MissMercedes

Three Bars of Death After Stalling Engine

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Well, I was kinda hoping my first post here wouldn’t be an issue! *Sigh*

 

At any rate, hiya! My name is Mercedes! I’m a transplant from the SCoA forum. 450 support is much greater here, so I figured I should take part!

 

This is my current stable:

2005 passion coupe (petrol).

2005 passion cabrio (petrol).

2012 passion coupe.

2016 edition #1

 

Now, to my problem! In anticipation for a great summer, I’ve been daily driving my new to me cabrio (51,000 km as of today). I love these 450s and have been having a blast until now.

 

I park behind a CR-V in my driveway. When I applied brakes to stop, I noticed that gear wasn’t disengaging. This occasionally happens in my 451, so no big deal, right? Well...the car stalled out. Okay...odd...though that’s happened in my 451 before too so I wasn’t worried.

 

I restarted the engine just to see if everything is okay. The display quickly went from Neutral to the Three Bars of Death. Uh oh.

 

I can start and shut down the engine, but can’t get anything out of the transmission. I’m going to let it sit for maybe 30 minutes then give it a try. Hopefully I won’t have to put my other 450 into service as my 451’s in storage! 

 

Assuming sitting it out doesn’t work, I’ll also try resetting the car by disconnecting the battery. If that doesn’t work, anything else I should try?

Edited by MissMercedes

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Welcome!

 

I would recommend having a close look at all of the wiring in the vicinity of the intercooler scoop.  Often it gets chafed and when moisture gets in, much merriment ensues.

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Wiring looks okay. I didn’t even know there was an intercooler scoop in front of the engine! Neat! Though mine is shattered...so that’s another item on the restoration list.

 

Hmmm...maybe daily driving a project car wasn’t the greatest of ideas.

 

Waiting 30 minutes did nothing, so now I disconnected the battery.

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Aaaaaand the battery disconnect worked. Just...wow. Whew!!! Yeah, this project is going to be more fun than I thought!

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Welcome to the club!!    and good luck!!!

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Mercedes, if you experience further transmission gremlins confirm the brake lamp switch is working correctly, the next item to check would be the battery.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Will do! According to the PO, the battery is new (that was one of his troubleshooting steps to getting the roof to stop opening by itself). Peering into the footwell, I believe him on that.

 

Hopefully this instance was just a fluke.

 

Later this spring I’ll get it up on my ramps and get a better look of the underside. I’m curious about water ingress and rust. So far as I can tell, there’s no rust on the trid and the underbody is pretty good considering age and the neglect the car’s first owner put it through. For whatever reason, the roof rails have a surprising amount of rust on them. At this stage, I’ll just toss them and get decent replacements.

 

Second owner tried to restore it, but he also took on a glider, a Brabus, and a cdi with a sliding glass roof (drool). 

 

Thankfully, my other 450 just needs a new set of window regulators, the ugly G&K padding removed, a light cleaning, and it’s ready to rock. :) 

Edited by MissMercedes

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Well, crap.

 

It gave me three bars of death this morning on the way to work. I was trying to double downshift through a fast apex and the transmission just wasn’t having it.

 

Alright...battery disconnect, reconnect, then back on the road.

 

As I left work today, I noticed the brake light was illuminated and the cluster kept beeping at me. Foolishly, I stopped to see if my handbrake wasn’t fully releasing. I haven’t been able to move since then. The brake light is still on and I see a 1 on the cluster, but no gear engagement. I tried to cycle through the gears and got a three bars of death.

 

Oh boy.

 

Battery disconnect, reconnect, try again. This time as soon as it got out of Neutral, 3 Bars...

 

Sad thing is I know exactly when these issues started happening. I was trying to inch forward in line in traffic, the clutch actuator seemingly dropped the clutch then immediately engaged it, then from that point forward it never quite drove the same.

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Alright, so I think I know what the issue is. I confirmed that the brake is released, so the light was most likely the brake switch.

 

Sure enough, if I revved the engine to 4k, the clutch actuator decided to do its job, albeit poorly. I made it to the first red light outside of work before it 3 bar’d again.

 

I ended up coasting down a hill to a safe shoulder and disconnected the battery. 20 minutes into waiting, a police officer pulled up and recommended I call in a tow. I complied...

 

Right as the tow was pulling up (35 min after battery disconnect), I connected the battery to put the car into Neutral and put the top up. Surprise! Brake light was off and the car engaged gears like normal. I was able to easily align the car to the flatbed and everything *Sigh* Oh well, I guess $150 is good insurance that I make it home in a timely manner tonight. :)

Edited by MissMercedes

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Besides the 3 bars did you get and ABS or ESP fault light?

 

As you now own multiple 450s, I would recommend you purchase an AAA membership.

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Both did appear alongside the brake light once I got the car moving.

 

When I was aligning the car for the tow, no warning lights were on.

