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Is it OK to drive with ESC off?

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Is it OK to drive with ESC off?

 
Old 01-04-2016, 08:35 AM
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Is it OK to drive with ESC off?

Any issues if I drive my car with ESC off? Will it hurt my car in the short or long run? Lately, I'm having issues with ESC. It halts my car when I accelerate too quickly. This is a very common issue and has many hits on Google.

I notice when I turn ESC off, I get an amber alert light on the dash.

So, what are the downsides, if any, with driving with ESC off?

Of course, I would turn ESC back on under wet/icy/snowy road conditions.

Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:56 AM
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IMO in normal dry conditions it isn't really needed. Going by how many times, I feel any slippage. However, with even the slightest amount of rain etc. it can be a life saver. I'm sure others will chime in with different degrees of experience with ESC.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:12 AM
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You should get that looked into. I have only had issues with ESC in 2WD MB cars. My AMG was always cutting in at the wrong time (like a brisk turn in front of oncoming traffic).
No issue with my 4Matic cars ever.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:22 AM
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It seems like a very common issue as per my Internet research. People got it down to a faulty accelerator pedal and or steering column module. As per the previous owner's records, my accelerator pedal was changed about 2 years ago. I'm thinking that's what the dealer thought the issue was.

I did find a funny pattern. Whenever this error occurs, I fill some air in my tires and make sure they all "match" and the error goes away for a while. It's very weird. I am running staggered...

But yeah, this ESC error halts my car when I make a quick turn and accelerate, or when I accelerate too quickly from a standstill (i.e. think 0-60 test). I can actually feel the wheels slip..

As for right now, I would just like to turn off ESC and see if the error still occurs. It probably won't, I assume..
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:41 AM
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I forgot you were running a staggered setup.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by KEY08 View Post
I forgot you were running a staggered setup.
Could that be the issue? I don't want to turn this thread into another staggered debate (lol)..but..(previous owner's wheels/tires)..

My aftermarket wheels do not have sensors..
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by g4benz View Post
Could that be the issue? I don't want to turn this thread into another staggered debate (lol)..but..(previous owner's wheels/tires)..

My aftermarket wheels do not have sensors..
No sensors is your problem. If TPMS doesn't work then some of the electronic nannies are deactivated.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:21 PM
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Just went out to lunch with ESC off via the button on my console. Huge difference in the feel of the car. It seems ESC is holding back my tune..
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:49 PM
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Doubt it would hurt anything. It is simply a safety feature you have disabled. I have never turned mine off and have also never had an issue with it.
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by g4benz View Post
Just went out to lunch with ESC off via the button on my console. Huge difference in the feel of the car. It seems ESC is holding back my tune..
Then you should try Dyno Mode on the road...
You will love it for sure.
But be safe...
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cocobeex View Post
Then you should try Dyno Mode on the road...
You will love it for sure.
But be safe...
Will give that a try. I gotta figure this ESC issue out. Time to visit a stealership soon.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:02 AM
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If you don't want to pay the stealership for their guess, then I would start with 2 suggestions here:

1) put the TPMS sensors back on - warnings would drive me crazy anyway
2) try the original wheels if you have them (hopefully with TPMS sensors?) This will rule out issues from staggered wheels on 4matic
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jonUF02 View Post
If you don't want to pay the stealership for their guess, then I would start with 2 suggestions here:

1) put the TPMS sensors back on - warnings would drive me crazy anyway
2) try the original wheels if you have them (hopefully with TPMS sensors?) This will rule out issues from staggered wheels on 4matic
I wish I had the old wheels with sensors but the previous owner didn't have em'. Most of what I read that can cause this issue is the accelerator pedal (which as per dealer records was replaced in 2014) and the steering angle sensor. But, yea, the dealership could turn me away and point to my aftermarket setup as the cause after charging me a $160 diagnostic fee.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:48 AM
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I'd definitely start with ruling out the stuff that is not to original spec before paying for any diagnositc. The dealer techs really are just guessing unless the computer tells them something, and in that case you would have some sort of warning indicator.

Getting TPMS back in order is an easy start. Tire shops can probably help you get reasonable replacements.

I think there are quite a few people running staggered setup wheels on the same car and not complaining.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jonUF02 View Post
I'd definitely start with ruling out the stuff that is not to original spec before paying for any diagnositc. The dealer techs really are just guessing unless the computer tells them something, and in that case you would have some sort of warning indicator.

Getting TPMS back in order is an easy start. Tire shops can probably help you get reasonable replacements.

I think there are quite a few people running staggered setup wheels on the same car and not complaining.
Yes, that's just it. I searched these forums for hours to read that people with staggered setups on 4MATICS are doing OK. I believe some 4MATIC vehicles (i.e. C300) come with a staggered option right from Mercedes. I'll investigate the TPMS and definitely get codes pulled on my car.

