many thanks for all your help & I'm sure I will be back on your site again soon

Jay thanks for your donation, Your light switch could be caused by a broken stem on the boot switch, lift the door and press the stem of the switch located on the near side fully in, hold for 30-45 secs or so and the light should go out, if this is not the problem check all 4 door switches.
it could well be one of them that's broken .
They are very easy to replace and do not cost a lot from MB .Make sure you do not allow the wires to disappear inside the doors pillar .and boot lid.

I'm going to think about your locking problem because you have covered the points I would normally have made.
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Jay Stay on the interior light for a moment The light switch needs to be in the middle position for it to go off after about 45secs after closing doors and boot
If it doesn't then check switches as mentioned earlier The boot switch has a habit of breaking off about 1/4 " which then means it is not long enough to switch off I attached a little rubber stopper to mine to re- lengthen it
Your Central Locking:-
If you have two keys have you tried them both ? are the red infra red indicators working on the fobs?
When you replaced the pump did you disconnect the battery?
If not then I would try disconnecting for 10 mins or so then re-connect this lets the ECU re-set bit like your PC

Note my comment on my page about the procedure for doing this Positive terminal off first, on first. also put your light switch to at least sidelights before connecting the battery this helps prevent a spike of power hitting the ECU which can cause the engine management light to come on and stay on which you do not want. It costs money to get the lamp fault deleted.
If still no joy with the other doors closed open the boot and then operate the auto locking confirm the boot lock is being activated, i.e. pump is being powered and running.
If the pump is working then check the yellow manifold is correctly fitted and undamaged if any vacuum escapes via the seal or hoses the locks will not activate
When you activate the key fob lock/unlock buttons do the car indicators flash once to unlock twice to lock?
If all this fails them you may have a defective control unit for the locking, a good MB independent garage should be able to re-program the module .
Having had the battery disconnected you will need to re-set the windows and the ESP/ABS Turn the steering wheel fully left the fully right that re-sets the ESP/ABS .
See my site electric windows for the re-set procedure it is pretty straight forward.
Hope that helps Please let me know how you get on .
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Jay Is the door with the button stuck down a rear passenger door?
If yes then the cable has either detached or broken
The problem is you can't get just the cable you have to replace the complete lock as far as the procedure it is on my site but it is not easy and you really have to watch your hands because the inside of the doors as with all cars is lethal due to sharp metal edges.

You could just check the child lock feature in the door jam a black peg that moves up and down it gets moved when you wash and valet the car .

If that doesn't cure the problem then I fear a cable has broken ,see page 53 seeing as you were able to locate a spare vacuum pump you may be able to locate a second hand lock but it will have to be from the same door as the defective one on your car .

The same applies if it is your central locking door module although I would suspect you have an air leak most likely on the pump manifold.
I do not think your interior light is problem is in any way affected by the locking problem and the boot switch is the most suspect item.
As your car is a 51reg if you know anybody with a hand held diagnostics tool that may pin point the central locking problem if it is electrical, if it is an air leak it won't show .
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Jay Thinking about that rear door it could be that which is affecting the locking on the other doors but I've not heard of that happening before but there is always a chance and there has to be a first for all things.

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Jenny Many thanks for your mail, I'm pleased you got the car sorted and at a good price no quibbles there .
Have a great Christmas & new Year .
172 Remote key will not open car
!Hi, We seem to have developed a problem with the key fob, it won't work when the key is cold...any ideas?
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Replaced batteries and its working fine now, I used your index as a guide...
Thanks and Merry Xmas!
Fit New batteries?
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Well done Merry Christmas

If only all questions were that easy with a 100% result.
173 Air pump on A 140/2004 burnt out
Hi Read with interest your Page 15 entry. mypage15 My wife has an A140 2004 Reg (Automatic). Only done 9250 miles. After stopping yesterday something was whining under the bonnet after removing the keys in the car park. When she came back the battery was drained. Got going again after an AA jump start.
However the part attached looks melted.
Believe this is the secondary air intake used only for starting.
A mobile Mercedes Specialist suggested taking fuse 48 out to stop it in case it still is working to avoid problem (a great phone call from someone who spent time on the phone to advise for free)
He will come next week but says to replace the part is £478+ VAT + £8 for a relay, £618.05 all in (only £40 to fit).
While the part might be expensive, should I bother fixing it if it serves no real purpose and doesn't affect safety.. only seems to speed up heating the catalytic converter).
Interested in your views as this sounds exactly like the aforementioned issue but struggle with cost this time of year (or anytime)
Dear J thanks for your donation. Although I'm aware of this component on 'A' 140s your the first owner to come to my attention who has problems, It appears it is only on the A 140 my model; A160 for instance doesn't have this feature. what the implications of not replacing it would be I can't say, the only thing i would do is make sure the MOT station are aware so that they warm the engine up before MOT test as this may effect the emissions and you do not want a failure, it costs! With New I'd say no. What I'd be inclined to do is go to this link :- E-bay Mercedes Parts
See if you can locate one from a 'A'140 of roughly the same year fitted with the 'Air Pump, I confident you could fit it yourself as it is only a case of removing & replacing.
Where you see an 'A'140 being broken simply mail the owner for a price but do not go over the top with what you pay, there is also a link for 'A' class spares on my page 95 if you phoned them they would give you a price which would guide you on what to pay to a private seller who should be a lot cheaper.

Having looked further I see there is a air pump switch over valve in the system this would be the component that signals to the pump to start and stop therefore this unit would need to be checked for correct operation or replaced.

If you know anybody with a diagnostics tool they will be able to get the fault code from your ECU that may pinpoint the cause of the pump failure. MB would be able to help you with that information.
If indeed the relay was at fault then yes would need replacing as well, from my chart it looks as though it is relay K6 I can't see that there is a fuse associated with this relay
It will be located under the drivers seat on the main fuse board or in the black box attached to the bulkhead off/center/no/side they are situated behind a cable loom so take care when you delve in looking for it. see lower half page 14 K6 will not be shown as my A160 doesn't have this Air pump.
Hope that helps
174 Interior light stays on with intermittent alarm problems
Hi Lofty,
Came across your great site..... regards Merc A class issues and advice.
I have a similar problem to Question
13 on this page:
13. Interior light defect
My interior light stays on, and when I lock the car with the remote key fob the alarm sounds after only a few minutes.

Before I begin - I am willing to Paypal you a fee - is this still applicable / and standard amount?
Here's my query.....
On my car (S reg A140)... yesterday the alarm kept going off, and checked all doors were closed properly - still same problem.
Then as it was getting dark I noticed the interior lights stayed on.
For last night I removed the lamp bulbs. Today I've checked all the door switches - removed them and metered to check the contacts open when pressed.
As the switches are all press to break.....I removed all 5 switches - which simulates all doors closed correctly - and still have the same problem with lamps re-fitted.
For now I've gone back to removing the lamp bulbs for now.......any ideas?
Thank you for your time,
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Hi Lofty,
Thank you for prompt reply....while I had the switches unplugged I never thought to meter across the wires in case there was short....will investigate further tomorrow - especially your tip about the rear screen wash leaking and causing a short in the rear hatch circuit.
I know for certain that the front passenger and driver door switches and wiring is OK as you can hear a short noise (probably a sensor for the door locks) as the switch is actuated.
Will let you know how I get on.....
Best regards.....and Happy New Year.
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Following your kind e-mail....I took more time today to look my car.
On checking - I found that rear screen wash pipe had come adrift - separated at the point where there is a small jointed section. This must have happened fairly recently. Hadn't noticed there was a problem with my screen wash as it had been frozen until a day or two ago - maybe this pushed the pipe sections apart? Now that we have a thaw - I noticed water dripping out rear roof trim, and rear wash wipe not as good as usually.

Removed rear roof trim - please see pictures attached. {sorry pics not too sharp as on my mobile, and in poor light}.
The connector (plug and socket) which carries one of the door switch wires (the brown/yellow wire) when examined the terminals were corroded. Removed the pin terminals from one side (note retaining bar in the picture)...and cleaned with WD40 and tooth brush...also cleaned up the other side mating part connector. When all reseated back hatch door switch now functions correctly, and internal light goes out after usual delay. {also my car alarm now behaves itself...}.

I also took the time to meter the rear door switch socket. With switch removed you will get approx 10.5 volts across the terminals, if any door is opened then voltage drops to zero.....when switch unit is refitted it has the same affect. If all other doors are closed, when rear hatch is open - you will see approx zero across the switch socket terminals, and of course when the switch is pressed in (press to break) will go to 10.5 V.
Thanks again for your top-tips....and will send you a donation.

Hi J, Have an answer on me this time . Normally yes I would appreciate a small donation as it helps with my costs domain name etc . I have only just responded to another owners who has had the same problem.

The first switch I suspect is the boot switch which looses it tip and then becomes too short to activate the switch, so re-check that first.
If that Ok then check that your rear screen wash is pumping water onto the rear screen.
If yes then OK the problems aren't the same, If there is no water reaching the screen then the hose to the nozzle has either been split but the cold weather or it has come off the jet assemble.

The combination of water and the switch inside the boot lid causes a short circuit which can cause the lamp to remain lit, it will also in the long term reach the vacuum pump and cause real problems there and will cause the alarm to sound due the the volage drop cused by the short circuit.
There are pages that cover these problems 41,, 24, 42, I think they are the pages and they may help you.

I find the best way to test the switches is to open the doors one at a time, the interior light will be on the press the relevant switch and wait for the light to go off which it should do in about 30-45 secs Hope that helps the boot switch is n/s bottom edge

Please let me know how you get on
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Dear J
that's great news, problems solved , and a big problem prevented when the screen wash water reaches the vacuum pump, needless to say do check that it free of water damage.

Take my tip lift the pump complete as is, from the well and place it in a water tight bag lower back into the well and trim off the surplus bag or tuck down to make tidy, that secures the life of you pump for all time from water damage, costs well over £100

This owner true to his word sent me a very generous donation towards the running costs of the site which was very much appreciated .. Lofty
175 Crank shaft sensor& Camshaft sensor symptoms

On boxing day and only the first time it did this..I was out on a longish trip, pulled in to the shops on way back home, came back to car and it wouldn't start. Engine turned over but wouldn't fire. In case it was the immobiliser playing up I actioned the key fob closing and opening the doors - no joy. Stepped out of the car, actioned key fob again - got back in car and it started. Drove about 10 yards and it cutout - no warning no judder no drop in power - it just died. Did the door lock thing again - and started OK and drove OK from then on. Started OK the next couple of weeks or so.

About a week ago I read on your site about issues with MAFS - and gave that a shot of carburetor cleaner spray down the the hope this was the issue. Also I have been using my spare key fob in case the other was playing up.

Yesterday - after about 30 miles drive on a trip, I stopped off for cash, when I got back to car it would not start. Tried and tried - no joy....actioning key fob no joy this time. After about 30 minutes wait tried again and it started. Drove off, and after only a few yards it cut-out - so same problem as I had the one time at Christmas.

Called the time the guy came car started OK - as expected. He put the diagnostics on (simple Omitec PC application they carry - but gave no fault codes). While he was packing up to go...engine stopped and car would not start. Further investigation, and he said it looked like either the cam or crank sensor. Crank sensor was giving no speed output as the engine was cranked over. Just before he decided to tow last try and the car started! I drove back to Shrewsbury with RAC guy following in case I broke down...

Got back to Shrewsbury OK - and left the car with W R Motors (they are Merc specialist garage) car has been there before.
They have run their diagnostics (they have Bosch kit), and it shows I have both Cam and Crank sensors problems - both are intermittent or faulty. They are to replace the faulty sensors tomorrow.

Thought I send you the above in case anyone else has similar experience....that points to one or both the sensors.
Will try to remember to let you know if car is OK after new sensors - and I've found the cash to bail my car out!
Best regards,
Dear J
Thanks for your mail
I'll mentally answered you question before you disclosed the crank or cam shaft sensor problem, so I feel sure they are on the right track.
The only thing I've not heard before is where both have gone at the same time, this may or may not be the case but the can-bus electronics on this car can cause one fault to show other faults when in fact they don't exist so it will be interesting to see if indeed your car does in fact need both replaced .
I look forward to your next mail
In neither case in this a large job just a case of fitting the new sensors and testing on diagnostics, although the sensors are not cheap .
I'll add you question to page 3 that allows other owners to read you mail and use the information when dealing with problems on their own cars . Lofty
176 Petrol Gauge Dear Lofty
I was foolish enough to leave my side lights on all day (the warning signal has never worked). Needless to say, this flattened the battery.
Someone was good enough to help out with jumper leads. All went well except that now, the petrol gage is right off of the scale to the left.
Is there some way I can re-calibrate it?
Best, Doug

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Lofty, thank you.
That worked - you are one on a million. Thanks again, Doug.
Doug the only thing I can suggest is that you disconnect the battery allow a few minutes and then re-connect but remember to follow the correct procedure for reconnection, see my battery pages on the site for more details . Lofty
177 Problems 'tick-over' in high temperaure conditions when the Air conditioning is turned ON.
Hi Lofty
i have this problem with my 'A'160 in the morning at 7 when first use the car it runs just fine and no trouble in the 2 hours of driving in morning but after I park.
When I go to use again at 1pm in the afternoon after the car has been standing in the sun (hot about 32 degree celcius)the revs(idle the rpm are up and down) what is the problem is it caused by lambda sensor or something else?
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I live in Indonesia.
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Thanks I did as you suggested and it works, but why after I turn on air conditioning, the problem appear and dissappear when turn off the air conditioning

I suspect that the fuel in the fuel line is hot and therefore evaporating, what happens when you get going is the car OK once you start driving it? I doubt it is the lambda sensor but it could be the MAFS which is part of the ECU see page 38 for the details
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Where do you live
If this is a petrol car then I suspect it is to do with the high temperatures and the build up of fuel pressure in the fuel tank.,
As an experiment and before you restart the car for your return journey, open the fuel cap, you will here air escaping from the tank; removing the cap will allow the pressure build up in the tank to escape, it may help it may not but it costs nothing to try

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Putting on the Air conditioning puts more load on the engine as the compressor starts and runs as indeed does any of the ancillary components, radio, fans etc this in my opinion is what is causing the eratic tick-over.
It only takes a few seconds to remove and re-fit the fuel cap and if that cures the problem then job done at no cost
But I would make sure the Air filter and fuel filter have been changed/clreaned at the prescribed times.
178 Car looses power at 70 MPH

Thanks Lofty. The tools arrived on Friday.
The Wife's A160 is playing up and I want to try a plug change first.
The engine's occasionally loosing power at high speeds.
It hasn't done it when I've been in the car so I've only got her description to go on.
If you rev the engine in neutral it miss fires when it gets to 4000 rpm.
No engine warning lights come on.
The coil pack was replaced about 20 months ago (20,000) miles.
The coil pack cover is in place. If you've any ideas I'd appreciate a bit of help.
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I had a chat with my wife and she says that all is smooth and that it just looses power intermittently, particularly when trying to accelerate on the motorway at 70+. I'm guessing the first thing to try is the air mass sensor.
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I'll give them a go and see how I get on .
I changed the air filter about 1000 miles ago and the plugs have done around 20,000 miles, I'm not sure about the fuel filter, I'll change it, the plugs and clean the throttle body. I'll let you know if there's any improvement.