 

When it was time to get the car off the tow truck, I noticed a small puddle of oil a few inches behind the engine on the flatbed. I know this car didn’t leak oil since I’ve owned it (storage unit floor is spotless) so somehow today’s events caused an oil leak or some other car left that there...

 

I’ll check back tomorrow and see if it’s leaking.

 

Regardless, despite a lack of brake light and gear indication in the cluster was operational, it still wouldn’t move. It sounds like AAA would definitely come in handy..

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It could be worth a trip north of the border if this persists....

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Finding someone with a STAR machine nearby would be a very good idea, codes should be stored from the most recent issues.  Mercedes have you fiddled with the clutch actuator on the cabrio?  Just wondering if it is an electrical problem or a mechanical one.  At 51k km can not see it being a clutch or transmission issue.

 

At the Ohio meet I performed an actuator reteach on the Applecrate.  The actuator had been removed to be cleaned and when reinstalled was not quite in the same place, clutch engagement was rough.  A STAR reteach and it was back to normal.

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As it just so happens, I got a STAR machine with my other 450! My main worry yesterday was getting the car to a safe place. And now that possible oil leak is on my mind. It’s good to have spare cars in case one gets knocked out of the action.

 

I think my next step is getting my other 450 running (needs a new battery) and teaching myself how to use the STAR.

 

It’s sort of amusing how the 450 I got for free has fewer issues than my 451, yet the 450 I paid for is a restoration project. :)

 

Semi-related question. Is adding pods a plug and play addition or do they need to be activated through the STAR? I’m trying to figure out why my supposedly “new” clock pod lights up but otherwise doesn’t work.

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Update: I went out to my storage unit this morning. No oil on the floor, so it’s safe to assume the “leak” I observed wasn’t my car. The car also fired up and drove normally for a test drive. Well, the worst case scenario didn’t happen! :)

 

I think my constant disconnecting and reconnecting of the battery was also a factor in my cascading failures last night. In reality, I should have let it sit disconnected for a while.

 

My next steps will be learning how to use my STAR machine to do an actuator reteach and checking out the brake switch. I’m just happy the car didn’t have a catastrophic failure.

 

And I’ll let this be a further lesson that I shouldn’t daily drive a project 450.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Sorry. Haven’t signed in here for a while. I’m surprised no one has mentioned servicing the clutch actuator. Even with only 51k km the car is still 10-12 years old. Time the get that thing cleaned out and lubed up. 

Edited by booneylander

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Will do on both! Thanks guys! For the time being it's chilling out in my storage unit while I continue to find a new place to move to. Servicing the actuator (and lithium greasing the top tracks) will definitely be an upcoming Saturday or Sunday project.

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Wanted to update this post! So, I've had a lot of stuff happening in life lately, so I haven't been able to get to the clutch actuator. Welp, I have to move out of my storage unit in a week, so I have to get this done!

 

Looks like some grease and two bolts separates the cab from freedom. I do want to ask, though. If in a worst case scenario, will the clutch actuator out of my coupe (same year) work in the cab without my Star machine on hand?

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Make sure car is in neutral when you remove the actuator.  When installing loosely install bolts, so actuator can move, push actuator towards clutch and let the spring action move the actuator away from the clutch.  That should be close enough to drive the car.  As soon as you are able I would teach in the actuator. 

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Sounds good to me! It just needs to get me fewer than ten miles to my parents' place. Once I'm there I'll have a power source for my star machine. Since none of my smarts are daily drivers anymore (motorcycles are my current daily drivers), I'm going to try again to make the 450 cab the spring, summer, and fall smart.

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Good news and bad news!

 

Good news! My MB Star works! The only code stored in the system that is current is a P2022 clutch system fault. There were a dozen other faults, all caused by the time I plugged my UltraGauge into the OBD and the car wasn't fond of it.

 

I was also able to lube the actuator through the method posted in here that doesn't require taking it out.

 

And finally, I fully fixed the cabrio roof. Works brilliantly.

 

Bad news! This is VERY MUCH a winter car. Not only were all the actuator bolts stuck, but they were corroded enough that simply touching them with my E10 caused them to start disintegrating. Ugh.

 

Combined with my lack of a floor jack or jackstands means my revival project was solely in the hands of the Star machine.

 

The Star machine couldn't get the clutch to engage or disengage, it stayed open. So every operation failed. 

 

As it stands, the car won't even bother to attempt to engage gear unless you get up to 3k rpm.

 

As for the brake light, I'm not sure if it's caused by the super rusty parking brake cable or the brake switch. Either way, the car's going home on a trailer today. :(

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Needs to go to a hoist.

You could grind off the head of the bolts and then remove actuator.

Then there is enough of the shaft left to get them out after cleaning, penetrating oil, and the use of heat.

Good luck!

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Update: I got desperate and disconnected the battery.

 

Upon reconnection, not only did the car drive buttery smooth, but it passed the teach-in procedure! Holy smokes. I still want to remove the clutch actuator for a thorough inspection, but it looks like getting the grease in there helped immensely.

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