Go Back  MBWorld.org Forums > Mercedes-Benz Sedans > E-Class (W211)
Yet another W211 with a SBC failure >

Yet another W211 with a SBC failure

Notices
E-Class (W211) 2003-2009

Yet another W211 with a SBC failure

 
Old 10-13-2015, 11:19 AM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Unhappy Yet another W211 with a SBC failure

The SBC pump on my 2003 E320 has failed. This issue is well documented on these boards, so I won't go into the nitty gritty details.

But for the record, for those of you who believe MBUSA's BS line about "In the back-up mode, the driver has braking power sufficient to stop the vehicle" - it is an outright lie. There is NO braking power. My husband is over 200lbs. He was standing on the brake pedal, the car did not slow down at all. I am shocked no one has died from this, but maybe someone has and we just don't know - once you turn the car off, and on again, the errors completely disappear from the dash and the brakes work beautifully. I cannot believe MBUSA has been able to sweep this under the rug and the NHTSA sits around while complaint after complaint is submitted to their website.

Anyway, the dealer wants ~$2300 to replace it (How did some of you get away with as low as $1600?) For those of you who have had the unit replaced, have any of you experienced a failure again? I have not gotten a straight answer from my SA on how the replacement unit is better than the one it is replacing. I'm not sure I feel safe loading my family into this car anymore (Heck, I don't feel safe being on the road or crossing a street with another W211 around anymore!)

The car is only worth about $6K, putting $2300 into seems hefty. I wasn't planning on buying a new car this year - it's a fantastic car with no issue other wise - but the lack of safety scares me, and wonder if I should trade it in and be done with... (Assuming the dealership even gives me what it's worth - I could never sell this car independently with sound mind.)

nysmith is offline  
Old 10-13-2015, 01:05 PM
  #2  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mercedes E 320 CDI Avangarde est 2004 2000
Im told that the SBC pump will pack up after so many pump actions not sure how many that is. Mercedes wont admit this but you can get these rechipped or programmed and all is well again.
Trooper2196 is offline  
Old 10-13-2015, 03:44 PM
  #3  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: dmv
Posts: 1,486
Received 34 Likes on 33 Posts
2009 E550 2000 Honda civic mash n' go
Buy the pump from a wholsaler. Find a well known indy shop that has DAS. 5.5 hours of labor and the correct bleeding procedure should be done. Then be on your way.
cmriv is offline  
Old 10-13-2015, 04:56 PM
  #4  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
vettdvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,254
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
03 E500 and Corvette
Originally Posted by nysmith View Post
The SBC pump on my 2003 E320 has failed. This issue is well documented on these boards, so I won't go into the nitty gritty details.

But for the record, for those of you who believe MBUSA's BS line about "In the back-up mode, the driver has braking power sufficient to stop the vehicle" - it is an outright lie. There is NO braking power. My husband is over 200lbs. He was standing on the brake pedal, the car did not slow down at all. I am shocked no one has died from this, but maybe someone has and we just don't know - once you turn the car off, and on again, the errors completely disappear from the dash and the brakes work beautifully. I cannot believe MBUSA has been able to sweep this under the rug and the NHTSA sits around while complaint after complaint is submitted to their website.

Anyway, the dealer wants ~$2300 to replace it (How did some of you get away with as low as $1600?) For those of you who have had the unit replaced, have any of you experienced a failure again? I have not gotten a straight answer from my SA on how the replacement unit is better than the one it is replacing. I'm not sure I feel safe loading my family into this car anymore (Heck, I don't feel safe being on the road or crossing a street with another W211 around anymore!)

The car is only worth about $6K, putting $2300 into seems hefty. I wasn't planning on buying a new car this year - it's a fantastic car with no issue other wise - but the lack of safety scares me, and wonder if I should trade it in and be done with... (Assuming the dealership even gives me what it's worth - I could never sell this car independently with sound mind.)