I don't like speeding. Fortunately she usually drives just over 70 by the Speedo which I believe slightly over reads. She said the fault happened when she was trying to overtake in the middle late so I doubt if she was going excessively fast.
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I'm not aware of the fuel filter being changed, the car has done around 64K.
I'll take a look at the difficulty of the fuel filter change and see if I can sensibly do it.
I'm an electronic engineer not a mechanic so my experience is limited!
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My local garage changed the fuel filter for me, I didn't think I could easily get the car up high enough front and back at the same time. He only charged me £10 labour. We drove a couple of hundred miles yesterday and the engine was fine. Thanks for all of your help.
Thanks J

Air filter will be ok, plugs should be ok but the fuel filter should be done about every 50000 don't know ho you stand on that one. Take great care if you DIY

Feed Back Bear in mind that the car should not be revved to more than 3000rpm at idle, I surprised it is going above as normally you can't get above the mark.
The main thing is what happens on the road is all smooth at that engine speed?

Feed Back Rather than that I would want to ensure air filter change ,plugs if petrol Fuel filter has all been changed at the prescribed time periods, there is also the throttle body which can be cleaned if petrol engine, clean using carburetor cleaner

Remind the wife the Speed limit is 70 perhaps the car is trying to tell her something. Feed Back

If you are into DIY you can do it but take your time and work safe the filter is about £55.00 but it does pay to go for the original MB one there is a page on my site.
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Great news another happy ending at minimum cost
179 Replacement engine back fires after only having done 100 miles New Engine - drove 100miles P0304 error !!

Hi Lofty - love the site, so much info! Anyway down to business.
After driving about 600 miles home to France my trusty A Class A160 AvantGarde X Reg, stopped when I was about 1/2 mile from home - that was very lucky.
It turned out to be the timing chain so I was advised to have the engine changed, after driving about 150 miles the "little amber engine block" warning light came on as I lost power, thereafter it felt as though it was only firing on 3 cylinders.

The mechanic who changed the engine turned out and did a diagnostics and got a P0304 error message.
He replaced the cam and crank shaft sensors - no change He checked the spark plugs - plug 4 was damp - which makes sense if it wasn't firing
He replaced the spark plug timing pack - no change
He re-replaced the sensors - no change
He swapped over spark plugs 3 & 4 - the plug now at position 4 was wet so it wasn't the plug.
He re-replaced the spark plug timing pack - no change

Help !!! The problem is doing our heads in - him because he can't figure it out and me because I haven't got my car. regards

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Lofty Many thanks for your support & advice - I must admit that knowing there is such a "font of knowledge" makes me think I might just have a go at some small tasks myself in future - how DO you empty the ash trays ???

Anyway thought I'd just "close the loop" on this one.

The mechanic solved the problem, after pot #4 failed a compression test he stripped the top down to discover the valve seat was "burned" causing the loss of compression. He backtracked (or checked before he stripped the top) and found that the injector for pot #4 was squirting lean causing the fuel not to combust adequately and thus burning the valve.

It sort of makes sense to me but I'm not sure whether it was an error by the engine suppliers or by the mechanic in re-assembling the engine or even whether it was an inherent "problem waiting to happen" even without the original breakdown.

Anyway my mechanic has a happy customer because during the strip don he tweaked and replaced a few minor things (all at his cost) and the car is running better than I can remember - a lot more torque at low revs.

Once again many thanks for the advice

K, ps : needless to say I've read your notice and have done the donation
K, the procedure for balancing the air to fuel and re-setting the ECU on 'Star ' is called 'boot trapping' , and by testing the engine no 4 pot you need a compression test that will confirm if both valves on the pot are opening and fully closing ,albeit this is down to spark which I think brings us back to the performance of the ECU.

Although all the problems and code pointed to a number 4 pot problem it is not a common problem and certainly not one I have heard of previously.

It does however prove that despite all the diagnostics there is no compensation for anything other than a good mechanic who does not mind getting his hands dirty ,I quite sure that had this car been taken to a mercedes garage the costs would have prevented a repair just one more car on the scrap heap because of the costs of repair. this owner was lucky , be very careful if you buy a car from car sales there a lot of problem cars going down that route at present. 7.8.2011
180 intermittent power steering failure and sheared steering cilium lower clamp Bolt.
Hi Lofty,
Your site it the best 'A' Class website on earth.

I had a power steering problem with my 1998 A160 here in Hong Kong. The pump will fail when the steering is turning a little bit fast to fully left or right. Some times it fails when parking or you turn. It will recover if I switch off the engine and start again.

Last week, the steering wheel lost contact with the wheel, the steering wheel can turn forever but the wheel doesn't move at all. Fortunately it happened in a stationary position. It was towed to the garage and the mechanic told me that there is a screw broken. It may due to turning the wheel while the power steering fail making the screw having too much pressure and break.

However, the mechanic didn't solve the pump fail problem as he told me that would cost too much on an old car. My wife and I like the car so much and we would like to keep driving it.

Do you have any idea what causing this? I went through your site and Q&A Page 3 and didn't seems find a solution. Thank you for reading. Regards, M. Honk Kong
It sounds as though it was the bolt at the bottom end of the steering column that sheared off. Hopefully that has been replaced.
The power steering pump costs just under £400.00, but can be repaired in the UK at ECU testing .com for a lot less than that figure and the repair carries a two year guarantee, and you get a discount if you mention my site.

You have to get the pump removed unless you can do it yourself and the item is heavy for transport so you would need to calculate which is cheaper New of repair.
On top of that you will need new fluid but the system does not hold much fluid. Plus of course re-fitting unless you can do it yourself.

See also 49 & 50

However before you do anything check the cables in the small black box on the left hand side of the engine bay below the screen wash bottle, the electrical contacts in there supply the power steering pump and may need cleaning.

Also not that the PSP (Power Steering Pump) is provided with power direct from the alternator, and so this may be caused by either the alternator output or and old battery which causes a drop in power to the PSP because of other electrical components which are in use at the same time thereby robbing the PSP of Power at slow revs, i.e when parking or reversing

How old is your Battery? Lofty
181 Brake light switch 1

Lofty Just read through notes on brake light switch. V good
MB brook lands quoted me £115.00 parts and labour. It would take an hours work. It took me 3.5mins, and only so long because I was doing it for the first time! Keep it up D
D, Thanks for your Donation & comments What a bunch of rip off merchants Take care, keep reading, I'll keep adding lofty
182 Problems with steering column
Hi Loftie, I'm writing from Cape Town South Africa, firstly I'd like to thank you for the immense amount of information you have supplied on your site regarding servicing and repair to the A class and secondly I'd like to detail my experience in a steering shaft problem which I had with our 2000 model with 120000Km on the clock.

The problem of a squeak and a slightly stiff feel in the steering appeared a couple of months ago, I couldn't find this exact problem detailed on your site, so armed with your information on removing the shaft I confidently, proceeded to do so, I must add that many parts inside the engine compartment had to be removed, eg, air cleaner housing, mass air meter, ancillary components,and intake manifold, in order to be able to get the complete shaft out, the shaft is equipped with 2 double U joints in order get around the 2 sharp angles which the shaft takes.

One of the sets of U joints is located in the engine compartment and is very well covered by a double rubber boot and the other is located inside the car under right hand side of the dashboard, it was this latter U joint that was causing my problem, situated in between the two U joints is a ball joint, Which keeps aligns the shaft (If this wasn't there the sets of U joint would flop around as the shaft is not equipped with locating saddles at all). This ball joint had become dry, or perhaps was never lubricated correctly when assembled at the factory, but this was the cause of my squeak and stiffening of the steering system, on lubricating the ball joint with some Q 20 the problem was solved completely, having had the shaft out I was able to do a visual inspection for any corrosion and any excessive free play of which there was none, I was able to replace the shaft with complete confidence that it was as good as new and perfectly safe.

in hindsight, if I had known, it would have been an easy matter to have sprayed a bit of lubricant into the ball joint and solved my problem in a few seconds instead of spending 2 days to strip and reassemble.

This exercise was by no means a waste as I learned a great deal and was also able to service the fuel intake system as described elsewhere on your site. (Which I have found to be imperative in order to overcome poor engine performance).
I hope this helps your readers and thanks again for all of your very useful information. Kind regards,
Dear C,
Thanks for your mail, I'm sure that many hundreds of steering columns world wide have been replaced at great cost to owners who have suffered such a problem MB of course denie that there are problems but there are none so blind who cannot see and in the case of MB cannot read either.
Your right when you say that the UJ may not have been lubricated at all normally these are pre packed with grease in the case of these UJ's there appears to not greasing I'm pleased you were able to cure the problem, I trust you have also serviced the lower UJ because it is normally that one that causes the problems of stiff steering.
I will add you mail to the Q & A page where I know many readers go for their answers in the first instance
Take care and well done
183 Clonking when bracking Hi Lofty It's been quite a while since i spoke to you, and may i say just looking at the website you've come a long way.
A guy like myself doesn't always look on your website, BUT you know at the back of your mind that the website is there, if you have any problems. So thank you.
Further i may say that the website has grown with an ever richness of information and advice, which has helped many people like myself. I'm still the proud owner of a silver 'A Class 2002 evolution', in the age of the audi's and vw golf's, i do get ridiculed by my friends, saying 'its a girls car'. But i love my little girl, it's nippy, fast and lots of room.
However, in recent times i have thought about selling it, the problem lies and i hope you can resolve this for me, is whenever i brake i hear a loud thumping and grinding sound, regardless if i'm going fast or slow. This has been occurring prior to when i bought the car. I have just ignored it.
There is on some occasions that i will not hear it, but overall i hear it 98% of the time. It's irritating and disturbing. I have had the front brake pads replaced, but to my dismay the problem is still there.
Mechanics don't have a clue what it is, everyone has their own diagnosis.
I would so grateful if you could help me on this lofty, or i will be forced to sell it. I will be making a donation, allowing the site to help others.
Dear S
Can I firstly suggest you change both drop links almost certainly that is the problem .
These are not easy to detect as defective but fitting new units will I'm confident stop the problem .
Buy from MB as they are as cheap as anywhere about £17.00 each
This is a very easy DIY job .see mypage 29. please let me know the outcome. Lofty
184 W168 (A170CDI) refuses to go above 50MPH
I had an annoying problem the other day which came on suddenly.
The car (A170 CDi) would run fine as long as I did not go over fifty miles per hour when the engine would stutter a bit and enter limp mode (75mph top speed eventually, 40mph up hill!).

The problem was very consistent and would always happen at fifty whether driving hard or gently, below fifty it would run quite happily to 4500 rpm while accelerating. It was easily reset by switching the engine off and on again, but very irritating. Anyone driving in the city would probably never know there was a problem.

With no warning light or anything to indicate what was wrong it was not an easy problem to resolve, and a google search initially did not bring up any useful information, but I did find this thread at Benzworld eventually:-
The problem turned out to be a very small hole in the pipe from the manifold to the bulkhead pressure sensor at the manifold end, and the resolution to simply snip the perished end off of the pipe off and reconnect it (it is long enough).

I thought this might be of interest to you because looking at the thread a lot of people have been caught out with buying expensive ECUs and mass airflow sensors to try and fix this problem. The pipe can be easily visually inspected since it is right on the top of the engine. Since the hole in my pipe was very small, I suspect the problem might exist when no hole is actually visible so replacement of the pipe might be a good and inexpensive first step if it has never been replaced since it is likely to fail anyway.

Hope that is of use. Let me know if you would like me to take a photo for your CD.
Dear P Thanks for your input I will add the information to page 3, congratulations on finding the info certainly pays off in preference to going the MB route. Best wishes lofty
185 Car bleeps eight times after starting Hi Lofty, Great website,
I have been trying to solve a problem which I have with my a class.

Everything seems to work apart from beeping sounds 8 beeps when I am driving the car.
These beeps keep repeating every 5 to 10 mins.

