e350 CDI "forever" car turned itself into a "project" car after 2k driven

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bluekeys

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2023
Messages
12
Location
Birmingham
Car
E350 CDI
Hey, new member here.

I bought a lovely e350 cdi blueefficiency convertible from a private seller. It had 100k ish on the clock and drove like a charm.

Owner seemed to have taken care of it, but had done all their own servicing etc, so the records were a little thin on the ground.

The car was well kept and I was a bit smitten, just before the summer, I took the plunge. Never owned anything I paid more than 1k for and always ran cars till they just wouldn't any more, or in the case of my recent car, until I was sick of replacing the cat, which was regularly (3x before I stopped counting) stolen.

All was well for the first 2k miles, got a suntan on my arms and was getting random strangers complementing me on the car, lol.

Just one day, the car refused to change gear, got stuck in 4th and so I dropped it at my local friendly garage.

I got hit with a 1k bill for a new turbo and swirl flap actuator and that is where the fun started.

Having read around the forum for a bit, I'm pretty sure I have a little chuffing injector, causing black crystals to form, I found a nice coal sized lump near the oil dipstick.

It was never the same after the actuator changes and jumping around like a kangaroo, refusing to go over about 2k rpm.

It has thrown all number of codes, overboost, underboost, egr too much, too little, various shorts, xenon not working, I forget them all, but bought an autel scanner to get a little detail. I'll collate them all and put them here later.

I took it to MSL, but sods law, the day I took it, the codes just weren't being thrown. They gave me some time to take the car for a spin, so I ran it for an hour, slow, fast, still jumping like a kangaroo, but at the end of the hour, no codes still. I was told it was possibly a bad map, I didn't have the car mapped, but maybe the previous owner did?

The turbo has begun to sound like an aeroplane and when I take my foot off the accelerator there is a sound like a whistl / dump valve. It had never made that noise prior to the actuator change, so I took it back to the garage that did the original work and they tested for leaks using a smoke machine. They didn't find any, then they blocked the EGR as a test and let me drive the car. The car was running smoothly again, although, not back at it's former glory and is of course throwing egr and the occasional dpf code.

For now, I'm using another vehicle, I've got the little beauty booked into mercedes for the passenger airbag recall, but am at a loss as to how to progress without throwing bad money after good.

On some level, I've enjoyed the experience as I always wanted to learn more about cars as I'm in computers and it was a welcome break. I'm not really keen to get rid, would rather attempt to fix things myself as I'm in the lucky position of working from home most days and having access to another car whenever I need it.

Any thoughts on directions to proceed in, once it's back from Mercedes?

Any way I could back up a tune etc before they get their hands on her and inevitably give the ECU an "update" (even though I've explicitly told them I don't want the emissions update)?

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.
 
You need specialist equipment to download the ECU map, not something I know much about. If you state to only carry out the recall work, I don't think they can't force the update to be done?

Was the turbo and actuator genuine parts or aftermarket? Has it ever ran correctly since they worked on the car?
 
You need specialist equipment to download the ECU map, not something I know much about. If you state to only carry out the recall work, I don't think they can't force the update to be done?

Was the turbo and actuator genuine parts or aftermarket? Has it ever ran correctly since they worked on the car?
I know the turbo actuator was a reconditioned part, mine was sent somewhere and a matching reconditioned part was returned.

The swirl flaps motor I'm not so sure about.

It hasn't run correctly since taking it to that garage.

After the work was initially done i searched here to see what normal problems were.

I then noticed things like oil dripping from the turbo seal, injectors leaking, etc.

I replaced the breather valve myself and the seals to the maf. They hadn't been seated properly and were kinda rotten.

I found the green o-ring was split on the cold air intake. So i bought a couple and replaced that.
 
MSL is a highly regarded firm, however they mostly do remapping, and I would hazard a guess that their advice may have been a case of having a hammer and seeing every problem as a nail?

With regards codes, if any were registered in the ECU, they don't get erased and would still be there under 'stored' or 'historic' fault codes. It seems to me that the car needs to be driven around for a while with a tech sitting in the car and recording live data using STAR.
 
Might be worth having a chat with Jay at Mercland in Nuneaton. Very knowledgeable chap and if he is unable to sort would almost certainly put you onto someone local who can. Jay is a long time member/supporter of this forum.
One other option is Ollie at Prestige (but they are near Portsmouth so not exactly close)
 
Whenever you take your car to Mercedes, tell them you’ve had a remap and they mustn’t do an ecu update. They’ll be happy to oblige.
 
