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S-Class (W220) 1999-2006: S 320 CDI, S 320, S430, S 500, S 600

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Old 10-05-2009, 10:08 PM   #1
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02 S500 friggin' instrument cluster died......what to do?

So it has finally happened to me, the dreaded instrument cluster flame out. I had the vehicle hooked up to the Starmark system at my mechanic's shop and the cluster and front SAM began throwing all sorts of codes.....fast forward to today, and I have a 100% dead cluster. Car drives just fine if you don't care about what speed you are going or need to know how much gas is in the car.........

2 years ago the S had a small electrical draw that was giving me trouble which we traced to the instrument cluster. It never caused significant problems thereafter. This year, I noticed some weird behavior with my wipers and daytime running lights so we investigated during a recent transmission and spark plug change. The front SAM evidently has been affected by moisture and that caused issues with the lights and wipers, also part of it was the cluster which took a dump.

Has anyone RECENTLY had their cluster replaced under the 2006 recall? Also are there repair services for the instrument cluster? I've heard about them but have no info.

Any help is appreciated. I need to fix my car!
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:48 PM   #2
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Had mine replaced this summer after a little fighting. The warranty covers 10 years from your production date
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:51 PM   #3
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Hey Cameraman, that is good info, I noticed someone else said 10 years in their thread I found so this is really good confirmation of that fact. I know I'm not out of the woods yet but my blood pressure has dropped significantly in the last 5 minutes!

Beautiful car by the way.......have you had any issues with the interior lighting, wipers, etc.? Any front SAM issues?

Last edited by ALEV8; 10-05-2009 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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My lighting comes on sometimes and sometimes not... I dont know if its part of the day/night sensor (ambient light or whatever its called) or it its blown bulbs or shorts. The wipers are fine except for the fact that they cant be left on auto mode because everytime you turn the car on when they are in auto mode (first dash) they swipe on start up. No sam issues. Thanks for the compliment!
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by cameraman123 View Post
Had mine replaced this summer after a little fighting. The warranty covers 10 years from your production date
Even better, it is 10 years from the date the car went into service - which might be several months after its production date. MB does have record of each car's initial date of service.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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If you are NOT the original owner will MB object?
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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auto swiping....et al

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My lighting comes on sometimes and sometimes not... I dont know if its part of the day/night sensor (ambient light or whatever its called) or it its blown bulbs or shorts. The wipers are fine except for the fact that they cant be left on auto mode because everytime you turn the car on when they are in auto mode (first dash) they swipe on start up. No sam issues. Thanks for the compliment!
I actually read in the S500 manual that the auto/rain sensing wiper will swipe once when you start the car. I always thought that was odd since my car does the same thing, so I looked it up. Normal. I recently pulled a 7" stick out of the rubber surrounding the driver's wiper arm connection. Water may have entered there and found its way to the front SAM. The cowl that runs along the bottom of the windshield (and has holes for the wiper motor shafts) should be replaced once the rubber grommets for the wipers fall apart. $125 from the dealer. I have noticed that much of the rubber on this car falls apart in the TX sun and exposure to cleaning solvents.

All lighting issues trace back to the front SAM and can be addressed via programming with Starmark, unless it is bad. My interior lighting symptoms are weird behavior from interior lights when you open doors (int. lights switch above my head never seems to produce the right results) one front vanity light won't come on and one interior trunk light and one license plate light won't come on. All bulbs test 100%. Intermittent issues.

We will replace that front SAM next, then the auto trunk motor.
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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UPDATE: Ewing Autohaus here in Dallas says it's under warranty through 2012! Replaced tomorrow!!!!! Non warranty repair is $2700. Jesus!

(my wallet breathes a sigh of relief....)
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Old 10-06-2009, 04:55 PM   #9
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I was just about to comment that you don't have to be the original owner. Glad that worked out, and thanks for the comment on the rubber repairs.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:06 PM   #10
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UPDATE: Bad news. Car was fine, new cluster, and left dealership. Immediately every alarm bell, light, and whistle began going off, A/C died, and transmission decided to stop functioning. Car was left at my independent mechanic's nearby (I had him pick up the car and he has his own Starmark diag computer). Dealership was notified and they sent a wrecker to pick up the car the following AM. Car had zero problems before cluster replacement, and now it has 8,907 problems.

Dealership will not admit any fault to boot, and is ".....trying to figure out where the 150mA draw is coming from...." but they are giving the tech a free hour to figure out what's going on. They alluded to a pump of some kind in the rear of the car and a module not falling asleep after the car is parked and locked.

I'm less than pleased and don't think this is a massive coincidence (as Dealer is hinting at). Has anyone experienced this same group of events with a new cluster?