I have checked your page on the alarm and the LED does not flash upon ignition.
Any thoughts, is it the battery on the siren that has lost it's charge so do I need to replace the siren?
if it is the siren what would happen if I did nothing?
Many Thanks M
Dear Reader ,
I'm in receipt of your question .
However before I attempt a reply
I would ask you to read the conditions on this link :-

I have had to introduce this procedure to reduce the number of questions seeking answers most leading to more than one e-mail reply

If you have previously donated, or purchased items from my site in the last 12 months then please give the date of purchase.
thank you
Free site address:-
It sounds very much as though your alarm horn battery has died, these can be obtained from scorpion alarms direct Not MB and are not difficult to replace see my site page 51.

If you do not replace it, the alarm will not sound if the car is broken into and the system will continue to tell you there is a problem, If your car is stolen your insurance company will not be impressed if they find out that the system was in a servicable condition due to a failed battery, and as a result may reduce any insurance due.
Read the PDF self diagnostics sheet on the alarm page that will give you all the details
186 Ommissions problem cauuses MOT Failure.
Hi Lofty just a quick one, my 1999 A1.4 auto elegance just failed its MOT.
One of the problems was the emmisions.
I had a problem with th MAFS in the summer which I sent off to a company that got it working again, would that still be a reason for the emission fault?
Also I kept getting a low oil warning on the i9nstrument cluster, I stupidly topped it up which I beleave means I have now knackered the catalytic convertor.
The garage has quoted me £800 hundred to sort out these problems and a couple more just wondering what you think if its worth fixing or just cut my losses.
Hope you recieved donation thanks for any help .Ed
Dear Ed, yes thanks for the donation
What I would suggest is getting a good second hand cat complete with the lambda sensors , if as you say you may have killed the cat then that would be why the omissions is still showing incorrect.
The sensor in the cat would almost certainly be picking this up and would be responsible for the defect.

Can also remind you about timing chains on A140 they stick which allows the chain to flop about rather than remaining tensioned , I would check it by removal make sure the plunger is still free or replace the chain tensioner , if the chain breaks the engine is not worth repairing .

If you are UK based check this company for a second hand cat, however do check before hand whether your cat has one lambda sensor or two , one at the end off-side, one in the rear/side . Come back to me if you feel I can help further
See also who would be able to provide a good S/H cat see also mypage 34 for details Lofty
187 Gear box problem and injector leak discovery on A170CDI
Hi Lofty,
I live in France, second hand cars here are eye wateringly expensive, so when i found the opportunity to buy a 2003 A170 with a very noisy gearbox for €3200 I bought it, as I knew I could repair it myself.

I wish I’d found your site before I bought it but I didn’t, so it came as a shock when I realised the whole unit had to come out to remove the box!

Still never mind box is now out and apart in the workshop, after reading about the leaking injector problems some of your readers had suffered thought I’d better have a look whilst the engine was out, what a bloody mess (as the couple of pics show).See photo's leaking injectors see Johns Photo's bottom of the page. Now to the reason for the contact, would you like some pics etc. of the gearbox job? and any more about the injector problem?
Dear J, Sorry to hear about your wows , good job you can deal with the problems yourself or the car would be a write off due to cost, by the time you get these two problems sorted you should have a sound vehicle.

Wow that engine is in a mess worst I have seen, it must have been leaking for years.
'Nitromores' paint stripper will remove the mess but ensure it doesn't get on wiring cables rubber etc metal work only .
That will also soften the mess around the injectors but may take a couple of days , at the end of the day you may well be able to salvage the injectors .

Yes would love some photos of the box and the problems you find, if you can give me some idea what the bits are as a guide that would be a great help obviously I have basics but gear boxes are complex beasts , I take it is a manual?

Either way photos would be interesting for the site, I can always reduce the resolution obviously I can't increase it so a medium reso would be fine and also 'macro' when needed please as blurred photos really don't help readers when it comes to detail Best wishes & good luck Lofty
187...W170CDI refuses to go above 3000rpm
Dear Lofty, Firstly, thanks for putting together such a great website with so much information.
Secondly, although I couldn't find the answer to my problem on your website, I thought i'd let you know the problem and the 'fix' - it's something a proper DIYer would probably have spotted straight away, but I'm a total newbie and so felt quite pleased with myself! Still, maybe it'll help someone else.

Car 2002 A170 (W168) CDi
Generally a bit flat above 3000rpm, without much grunt. Also, when trying to overtake going uphill, the engine could suddenly lose power - no warning lights, no misfiring; just not much power and then the car going into 'limp home' mode. After switching the engine off and giving it a rest for a few minutes everything was fine.

I'd read about dodgy fuel filters, but knew that wasn't the problem; I then read your website about MAF problems and was considering trying to find, remove and clean the sensor.
Then i noticed the little black hose running from the offside end of the engine cover to a sensor on the bulkhead - it was worn and perished and only just hanging on to the spigot...
Apparently (as I'm sure you already know) this tube connects the engine to the manifold air pressure sensor, which obviously feeds in to the same ECU as the MAF sensor. Presumably with the engine under load, and with this tube leaking, the ECU got totally confused when comparing the manifold vacuum with the mass air flow data, and was just going to limp home for safety's sake.
So, I spent £1.99 for a bit of silicone tube from eBay (8mm external diameter, 4mm internal) and replaced the old tube (with plenty of slack to allow for the engine's movement), and the car now pulls smoothly up to 4500 rpm on any incline, and no more limp-home episodes!
I'm a bit surprised that MB would allow the entire engine management system to depend on one manky bit of rubber tube, but at least it was a cheap fix.
All the best, and keep up the good work with your website.
Dear M,
I mailed you back but for some reason the maiil does not show,
Thanks for your mail
You are the 2nd person this month to suffer this defect please see question 184 on page 3 of the site I have also added you information as it is more detailed
Many thanks
Please see question 184
188 A letter of thanks that makes all my time & effort worthwhile
Hi Lofty
Well what can I say apart from all the thanks in the world. Your effort's are very much appriciated, the time you have spent creating the web pages alone even without collecting the information is unbelievable. Anyway I thought you might like to hear my story, which at the moment does not have a happy ending but I am getting there.

My fiance and I were expecting our first baby last July and we both only had 3 door cars. So my mum out of the goodness of her heart said we could have her 1998 s Reg Semi Auto A170 that she has owned since new for the bargain price of £1000. Well I knew the history of the car and it had only done 67K so I thought great, 4 doors is better than 3!!!!!

So after having new break hoses and back section of exhaust for the MOT I experienced the loss of gears 1,3 & 5 thats when I found the answer on your site regarding the little clip on the linkage. Brilliant! I thought, but there was still this squeeking noise on tick over I was wondering about......

Probably about 1000k later and a new born baby in the car we joined the M25 at J14 where it then becomes a 6 lane monster and yep, you guessed it, while in the 5th lane the car threw the poly V belt.
An AA joining fee later and a lift back form a very very nice man I got underneath to find the main drive pulley on the end of the crankshaft split in two like detailed on your site and the pulley to the left of the tensioner had seized.

Now I am not a mechanic but I do have a background in engineering and basically I managed to replace the main pulley without dropping the engine by getting a new securing bolt and modifying the flanged head ie turning it down on a lathe to 34mm Dia and using a large washer of 42mm dia. This allowed me feed the bolt through the access hole in the sub frame. While I was at it I changed the tensioner pulley too witht the use of a long series 15mm spanner.

So its all back together and I started her up only to hear that there was still some noise coming from the pulley area. On closer inspection I am almost certain that it is coming from the compressor so I have taken it for a short drive and now to my further dismay there is smoke/fumes coming from a breather pipe underneath the passenger side of the car.
So I was wondering if you know what this pipe is (see attached)? Is it the drain pipe for the air con? I'm almost at the point where I want to scrap the car as I have also discovered a lot of oil leaking from the engine but would ideally just want to sort out this smoke problem at least.
Thank you once again
Dear Andy, I'm pleased you found the site and that it has proved useful to you no doubt saving yourself hundreds of £££££££
If the compressor is still noisy it will be the outer bearing which can be replaced without de-gassing, there is information on my site which will help you although not a detailed procedure for replacing same.
As for the smoking pipe don't worry because the car is diesel it does not heat up in the same way as petrol for the in car heater, that is a burner that does just that, Don't ask me how it works but it does run on diesel fuel at least if it's steaming smoking you are aware it's working OK

If you would like to support the site then I do have a CD which contains loads more information than is on the site but no pressure
Good luck for the future and all the very best to your wee one
189 problems with ECU/MAFS and repair
Hi Lofty, I've just bought the CD online as I recently bough an A160 (1999). I haven't got the CD yet so I can't give you any data or reference number on the CD.
After reading through your websites I'm aware of a number of problems that normally occurs to this model. About a week ago, I had my car service in a local independent Mercedes specialist. Just after a week later, after a trip to London, I start experiencing problem with the car. Whenever I want to accelerate, it seems like it's not doing it. However, the engine seems running fine when the car is not moving. I had it check at the same garage I had it for service and the mechanic told me that the air mass meter is the problem.

Initially, he said he can clean it and it will work fine. He also mentioned about the cost to buy a new ECU unit which is around £1500 but he said it will work fine after some cleaning. However, when he tries to access the car's computer (I don't know what is it called) using his digital probe, it came up on the probe that is not connected to the car's computer. The mechanic says he can't fit it himself but he'll call his friend who knows about the electronic. Long story short, they figure out that the board in the ECU is broken and need a replacement, so they order a new part, which will come the next day. The board itself cost £180. I'm going to have it fit in tomorrow.

I had look in your website regarding the ECU/MAFS problem. Your suggestion for this problem is to send the unit to ECU Testing to be tested and possibly rebuild. That will cost around £220. However, there is no mention about the board, whether it can be replaced or not. Could you share your opinion about this, whether it is a good idea to do it or not? It seems like I don't have options as the part has been ordered, but it will be very helpful to know whether it will work or the garage is trying to rip me off. I will update you about this after I have it-installed tomorrow.
Follow up mail
Hi, I've just called them up. The part hasn't arrived so they haven't fit it yet. I asked him not to do it, as we have discussed. He said he only need to change the MAFS bit of the board, not the whole board. So, it doesn't need re-coded. He's aware about the rebuild service but he said it's not the ECU that need repair.
I wasn't very convinced and I asked to cancel the fitting. He said it's up to me. In the end, I asked him not to do it as I'm going to send it for a rebuild from ECU Testing. I'm going to the garage fairly soon to pick up the car.
Follow Up
Hi Lofty.
I've picked up the car from the garage and decided not to let mechanic continue with his plan, i.e. to change the air mass probe on the board. He cancelled the arrangement made with another electronic guy who ordered the part to install it, and did not charge me anything. As far as I've been told, they haven't change anything on the board or the ECU itself. I told him about my plan to send it for rebuild at ECU Testing and he's offering to take it out and install it back after the rebuild. Of course with no charge.

I then took the car to another garage, which is recommended by some friends who own Mercedes. After explaining to the mechanic there what was the problem, he agreed with my plan to send it to ECU Testing. He's aware of the problems with this particular model and recommends not doing anything with the ECU. He said he could come to my house to take the ECU out for me and install it back once it's been repaired. In that case, I don't have to drive and leave my car at his garage, which is quite far. It saves me some time to commute there as well. For that he'll charge me about £40. That seems reasonable to me.

at the moment, I can't do anything as the garage and ECU Testing will be closed over Christmas- New Year period. I have contacted ECU Testing and they said they will be back on the 4th Jan. So, what I can do now it to wait. The mechanic says it should be ok to drive around and recommend me not to go to far. I have purchased a breakdown cover after this problem start appearing.

For the time being, I think I will go through page 38 of your website and learn to do it myself. If I still don't feel very confident to do it, I think I will ask the mechanic to do it for me. Or in case other problems can appear, he'll be there to sort it out.

Thanks very much for your helpful advice! Hope you have a very nice Christmas-New Year holiday! I'll update you soon.

Dear S
yes thank you for your order and payment I have just returned from the post Box so that your CD will get away early in the morning as they collect from boxes many times a day during the Christmas period.

Your problem, Firstly I'm not aware of any board that is available from Mercedes That you or any garage can fit to repair the ECU /MAFS

ECU testing .com is the only company I recommend that will replace as you have discovered from the site .

It is not just a case of fitting a new Mass Air Flow sensor, the unit has to be tested after fitting and it is this that ECU testing do on their test bench, they will not tough an ECU/MAFS that has been tampered with so I suggest that you make the garage very aware of this. If you get it done they will say you caused the damage.

They should have the unit repaired for you as the car in not of merchantable quality if it is not running correctly.
If they are in doubt get them to read the page 38 that will tell them all they need to know, What I do know is the MAFS sensor part of the ECU is on the same board, that Board is coded to your car and the new board cannot be re-coded by any garage in the UK or anywhere else for that matter

I say again do not attempt the repair of this unit get the garage to do what ever they want BUT they will finish up buying a new ECU with integral MAFS at yes £1300.00 £1400.00 which must be supplied by Mercedes Benz Germany there are no short cuts if they try to repair.
follow up
A bit more information , The reason the mechanics diagnostics tool would not connect to your car is because your car is a 1999 only 'Star' Diagnostics as used by Mercedes Bens or a good Mercedes independent would have that tool later models 2001 petrol 2004 diesel are EOBD compliant and other than star will work with those cars.

Ads you are the one who is paying, I suggest you return the board supplied and request you money back , or get them to do the fitting and they suffer the consequences when it does not work .