It's stupid and not to mention dangerous that the reaction of this car to an esc code is to go LIMP while driving. I just read that pushing the ESC off button in my car does not really "disable" ESC but makes it less sensitive. There is a way to permanently disable ESC and go into DYNO, but this would be skirting the issue and applying a band-aid.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:57 AM
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I would not recommend turning ESC completely off. I agree that trying to pinpoint the problem will take some effort and you are right that the dealer may just point at your staggered setup and walk away with his hands in the air.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KEY08 View Post
I would not recommend turning ESC completely off. I agree that trying to pinpoint the problem will take some effort and you are right that the dealer may just point at your staggered setup and walk away with his hands in the air.
Yep. I am out of warranty so maybe that will entice the dealer into not walking away.

I'll post back when I get a chance to get this sorted out.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:41 PM
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This is just a wild a$$ guess, but....it would not surprise me if the ECS operates with more restrictive logic in the absence TPMS data since it does not know if one (or more) tires may be low pressure or even flat.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cadetdrivr View Post
This is just a wild a$$ guess, but....it would not surprise me if the ECS operates with more restrictive logic in the absence TPMS data since it does not know if one (or more) tires may be low pressure or even flat.
This could be possible. I would think that if my TPMS sensors and/or wheels are the issue, the code(s) Mercedes will pull from my car should reflect that, yes?

I hope..

I just don't want them to take the easy way out and tell me to put in sensors, change my wheels and tires, and the ESC error remains..
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by g4benz View Post
This could be possible. I would think that if my TPMS sensors and/or wheels are the issue, the code(s) Mercedes will pull from my car should reflect that, yes?
Yes, and I'm still guessing here, the only codes are proabbly TPMS and not specifically ECS. I would not be surprised if the ECS is not showing codes because as far as its concerned it's working properly.

Originally Posted by g4benz View Post
I just don't want them to take the easy way out and tell me to put in sensors, change my wheels and tires, and the ESC error remains..
Yup, that's the risk here. But I'd start by eliminating a known issue (TPMS) before going into more esoteric troubleshooting like changing wheels/tires.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cadetdrivr View Post
Yes, and I'm still guessing here, the only codes are proabbly TPMS and not specifically ECS. I would not be surprised if the ECS is not showing codes because as far as its concerned it's working properly.


Yup, that's the risk here. But I'd start by eliminating a known issue (TPMS) before going into more esoteric troubleshooting like changing wheels/tires.
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cadetdrivr View Post
This is just a wild a$$ guess, but....it would not surprise me if the ECS operates with more restrictive logic in the absence TPMS data since it does not know if one (or more) tires may be low pressure or even flat.
That is exactly how the system works.

The first step is to put sensors back in and see if that resolves the problem.

Maybe the OP can borrow a set of wheels. If that fixes it then he can go and buy sensors.

This cannot be diagnosed properly (even by the dealer) until the TPMS issue is fixed. As a matter of fact, the dealer cannot legally come up with a work-around of the TPMS issue.

Last edited by CEB; 01-06-2016 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CEB View Post
That is exactly how the system works.

The first step is to put sensors back in and see if that resolves the problem.

Maybe the OP can borrow a set of wheels. If that fixes it then he can go and buy sensors.

This cannot be diagnosed properly (even by the dealer) until the TPMS issue is fixed. As a matter of fact, the dealer cannot legally come up with a work-around of the TPMS issue.
Can TPMS be installed on any and every aftermarket wheel? Do I need certain wheel specs, etc?

I know plenty of people running without TPMS but are not experiencing any issues other than dealing with the annoying orange warning light on the dash. I think it was designed solely to test tire pressure, not throw the entire car's electronics off and put it into limp mode - lol.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by g4benz View Post
Can TPMS be installed on any and every aftermarket wheel? Do I need certain wheel specs, etc?

I know plenty of people running without TPMS but are not experiencing any issues other than dealing with the annoying orange warning light on the dash. I think it was designed solely to test tire pressure, not throw the entire car's electronics off and put it into limp mode - lol.
Or they don't notice the difference.

Most wheels will accept TPMS valve stems.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:06 PM
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To answer your original question. Yes it's "OK" to turn of ESC, but not advisable for safety reasons, and not just in ice or snow. That said, I bet you can find (maybe on youtube) instructions on how to access a "secret" menu and turn it off completely.

I'm certainly no expert, just a pretty good problem solver offering suggestions. Other than test driving with a set of stock (not staggered and with TPMS) 4Matic wheels, I don't see how you avoid going to the dealer, or a quality independent shop, for help. Like you, I think TPMS monitors tire pressure only, and doesn't directly affect ESC, ABS, etc.

ESC reacts to wheel speed, steering angle, lateral movement and other things I could repeat but don't thoroughly understand. For example, and despite the fact that many in this forum run a staggered set-up on a 4Matic vehicle, the diameter of staggered wheels may not be uniform and this can give sensors a false wheel speed reading. I have not idea how tight the tolerances of the MB sensors are.

If driving with normal 4Matic cures the problem you could look first at the mods that have been made, such as missing TPMS or staggered wheels. Otherwise, you may have to bite the bullet and seek expert advise.
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