Last edited by ALEV8; 10-16-2009 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:30 PM   #11
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I've a 02 s430v I bought in the summer, in following the paper trail of service it showed that the replaced the cluster under the recall but then experienced a raft of problems with ESP. This finally was traced to the fact the cluster was: "not calibrated properly for the car it was installed in" Following the proper procedures resulted in the ESP failure, code etc from occurring again.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:27 PM   #12
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Talked to dealer. They admitted tech INCORRECTLY coded the cluster! They stated the coding was not changed to US settings (non-metric?) and that was the culprit for the malfunctions resulting from the above. Apparently, the S is now ship shape and ready to go. I'm having my guy go get it and thoroughly test everything in the car before he leaves the property in order to be 100% sure.......stay tuned.
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:03 AM   #13
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Talked to dealer. They admitted tech INCORRECTLY coded the cluster! They stated the coding was not changed to US settings (non-metric?) and that was the culprit for the malfunctions resulting from the above. Apparently, the S is now ship shape and ready to go. I'm having my guy go get it and thoroughly test everything in the car before he leaves the property in order to be 100% sure.......stay tuned.
When my cluster was replaced they put the odometer reading into the GERMAN METRIC vehicle in miles, yeah had to shop the cluster out to Dallas to be recoded because they didnt have clearance to "tamper with the odometer". Fun stuff, cluster repair took 3 days and the new polished car came back with a freshly swirled dealer complementary wash.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:53 AM   #14
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Will be picking up the sled tomorrow. Same exact problem as you Cameraman, hopefully minus the swirls. I do love it when they give your car a swirly and hand back to you all proud like they did you a huge favor by washing it, but it looks like crap.......I have my Porsche guy do a quarterly make ready detail (inside/out) that knocks your socks off it looks so good. Showroom new, good. That is always a fun week, and I fall back in love with my S each time, even though she sometimes threatens to divorce me and leave with every penny I have!
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:42 PM   #15
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UPDATE!

ESP is dead. Never had an issue with it an all the years I've owned the car. Never a single problem until the cluster fiasco. Hit the switch to defeat ESP, and nada, zip, zilch. Working on it tonite at mech's with Starmark, otherwise back to dealer. I love how they "fix" the car and give it back to you, then they don't bother to check jacques-****.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:34 PM   #16
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UPDATE PART DEUX: So my mech has laboriously gone through the car with his Starmark to figure out the ESP issue, and while programming he got my DRLs and folding mirrors (upon locking doors) back on line, and verified there are in fact zero fault codes stored, and ALL modules/SAMs are 100% healthy. For the first time since purchasing the car in 05 there is a less than 40mA draw and that's acceptable to Mercedes Benz in order to keep the car "memory" alive while shut down. The actual ESP prognosis is that the interior switch itself croaked when the instrument cluster failed in a puff of smoke. Pretty crazy. Also the Starmark system determined my trunk is 20% operational (closes fine, opens like *****) so a new ESP switch and coding plus that trunk motor is still in my future. I will be taking a roadtrip overnight to my buddy's ranch to hunt on Saturday in Tyler, TX. so I can finally get some time behind the wheel WITH my mech's blessing.......stay tuned.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:42 PM   #17
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UPDATE 3: All went well on the trip, even better I now have some menus in my Settings I never had before as well as some messages such as the Airmatic selection notifying me of Sport 1 and Sport 2 suspension plus a shock absorber icon displayed when the button is pressed. These features must be part of the Starmark programming performed.

By the way, one new setting under Convenience I noticed was Trunk Limiter on/off. What the F is that? Overall the car runs so smoothly and shifts imperceptibly now.

Tomorrow new motor mounts!
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:16 AM   #18
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Glad to hear the good news! Trunk limiter I believe restricts how far the trunk pops open, just a little like a lexus, or all the way like a benz I could go on and on about how lexus only does a fraction of what mb does.. haha
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #19
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Went another round with my mech, a long one. Trunk hydraulic pump is mostly dead and needs to be replaced. If I can get the part it's a DIY job apparently. My Sport/Convenience mixup in the display is the result of lowering the car. Starmark won't normalize the suspension to make changes because the height sensor is reading incorrectly due to the washers. Until the ride height is restored I can't change that annoying backwards message..

The other nagging issue is a noisy tire and vibration at 70mph. I have a worn out tie rod end on driver's front and passenger rear wheel is bent. I need to fix the TRE asap as the car wanders noticeably and it's pissing me off.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:59 PM   #20
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cluster

mb did mine free 200s430 3rd owner but after the on board command stopped working they said it was not their fault and it doesnt work if i dont have telephone service which is not true worked fine before the changed cluster
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:07 PM   #21
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mb did mine free 200s430 3rd owner but after the on board command stopped working they said it was not their fault and it doesnt work if i dont have telephone service which is not true worked fine before the changed cluster
Sounds like the new cluster was not coded correctly to reflect the equipment installed in the car.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #22
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SO pissed right now!

Driving home, all the lights went out on my cluster as well. Googled and found this very useful thread stating the warranted was good for 10 years. Thought it was great news.

Called MB and was told my extended service expired in September! They wont budge on it! I dont know what to do!
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:15 AM   #23
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The 2002 model year was affected not only by the extended warranty, but also by a recall. The recall was applicable only to certain VIN ranges, and still may not apply to your car, but checking it is worth a try. Unlike warranties and service campaigns, recalls do not expire.

Other than that, there are repair services that will fix your existing cluster for FAR less that the $2,000 a new one costs. I have seen some prices around $300. See the information on both the recall and the warranty, and repair services (which you may also find searching the web) in section 3 of the W220 S-Class Encyclopedia, http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w220...tart-here.html
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:15 AM
 
 
 
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