Alternative method for replacing starter motor. problems.
One of the major problems with starter motor problems /failure on the 'A' Class is that the engine has to be dropped to get at the starter motor which is sandwiched between the under floor on the passenger side and the top of the engine.
Lowering the engine for changing the starter motor is the method used by Mercedes-Benz Workshops and a bill for close on £1000 would not be out of order with VAT currently being at 20% 04/01/2011.
There would be some advantage to having my (lofty's) CD to hand as it includes files of information which would be useful when undertaking tasks of this type. Including lowering the engine, to gain access to the starter Motor from below the engine. Purchase CD now
The question comes when the car is still very serviceable and in good general condition but the replacement of the starter and labour costs to remove and install it exceeds the value of the vehicle.
Well Tom it appears has come up with the answer, and forwarded the procedure in the hope that it will assist other owners faced with the same predicament, provided you are prepared to do the work yourself or can find a mechanic who will undertake the work or assist you with the job, it can be done without raising the car or dropping the engine albeit both he and mike who has also followed the procedure do emphasis that there is still quite of lot of work involved and that some mechanical knowledge and skills are required and an advantage. and therefore you should have a good understanding of what you are undertaking before commencing work, and to obtain not only the correct replacement starter for your car but also other spares which might be required during the procedure.
In the first instance I recommend you read fully mypage.43 with emphasis being on this page 66.
Also make yourself familiar with the photos on mypage.33 in respect of the precise location of the starter Motor.
Also be aware that the starter motor you install must be matched to your Vin number, failure to do this and there is every chance the starter motor although not coded to the individual car when fitted will still not operate, not because it is defective, but because it is the wrong type motor for your particular 'A' Class' car's electronics set-up.
Also the quality of the starter motor you fit is vitally important see the e-mail below from Brain who had starting problems over a long period, his was a car with the 049 code I.e Immobiliser built into the starter:-
Well to make the long story short I took my car to a Master Car Electrician and he had the MB Star Diagnostic Machine. He ran the test on my car and it showed a stored error code of P1650. He said he would look at it and when I came back he said he got to car to fail with an actual (present) code of P1650. He indicated that it had to be my starter but indicated that I already had a new one and that can't be it...so he worked on the ECU and literally swapped out and IC on my board that led to the Starter!!! ...and that still did not fix the problem...he said it was the starter and that my particular model starter was crap and needed to be swapped out with a regular one...so that is what I did!
While the car was being worked on I found a German Blog and another German Master Mechanic actually highlighted the problem and what Mercedes Works garages were doing internally...they were swapping out the chipped starters for regular ones and installing a cable assembly to put the lockout relay BACK into the relay box under the hood!
To add insult to injury this problem will continue to get worse and many of these defective starters that are being pulled (with the built in anti theft chip) and being re-MANUFACTURED and SOLD AGAIN! None of these starters are being checked for the chip fault and some of your fellow A-Class could be throwing good money after bad by re-installing a re-manufactured BAD starter.
Cheers and thanks again for all your help!!!
Always A-Classy Friend...Brian
Before Starting, Spares required.
Coolant fluid If your coolant has been replaced in the last two years then it can be drained and re-used topped up as required with new fluid. If not then you are advised to replace it with new. for further details see page 43.
2.Inlet manifold rubber gasket.( it is highly recommended that you replace this as a matter of course even through the existing unit may be serviceable , Failure to do so may result in an inlet manifold leak which will affect the air fuel mixture reaching the engine with the result that the engine management light may well show after only a few miles.
3 Injector sealing 'O' rings X 8 " per injector ( Mike has mentioned that it is not necessary to remove the injectors and fuel rail from the inlet manifold and therefore these may not need to be disturbed. However the 'o' ring seals are only a few pence each it may be worth replacing them while you are able to easily get at them and there replacement may save work later on.
You may well find that the existing gasket and 'o' ring's appear reusable, however as a precaution again air leaks on the inlet manifold & injectors on re assembly I strongly advocate that they be replaced as a matter of course as a leak on either component may cause an air leak causing your car to receive a weak fuel mixture which could cause the engine management light to show and will also damage valves in the longer term. Eugene, of Australia now having done the job twice also offers this advise:- Just another point. The fuel injectors actually take two '0'rings each and the parts advisor at Merc said he would not even think of not replacing them once the injectors have been removed. (this is to clarify the alternative starter procedure. I can also confirm that without removing the water pipe the rear bolt on the starter cannot be turned. Another tip is to use a probe mirror to see the rear bolt. I found this helped a lot to locate and undo it as I could actually see it.
4. Starter motor compatible with your vehicle. Please read page 66 carefully before purchasing your replacement starter.
(As a means of reducing costs further, there are companies that will rebuild your existing starter, this can be a safer bet than buying second hand from a car breakers yard as you are unaware of the condition of the starter purchased nor can you guarantee that is compatible with the electronics of your individual vehicle.)
