2005 E280 CDI Won't start

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New Member
Oct 23, 2023
Hampshire, UK
Good Afternoon,

I'm hoping that you'll be able to help. I've tried Googling this issue, without much luck, and I am hoping you'll be able to help.

My father-in-law owns a 2005 E280 CDI, and unfortunately, it won't start. Due to some unusual circumstances, he's had to leave the car at my place and return home to France.

The car has not seen much use in the past 12 months and has run out of MOT. I have been trying to arrange a test so that he can drive it back to France, however, the car now refuses to start. At first I thought it was a flat battery, but when my mechanic friend hooked it up to a jumper pack it still wouldn't start. He checked and the car isn't throwing up any fault codes, he checked relays and fuses, however nothing obvious was standing out - his suspicion was something on the CANBUS between the ignition switch and the rest of the car, but this was out of his area of expertise, and recommended that I speak to a specialist.

When I informed FiL about the non-start issue, and the Mechanic's recommendations, he said there is a quirk with the car and that moving the shifter back and forth between drive and neutral can often defeat the issue. He said that this was a common quirk with the automatic version of the E280, however, I can't seem to find anything about it on Google.

I tried the recommended "trick" yesterday, and through more luck than anything else, I was able to start the car with the aid of a jump-pack, and move it onto the driveway. The car has been connected to a battery charger for over 24 hours, however, upon reading the voltage at the battery it is showing as 12.8v , and the car shows no sign of starting, despite repeated attempts.

I am unfamiliar with the car, but I thought the voltage looked low, but thought I would consult the experts.

I am also curious as to this common quirk with the gear selector, and whether anyone has any further information about it, as I don't really know what I'm trying to do, and I feel that the previous success was more luck than anything else.

I look forward to any information you are able to supply!

Thank you, and kind regards,

12.8 volt with engine not running is fine.

When it fails to start does the starter engage, does it then turn over?
There is an inhibitor switch in the gear selector that prevents starting unless in Neutral or Park.

This would be worth investigating. Do you have a Mercedes specialist nearby who may be able look at it?
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No, nothing, no clicks or anything.


As the above post.
And as your FIL suggests,
that's a reasonable p;lace to start.

An Indie should see it as a run o the mill repair I would expect.

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