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GL Class (X164) 2007-Present: GL320CDI, GL420CDI, GL450, GL550

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Old 01-01-2011, 02:09 AM   #1
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GL350 starting problem

My GL350 has about 11k on it now after a year and over the last 3 to 4 months I have been having a problem with the engine starting cold. Once warmed up it doesn't exhibit the problem. I have keyless go and getting in and pushing the starter button produces a click of the starter solenoid and what sounds like about a 1/4 of a turn of the starter motor then nothing. I try this sometimes 6-10 times before the starter starts to spin the engine and starts. I had roadside come to my home and see the problem firsthand and the vehicle started with a jump from his battery pack. Ray Catena replaces the battery. Keeps the car a couple of days to see if it still won't start. Still had the problem. The tech there told me to hold the starter switch depressed and not let go. Maybe the glow plug was not heating up long enough. This didn't work and would produce the same effect as taking my finger on and off of it, in fact holding my finger on the button had the starter trying to start the car every 5 seconds or so and sometimes the starter would just spin the engine and it wouldn't start when doing this.
Needless to say, this has been an annoying problem in an otherwise excellent vehicle that I am enjoying very much. I am going to take it back in to Ray Catena next week and let them delve further into it. I think this problem has had to have occurred to someone else. Ray Catena has not experienced this with any diesels or so they told me. Anybody know anything about this?
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:08 PM   #2
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Mine does this as well and has since new. However, it generally only takes another try or 2 before it turns over, so I haven't done anything about it. It only occurs when the temps are cold and the truck has been sitting overnight or all day at work. I think the worst I ever had it took 4 tries to start.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:19 PM   #3
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Mine did something similar to what you describe about three times when it was newer. It seemed to resolve itself after I had about 5000 miles on the odometer. Once I had to pop the push button out and use the key. I just chalked it up to computer gremlins. Every time I'm in for service it seems like I get a software update. Who knows what kind of fixes they are applying.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:18 AM   #4
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I'd bet if you kept your GL in the garage and kept it somewhat heated to keep it above freezing (I use a small ceramic heater for a 4 car garage and it really never gets below freezing) you wouldnt have this problem or not as much.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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The new diesels, including all CDI engines do not have glow plugs or anything that needs more warming than a gasoline one. That wouldn't be the problem, have you tried removing the start/stop button and trying to start it with the key? I've heard a story about a faulty button, and when you remove it (look in the manual for instructions) it reveals the standard key ignition.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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The new diesels, including all CDI engines do not have glow plugs or anything that needs more warming than a gasoline one. That wouldn't be the problem, have you tried removing the start/stop button and trying to start it with the key? I've heard a story about a faulty button, and when you remove it (look in the manual for instructions) it reveals the standard key ignition.
I had to do that once when it wouldn't recognize that I had the key in my pocket but I just press the start button once or twice more and it starts. I'm due to the A service in February, so I'll ask them to take a look at it then. Not sure if there are any codes in the computer when it fails to start but I'll ask them to check that first.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:31 PM   #7
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have you battery terminals under the front pass seat checked and re-tightened

alex
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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Good thread.

Mine does this too. Sometimes, there's just a delay. I've often wondered if I'm just impatient. Never had the issue with our '07 GL450.

If anyone has any feedback from the dealer, would like to know.

I thought it was me, but after reading this, I think we'll take it to the dealer.

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:40 PM   #9
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The new diesels, including all CDI engines do not have glow plugs or anything that needs more warming than a gasoline one. That wouldn't be the problem, have you tried removing the start/stop button and trying to start it with the key? I've heard a story about a faulty button, and when you remove it (look in the manual for instructions) it reveals the standard key ignition.
Pretty sure this diesel engine has glow plugs. There will always be a perceptible delay when starting on a cold morning as the combustion chamber has to be pre-heated somehow. That takes a second or two, but not on the order of 5-10 seconds like the diesel engines of old times. One push with the keyless go is all it should take, and it should not be necessary nor feasible to manually "glow" the engine with the key as it is in an older MB diesel.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:17 PM   #10
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have you battery terminals under the front pass seat checked and re-tightened

alex
Will check this out as well as removing the button and trying with the key. I am still having the problem but havn't had time to get back to the dealer since my last post. Will report my results.
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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have you battery terminals under the front pass seat checked and re-tightened

alex
That could very well have been what my issue was. I only experienced the problem maybe 3 times prior to about 5,000 miles. I took it in for other service and told them to check out the no start issue. They said they couldn't find anything but 15,000 miles later, not one delayed start. Even when it is cold it fires within 1-1.5 seconds. Really, there isn't much of a noticeable glow plug delay. Makes me wonder if tightening the battery terminals was the first thing they did not even realizing they were resolving the problem??
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:45 PM   #12
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the gl main battery location is not a readily accessible one so tightening the terminal connections after the power was cut (for most services) is often overlooked... and the gl has a very high draw on start so a loose connection exhibits itself randomly at start. the only rule is that generally if not addressed the problem will get progressively worse.

this was a problem on my truck and it manifested itself by refusing to start every now and then and producing a click/click sound and my clock on my dashboard going crazy. cleaned and tightened the positive battery terminal (it had powdered a bit) and have not had a problem for the last year or so.