If you get your money back then you remove the ECU /MAFS which is very simple indeed and you send it to ECU testing after Christmas mention my site and you will also get a discount

If you don't get your money back bearing in mind the content of my first mail then tell them you will contact Consumer direct and raise a complaint with them as this garage obviously do not know what they are talking about when they say you can simply switch a board on an A class and it will work.

it is true that some early boards where not coded but MB must supply the part and I'm not aware of any instances where they have been able or wish to do so . Lofty
follow up
Ring them ASAP
explain the discussion we have had your car will be off the road for weeks if they continue

Before you allow them to go ahead ask for the MB part number of the board and ask if it has been coded to your VIN number.
if the part was not sold by or does not have a number starting W168 do not allow them to go ahead be insistent if possible give them a note in writing or e-mail to that effect.

Advise them to use ECU testing That's if you are going to get them to repair the car BUT get a written quote before they even start
follow up
Well done That's sounds a much more satisfactory situation, even if the electronic guy had fitted the new portion of the board he would not have been able to check it on a test bench as will be done by ECU testing also they guarantee their repair for 2 years I doubt the electronics guy or garage would have done that.

Removal and fitting really is dead simple, just follow the instruction on page 38, the only thing I would say is if the plastic components are cold beware because they become brittle with age. But you have all the time in the world to do that, so just take your time. If you feel you cannot do it then £40 is a reasonable price to pay do disconnect the battery before you remove it and do not reconnect until it is replaced, when you do turn the lights on this prevents a serge of power hitting the ECU which sometimes causes the engine management light to come on turning the light on will almost certainly prevent that.

I have never heard of any person being able to replace the air mass flow sensor them selves so I'm confident you have done the right thing
Best wishes For Christmas and the New Year, you should have received your CD today Lofty.
It should be stressed that the MAFS is an integral part of the ECU.PCB on the A Class W168, any attempt to replace this unit could cause the ECU complete with MAFS to FAIL always use a specialist company to undertake this work or face a massive bill for the replacement of the ECU combined MAFS which can only be ordered from MB, it will be coded to your car in Germany before being dispatched to the Country in question.
189 Another New Auto Gearbox required as deemed by MB workshops
Hi Lofty - I tip my hat to you on a great website and a great public service - and I made sure to tip my credit card in your direction too.
I've read your website for several hours but without any mechanical knowledge can't quite tell just how screwed I am relative to all your other unfortunate readers. Here's the situation and wonder if you can advise:
My wife's got a petrol A160 automatic, September 2003 plate, 51,000 miles - 100% MB service history, never had any issues until now.

It just returned from a B service (at MB Brentford) and the very next day I went to start it and the starter motor would turn over but not catch. After a couple of minutes of trying it did eventually catch but the thing was rough as anything as it idled and really shaking - took it for a spin around the block and seemed to go OK but was a bit weedy on power. Engine management warning light came on dashboard - no sign of the dreaded F though. Wife then started it up an hour later, no problems at all and drove 10 miles return journey. Next day my wife took it out for a short run, it started ok but only pulled away at snail's pace. After around 5 seconds it would regain power and be Ok until the next stop. This repeated around 5 times. No problems in reverse gear though. She claims not to have spotted any F on the dash, just the engine management warning light.

The MB garage picked it up for an inspection yesterday and the diagnostics report is attached - quick test showed errors P1843 and P1886. I read all about that on your excellent website - here's where your readers' experience and ours differs: the service guy told us that there was a transmission problem and the mechanic had advised that the gearbox needed replacing which would cost us £4,300 including parts, labor and VAT. There was no mention of replacing anything other than the whole gearbox, no mention of the ECU. I asked whether there was a repair option, or whether MB would consider contributing to the cost of replacement given the low mileage. On both counts the answer came back as no, sorry - apparently the vehicle is too old for MB to consider any contribution.

I said it was a hell of a coincidence that it only played up the day after the service, besides the initial symptoms of not starting and then shaking like hell in neutral seemed unconnected with a transmission problem. That cut no ice either, but can't say I know anything about such things.
So looking at the situation, MB have washed their hands of the problem and we are facing a scrap situation. The car could be worth around £1500 if it worked, but obviously it's worth more to us - especially as the day before we forked out £600 for new tires and the B service that was particularly galling. We'd "happily" spend up to £1500 to get it back on the road but not sure whether that's an option. Certainly we can't face spending £4,300 especially when the advice from the MB service team seems to have been suspect.

Have to say we're feeling pretty raw about the MB experience - the car was bought from a MB dealer in 2005 and certified through their Signature scheme, we've shelled out over the odds year in year out to only have it serviced at MB garages, and now we're told it's effectively scrap at 51k miles. I get the impression they aren't interested in servicing older cars these days.

I've scanned the relevant page of the test log attached. I was also handed a copy of what looks like a standard worksheet for the mechanic to follow for certain error codes including ours - can send that if needed but doubt it adds anything to your knowledge - it does mention that if the fault is sporadic a hydraulic fault in the ECU is possible. It also says that if the fault occurs when moving off in 1st gear you need to replace the K1 plate carrier, but not to replace the transmission. I can't see any advice there which talks about replacing the flipping gearbox.

Any advice on how to proceed gratefully received - or recommendations on where we can get a second opinion from an independent in the West London area.
Thanks in anticipation, and keep up the good work.
All the best
M, firstly thanks for the donation it's appreciated.
Now your problems
Firstly yes your car can be repaired at way below the price quoted and well within your budget of 1500.00

Firstly I would ask you to e-mail the test sheet to ECU testing .com and get that confirmed address your mail for the attention of Roger MD in brackets it may take him a day or so to answer the mail alternatively phone, but be prepared for a wait on the phone they are a busy company but they will answer.

The FTC/ECU is the brains of the gearbox and MB only having fitters! and not mechanics they are not capable of dealing with such complex maters, even though their own workshop manual covers the repair.
Also you are not the first person to suffer problems following a service.
However if you or a friend with some mechanical knowledge, or a local garage can remove the valve chest complete with the FTC/ECU then that can be sent to ECU testing and sorted, refitted you should have no problems.

I not there is a window fault on the sheet but there is every chance that is an old fault code which needs deleting unless you are aware that there is a fault on the electric windows.

Mention my site 'lofty's Homepage' in your mail and you will get a decent discount off the repair.
If you want further information mail me back.
Thanks again for the donation hope the info helps.
If you do go ahead with the repair take note that the valve chest connection cable must be disconnected before attempting the lower the chest which is the bottom of the gearbox.

Further e.mail Follow up
For your further information that test sheet relates to your car's ECU only (Vin) not to be confused with FTC/ECU, the car logs all faults using a special code for each, BUT the faults may have been dealt with without the code be deleted from the ECU data
Also has the car been sitting over the Holiday period? If yes then the fault may clear short term, with luck even long term
Should the problem arise again while driving pull over when safe to do so stop the engine allow a few seconds re-start and the fault will have gone, short term a few miles or more. when this happens the car has gone into a safe mode because the ECU has detected a fault speed is automatically reduced for safety

The only thing I would question is whether the fault is in fact the air mass flow sensor , the reason I say this is because the this can cause other faults to show and has be known to cause problems with the gearbox trans.

So to summaries if the fault is the gearbox , yes it can be repaired at very reasonable cost compared to anything quoted by MB
If the fault , bearing in mind your comments about poor running and the engine management light showing is the ECU/combined mass air flow sensor then that to can be replaced by MB at approx £1300.00, Or ECU Testing will repair you present unit with a 2 year warrantee at a very reasonable price £150.00 ish but you will need to get a quote when call remember the discount.

My bet is that it's the ECU /MAFS because the transmission faults would not affect the running of the engine, now that you could remove yourself and sent for test /repair and refit no problem then if the trans fault does reappear you can progress to that repair .
But note, both repairs if needed would cost less that your £1500.00 you are prepared to spend and that would include garage costs to remove the Valve chest if that did need to be done.
I would have expected the test sheet to show a fault code P100 or in that range, so it may even be worth getting another short test done by an MB independent garage or any garage near you
This is only possible because your car is EOBD compliant and therefore any diagnostics tool can read the codes , pre 2001 petrol 2004 diesel MB cars can only be read by MB or MB indi.
If I have now confused you mai9l me back I will explain further,
190 OBD2 EOBD compliant
Hello. Can you tell me "U581 LIVE DATA OBD2 EOBD Scanner Can-Bus Code Reader Memoscan Tool" is a diagnostic of the car: MERCEDES A140 (W168) 1998 uear. Greetings.
No, your car will not be either OBD2 or EOBD compliant if in the UK or Europe
That was not introduced /required until 2001 petrol, 2004 diesel vehicles sold in the EC Some models were OBD2 compliant if sold in Japan which have found there way to NZ & Australia Hope that helps Lofty
191 car hesitates when accelerator is pressed
Hi Lofty
Many thanks for your website. It was great today as I used it to change the plugs in our A140. It all went really well. I also used your advice previously to change the petrol filter.

We have a 'hesitation' problem with the car at the moment. When we try to accelerate from low speed it will often 'wait a short while'. It is a clutch less manual. Any thoughts? Could it be the injectors? Are they hard to clean? Many thanks again.B
Dear B
You may have cured the problem by changing the plugs, as the gap gets bigger so the timing on the car is slowly altered so lets hope that has cured the problem. You have done the fuel filter which would have been one of my first suggestions.

The air filter is also important as a dirty filter will alter mixture reaching the engine in that the car has to work for air, there are two option replace or blow clean with an airline if you have one. They are about £12.00 and last four years so quite good value that's the MB replacement.

Also below the ECU on the front of the engine there is a crankshaft vent tube this reconnects to the air intake of the engine, this can get blocked with oil emulsion it is worth checking that, flexible hose approx 1-1/4 inches in dia.

if that fails you could try cleaning the MAFS but take great care not to damage the reeds spray with carburetor cleaner several times that may help.
You may find that the situation slowly gets worse if that is the case then consider getting the MAFS rebuilt by ECU see my page 38 for details . that will restore the mixture back to the manufacturers spec but that is the last resort job .

Don't what ever you do go to MB for their advise on that problem they will charge for a new ECU/MAFS which costs approx £1300.00 these can be rebuilt but they will not tell you that they only want to sell and fit a new unit complete.
ECU testing repairs are guaranteed for two years .MB will guarantee their new unit for one two if you are very lucky , mention my site if you do have to resort to them for a discount.
Hope that helps
192 Problems with Interior light coming on whilst driving associated with alarm going off

Hi Loftie
We have a problem with our 2002 clutch-less manual A Class - The interior light keeps coming on when driving, my husband is convinced it is far worse when the weather is cold and also when accelerating and more recently the car alarm sets off for no particular reason - we have looked at your site but are not sure if this problem fits any of the listed questions.
Can you help please? I have donated £5.00 via Paypal. Many thanks

follow up mail

Thank you so much for your advice, my husband ordered a switch from our local Mercedes dealer (£4.00) and my brother fitted it at the weekend with in a few minutes. The problem that has been causing a nuisance for months is fixed!!!
Thank you so, so much.
R & D.
Thank you for the donation it is appreciated.

I don't think this is anything to do with the gearbox or the car simply switches I suspect you have a broken tail gate interior light switch or one of the door switched is broken More likely the tail gate as a small portion of the switch stem breaks off and as you drive the door moves and the light comes on, remember door seals are harder at this time of year

The alarm sounding is connected to the same problem because the switch is causing a voltage drop the alarm will and should go off
Check each door switch in turn and all so rear door remember also the bonnet is fitted with an anti tamper switch so all need to be checked start with the rear door.
Good luck would love to hear how you get on. Lofty

Follow up mail
Dear R
That is splendid news and we didn't need a diagnostics test to tell us what the problem was, just a good working knowledge of the car. Pleased you have it fixed and it didn't cost an arm and a leg which is what it would have cost if you had gone anywhere near a MB dealer well done.
193.Fauty Alternator causes muliple problems
Hi Lofty,
As well as helping out with the Mercedes-Benz Club I also provide electrical/electronic diagnosis on MB cars - mainly pre 2005 and a lot of cars from the '80s and 90's. I recently worked on a 2001 A140 auto which had really spooked the owner.

There were multiple intermittent problems as soon as the engine was started. Flashing instrument cluster, power steering switching in and out on the move, gearbox in the wrong gear and no electric windows. After a while it became more driveable but would play up again when restarted. The problem was the alternator that had been replaced 11 months earlier. It was failing to regulate and the voltage at the battery was reaching 16 volts. No wonder the poor car was confused!

I thought this might be useful info for your website.
I was talking to one of the Mercedes-Benz Club technical team the other day about A-class problems and mentioned that I'd seen a water cooled alternator fitted to the diesel A-class. Apparently a lot more diesels are having this type of alternator fitted. The reason is that because of the high engine efficiency every bit of heat needs to be harnessed to make the heater work in all conditions. The water pipes are removing heat from the alternator to resuse elsewhere - the reverse of what I had thought.
Dear Tony
Thanks for your mail and contents,
A mystery car! and I still think a test bed for Mercedes Benz .
Slowly very slowly the mysteries of this car are coming to heel I think we have just about got a grip on the 'F' problems that many many drivers have experienced along with the ACS activator problems which of course have only reared it's head as the A class has become of age with cost for repairs very low if they take the ECU testing .com route

Water cooled Alternator, I just could not see how running water past the alternator was in in way likely to cool it , but you having said salvaging any heat to warm the car makes sence as the diesels run so much cooler the petrol.

Certainly with this can-bus system every thing goes up the creek when one component plays up, the brake switch is a typical example it causes all sorts of problems so much so that I now suggest to owners to replace it at £10 just to delete it from the list of possible causes when they have problems , more often than not it is the cause of the problem .
thanks again
194 Noisy poly V belt shredding

Hello Lofty
You should see a donation from a K B.
I have an a170 cdi and its always made quite a lot of noise from the drive belt strumming especially with the aircon on.
I fitted a new belt about a year ago when I fitted injectors but today it shredded and came off its pulleys.