My wife agrees with you when our car came up with brake failure stop now all red warning the brake pedal was like pushing a brick with no movement. She was lucky and able to steer to the shoulder and stop. I filed a complaint with the NTSB and then later sold the car. Now we have conventional vacuum booster power brakes that work and I dont' have to worry about number of cycles or when it will fail pulling off the exit ramp.
vettdvr is offline  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:17 PM
  #5  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Originally Posted by cmriv View Post
Buy the pump from a wholsaler. Find a well known indy shop that has DAS. 5.5 hours of labor and the correct bleeding procedure should be done. Then be on your way.
cmriv, I see you live in Northern VA. Do you have an independent shop that you recommend/trust? The shop I normally go to for maintenance does not have STAR.

But my questions remains... am I going to have to deal with this again in a few years? It sounds like the replacement unit still has a cap on the number of actuations?
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:55 PM
  #6  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
cetialpha5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: MA
Posts: 3,470
Received 365 Likes on 327 Posts
2008 E350 4Matic, 2011 E350 4matic
If it lasts as long as the OEM, then that would be 12 years. How much longer were you planning on keeping the car? I think the cheapest price was around $1000. It's around $800 for a rebuilt pump which is what everyone is using from huskerparts.com. Then someone else mentioned that if it was a real MB part, the local MB dealer would install it and offer the same standard 1 year/12k warranty on it and it was a couple hours for them to install. If you get your car serviced a lot at the MB dealer, you could mention it to them and see what they can do about the price for you.
cetialpha5 is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 10:42 AM
  #7  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: dmv
Posts: 1,486
Received 34 Likes on 33 Posts
2009 E550 2000 Honda civic mash n' go
Originally Posted by nysmith View Post
cmriv, I see you live in Northern VA. Do you have an independent shop that you recommend/trust? The shop I normally go to for maintenance does not have STAR.

But my questions remains... am I going to have to deal with this again in a few years? It sounds like the replacement unit still has a cap on the number of actuations?
Message me.
We can get this taken care of for sure!
cmriv is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 10:45 AM
  #8  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: dmv
Posts: 1,486
Received 34 Likes on 33 Posts
2009 E550 2000 Honda civic mash n' go
And yes it is possible this part may fail again. However when dealing with such inconsistent things, it's all about who you know, not what you know. There's a million and one people that have suffered like you. If you can't sleep at night knowing it may fail again, see what you could get for it!
cmriv is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 12:23 PM
  #9  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Originally Posted by cmriv View Post
And yes it is possible this part may fail again. However when dealing with such inconsistent things, it's all about who you know, not what you know. There's a million and one people that have suffered like you. If you can't sleep at night knowing it may fail again, see what you could get for it!
Thanks cmriv! PM sent.

I've decided to keep the car for another year or two. The dealership offered very little for trade in (), and I can't independently sell it without repairing it - so I'll drop the $$$, keep it for now, and pray it doesn't fail on me.

Kinda surprised there isn't a class action against MB for this, since as you said, there are many people who have suffered this issue...
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 12:47 PM
  #10  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: dmv
Posts: 1,486
Received 34 Likes on 33 Posts
2009 E550 2000 Honda civic mash n' go
The pumps are warrantied for 10 years i think after production date. so a 03 211 expires is 2013. It may be 15 years but I'm not sure off the top of my head.
cmriv is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 03:44 PM
  #11  
Super Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 714
Received 23 Likes on 22 Posts
Car free at the moment
Just read a thread on having this repair performed in another forum. Here is that person's story: http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/...placement.html The short summary is about $830 for the part mail-order and $500 for an indy mechanic to install and code it. STAR is required to code it to the car, so you have to use an MB specialist.
Shadow5501 is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 04:05 PM
  #12  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Originally Posted by cmriv View Post
The pumps are warrantied for 10 years i think after production date. so a 03 211 expires is 2013. It may be 15 years but I'm not sure off the top of my head.
Yep, it's 10 years, so mine is out of warranty.
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 04:36 PM
  #13  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
beejAMG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Down Unda
Posts: 3,132
Received 119 Likes on 112 Posts
W204 C63 AMG, W212 E250 CGI, C207 E250 CGI
does anybody have a "black and white" of the SBC's lifespan? anything that says SBC is only good for 10yrs or 200,000 depresses on your brakes. ive read a lot about this but all is "i read from another forum" or "my mechanic said" or "a guy who knows my neighbour thats works for MB".