A good range of tools is required to do this job as well as reach some of the more difficult to access bolts and fixings.
The following is in the main the procedure followed by Tom and Mike owner of 'A' class cars.
With the vehicle if possible under cover but with adequate safe lighting bearing in mind you will be removing fuel pipes.
1. Disconnect the Battery for procedure see page 35
2. Drain Coolant, although I am of the opinion that only about half the coolant needs to be drained unless you are replacing as part of a two year replacement. see page 43
3. Remove connections from rear of ECU mypage.38
4. Remove air filter housing complete with filter rear of the
see page 16
4a Mike suggests that if you are tall then there are advantages to raising the front of the car six to ten inches, thus saving your back while working on the engine. He like Tom also emphasis's that space is tight and so the more compact the tools used the better, 3/8 drive sockets and bars being preferable to 1/2"drive which tend to be bulky when undertaking tasks such as this, however extension bars are required to make the job easier, swivel joints (UJs)are necessary. ( Bearing in mind the amount of money being saved in labour costs it is worth investing in these tools if you can do the job yourself.
5. Disconnect electrical connections and fuel lines to injector rail B There is no comment from Tom about leaking fuel .however Mike did find a residue of fuel in the fuel rail, and make the point that the fuel rail has a bleed valve protected by a small rubber cap , try to prevent loss of that protective facility. ( Do not switch the ignition on at any point during this procedure or the electric petrol pump will pressurise the fuel rail with fuel)
Mike found that there was a small amount of fuel left in the fuel rail although this did not present a problem, it does emphasis that if using lead lamps etc for artificial lighting then to ensure that bulbs are protected with a protective globe. Safer still work in natural light.
Before you start to remove fuel lines etc make sure that the engine parts are free of contamination dust etc as can be seen in the photo right, this engine is covered in dust or contamination which would be best cleaned off by vacuum or blower before removing the fuel rail and inlet manifold thus preventing the engine components from being contaminated It is advisable to cover all ports with a suitable cloth/material to prevent contamination as well as nuts etc from falling into the engine.
7. Remove Inlet manifold secured by Torx bolts Ensure the inlet ports on the engine are blocked off to prevent component parts and debris falling into the engine, Mike also removed the oil fitter housing , although not necessary it did provide more room for working , but take car to cover the access holes with suitable cover to prevent foreign bodies from dropping into the open spaces created , this comment applies to all recesses created during this procedure, smooth cotton like fabric is your best bet. Do not use paper which when oil soaked is difficult to remove.
8. Remove the flexible coolant hose from the rigid pipe. Ensure the securing clip is re-usable if not replace with Jubilee type clip Release the plastic rigid pipe from its fixing.
9.Remove the temperature sensor from the thermostat Housing Locate the electrical loom C complete with fittings in such a way as to avoid damage while working.
10. You should now be able to access the starter motor securing screw's, Using a long reach 6mm ball ended 'Allen' key remove the two securing screws, Although photos show 'Torx' drive screws I'm assured by Tom & Mike that theirs were 'Allen' screws The top fixing screw will be easier to get at than the bottom one, however that problem will exist whether you are working from below the engine or above. I'm firmly of the opinion that if the right hand front wing, inner lining is removed access to the starter securing screws can be gained, however a least one long extension bar would be required. along with a socket and 6mm 'Allen' bit.
It is at this point that many owners following this procedure have had problems.
The rear Starter securing bolt is almost impossible to get at.
In Timo's case he mailed me in destperation as there was not way he could remove this bolt
I suggested to him that he should look at the possibility of accessing the bolt via the Off side front wheel arch.
Yes this does add work but in the long run it will save you time and you will achieve you aim in that your can can remove and replace the starter yourself saving a great deal of money in the process.
The off side wheel is removed and the inner plastic wing removed, In Tomo's Case he drilled a hole to allow him to use an long extention made up of several 1/4 drive sections to reach the bolt, he was able to remove the bolt and replace the starter.
In Tomo's photo you will see the hole he drilled was quite small which would not allow you to see the bolt head and locate the allen bit into the bolt head, I myself if tackerling this job would have used a tank cutter to cut a larger hole so the there was adequote space to shine a torch and thus see where the bolt head was located.
I understand that Tomo used an enoscope, but therse are not available in every tool box.
Either way he managed to do the job so my suggestion was valid. I myself would then have plugged the hole with a rubber grommet, this would prevent water getting between the plastic inner wing and the metal of the wing/shell which would be susceptible to rusting.
This method could please applied to either the w168 or W169 if the bolt becomes impossible to remove.
Long quarter drive extensions and racket fitted with male Torx bit. Starter bolt showing Torx female.