All of the pulleys are quiet serviceable and in line.
I do notice marks on the body above the idle pulley where the belt has marked but this could have been when it shredded.
The only thing I do notice are fragments of belt trapped in the V grooves on some pulleys.
Do you think this would make it strum .
Although its run fine apart from the noise its quiet embarrassing at times and I even had a woman come and say did you know your car is making a noise.
I am told these do make a noise but is there a way to stop it.

Regards K
Dear K Thank you for your donation.
These belts are not normally noisy at all, so something is adrift in respect of your belt or pulleys.
You do not say what year your car is but there are two points you need to check .

Firstly go to mypage 57 and read through
You need to check that the crank shaft pulley wheel is sound and is not shedding the outer drive surface as shown on that page .
You also need to check that the tensioner is really tightening the belt, it may well want replacing , there should be no oscillation of the belt when the engine is running . Unfortunately this cannot be done without lowering the engine but that can be done DIY.
I may have more information about this job after this week end as I have another owner doing just that job.
You do need to ensure that all the pulleys grooves are clean or the belt will throw again also check the bearings are sound it may well be that which is causing the noise of which you speak. Before installing the new belt start the car for a 30 seconds or so to confirm it is the belt that's making the noise .
Bear in mind also that the noise could be caused by one of the other components , alternator bearing or air con compressor outer bearing, both of which are under load from the location of the belt pulley wheel.
The water pump is another possibility but that is a rare one and they do not normally give problems
Hope that helps. Lofty
195 Electric windows fail to work normally
Dear Lofty,
Some weeks before, my A160 sometimes cannot open / close all windows by the central controller (tried baby-safe switch on / off), after switch off the car, key position 0 and restart engine, it can be operated again.

This week, all windows cannot be operated even re-starting the car.
I have checked the fuse according to the diagram in your website, the fuse is not damaged. (I hope that I checked the right fuse because I don't have the fuse diagram).
Do you have any idea for how to trouble shoot?
Thanks very much in advance

Follow up mail
I followed your advise, It works after disconnecting the battery, thank you very much as this saved me a lot of time and money
It sounds as though you have a problem with the control module, your best bet is to get a garage to run a diagnostics test that will point you towards the problem .

You could try disconnecting the battery for a while and then start from scratch.
You will have to reset the windows and the ESP all the information is on my site.
The fuse chart on my site should also direct you to the correct fuse.

Follow up mail
Your welcome
pleased it worked lofty
196 Timing chain Tensioner Replacement
Good Afternoon Lofty
I have had a look through your site which is a treasure of information. Do I need to drop the engine to replace the Timing Chain Tensioner? Does your CD have a step by step guide if so than I will order a copy today. Once again fantastic site and thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Follow up mail
I had a mechanic this morning trying to tell me that to replace Timing Chain Tensioner on the A140 the engine needs to be dropped at a cost of €1200.00! Told him that a better subject matter expert told me differently (You should have seen his face), I only went in to see if they could obtain the part for me.
D, no, it's very simple if all goes well.
You will need to remove the air filter housing then you can get at it from the end of the engine
The CD does have files on this job but you can do it without

follow up reply
Outrageous, and this sort of thing is going on World Wide
They used to be called pick pockets, blatant and outrageous nonsense.
Having donated , never hesitate to contact me if you want info, better still invest £8.00 and get my CD then you will be aware of what has to be done even if you cannot DIY

Just a simple message to all owners 'Be on your guard for scams such as this, this ogrossly over priced quote is not given in error they are trying to con you .
My £8.00 CD will give you the information of what is involved with jobs of this naturse which will enable you in a lot of cases to do the job yourself .
Where this is not possible it will still inform you of what is involved and enable you to decide if the job is being over priced'.
197 Defective brake light switch causes problems .
Hi Lofty,
A160, 99 model, 165,000 km
ABS and ESP light on permanently, did the usual fuse and relay checks, no luck. Additionally, clutch (autoclutch) was not disengaging properly when at a stop, but clutch would disconnect if handbrake applied slightly. Then remembered your site's suggestion of brake light switch and lo and behold, a faulty switch. $40 for new switch from aftermarket dealer and bingo works properly, no lights and a smooth runner.

My heartfelt thanks Lofty.
Cheers from sunny Australia
It is great to know that the content of the various pages is helping owners without my further input Well done greg Keep reading I'll keep updating the pages .
see further details on page 18
198 Failure to start, Intermittent fault with instrument cluster lights, car stalls when put into reverse gear
I have a Mercedes A class A140, manual, 168 model (51 plate), I'm running low on money and I thought may be you could help since Mercedes Stratford wanted £200 just to fault find for 2 hours. From your site I can see that it can be the starter relay or ignition connector switch, Mercedes want £200 to replace ignition connector switch.
Sometimes the car wont start, especially if left for few days, I have a brand new battery which I have changed twice in 4 months due to guarantee that came with the battery. It takes several tries to start the car, SRS light, windows etc come on but the horn, and indicators don't work. Then after several tries the car starts, but then dies as soon as I put it in reverse. It also dies sometimes when driving the battery icon appears for a sec before power dies but if it happens when I'm driving it switches back on first time.
I would appreciate any help you can provide me with this, thank you
Follow up mail
Really appreciate your reply Lofty
Just carried out checks as suggested by yourself, power to starter is fine and starter is 1 years old anyway. I checked the box below the washer and connections were fine and clean, I did see some oil on the PSP reservoir don't know if this would affect anything. Checked fuses and they were fine as well, the earth under the car where you empty the oil was checked recently too.
I tried starting car about 10 times just now, it started about 3 of them times, and whilst running it died on its own at one of the times. I really don't know what it can be anymore and I don't have the kind of money that MB want to spend on a car that's over 10 yrs old.
Anyway like I said really appreciate your suggestions, thanks for taking the time to reply

Follow up mail
I haven't had the fuel filter changed, had a full service last month and they couldn't locate what was causing the erratic behavior, no codes on their diagnostics either.

When I initially go to use my car I will turn key nothing will happen except SRS light coming on, all other lights stay off, the windows go up and down and lights come on but horn and indicators don't function.
After a few times of above result I will get all the symbols on dash lighting up and the car will start, then if I push clutch down and push gear to reverse before I even lift foot off clutch the car dies again.
This is my daily routine till I can put it in reverse and car doesn't die and I can carry on my day till I shut off car and have to go through all this again
Follow up mail
Yes I suspected it was the ignition switch connector as I already read up on the similar scenario you had of someone on that page, but I hadn't noticed them mentioning it dying when put in reverse.

What do you think about the chances it being the starter motor cut out relay being faulty ?
I didn't know about the fuel filter I might need to get that checked
Follow up mail
Hi Lofty, thought I would give you an update My car became so bad that it wouldn't start and not just occasionally but every time I put it in reverse it would die, anyway got the ignition switch connector which now costs £14 inc VAT changed by a friend and I have no start up problems or reverse gear problem.
Problem solved, thanks to your sites guidance and your helpful input. Thank you result
Problem solved.

From the intermittent problem you have I would say you have an earth fault, check the box below the windscreen washer bottle there are cables in there that you need to check , ensure they are not corroded and are clean remove the contacts and replace in a clean condition, also check all fuses

MBs charge is normally £100.00 per hour min plus VAT at 20% so you were getting of cheap. Lofty
Follow up mail
Have you had the fuel filter changed if so how long ago? is the engine turning over when you turn the key?
Follow up mail
In that case I would suspect the ignition switch not to be confused with the lock which is a different part, see my site for details. However the failure to run once started could well be a blocked fuel filter, I do not think you would get a code for that. Should be replaced every 55000 or 4 years
Follow up mail
Are you saying that it only dies if put into reverse? What about other gears?
When you put the car into reverse the reversing lights should come on does it?
if it is only reverse then there is every chance that the reversing lamp switch (£10.00) is causing a short circuit and cutting the engine, but I've never heard of this happening before.
You need to eliminate these problems one at a time, do the fuel filter or at least find out how old it is, I'm betting that it has never been replaced!

In conclusion it can be seen from this problem that all sorts of faults arise when the ignition switch becomes faulty and yet diagnostics will not pick up a code at least MB will not accept that a code exists, in the same way a code will not exist for a blocked fuel filter.
Servicing should be done as per the service schedule whether by a garage or DIY but you will not get away with not doing it at all and when faults do arise it complicates the issue unless things like fuel filter can be eliminated by reason that they have been changed at the prescribed mileage.
It can also be seen from the question that tremenious savings can be mnade if you are able to DIY or get the work done by somebody in the know,
In this instance the ignition switch was at fault and only after elimination of other possible causes could it be located. I hope also you can see why I make a small charge for helping owners with problems albeit in this instance3 no donation was made as the owner in question was very obviopusly pushed for cash,
That does not mean I will answer your question unless a small donation is made, web sites only pay their way if a charge is made or donations are forth coming I do not make a charge to use the infomation on the site so rely on donations and sales of the CD to pay for ythe site costs. So if this site has helped you as was the case with this owner who saved hundreds of £££ then please make a donation with out being asked. None of us like asking for money least of all me but I do have other things to do with my life besides answering question for free!
198 Remote keys will not open car, Instrument cluster shows "Start error " when ignition is turned on, car refuses to start.
Hi Lofty,
I have used your site many times to look into issues with my wife's 2001 A190 including the dreaded MAFS sensor that we have been living with for the last 5 years after having it fixed twice by BBA Reman, and I wanted to share my experience with you that hopefully you can put on your site and help others.

My wife parked her car and went to work, on returning that night the remote key fob to her 2001 A190 would not open the car. Opened the car with the key in the lock and the alarm activated, pity she didn't have the alarm fob to turn it off; so locked the car again to stop the alarm. Assuming the battery had died.
I drove to her with the spare key fob but alas that did not work either.
I used the key to open the car and deactivated the alarm with the small black key fob on the spare set.

On trying to start the car the engine fired momentarily and then stopped with the "Start error" displayed on the dashboard.
I tried to start many times but always got the "Start error" message. As you can imagine expensive thoughts went through my mind, and a long wait for a Control Module (ECU) to be sent from Germany.
I phoned the RAC to come and recover me thinking no chance of fixing this.

The guy turned up within 15 minutes, and better than that when he looked at his system for my fault he found a solution from a previous A Class owners breakdown with the same fault.
All he did was disconnect the battery for 10 mins !!! when he reconnected the battery the key fobs worked again and car started fine. I was amazed it was just like rebooting a pc to fix a load of issues.

Hopefully this information will save another a-class owner a lot of time and money if they experience the same symptoms.
Just need to reset the windows now as after disconnecting the battery they go up an inch at a time ;)
As you can imagine I get loads of questions about the A class, one of my stock answers for all electrical faults is to tell the owner to disconnect the battery for 10 minutes or so, invariably it cures the fault but not always. So you have taken the words right out of my mouth or has the RAC man read the Q & A page 3 on my site, I feel this action has the same effect as re-synchronizing the key with the immobiliser, that procedure is also on he site
Yes the procedure and cure is precisely the same as rebooting your PC and we all know that works , the ECU is simply a mini computer and so the same procedure works.
As for your ECU/MAFS twice with BBA Reman, cut your costs and send it to ECU, they Guarantee their work for life. I understand BBA Reman are now doing the same but I don't think they anticipate the car's life being very long.
I dropped them from my site some years back because of owner problms associated with their repairs
I will find a spot just to remind owners of this cheap cure for most electrical ills. just re-boot you PC! Many thanks Lofty
199 W1678 A170cdi heater?
Replacing bearings Gearbox.
Hello Loftie
You should have a PayPal donation from Mr K Booth.

I have an 2002 A170CDI and now the days are getting cooler I turned the heater to hot and its only Luke warm. Having no temp gauge in the car I drove to work with my code reader connected and its only reaching 53deg C and that’s with the rad slightly blanked of.. I know the old bellow type thermostat failed open but most modern cars fail closed so it should run hot. What’s the set up on the A class do they differ from most or is there something else that can make them rum cool? The thermostat looks like a job to be avoided is possible.

Also I thought you may be interested in this.

It seems these are prone to gearbox bearing failure. This was a job that is too big for me to tackle at home as the engine and gearbox needed to come out .So I took the car to a local gearbox repair place and they had a think and decided to try to cut some corners. With dropping the N/S sub frame down and accessing the gearbox end plate they removed and changed both end bearings with it all in place. No pipes off no AC off no wires off. Still cost a lot to do but only half of what it would have been if they removed and striped the box complete.
Regards Ken

Thank you for that. I am surprised to find it had a supplementary heater. I work part time in a MB truck dealership so will see if they can test it on STAR.

Thanks again Ken
I suspect a good many dealerships would be surprised as well, some of the answers they give customers are such that I don't think half of them even now WIS exists
When you start on a cold day and the heater is on you will see steam coming from the heater outlet until it warms up, central to the car. exhaust side.
(Diesel Models only ) Good luck, you may just find that it's not cold enough YET for it to start up,

Ken, I'm not aware of the bearing failure you mention I've only ever heard of one.
Mine own car developed a slight whine some time back, I changed the oil and I've not heard a sound since, I think the oil was also low.

The only problem with doing these repairs with the engine in place is the stress it puts on the other engine mountings etc, garages don't seem to worry but I've seen some of these repairs and I'd pull my hair out if the car had been mine. OK if they get away with it or you don't see it done.

'Mr clutch' they really cut corners, it's ok so long as the work done reflects in the price but if your paying full price then you expect the whole works and job done in such a way that it doesn't stress/damage other components.
lofty ----- Original
200 Continuous running of engine blower motor fitted on pre face lift A class models
Paul. I thought you might like some info on a recent problem I had with my wife's A class.
She came home one day with a strong burning smell and a fan sound coming from under the bonnet.
I found that the noise was coming from the secondary air injection pump located next to the power steering pump reservoir.