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Old 01-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #13
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Alex,

The symptoms you described a somewhat different than what I've experienced. My GL350 only refuses to start when the temp is very cold and the truck has been sitting overnight or all day at work, so it's not really random. When it doesn't start, there is no click-click like it is trying to turn over, there is nothing. The dash lights come on but other than that, nothing from the engine bay. It did it again tonight with temps in the 20's after sitting at work all day. It took 3 presses of the start button and then it turned over and started right up. I didn't try the key because it always does start after 2-3 additional button presses, so it's not that big of a deal for me.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:32 PM   #14
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This morning the truck did its usual no start and after 6 or 7 tries where the solenoid engaged the starter for what seemed like a quarter of a turn, all of a sudden the engine is spinning over really quickly(like normal) but not starting. If I hold the button down in this situation the engine will spin over like crazy without starting for about 20 seconds then stop by itself. Then after a couple more tries with the same quarter turn attempt to start, it finally starts. When it does start the engine can't have turned over for more then a second, starting almost instantly. The glow plug light goes out almost instantly each time I press the button attempting to start
Ray Catena already changed out the battery, so I'm pretty sure they checked the connection there. I don't know about under the seat. I will have to question them. It would seem like the connection is not whats preventing the engine from starting as it spins over rapidly as described above. Something else is interfering with the engine starting. Whether its in the ECU or a sensor.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:36 PM   #15
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I don't have keyless go, but I definitely have glow plugs and a glow plug indicator light in the face of the speedo. As per the manual, I don't turn the car over, until the light is out.

I don't understand the push button starter on a Diesel, unless it is all done for you automatically somehow, but the plugs are there, that's for sure.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:51 PM   #16
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I don't have keyless go, but I definitely have glow plugs and a glow plug indicator light in the face of the speedo. As per the manual, I don't turn the car over, until the light is out.

I don't understand the push button starter on a Diesel, unless it is all done for you automatically somehow, but the plugs are there, that's for sure.
I have keyless go and It does it automatically for you.

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Old 01-12-2011, 10:32 AM   #17
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Alex,

The symptoms you described a somewhat different than what I've experienced. My GL350 only refuses to start when the temp is very cold and the truck has been sitting overnight or all day at work, so it's not really random. When it doesn't start, there is no click-click like it is trying to turn over, there is nothing. The dash lights come on but other than that, nothing from the engine bay. It did it again tonight with temps in the 20's after sitting at work all day. It took 3 presses of the start button and then it turned over and started right up. I didn't try the key because it always does start after 2-3 additional button presses, so it's not that big of a deal for me.
i would still check the battery terminals.

does your glow plug indicator comes on for few seconds after you press the start button? if it does not you have a glow plug problem (one or more might have broken off or other glow plug circuit problem).

if the glow plug indicator comes on for few seconds but there is no crank i would suspect the starter main relay (anchor) is acting up.

also it might be a keyless go problem- next time when it is cold- try using the key to fire the truck the old-fashioned way.

how old is your battery? the late model merc batteries have a typical lifespan of 3-5 years. it is also possible that your battery is bad. the truck onboard diags do not usually identify bad battery- they are geared towards "sensing" bad charging system (the "battery" symbol denotes problem with charging system rather than the battery itself)


just few guesses

alex

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:05 AM   #18
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I just opened a thread titled Dead Battery '10 with this same issue. My dealer is going to down the path of replacing the ignition - has not been a fun process to date. Interesting that the issue is more widespread.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:30 AM   #19
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i would still check the battery terminals.

does your glow plug indicator comes on for few seconds after you press the start button? if it does not you have a glow plug problem (one or more might have broken off or other glow plug circuit problem).

if the glow plug indicator comes on for few seconds but there is no crank i would suspect the starter main relay (anchor) is acting up.

also it might be a keyless go problem- next time when it is cold- try using the key to fire the truck the old-fashioned way.

how old is your battery? the late model merc batteries have a typical lifespan of 3-5 years. it is also possible that your battery is bad. the truck onboard diags do not usually identify bad battery- they are geared towards "sensing" bad charging system (the "battery" symbol denotes problem with charging system rather than the battery itself)


just few guesses

alex
Alex

Glow plug indicator goes right out then the 1/4 turn with nothing. Does not come back on unless I shut it off and try again.

Tryed taking out the button and replacing it with key, still no dice.

Battery is brand new, just replacing the original one year old battery.

This seems like something deeper then the starter relay. Especially since it will turn over rapidly sometimes with no start. I am thinking the ECU sees some conditions for starting are not being met and it keeps aborting the process. I am going to take it in next week when I will get a chance to keep a new E class loaner for a couple of days. Thats the least they can do for me for all the trouble I've been having. I trust they will get to the bottom of this. Ray Catena has always treated me and my extended family really well and I know they won't risk losing our business. This is really the first time they haven't been able to put their finger on the problem quickly.
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:19 AM   #20
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I just opened a thread titled Dead Battery '10 with this same issue. My dealer is going to down the path of replacing the ignition - has not been a fun process to date. Interesting that the issue is more widespread.
Please let me know what the outcome is. Is your car in the shop right now?
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:43 PM   #21
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Please let me know what the outcome is. Is your car in the shop right now?
THe ignition has been replaced and other than the residual issues wit the tailgate and sunroof, so far so good.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:43 PM   #22
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Had my 2010 GL350 in for service a couple of weeks ago and they did a software update for the ECU. The SA couldn't tell me what it was supposed to fix. But we've had some really cold weather this weekend and the engine has fired on the first push every time. Today was the coldest day we've had since last year and the truck sat outside all night. Fired right up this morning with no problem.

Hopefully, the software update fixed the issue.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:30 AM   #23
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Solution to starting problem

It was a software update that cured the problem. Havn't had any problem since they did that. I'm glad because it was ruining an otherwise great vehicle.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:32 PM   #24
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Agreed, I haven't had one missed start since I got the software upgrade in January.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:08 AM   #25
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was the software update the solution for all? have you heard of many others having this problem?

mine has done both. many starts to get it going and then some time completely dead.
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:08 AM
 
 
 
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