Hole drill into inner shell (note that this is double skin through which you have to drill) to allow access to rear starter, I do not have the exact position/measurements of the hole however from this photo you should be able to judge where the hole has been made relevant to the inner shell. If you are going to use this methode then drill slightly higher rather than lower will avoid contact with the top poly V belt pully wheel.
There are other holes located in inner wall however none of these line up and in not of them give access to the engine bay. Bolt note that on this car the fixing is Torz and not Allen as mentioned in other parts of this page
Thank you Timo for your input.
John a fellow owner has just mailed me 13/09/11 to say that he has just changed his starter using this procedure but found it necessary to remove the oil filter complete with housing along with the plastic coolant pipe, he maintains that without their removal there just is not enough room to get at the rear fixing. So using the above method may save you at least one job if only to replace it with another.
For reference John's car is a 2001 A140 petrol with a manual gearbox. Thanks John.
11 Disconnect the electrical connection to the starter and starter solenoid This will need to be done before the starter can be removed due to the length of the cable which is fed from below.
12 Carefully remove the starter motor, (working space will still be tight)
Having removed the defective starter, ensure that any debris that has accumulated in the area is carefully removed and not allowed to enter the starter motor post, Ensure you secure that tails A of the disconnected cables that go to the starter and solenoid, this will prevent then dropping down under the engine which at this stage would be wholly inconvenient as the car would have to be raised and floor pans released to retrieve the wires Should you wish to inspect the flywheel, as can be seen this can be done through the Starter motor location port B
On completion, re-install all components in reverse order
14.Remembering to replace 'O' rings on injectors as necessary
15.Making sure that the working face of the manifold is smooth and clean. Replace the rubber inlet manifold gaskets in the manifold, Although the present seals may look sound it would be false economy not to replace them at this point, should the old gaskets leak air the whole assembly will have to be removed again.
16. Remove the top of the air filter housing after fitting, to confirm the Filter element is correctly located/positioned
In addition to the information above please read this mail from an other owner who had to replace his starter in this case a starter with inbuilt immobiliser
This informative e-mail was received from Alexander which may help other owners when changing the starter Motor "from the top" (top of the engine bay rather than from below the engine.)although the car in question is a 2002 w168 "Advangarde" with manual gearbox same model and year as my own car, some variations were found when undertaking this task which are worth noting before starting the job.
Many thanks for your very nice site dedicated to W168 Mercedes Benz 'A' Class . I will send you a donation after I've finished getting my money back from a rather unscrupulous company. (see below for details)
I have just replaced the starter motor on my Mercedes W168 2002 manual ("Avantgarde") using the "from the top" method (called the alternative method on your site). There are a few things which are not exactly as stated on your page, so I thought I'd better drop a message to you in case others undertaking the job find it useful.
First of all, I would like to confirm that mine is one of those 049 coded cars, with the cut-off relay built into the starter motor itself. The correct starter motor (as installed by MB) was Valeo D7ED28 (Mercedes Part number :- A 166 151 0001). At the end of the day, I replaced it with a Valeo D7ED281 (Mercedes A 166 151 0001), which was a perfect fit. Unfortunately, I firstly tried saving money and ordered a Lauber starter: elauber.com Well, it never worked on this car. The reason is yet unknown. I strongly suspect that the company I ordered it from (buycarparts.co.uk -- NOT RECOMMENDED!) supplied a "standard" starter motor in the box of an "electronic" one. It does crank the engine, if one whacks +12V from the battery onto its solenoid terminal but it does NOT if properly wired.
I am trying to get my money back from them at the moment. In fact, I think I would be better just phoning Barclays about it, since what they sold me for a new Lauber starter never looked as being New, and judging by the markings on the box, it had a long and troubled life: it's had been to Poland, Bulgaria, Germany and now in the UK.
One must add to this, that the triple-pin connector readings as given on your web page do NOT apply to the cars with 049-code. In fact, the reading on the purple-white wire have to be:-
(a) ignition=1: 0.V
(b) ignition=2: 11.V
(c) ignition=3 (starter): a 1-sec surge to 12.6V, followed by a plain 11.V reading.
Indeed, this electronic starter motor apparently only requires a little "nudge" (in current) to switch on its in-built lockout relay, hence the readings.
However it appears that there is something GOOD about having a car with the 049 coded starter motor. Firstly, this electronic starter motor is much better on the fly-wheel, so much so that there was virtually no damage at all on mine even though the mileage on the car is 115,000 +). The reason for it is that its electronic circuitry in fact ensures that the dog is fully engaged at all times. Secondly, although I cannot say if this applies to all W168's with 049 coded starters, the MAFS sensor is completely separate from the ECU, so if the need arises can be replaced in a matter of minutes and cheaply.