The only way I could get it to stop was by disconnecting the battery.
After removing the pump and doing some investigative poking around I found the source of the problem.
The air pump takes a lot of amperage. Normally it only runs for 30-90 seconds on start up, blowing air into the exhaust to aid pollutant reduction by the catalytic converter.

The relay contact had fused together causing the pump to continuously run during my wife's 4 mile trip, 4 miles with this pump stuck on was enough to cause the fan casing of the pump to get hot and melt.
I was able to salvage the pump by cutting the casing apart and refinishing/ repairing the casing.
A new pump is around the £500 mark I believe.

Although I repaired the pump, while I source a relay, I've left it disconnected. It doesn't cause any engine management lights to come on being disconnected so I may actually leave it disconnected rather than the fire risk it prevents by being connected. I realised after phoning around a lot of breakers that this pump isn't fitted to many A classes.
My wife's is a 2001 A160 Auto.

The pump pulls around 40amps in operation which I feel is on the limit of the relay controlling it.
Our A class has 58,000 miles on it when I pulled the relay apart the contact are non existent.
To prevent this problem the relay could be inspected and replaced in necessary. Possibly even sourcing a relay with heavier contacts.
Although the content of your e-mail is most interesting and highlights a possible fire risk, as far as I am aware the pump wasn't fitted to the face lift model 2002 onwards to which my site primarily points.
What I will do is put your information on page thee to help other users with this possible problem.

I agree a heavier relay may well prevent this from happening again having said that I have never heard of a problem in the 8.5 years I have been running the site, that does not of course mean there have not been problems only that I have not heard of them. Hope that meets with your approval.
Lofty .
201 Re: HELP : Replacing a manual Mercedes A140 Starter, New starter motor fitted will not turn engine
Hi Lofty, Is it possible to replace an A140 manual starter motor using the method described on your site? Best regards,
Feed back
Hi Lofty, thank you for your email:-)
Trying to undo the top allen bolt is just about impossible coolant tube in place using a 1/2 inch drive. I can touch with my fingers but can't get any real access to the part.
It looks like a may have to try lower the engine or getting smaller 3/8 drive. I think by lower the engine a little bit I might just have enough room to get the job done.
Feed back
Yep tested mauve & white cable and no voltage. I have applied 12v to this lead and sure enough the motor turns over... So that points to the starter relay.
The only problem is I don't have a starter relay.
So does that mean it is contained within the starter motor system? Or the ECU.
The part number of the old motor was 166-151-00-01
We replaced the motor with 'Unipart UGCGXE5567'.
feed back

Managed to replace the starter motor still won't start. Doesn't even try to engage the starter motor. But does start when pushed. Any thoughts would be warmly appreciated.

Feed back No the car is still not fixed. New starter works well. when connected direct to a power source, but now looks like we need a new ECU too.
Mercedes states that whenever you replace an older starter motor you need to replace the ECU as well, so will aim to buy the new ECU in a couple of weeks and let you know.
I see no reason why not. Good luck take your time Lofty
Further mail
Have you managed to sort your starter problem

Have you pre checked that the starter relay was OK have you checked fuses? If you go to the starter page you will see a test you can do to see if power is reaching the starter, you obviously need to do that check and then find the reason why power is not getting to the starter either a fuse or relay or wrong starter motor fitted
Further mail
Did you read the page on my site? Are you aware that some 'A' class have a starter with an inbuilt relay /immobiliser
You need to check the service book /back page to check the codes in that book .if you fit the wrong starter it will not run If you used an MB starter /spare part then they should have checked the part by the vehicle Vin number. Some after market outlets also ask for the vin / reg

If you haven't got a starter relay you need the alternative starter with the immobiliser built in to the starter. I know my local MB independent bypass that but I don't know how
Feed back
using a 3/8 drive with extension is the answer also lowering the engine just a few mm will help .
have you tried going to it via the offside wheel arch I'm told you can get at it with extension bars but thank goodness I haven't had to do this on mine YET
Further mail
David That is absolute rubbish , The ECU costs £1400.00 fitted and I have never heard of a single person having to exchange the ECU when the starter is replaced .

I suggest you ring MB Uk if you are in the UK 0080017 77 77 77 they may be able to advise but enquire further before you spend out anywhere are near that amount of money .
The ECU is coded to the car so they will not refund your money if the cure does not work.

One thing is sure if the wrong starter has been installed the starter car will not turn, Have you read my starter pages have you got a service book, have you got the code in the back of your service booklet that tells you the what codes are in force on your car?.

If you haven't go to a mercedes Benz garage and ask them if they will give you the codes that are normally available in the back of the service book, if you have not got a starter relay then almost certainly you have the starter with the built in immobiliser. And nothing will overcome that other than fitting the correct starter motor.
202 Car purchased has the wrong ECU!
Hi Lofty,
I have read through your site extensively (which is an immense resource) and I am wondering if you can help me. I have bought a 2001 A class for £400 with 90k on the clock with the ECU MAFS issue, only to find out the ECU has been changed. Is there any way of me buying and swapping in an ECU / Immobiliser and keys from another A class? or would I be looking at getting rid or shelling out for one from MB.
I would really appreciate your help.
The only way I know of is to buy a new ECU from MB which would come coded to the car's Vin number that should then work and your existing keys should also work, that's if you have been provided with the original keys issued with the car, there would be two ignition keys and two alarm keys 1 red 1 black .

The only other thing you could do is give Roger a ring at ECU and ask him if there is any way round the problem Mention my site , he may be able to help.
For your information ignition keys are £200 a piece the ECU is £1400.00 fitted and the alarm key you could only replace if you have the red key .

If you do decide to go down that route ,talk to mercedes first to ensure that the new ECU will solve the problem, they will also require proof of ownership.
You don't say what Month in 2001 the car was registered , if it was after Feb. 2001 then it should be EOBD compliant, if its pre that date then you cannot do any diagnostic tests yourself that means that if you get a problem you have to go to MB or to a MB independent garage, this will add up in the long term so make sure you are aware of the cost before you spend out. is there any way you can get the original; ECU? if yes than that can be rebuilt .

Also look on e-bay and you will see the value of a car of that age which is very little and they are runners, personally I wouldn't spend out on it get your money back by selling the parts and then look for another car.
Lofty .
203 Subject: A140 error
Hope you can help me, Have a Mercedes A140 year 2000 petrol with following problem: -The engine runs only for 3 seconds and then stops! (No error codes in OBD).
Can it be the engine Key code error?
Mr. Selin, Gothenburg, Sweden

Feed back
Yes, correct.
It was a blocked Fuel filter.
Never replaced since 1999 and 170.000km.
New filter replaced and the engine starts up, running fine at 1000 rpm but no pedal response to increased rpm.
After futher checks I find that the fuel pressure was only 1,5 bar.
New fuel pump ordered from dealer.
No if was a key error the instrument cluster would show a message 'Start error'
Sounds like fuel possible fuel pump /filter blocked
You will not get an OBD code because 2000 A class would not be OBD compliant , you need to get a 'Mercedes-Benz 'star' Diagnostics test done which may show a fault, ask for a print out if you have it done , but I'd check the fuel pump first, saves money
OBD was applied to all petrol cars sold in the EC from Feb 2001 onwards, Diesels 2004
Could also be a crank shaft or cam shaft sensor these items tell the engine what positions the crank shaft & cam shaft are in and inject fuel accordingly. no message, no fuel, no run
BUT I would expect the sensors if defective to show a code, so I would test the fuel pump, the fuel rail is behind the air filter housing which is easily removed
Please let me know the outcome
Feed back
That is good news as it has solved the problem , sadly the fuel pump has only gone because of the blocked filter.
see my page 12
50,000 miles is about right for a fuel filter so how the filter has allowed sufficient fuel to flow one will never know .
Please let me know how she runs when you have the new pump fitted

Please also see this page if you have further question:- thank you
204 Blower motor only runs intermittently
Thank you very much for your website. I have previously bought your CD (31 January 2012) and have purchased an update today via Paypal. This is the first time I have not been able to resolve my issues via your site directly.

I was hoping you could give me some guidance on the AC/blower fan issue I'm having with our 1999 A160. It is an intermittent problem that is getting worse. The blower/fan often will not start up on starting the car - no lights on the AC dials or system and the blower not working. The system is completely dead.
Restarting the car several times can sometimes kick start the blower.
The system will then stop working intermittently and the car needs to be restarted for it to sometimes start working again. The system will definitely stop if I turn the fan speed to fan speed 4. It seems to make no difference if the EC switch is on or not.

I note the issue detailed on your website with the blower resistor failure resulting in the blower only working when full on. Not the same issue as mine but is it worth starting here? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Kind regards
Dear A,
Thank you for your mail and order which I will get off tomorrow.

The stopping and re-staring the car and the system then working I feel is more a coincidence, I feel sure this is an electrical fault in that power is not reaching the heater/blower.
Yes I would start with the resistor but not to replace at this point but possibly remove and clean the contacts and replace.
It could I feel be something as simple at that.
I take it you have checked the fuses, I'm not sure without looking see mypage15,15a if there any relays involved if its fuse the replace or switch the fuse with another of same value, the spades do sometimes cause problems and electrical contact can be lost.

I do not think this would show on Diagnostics accept to say electrical failure so I'd save your cash in the same way mechanical faults would not show.
I do hope this info will help as even attempting to remove the fascia to get at the switch gear is a major task, cost wise it would not be cost effective to have it done at a garage. I do so hope this is a resister contact problem because that is an easy job. There is the possibility bearing in mind the age of the car that the motor's life is at an end, one thing you could do is follow the procedure for replacing the carbon filter.
see mypage 23, once you have removed the filter element you can see the fan of the electric motor, with this still stripped out (DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPERS or you will loose the settings ) When the blower will not start, with the ignition off turn the motor half a revolution, it may be that the armature of the motor is worn, I'm not sure if this motor has brushes if it does then that could also be the cause of the failure in the case of an old motor.
If is not the resistor, then it might be possible to remove the motor from the engine bay side but I have never heard of a blower motor failure although at some point it must have happened. Please stay in touch I would like to hear the outcome
Best wishes
205 Problems after replacing bulb in instrument cluster
Hi Lofty Hope you can help, I was following your directions on replacing bulb in dashboard cluster as I’d lost illumination of the lcd, (A Class 210) w168 made the tool as suggested and everything went just as you described, that is until I stupidly disconnected the cluster before disconnecting the battery.
Should have read your instructions to the conclusion and now I would have had dashboard that worked.
However the alarm didn’t sound but now I have no speedo, rev counter and the central locking no longer works also all the symbols on the dash are constantly illuminated, the car still drives but it would be nice to see how fast I was going.

I know “what a donkey” I am.
Hope you can point me in right direction.
Ps love the sight. Regards Rob

Feed back
I have tried disconnecting battery for 20 mins as suggested, however the problem still remains.
The dashboard is still inoperative, the symbols are permanently illuminated, the central locking isn’t working and here’s a strange one, the two front indicators aren’t working although the rear ones are.

Feed back

Hi Lofty SUCCESS!!!! I retraced my steps and redone everything. However im not sure about this one – as it was late yesterday when I stripped the console out I was not able to get new bulb till this morning and as my wife needed the car I loosely put back the console figuring I could fit bulb in the afternoon.

As she couldn’t drive it this morning I have refit and every thing works, could it have been the missing bulb causing the problem??? The only light left on is the engine management can I reset this myself ???
If not the local garage have the computer to plug in so not too much of a problem.
Any way thank you sooooo much for your assistance.

IF ANY ONE OUT THERE IS UNSURE WETHER THEY SHOULD DONATE TO THIS MAN FOR HELP, TAKE IT FROM ME ITS BEEN WORTH EVERY PENNY, I did contact a MB dealer who told me the repair cost would start from £75-00. the bulb cost me £1-99. OK plus a little hassle but it saved me enough for a good night out with the wife, and ill be having a drink for Lofty. Again, Many many thanks.Rob Rob.
Dear Robert,
Sorry it's late but I have had problems , the site was hacked and it's taken nearly a week to get it up and running again.
Don't worry 'The man that didn't make a mistake didn't make anything!'

Have you tried disconnecting the battery since you made the error, if No then disconnect and leave for 15 minutes or so then re-connect , remember to turn you side light to On before re-connecting , that will re-boot the cars Computer which may well sort the problem , Please let me know how you get on . Lofty Many thanks for the donation.

Feed back
Rob Have you checked the fuses? Make sure you replace them back where they come from, there are spare /MT slots

In situations like this it where the problem is caused by the work you have done it always pays to go back over the steps (actions) you have taken, invarably the fault can be detected and put down to some small error that was made while undertaking the work,
In this case leaving a bulb out of the curcuit caused the problem, where as even the dud (dead) bulb completed the curcuit.
206 Heater control panel dead (no power)
Hi Lofty
My heater/climate controls are completely dead, its a 2003 A170, fuse 45 is fine but there doesn't appear to be any power to it?

Feed back
Hi lofty. The whole panels not working. Recirc light. Ac off light. Fan not working at any speed.
Feed back
Thought you may like to know the ignition switch cured the heater fault.

Feed back
After I found fuse 45 was dead I just looked at the wiring diagram and found the supply came straight from the ignition switch. So for sake of £16 and the work to get the switch off I just fitted a new one. Great site mate. Keep it up ! Steve
Steve Thanks for the donation.
When you say the heater controls are dead I take it you are talking about the blower/fan?
Feed back
In that case I'd replace the fuse which appears from the fuses chart to be the only one the serves the control for that bank of switches even though it looks OK Then I'd check to ensure the resistor is not loose or showing signs of damage. I'm not aware that there are other fuses or relays involved,
it would also be worth checking fuses 14 & 38 failing that curing the problem I'm not sure where you go.