I know the turbo actuator was a reconditioned part, mine was sent somewhere and a matching reconditioned part was returned.

The swirl flaps motor I'm not so sure about.

It hasn't run correctly since taking it to that garage.

After the work was initially done i searched here to see what normal problems were.

I then noticed things like oil dripping from the turbo seal, injectors leaking, etc.

I replaced the breather valve myself and the seals to the maf. They hadn't been seated properly and were kinda rotten.

I found the green o-ring was split on the cold air intake. So i bought a couple and replaced that.
Any update buddy ?
 
Thanks everyone that posted and responded.

No significant update from me. The dpf was cleaned and that sorted the kangarooing for a bit. It then developed a whine like police were near. It was fun at first but got old when it started to sound so loud it was embarassing.

Right now the car is parked out front and I'm driving something else.

I'm assuming the turbo is broken as power is down and the whining sounds like the descriptions ive read of dieing turbos.

I'm really keen to avoid any garages atm as I'm broke but did ask a mechanic to pop down and confirm the impending death of the turbo.

I've looked at replacements and found falcoln turbos. Has anybody used them?

I've also treated myself to some soft top cleaning products and may stretch to some polish and wax this month, I can at least detail it so it doesn't look so sorry sat out front.
 
Might be worth having a chat with Jay at Mercland in Nuneaton. Very knowledgeable chap and if he is unable to sort would almost certainly put you onto someone local who can. Jay is a long time member/supporter of this forum.
One other option is Ollie at Prestige (but they are near Portsmouth so not exactly close)
Thanks for this.

At the moment, the car is undrivable and parked up. Fortunately the best of the weather is behind us so it doesn't hurt too much!

I'm fortunate enough to have another daily driver so have let this slide a bit down the priorities but when I've got more bandwidth I'll call Jay, I'd appreciate a new perspective and some experience with Mercedes.

Sorta wish I'd bought from him in the first place lol!
 
For hard to solve issues sometimes the main dealer is best, and you may as well get the old map restored just to make sure. Letting small garages spend your money will mount up to more than one main dealer bill imho.
I wish I'd read this sooner. So true.
 
Whenever you take your car to Mercedes, tell them you’ve had a remap and they mustn’t do an ecu update. They’ll be happy to oblige.
Thanks and can confirm. Took it in, they asked if it was mapped and said if I wanted the update I'd have to sign for it. I didn't and everyone was happy.

That was until they called me back just as i got back from the 0700 drop off to tell me to turn around at my convenience as they only had 1 of the 2 required airbags!
 
You need specialist equipment to download the ECU map, not something I know much about. If you state to only carry out the recall work, I don't think they can't force the update to be done?

Was the turbo and actuator genuine parts or aftermarket? Has it ever ran correctly since they worked on the car?
Turbo actuator and swirl flap actuator were refurbished parts.

Mercedes weren't keen to do the emissions update and said i had to sign a disclaimer type thing. Guy at the desk seemed to think i was better off without it as not knowing much of the history there was an outside risk i could introduce another problem.

It was a while back though, i may be misremembering.
 
That was until they called me back just as i got back from the 0700 drop off to tell me to turn around at my convenience as they only had 1 of the 2 required airbags!
I was almost home after having the airbag recall done on our Vito when I got a call to say they were very sorry but they'd got the vehicles mixed up and they hadn't actually done mine after all:fail:

I had to book it in again (about 50 mins drive each way).
 
I was almost home after having the airbag recall done on our Vito when I got a call to say they were very sorry but they'd got the vehicles mixed up and they hadn't actually done mine after all:fail:

I had to book it in again (about 50 mins drive each way).
Ouch. Big fail. Lucky for me the journey is only 20 minutes. Sounds like they are a little stretched for airbags at the moment.
 
Little update from me.

Started work on cleaning the black death. It was worse than i hoped but not awful. I've got pics on another device but i'll get them uploaded here eventually.

I've managed to snap something on the injector fuel return line. No idea how, started the engine to turn the car around and fuel went everywhere. Good job i checked before i tried to move it.

Let me know if you can tell me what it is and what i should do about it, please.

Also, is there an uprated or stronger part i can replace it with?

 

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