Now some more things, which proved to be different to the information you have on your page:
1. My car is a manual, and this fact *does* complicate getting to the starter motor. In fact, I was not able to get to the back screw securing the starter (my hand proved to be too fat for that). Without feeling the head of that screw, it is not really possible I think to get this screw out or back in again. Luckily, my wife was able to help me with this part of the job. In fact even in an automatic 'A' Class, I don't think my hand would have gone far enough to reach the fixing bolts, so this really can be an issue.
2. The screws securing the starter on my car were are most definitely NOT 'Allen' head bolts, they are proper 'Torx'. The size is TX45.(Torz.45) It is absolutely vital to get it right first time as the back one is not visible.
3. It is really hard to get to the back bolt. You need a lot of extension bars of various lengths and some ingenuity, as the plastic pipe gets in the way is a real nuisance.
4. Your remark that one could take a part of the body work out and get to the securing screws this way, using a really long extender, does not apply. To get to it this way, you'll need to dismantle half of the engine as well.
5. The oil filter housing does not need to be dismantled. In fact, I am not quite sure one COULD dismantle it without lowering the engine a trifle at least.
6. Once you've got the starter securing screws out, that's not the end of the story. You still need to disconnect the starter wires. This can be only done in this sequence: first, leaving the starter motor in place, one disconnects the (thick) plus feed from the battery (it is exactly the correct length, you can't even turn the starter motor on its side without first doing this). Then, you can turn the starter motor so that its terminals are staring at you, and then it's almost trivial (compared to the rest of the job) to disconnect the wire from the solenoid terminal. Having done all this, it is now possible to remove the starter motor (still tricky, but manageable).
So if you are considering changing your own defective starter motor. Yes it is possible/doable, but you will need to have really small hands (or someone in the household with small hands), a number of and varied extension bars. In particular, one needs at least one that can be fitted with a swivel joint. And a flexible ratchet. The reason is that - especially with the back starter securing screw - one can only get a single ratchet "click" when either unscrewing or screwing, that's the most one can hope for and only provided that you can get the ratchet into exactly the right spot relative to the plastic tube coming out of the pump.
I did most of the job with a 3/8" long-handle flexible ratchet but at times one also needs a short-handle 1/4" drive ratchet. So a good set of 1/4" and 3/8" along with the appropriate sockets is a must have.
That is all I am able to remember now. Many thanks for the website again. I think, you'll be pleased to know that it's very well known in the Russian speaking world, so much so that on every single web forum dedicated to the A-class in Russian that I have visited, you are commonly referred to as "The Englishman" and "The Englishman's site" :)
With best regards,
It is well known that there are variations on the 'A' Class even for the same model and year so this is a guide only expect to find some small variations on your car when tackeling jobs of this complexity.
Thank you Alexander, greater input by owners helps to make the jobs less costly and easier for other owners as well as helping us stay out of the hands of Mercedes-Benz who in some instances will charge more for a repair than the car is worth, so our input prolongs the life of the car as well.
Mike who followed Tom's procedure had no problems , however he like Tom does stress that space is tight and that if tackling this job allow plenty of time. In mike case he was quoted 320€ for a replacement starter and so chose to have his starter rebuilt by a professional company dealing with rebuilding of alternators and starters . The advantage being that the correct starter was being re-fitted to the vehicle, this reduced his cost to between 100-150€ The disadvantage being that the car will be longer off the road.
I Lofty again stress do not tackle this job unless you are fully confident there is a lot to disassemble and replace and to do so without a good knowledge of what you could cost you more that if you had the job done by a professional in the first place. also remember doing you do need spares available before you start, having started the job spares may not be easily obtained unless you have alternative transport.
I lofty, have not had need to undertake this procedure myself and so am relying on information made available to me by fellow owner Tom with photographs kindly supplied by Phillip.
Also please be aware that it appears that both cars of which this procedure was carried out were automatic, petrol, versions, It is not known if you can carry out this procedure on diesel models in the same way, or the manual gearbox versions (possible with the manual version but please read the above from Alexander,)due to the gear change cable mechanism which may prohibit the removal of the starter from the top.
I'd like to thank both Tom and Philippe for his input & photographs which I hope, will help other owners when dealing with what is a difficult situation.
If you use this procedure and find that the information does not apply to your model or you have other constructive information please e-mail lofty who will add it for the information of other reader/owners
Although it is clear that a lot of work is necessary, I would remind owners that this job will cost between £800 and a £1000.00. yes just replace the starter, so even if this job takes you a couple of days to complete it is still a very worth while job, although not one that should be rushed or taken on by inexperienced owners.
In particular make sure you get the correct replacement Starter Motor or you will find yourself as have many none Mercedes-Benz workshops doing the job twice, If you use the incorrect starter for you vehicle I will not work so check using your 'Vin Number'