When removing fuses take great care to replace them in the slots removed from. If this is the case then you need to check the resistor, normally that fails and the blower/fan runs fast all the time but they can also fail so as to prevent power reaching the blower motor, see page 61 for location of the resistor

Feed back
Well done Steve, at least the site helped with the switch and I'm pleased you were able to do it yourself
If you intend keeping the W168 invest in my DVD because that has loads of files that will help with problems or at last give you a good idea of what's involved when things go wrong. Best wishes Lofty
207 An e-mail full of thanks
Hi Lofty
An update for you on front suspension rattles. My latest 2001 W168 A160 came with annoying front suspension rattling over bumps.
These rattles didn't sound the same as the worn drop-links on my previous A160, and on inspection I found that replacement drop-links had been installed not too long ago.
I then read Chapter 49 Steering and although I wasn't getting steering clicks I thought that greasing the steering column UJ and telescopic splined section was worth a try.
Well that cured the problem and the car is now rattle free.
I would mention that after the UJ was pulled off the rack and the steering column pushed down the splines as far as it would go, I still couldn't get the lower section off the splines because the UJ was fouling no matter what angle I turned it to.
In the end I reconnected the UJ and added grease to the splines and to the UJ with the boot pulled back, turning the rack from end to end with the tyres on glossy magazines as recommended.
Work I've done on the car: new coolant, new spark plugs (using your tool), new oil and filter, air and pollen filters, new ATF and filter, new wiper blades, all fitted using instructions on your marvelous site.
Well done Mike I'm pleased the site has proved useful to you and many others, with over 3500 readers a day it must be costing MB Main Dealers a bomb but who cares when they rip people off like they do World Wide.
Labour now over £100 per plus Vat in the UK and in one case a so called MB specialist refused to remove a valve chest from and automatic A Class so that the owner could get it repaired using another contractor who does the job for a fraction of the cost of new parts they would have fitted.
No problem he found another workshop that did the job.
The new MB parts would have had a 12 months guarantee at the most 2 years, his repaired unit is now guaranteed for the life of the car.Thank you ECU, he is delighted with the outcome. Oh and he got a discount for mentioning my site. Keep reading and keep your running costs to a minimum. Best wishes lofty
208 Indicator/instrument cluster problem

Re: Mercedes Vaneo Trend MPV Petrol Car
I have just found your site and would very much like to know if you can advise on my car as above?
If so I will make a donation and email my fault.
Kindest Regards
Mrs Didcock
Feed back
Dear Mrs Didcock, As the Vaneo is basically the same as the A class I may be able to help, send me your question and donate if my answer helps Best wishes Lofty
Feed back
Thanks very much for your offer of help.
Vaneo Trend 53 plate
We have an intermittent problem with our right hand indicator not working. Left is fine.
We recently had an issue with the SRS seat pad and had to have it replaced which is all fine now.
When the right hand indicator first started failing my husband changed the fuse which seemed to fix the problem for a while. It then came back.
When it failed for a long period we put it in to the garage for diagnostics they advised we required a new instrument cluster part no A4144460121. So they offered a repair service on the instrument cluster.
They sent cluster unit off for repair and we were then advised that fault was irreparable and we now require part no A4144461121.
They advise that there is only 1 of these parts available in the world and it is currently in Germany. Once it has been sold there are no more being made???? Total cost to repair £1000?
We asked for the car to be put back together as was at a cost of £171 including postage for irreparable cluster unit.
On collection the car drove fine and the right hand indicator has worked fine until today, it suddenly failed again but then started working again, we now have the engine check light on and then this evening after checking the fuses the ABS and ESP lights have now come on.
My husband tried disconnecting the battery for 15 mins to see if that would make any difference but still the same.
Any advise gratefully received
I attach a photo of the fuses incase that helps.
Shane Didcock

Feed back
Lofty, Thanks so much for coming back so promptly.
Steering lock to lock worked fine ABS and ESP lights now gone out.
Checked right indicator again this evening and it worked for a few flashes and then failed. It makes an audible waa waa waa noise? Which is what it did before slight illumination if green arrow in time with waa waa noise.
When we first had the problem with the indicator and we changed the fuse I forgot to mention that the new fuse no 28 10amp kept blowing. So my husband replaced it with 25amp, which is still in? Could this be causing issue?
Engine light still on too.
Just off to make donation for your help.
Feed back
Dear Mrs Didcock, as the Vaneo is basically the same as the A class I may be able to help, send me your question and donate if my answer helps Best wishes
Feed back
There are two possibilities, 1. it could just be an earth problem, 2. It could be the combination switch, which is available from some car parts suppliers for as little as £75.00 plus Vat, MB just over £100 plus vat. and if you have tools and some experience of cars fit this yourself or get a interested neighbour to assist you
If you have not moved the car since the battery was disconnected then all you do is turn the steering wheel fully left then fully right with the car moving slowly to prevent tyre damage the ABS/ESP lights will then go out
If they do not Then :-
the problem is almost certainly is down to the fuses having been pulled and the fuse not making good contact when replaced, OR you have placed it back in the wrong slot!
Yes very easy done In fact I preach to be careful and made the mistake on my own car a couple of weeks back.
had I not taken a photo before I started the car would I feel sure still be off the road.
In you fuse box tucked in a slot there should be a fuses and relay chart, double check that everything is where it should be. There is an A class chart on my site which may help if yours is not there.
Once you have solved that then I'd consider checking the earth on the effected side, test the earth by adding another contact point, this would be easiest done on the rear indicator bulb if it is an earth then it should work when the ignition is on and the switch operated to the right.
If that does not work then any good garage should be able to put a diagnostics on the car and tell you what the defect code is, if they confirm the problem is the instrument cluster which I doubt, then try to get a second hand one from a good breakers yard or contact and see what they will charge from a used unit , have your Vin Number to hand , (see bottom of near side windscreen or reg document ) to hand and details of the Car/vaneo.
A different Garage may well come up with a different code, which could point to the combination switch or even an earth fault I would also check the bulbs in the three off/side lamps eliminate them from the fault list. Simply removing and replacing them you may solve the problem .
Normally when it is a bulb defect the indicators click at twice normal speed but you cannot delete anything until you have checked .
As far as I aware these are interchangeable and are not coded, Hopefully that will solve the problem.
If the garage you used in the first instance was a MB Main dealer, then you would be far better of using a MB independent who generally have mechanics and not fitters!
Hope that helps, come back to me if you want further help
Feed back
Shane Bit more information The engine management light is on because you didn't turn the light switch to on prior to reconnecting the battery the power serge hits the ECU and causes to EML to come and stay on . This will have to be deleted by a garage or anybody who has an EOBD diagnostics tool. If you disconnect for any reason in the future always turn the lights on before re-connecting. MB say not but they are the ones making money when you do not do so.

Not a good idea to replace fuses with twice the resistance, I would certainly replace the 10amp , but check that is correct on the fuses and relays sheet.
If the new fuse blows then the cause must be determined or you will damage other components, including any replacements fitted.

Feed back
Dear Shane, In your last mail you indicated that you were off to make a donation to my site, 20/6/13 this is just to let you know that as of 21.6.13/ 1220 hours it has not arrived, if you did make the donation would you please check with Paypal as the payment has not been made by them. I would also appreciate you letting me know if the information helped and how you get on with the car/vaneo , this helps me to help other owners with faults of a similar nature. Thanks Lofty
209 How can I measure the oil pressure on my A160
Hi, I've bought an A140 model 1998, 180.000 km, with a big knoking at piston no 3.
I removed the engine and I find a big problem at the crankshaft and big end of the connecting rod of the piston 3....

The bearing shell was complete distroyed.
I supose there was no oil presure or very low.
I make it the crankshaft at the first step, I buy it new bearings shell... for the first step and I rebuild complete the engine.

The problem now is.... how I can see if the engine have oil presure...! This stupid engine have no sensor for oil presure?!
How is posible!
The engine now is running good but I m living with this problem in my mind; Does the engine have oil presure or ...!
I read it in Autodata, there has to be 4 bar at 3000 rpm, but how I can measure?!!!!!
Normal I have a fals sensor and through this I can make the measure, but here...! Thank you!
The oil pressure is measured by attaching a pressure gauge to the top of the timing chain tensioner.
Remove the small bolt from the top and replace that with a gauge while you measure the pressure
I feel sure that if you oil pressure was low you would get a warning light come up in the instrument cluster .

Please see the file attached, this is best viewed using 'Irfanview' free download from the WWW. also (available on my DVD) If this information is helpful; please make a small donation to help keep this site on the WWW.
thanks you Lofty
210 Whirring noise when doors are opened. &

The problem I’ve currently got is proving to be very frustrating, as I just can’t pinpoint the problem.
When either of the front doors is opened, I can hear a distinct whirring noise, seemingly coming from somewhere towards the rear of the car.
It must be an electrical motor running somewhere, it runs for about 5seconds, then changes to a slightly higher pitched whirring for another 5secs, then stops.
This is before I’ve put the key in the ignition, all I’m doing is opening the door.
I thought it might be the motor for the lamella sunroof, but I tried taking the fuse out for that and still got the noise. Can you suggest any possible culprits / fixes?

Banging from heater area when the is turned on
Actually, while I have your attention, could my £10 donation stretch to a 2nd query? Whenever the ignition is turned on, there’s a thumping noise emanating from the dashboard.
I know what this is and it is referenced on your site, but I’ve not been able to fix it – it’s the air recirculation flaps on the blower motor, the thumping noise is the flaps trying to close but the gear / spindle seems to be slipping.

I’ve asked a couple of local independent MB specialists and they’ve both said it’s easily fixed, but the entire dash has to be stripped & removed to get at it – they’re quoting £400-£500 labour to do the job.

The car’s only worth about £1500 so I’m not going down that route, but I wondered if you’d come across any other way of solving this issue in your dealings with other A-Class owners?
Hope you can help and thanks for your philanthropy to the A-Class community!

Feed back

Hi, Just thought I’d come back to you with the outcome, I know you like to see things through.

The whirring noise when opening the door did turn out to be the vacuum pump for the central locking. I’d replaced the pump a few months ago when the old one burnt out after becoming waterlogged – thanks to your site, there’s no danger of the replacement unit falling victim to this, as it’s safely double-bagged & taped up etc. However, I mustn’t have clipped the little retaining lug into the tube connector correctly, as that had worked loose. Once it was all reassembled – with the plastic clip pushed all the way in this time – happy days, no more whirring noise!

Thanks again for the effort you put into your site. As someone with the mechanical nous of an inebriated haddock, it’s given me the confidence to have a crack at things myself rather than always shelling out to the local garages. I took a rear door to bits over the weekend as the electric window wasn’t working properly and bingo – another problem fixed!
Firstly many thanks for the donation it is appreciated and I'm pleased the site has helped you over the years.

The thumping noise as you say is the flaps on the heater fan, and yes it is the gear wheel that goes defective.
No solution because of the high cost of labour but it can be eliminated by turning the heater blower to off prior to starting the car .
I think the noise you are hearing when you open a door I feel sure is the vacuum pump in the boot nearside lower section, I wasn't aware it ran when doors were opened but I can't think of anything else that would /or could be responsible. I take the auto locking is all working OK?

I can't see the fuse that controls that unit but you could unclip the connector on the pump to confirm that is the noise , while you are at it do check to see that it is dry and this well fills with water if the rear screen washer hose separates at the top of the rear see , see my comment about placing the pump in a polythene bag and folding the top down this will ensure it is never damaged by water ,washer fluid .

The other noise that is heard when the mini fan is dirty is the one in the front interior lamp, blow the dust off the blades of that and it runs silent.
Do please come back to me if you have further questions , no further donations thanks .
Bets wishes
Feed Back
Well done Richard and thanks for the feed back, I hope you have left the pump open so that it can breath, needs to be vented i.e open top of bag level with the well. Lofty.

Subject: 211 Input Air Temperature Sensor
Firstly many many thanks for a brilliant and informative site. I have recently also purchased the DVD - an excellent source of info.

I have a 54 plate Vaneo 1.6 which was suffering from random misfires and generally poor running. I had just purchased an OBDII reader and hooked this up to see if there was anything registered. At this stage the Engine light had come on.
The stored and pending codes showed that there was a problem with the air temperature sensor and the live data showed the air temperature as 140 Centigrade (even without the engine running).
I disconnected the wires and pulled the sensor. Measuring the resistance showed that it was just about a short circuit. I knew that it was a thermistor and logically it was a negative temperature coefficient version (NTC) since a short circuit (0 ohms) gives a high temperature reading and an open circuit (very very high resistance) gives a low temperature reading.
I couldn't find any reference anywhere what the nominal value of this sensor was so, with some trial and error, found 4700 ohms (4.7k) as a resistance which gave me a reading of about 27 degrees.
I removed the shortcircuited thermistor from the sensor housing and soldered the 4.7k resistor, that I had in my component box, in place, reinserted the sensor and reconnected the wires.
I then road tested the vehicle...what an improvement! It ran as I expected it to... The fixed resistor is not a permanent solution and I have tweaked things slightly by buying a 5k NTC themistor from a local electronics independent as this gives a closer reading to the air temperature than the fixed resistor did, (cost about 60p) and fitted this in place of the fixed resistor.
I have since purchased a new sensor and have installed this but still have the "one that I made earlier" as a standby. The air temperature sensor value has a direct effect on the mixture supplied to the engine. The higher the reported temperature then the weaker the supplied mixture. So the use of either a 4.7k or 5k NTC thermistor will give an error of about 2 degrees so may be good enough for a short term fix. The 4.7k NTC thermistor is obtainable from Maplin (currently stock code FX21) for £1.19). Replacement sensors can be bought from a variety of stockists including eBay.