OP: sorry for what happened and how it happened to you but imo SBC was a great innovation when it came out. im sure it saved more lives compared to all the horror stories ive read here. but like any other innovations, they get old and they always come up with something better.

and like everything else, it will eventually fail, its not a question of how, its a question of when. i had an '02 W211 (first batch) never had a problem with SBC even after trading it this year (13yrs) with 160k on her. but tbh, that sbc failure is lurking behind my mind everytime the mrs drives her so i decided to not wait and trade it in for a 212.

goodluck and hope you get it fixed at the lowest cost possible.

Last edited by beejAMG; 10-15-2015 at 05:20 PM.
beejAMG is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 04:50 PM
  #14  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Originally Posted by Shadow5501 View Post
Just read a thread on having this repair performed in another forum. Here is that person's story: http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/...placement.html The short summary is about $830 for the part mail-order and $500 for an indy mechanic to install and code it. STAR is required to code it to the car, so you have to use an MB specialist.
Thanks for the link Shadow5501. I found an independent mechanic willing to do the work for ~$1600 (including the part). I live in a somewhat high cost of living area, so that sounds pretty comparable.

My story: I actually had the brakes fail twice - about a year apart. The first time it happened, I was behind the wheel, just up the street from my house, minutes after turning the car on. I was going slow, so I managed turn around and get the car back into the driveway. Turned the car off, then on again, and it was perfectly fine; all the errors on the dash disappeared, brakes worked beautifully. My husband tried reading the codes and it didn't post any - he probably wouldn't have believed me if he hadn't been sitting in the passenger seat. We chalked it up to a computer glitch, a fluke, and thought maybe I just wasn't strong enough to brake the car in backup (which made me very uneasy).

Fast forward a whole year! - the second time (last week), he was behind the wheel, and like I said before, even he couldn't get the car to stop. This time, I googled it.

This is the first real problem I've had with the car, so I'm not terribly concerned with the fact that I need to have the work done; just pretty ticked about the overall lack of safety. As the person in that other post said, it's a brake by wire system and the master cylinder does NOT do a good job in the event of an emergency. If the SBC pump is going to be a consumable part, there needs to be a better emergency backup in place (it wouldn't hurt to have some warning either). Replacing the unit with another just like it sounds like a band-aid solution to me, rather than a true fix to the problem - which is the complete lack of braking ability in the event of a failure.

End of rant.

But from now on, I think I'll keep one foot on the e-brake... and avoid going downhill on winding roads.
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 05:07 PM
  #15  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Thanks beejAMG. I agree, the SBC is fantastic... when it works.
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 06:52 PM
  #16  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
e500slr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,154
Received 11 Likes on 11 Posts
2011 E63, 2013 CLS63
So....how is this not a class action lawsuit and a massive recall a long time ago....?

I talked to a guy the other day who was on the highway, ~80 mph and long ALL braking except foot park brake. That is NOT normal or present in other cars. That is a potential killer and is a matter of when and not if.

VW had to recall cars over something not really safety related, pollution is a long term problem and large scale one, not an immediate, potentially lethal defect. This SBC thing is however potentially lethal and I'm sure it has been somewhere.

So again....how is this not a recall and a class action??!!
e500slr is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 07:21 PM
  #17  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
beejAMG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Down Unda
Posts: 3,132
Received 119 Likes on 112 Posts
W204 C63 AMG, W212 E250 CGI, C207 E250 CGI
VW cheated with the emission testing. it was done with intent.

the SBC however, is not a malfunctioning unit. thats why theres no recall. it fails like any other part of your car in time more so if you dont look after it.

we get the occasional post of drivers on here about how SBC almost killed them. but can you imagine how many W211 with SBC was sold all over the world compared to all the complaints? a fraction I reckon.
beejAMG is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 08:33 PM
  #18  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
I am in complete agreement with you e500slr.