I hope that this helps as I couldn't find any useful info on the internet. If you need any further detail then please let me know and I'll be glad to help.

BTW - regarding the removal of the instrument cowl on a Vaneo... this is held in place by 2 torx headed screws at the front bottom edge.
The panel directly below the instrument cluster will need to be removed (held in place by two torx headed screws at either end on the underside) to get to these.
The instrument lamps, on my Vaneo at least, don't have bulbs that can be removed from the holder so the lamp plus holder needs to be replaced. These were bought from a local motor factors at about £2.45 each! I suppose that with a bit of work then the old glass envelope can be removed and the new one soldered in to place. I will explore that when I get chance and report back.
Keep up the good work.

Feed Back
Thanks. Yes I have bought a sensor 4.m1439.l2649"
for £13.08 and fitted it myself.

The sensor simply clips into the air intake so no tools are required to remove or fit it.
Keep up the good work with the site.
Best wishes.
I think you should be congratulated for sorting that one out, normally one would look at coils etc, so it proves that with these unnecessarily sophisticated vehicles do need diagnostics to come up with the true reason for failure and replacing parts at lib really is a waste of money.

Have you bought a sensor now and if so what was the cost an I take it you fitted it yourself?
What I will do is put this information on the Q & A page in the w168 section then hopefully if anybody gets caught out like your good self they will find the answer before going further and as you say a great deal of this type of information is nowhere to be found.
Keep up the good work and long may she run
best wishes

Feed Back
Many thanks I will add that to your mail . Lofty

Starting problem following switch of engines
Eero mailed me this story,
His girlfriends car engine had failed and was not worth repairing because of very high Mileage so he decided to get a low mileage replacement engine and switch them over.
He retined the original ECU and switch the emobiliser from the doner car.
However the assembled car failed to start replaceing the Cam and crank sensor's made no difference. to cut a month long story short will loads of e-mails going in both directions he removed the fly wheel from the original engine and swapped it for the one on the donar engine, both flywheels had the same part number
The car then ran fine without further problems.
The only conclusion I can come to is that the markers on the outer edge of the flywheel varied by being different from one another which affected the timming of the engine and thus starting and running the ECU failed to acknowledge the markers on the rep[lacement flywheel although instantly acknowledged the old flywheel marks So be warned if switching you engine do not get rid of the old unit until the replacement one is up and running.
ABS/ESP light comes on car goes into limp home mode
I have a quick question for you, my car BAS/ESP light keeps coming on and then the car suddenly goes to low gear and cant accelerate, when we troubleshoot with my mechanic we cant find the fault, what could be the problem. Thanx in advance.
Feed back,
Lofty Just checked the switch and it seems not to have any problems Where else could the warning be coming from
feed back
On Thursday, July 23, 2015, Chris Mugo wrote: That's a good idea I'll work on it
feed back,
Lofty I replaced the brake switch and it worked, thanks to you for sharing your wisdom and experience Kindest regards
On Thursday, July 23, 2015, lofty wrote:
Have you replaced the brake light switch? cost £10.00 MB parts
If not give that a try.
I had the same problem on my W168 and changed the switch when cut open it was in a worn condition with the contacts burnt, you would be advised to change the switch before spending money on other things .
feed back
Just one more satisfied reader, Note that even his mechanic could not solve the problem!

New Brake Switch fits behind the brake pedal Fitting a new brake switch that costs little and takes seconds to fit and deletes the possibility of the brake switch being the cause of the problem it is also a lot cheaper that employing a mechanic to look at the car which can be expensive and inconvenient due to the loss of the car.
W168 A170CDI kick down fails
When going up hills my A170CDI kickdown fails to achieve a change of gear on my auto transmission when going up hill.
This vehicle was diagnosed as having a fault code P1636 Star diagnostics =Electric suction fan (turbo) Has open curcuit or short curcuit.
The fault was deleted and on a short run reappeared, the car is now being repaired the fault beleieved to be a split in one of the pipes going or from the turbo.
The fault also caused a hissing heard by the driver ,obviosly a high pressure air leak.
215 Starter Motor cut out relay W169, Horn defect,
Dear Lofty,
Just wanted to say thank you for the recent DVD. I had used the information previously when we had starting problems which eventually turned out to be the starter motor relay. I used the information on your site to guide Mercedes Benz of Cheltenham as to the possible problem. This was after they had plugged into the diagnostics computer and told me that I needed a new fuel pump and associated piping £1000 worth of work. I declined this generous offer and pointed them towards the relay saving some significant money and time. Your website gave me the confidence to talk to MB with knowledge of the potential problems.

Recently I have had problems with the horn on my 56 plate A class and used the information to help my local garage locate the relays as shown in your pictures. It helped save time and money. I have included information below so that you can include it to help others.

1 Horn stopped working
2 Fuse checked and fine.
3 Relay could be heard clicking
4 Ordered new horn from Europarts using reg no to identify part.
5 Bosch part arrived but contained two horns.
6 This was confusing an checked internet which suggested that there are 2 horns on my car but I could only locate 1.
7 Checked my father's 2011 A class and could only locate 1 also.
8 Fitted new one new to my car but still no luck. Checked voltage and found only 6V at connections.
9 Local garage then re-wired new circuit from the relay as the horn circuit was damaged somewhere in the wiring loom.
10 One of the two newly acquired horns now installed so I have a spare.

Just wanted to say thanks again for saving me time and money. The information provided. I estimate that without your website I would be at least £1000 worse off this year. Regards,
Stephen Hacker

Apart from thanking Stephen for his mail there isn't much I can say accept that my DVD does contain invaluable information which will as can be seen to save you a lot of money in the short and long term.

I also advise readers to get a second opinion fwhen a quote of this size is provided. If you go to a Mercedes Independent garage ( one that repairs and Services Mercedes Vehicles ) You will not go far wrong and may well pay a lot less in labour, they will fit mb parts so that part of the bill would normally expect to be the same.

What I have found is that they are more prepared to listen to what the customer is saying in respect of a defect. Diagnostics is simly a tool, there is nothing that can compete with a mechanic with good common sence background knowledge. If a car has a defect it can quite often be pin pointed with a bit of common sense, where it is an electrical defect diagnostics may be the help but it does does not always provide the answer.

A good test of their confidence is to, Simply ask if having fitted this component or undertaken certain work and it does not cure the fault will you then remove the item or credit the cost against the bill.
You may have to wait for the answer, but it will show how confident the service department are in their diagnostics that the new part or their action will clear the fault.
Automatic gearbox ,problems with reverse gear,'Limp home mode',
Hi Lofty
I have made sent you a $50 donation £25.00) My automatic has the 'F' warning, is going great forwards, and also in reverse when engine is cold, but reverse seems to be having problems when car has been going for a while. I am hoping my husband (retired diesel mechanic with some good electronic experience) will be able to check out the PCB and that will be all the trouble is. Can you think of anything else it might be?
Follow up mail
Hi Lofty, Many thanks for enlightening me about that.
I am printing out this info and keeping it with my user manual. Hopefully it will not be an expensive fix.
I love my merc. I had an old estate wagon Merc that I sadly had to part with for 2 reasons, firstly parts for it were nearly impossible to get and secondly because it was a 6 cylinder and a Merc, the Aussie government slapped a luxury car tax on it of nearly a $1000 a year.
The little A160 is much cheaper to run all round and hopefully since it only has 150,000km on the clock a good few years of driveability left.
Regards, Sharon
Follow up mail
Please find attached report for reverse transmission malfunction.
Hope it helps someone else. Looks like we may need to get a new box, but saying that she went into reverse fine on the way home (nearly 300km) Automatic guy says we should check before we purchase a second hand one (if we can find one) that there is not a security code fixing our original box to the car, do you know anything about this?
Thanks, Sharon
Vehicle road tested with diagnostics attached
Code Engine PO60009009-can busFault in can comms with control unit GRM trans P18891- pressure too low at regulating Valve 2/5/R Too hgighat solenoid valve 2/5/R
Dear Sharon,
Firstly thank you sincerely for your generous and thank you for your generous donation
I will be sending you a copy of my e-DVD so download that when received there are loads of workshop files on that which may help you husband resolve the situation.
I will be sending you a complimentary copy of my e-DVD Your problem
That is not one i have heard of in the past accept on the manual transmission where the problem is a mechanical link.
That however would not be the case with your Automatic, the pcb (printed circuit board ) in the selector module may be the problem , an auto electrician my be able to check that for you the faults are normally dry solder joints , re-soldered and the problem clears Let hope that is the case with your car

However It could be that the transmission fluid is low, this can only be checked using a special dip stick.
My best bet is to direct you to mypage 59a , yes there is a lot of information but is is all relevant to the auto trans mission
The worse case is that the FTC /ECU needs testing and repairing, if that is the case the only company I know who can test & repair that is in the UK.
But before you even think of going down that route I would suggest that you go a garage for a diagnostics test.
I feel sure your car will be OBD 2 compliant but if you have a Mercedes Independent garage near you that will test the car using a ‘Star’ diagnostics tool that reads the fault codes on the ECU and that will indicate the fault that is causing the ‘F;’ Display on your car ’ Get the codes then go from there

. What I say to owners is get the fault codes on the ECU cleared /deleted then run the car and as soon as the fault re-appears get the ECU read again you then know that you are dealing with the correct fault and not a historic fault.

Follow up mail
Dear Sharon, In the first instance I would do nothing as the low fluid could have been the cause of the problem. However if the problem reoccurs then the valve chest complete with FTC/ECU would need to be serviced /repaired /tested

If the problem is with the FTC/ECU then this can be repaired and given a life time warrantee, albeit the company is in the UK, Many Australian owners have had to follow this route.
The problem with purchasing a second hand transmission is that it will not be compatible with your vehicle without work being done on it because they are coded to the car is it originally issued to so the FTC/ECU would still have to be switched from your own transmission.
However as the fault may be in that unit there would be little point.
Now I have just spoken to ECU testing .com they have confirmed that if the fault does reoccur it is one which they can repair. the cost would be £195 .00
However I would run the car and see if you have further problems as the condition an low fluid level could have been the sole cause .
Please contact me again if you feel I can be of further help.

If at the end of the day you do need a repair then please supply the company with a copy of the bill you sent me and if you use the UK company then mention my site for a discount on the repair. They would however need the complete Valve chest with integral FTC/ECU to do the job and test. as I said the unit is then guaranteed for the life of the car. The garage who did the previous work for you would be ideal, and although I do not know what an Aus doller is worth the charges look very reasonable. Hope that helps

Follow up mail As a follow up to my previous mail, Because of the nature of the original fault i.e. reverse gear I still suggest you purchase a brake light switch and fit this to the car as there is a real chance that this was wholly or partially responsible for the ‘F’ Display , I would strongly advocate that you do this before considering other actions.

Your nearest Mercedes-Benz parts department could easily send this to you by post as it is a small item . when Phoning have you registration and Vin Number to hand albeit all W168 ' A' Class have the same switch.
Best wishes

217. W169 When should I replace my Poly 'V' Belt
Hello Lofty,
I hope you are well. Nice to see that more owners are contributing to your A-class web-site and sharing the total knowledge of the vehicle.
What are your thoughts on changing the poly V-belt on the W169?
I have not seen any service intervals for that component and it was a pain on the W168.
Kind Regards
I'm not aware of any specific mileage for replacing the Poly V belt, what I feel would be more important is that it is inspected as part of a 'B' service.
I would spend more time on the examination after about 50000 miles or five years and would replace it if any signs of wear, perishing or cracking was noted.
The failure of the poly V belt will result in an immediate loss of power steering, as well as warning lights indicating the alternator is not providing power to the car's electronics or battery, plus warning light when the engine over heats.
In addition the air conditioning, not to be confused with the blower/fan which will continue to work, will cease to provide cooled air to the interior of the vehicle .
Should you notice any of these signs you must get to a safe area, Stop The Engine and check for the problem and if the belt has for any reason been displaced from the engine, get the car recovered by breakdown transporter. It is note possible to replace the Poly V belt and the side of the road.
If you continue to drive the car the engine will eventually seize as the water circulation pump pulley wheel is driven by the poly V belt with the result that you may at best have a very costly repair or worst write off the engine. DO Not remove the engine cooling fluid header tank cap or you may get scalded.

For more information On poly V belt go to mypage,57.
218 W169/A150 will not start
Lucy contacted me with a starting problem on her W169/A150 petrol car, It would start after between 5-10 attempts but ran slow on tick over but when warm ran well
However it eventually reached a point where the car would not start at all.
No fault codes were present on the ECU
Following my mails she got the car to the garage and the defect was found to be a starter relay

I mailed Lucy and suggest this was either fuel or ignition, She got the car to a garage and the starter relay had burnt out. The cause of the original problem is in my opinion a dirty fuel filter.
It came to light during our convesration that although the car has done 90000 miles she is not aware if the fuel filter has been replaced.

In my opinion a dirty fuel filter could well be the cause of the relay burning out/failing .The relay is fitted to protect the fuel pump form burning out which can be caused when the fuel pump is running but fuel flow is blocked by a dirty fuel filter or obstruction
In view of this I have suggested that she get the garage to check the fuel filter and replace if necessary as this should be replaced every 55000 miles approx.

It was also revealed that the battery is the original fitted on a 55 reg car so that is also due for replacement although is holding up at present

Remember having or fitting a new fuel filter is far cheaper the replacing the starter relay or fuel pump which is a big job.

Information from the garage indicate that there is no inlign filter on the W169 as with the w168 I will need to check if this is the case.

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