I wrote up another post in response to Shadow551, that I got notification is being moderated (probably because I quoted the external link from Shadow's post in there) - so I apologize, this is going to be a bit repetitive once that one posts:

beejAMG, if MB was going to make the SBC a consumable part, they should have put in a better (functioning) back-up brake. Their official stance is that the driver has sufficient braking power to stop the vehicle in the event of SBC failure, and that is simply not true. Either someone in corporate has not experienced it first hand, or they are trying to cover their tail with a lie. That is reason #1 for a class action.

Reason #2: There is no warning on the failure of this unit. It just happens, out of nowhere. If they know there is a limit on actuations or that this part WILL fail, there needs to be a wear indicator/warning ahead of time so that drivers have to opportunity to fix it before their lives are in danger.

Reason #3: When I turned the car off, and then on again, all dashboard errors disappeared. The car posted no fault codes to the diagnostic tool. It was like it never happened. In theory, if a driver wrecks the car because of an SBC failure and dies, the car won't tell the diagnostic tool what happened and the drivers not around to give his story either... That is flat out frightening.

Meanwhile, if the light illuminating my license plate is out, the car yells at me "MALFUNCTION" every time I get in the car...
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 08:55 PM
  #19  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
beejAMG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Down Unda
Posts: 3,132
Received 119 Likes on 112 Posts
W204 C63 AMG, W212 E250 CGI, C207 E250 CGI
maybe because its a MYTH. like i said on my first reply to this thread. if anybody can actually post something in writing that indeed the SBC has an expiration date, then prove me wrong please.

ive seen (or read) sbc's gone south as early as the first yr, mine was 13 yrs old 160k and nothing happened. im not saying i dont believe it totally, lets just say im skeptical, (hence the reason i traded my 211). for me, 13 yrs of no sbc problem is enough so i got rid of it before it played up. God knows if it even will.

like i mentioned earlier, its a piece of metal that moves every time you start your engine. is it possible that it just breaks through normal wear and tear and not because you heard it from somebody who said it to your friend thats a cousin of your college roommate that used to date a honda mechanic that heard it from another guy at the bar that the SBC has an expiration date? until i see something in writing from MB, i would stick to my belief that everything in this world breaks...eventually. for some sooner for others later.

if youre driving a honda and stepped on the brakes and the pedal went all the way through, should you be given a warning for that too? if your tyre gets punctured in the middle of nowhere, should the car warn you as well so you can change your tyre in a more convenient location?

its not a malfunction, thats why theres no recall. otherwise, you should get a recall for your bald tyres too.

Last edited by beejAMG; 10-15-2015 at 09:00 PM.
beejAMG is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 10:06 PM
  #20  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Your examples aren't really relevant with your argument. A tire getting punctured on the road is an accident, not wear and tear. And the car obviously cannot anticipate that. Stepping on the brakes and the pedal going all the way through, not wear and tear. And if it's a ongoing issue with as many cars as this, then yea, class action against Honda.

There are plenty of dangerous things that happen on the road, not all of them can be avoided. But this could be - MB should have put a backup brake system in the car that actually works. Period. ESPECIALLY if the SBC is a wear and tear part. It doesn't really matter if the SBC has an expiration date or not - it's a computer based system that is in charge of a very essential part of the car. If it fails, for any reason, there needs to be backup that works.

For the record: There have been recalls related to the SBC wiring harness and it's programming. The warranty of the unit was also extended to 10 years. According to a 2005 article in Autoweek: "In May 2004, Mercedes recalled 680,000 vehicles to fix the complex brake-by-wire system. Then, in March 2005, 1.3 million cars were recalled, partly because of further unspecified problems with the Sensotronic Brake Control system." It is also worth noting that MB scrapped it and went back to a conventional hydraulic braking system in 2006.

But my argument isn't about the presence of a recall. None of this would have been that big a deal (other than the hurt to people's wallets outside of 10 years), if you could stop the dang car when the SBC fails!

Everyone, other than the people who were sitting in the driver's seat during a failure, seems to think the car will just have longer stopping distance and additional brake pedal effort. No, I could NOT stop the car.
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 10:30 PM
  #21  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 17
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2003 E320
Originally Posted by beejAMG View Post
we get the occasional post of drivers on here about how SBC almost killed them. but can you imagine how many W211 with SBC was sold all over the world compared to all the complaints? a fraction I reckon.
Not everyone who experiences a SBC failure is going to take to the MBWorld forums. Many people had their unit replaced under warranty, at no cost to them, and the dealer told them their car was "fixed", so in their mind, there is no reason to complain any further.

If you care to visit the NHTSA's website, you'll see SBC complaints piling up after the 10 year warranty expiration. That's just the USA, and again, not everyone one will take the time to file a complaint.

I'm willing to bet on more than just a fraction.
nysmith is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 11:02 PM
  #22  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
cetialpha5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: MA
Posts: 3,470
Received 365 Likes on 327 Posts
2008 E350 4Matic, 2011 E350 4matic
Consider it a maintenance item then. I had a master cylinder fail on me in another car. Same problem, minimal braking, and surprising the first time it happened. No warning before or even during, the brake pedal just went to the floor, an internal seal failure. On the other car forum, nobody made a big deal about it as it's a $50 part to replace. I think the reason people are complaining here about it is because it's a $1-2k job to do so it's expensive to fix. MB already has a 10 year warranty on the pump so that probably eliminates any complaints to the government about a recall. It's the same way they got away with the extended warranty on the leaking gas tank instead of a recall. MB isn't really required to build a car that will never break down.
cetialpha5 is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 11:17 PM
  #23  
Super Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 714
Received 23 Likes on 22 Posts
Car free at the moment
The sbc does indeed have internal counters which are used to predict the end of service life. When triggered you receive the white brake system warning message in the display, but not the red one. Braking is not affected. You can google up many discussions on the topic.

A while back I tried searching for reports of accidents, injuries, or deaths caused by sbc failure. Came up empty handed. I recall finding one light bumper tap, but that's about it. As much as people don't like it, sbc doesn't seem to have caused much in the way of havoc put in the real world.
Shadow5501 is offline  
Old 10-15-2015, 11:46 PM
  #24  
MBWorld Fanatic!
 
beejAMG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Down Unda
Posts: 3,132
Received 119 Likes on 112 Posts
W204 C63 AMG, W212 E250 CGI, C207 E250 CGI
Originally Posted by cetialpha5 View Post
Consider it a maintenance item then. I had a master cylinder fail on me in another car. Same problem, minimal braking, and surprising the first time it happened. No warning before or even during, the brake pedal just went to the floor, an internal seal failure. On the other car forum, nobody made a big deal about it as it's a $50 part to replace. I think the reason people are complaining here about it is because it's a $1-2k job to do so it's expensive to fix. MB already has a 10 year warranty on the pump so that probably eliminates any complaints to the government about a recall. It's the same way they got away with the extended warranty on the leaking gas tank instead of a recall. MB isn't really required to build a car that will never break down.
^+1 on what he said.

Problem is you bought a car without researching and when you find out about the "expiration date" of the SBC you come whining here.

PS: im not even arguing here im just sayin. Too bad it broke down, thank God nobody got hurt. Not open up your wallet and fix the problem. For a 12 yr old car your lookin at $80 bucks a yr. i reckon the SBC is a bang for your buck!

Btw, im still waiting for anyone who can show me in writing about the 10yr 200,000 depresses on the SBC. Until then. Wear and tear.
beejAMG is offline  
Old 10-16-2015, 08:01 AM
  #25  
Member
 
hangit06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 89
Received 6 Likes on 5 Posts
2006 E320 CDI
Is this the SBC document you are looking for?

John
Attached Thumbnails Yet another W211 with a SBC failure-sbc-doc.jpeg  
hangit06 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:
You have already rated this thread Rating: Thread Rating: 0 votes,  average.

Quick Reply: Yet another W211 with a SBC failure


Contact Us - About Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: