Power steering cuts off and on sometimes when driving away.

W204C350CDI

New Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Berkshire
Car
W204 C350 CDI Estate
Had this car a month now, a random issue happens (and it's so quick I don't see the exact message, and nothing stored on the dashboard). This happens when I'm driving away after parking, either from my home, or the office car park, the power steering goes heavy, and a message flashes, and sometimes the radio turns off, car continues just fine, nothing for the rest of the journey. Have driven 500 miles between fault, and then it happened every other day for a week.
I replaced the rear battery (could be 8 years old if it's original), it still happened. Might go for the Aux battery but it read 12.5V when I checked with multi-meter (although I didn't disconnect the positive from the main battery, so not sure if that was an accurate reading).
It may have read "active steering fail" one time, but like I said it flashes for less than a second and I'm usually steering so don't stare at the dashboard.
It's only happened shortly after starting, so either it's because I'm turning the steering wheel a great amount, or something to do with voltages being low and causing an error (might replace the aux battery as it does have some corrosion on the terminal, could be 8 years old if it's never been swapped).
The stop start rarely works too, but I'm going to swap the thermostat because it's reading 70 which is much too low, so that could be inhibiting that side of things.

Feels like everything's going wrong on this car just after buying it!

1. Will these faults be logged in the car if I take it to a garage? Is there a cheaper scanner than STAR systems that will be useful for me?
2. Is this a fault others have encountered?
 

MJoh

New Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Great Yarmouth
Car
C180 W204
I have a similar problem that occurs perhaps 50% of time and only happens when engine is cold and about 10 seconds after pulling away. Its a W204 C180. The red Airbag light comes on and yellow warning in display " Front left Malfunction" or sometimes " Front Right malfunction" . This warning goes off after 2-3 seconds as does the red airbag light. There is a loss of power steering for 2-3 seconds also. All becomes ok after this and no problem untill next cold start.
Unbelievably Mercedes dealer couldnt find any problem after a (expensive) diagnostic.
Anyone got any ideas?
 

steveskeggy

Active Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
188
Car
S55 AMG
Just a guess, but the steering goes heavy on my S-Class if the drivers side front ABS sensor goes faulty.
The steering uses this sensor to ascertain the speed of the car, which it uses to calculate how much assistance to give the steering.
If it is not doing it, then it wont read as a current fault, but will read as a stored fault.
Never affected the audio before, but you know what Mercedes are like.
A STAR system is worth the investment if you only have the Mercedes, or intend to always have the Mercedes.
However, if you have another car that isnt a Mercedes, or if you get pi55ed off with the brand after you have had one, then its better to invest in something like my Autel Maxidas, this reads current and stored codes across all the systems (I also own a Landrover Freelander, so it made sense to go for the Autel).
Snap-on do one as well, if you fancy taking out a second mortgage, but there will be the same sort of device by other manufacturers.

"Feels like everything's going wrong on this car just after buying it!"
Welcome to the wonderful world of Mercedes Benz!
Its long been known that owning a Mercedes is like dating a psychotic super model, she is fantastic to look at, and you are the envy of all your friends, but every now and again, she will stab you in the testicles and steal all of your money..
 

ShaunNuckley

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Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Essex
Car
2013 Mercedes C350 CDI
Did you ever find a solution to this? I bought my W204 C350 CDI last year and have had this same fault every time I drive the car. It hasn't really been an issue so far, until this morning I was pulling out of a junction and the steering went heavy and power dropped at the most inconvenient moment! I don't want to spend money replacing things unnecessarily. I also have the same issue where the start/stop has never been active.
 

Petrol Pete

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Nov 11, 2016
Messages
8,028
Location
Petrol stations ...everywhere
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C55 AMG Wagon
Hi Shaun and welcome , you are reviving a old thread but my experience of this was with our little family runabout Toyota Yaris with electric assist steering.

Went VERY heavy just after start up and turning off the drive and/or slow manoeuvres with low engine speed (low revs) . It turned out to be the battery , just not enough oomph in it when cold to take the load of the steering motor which was working hard at parking speeds.

I was very sceptical when told this might be the fix (I had to replace the alternator as it was faulty and not charging the battery 100%) On the Toyota a small red 'S' was supposed to illuminate on the dash to highlight the fault , it did not.

Since the new battery and alternator...zero fault. Might not be the same with your car, but making sure your battery is up to it and your alternator is functioning properly has got to be the cheapest first option.
 

190

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 4, 2015
Messages
4,575
Location
Cheshire
Car
2009 W204 C180K
To save fuel the W204 C180K blue efficiency shuts the power steering pump off with a clutch when the wheels are in the straight ahead position. I don't know about other models but it's a possibility and perhaps a clue as there must be something that senses when to do this.
 

oldguy57

MB Enthusiast
Joined
May 20, 2015
Messages
1,402
Location
Lancashire
Car
Now various and sundry
Did you ever find a solution to this? I bought my W204 C350 CDI last year and have had this same fault every time I drive the car. It hasn't really been an issue so far, until this morning I was pulling out of a junction and the steering went heavy and power dropped at the most inconvenient moment! I don't want to spend money replacing things unnecessarily. I also have the same issue where the start/stop has never been active.
Best and usually quickest solution would be to get the codes read on Star at a local indie, otherwise it's pure guess work, which may cost you a fortune in replacing parts unnecessarily.
 

MJoh

New Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Great Yarmouth
Car
C180 W204
I have just had another diagnostic at an independant a couple of weeks ago. The battery was replaced but still got error message although only occasionally -- I am hoping a full battery charge may cure it but its a weekend car and I dont get enough miles in - specially during lockdown and working from home. Garage tells me it may be the alternator which is taking about 15 seconds to fully "kick in" when apparently it should take only a couple of seconds after starting - hence the warning lights after about 10 seconds. ( letting it idle for a couple of minutes to warm up before pulling away didn't stop warning lights either). Alternator cost quoted about £800 with no guarantee it will cure issue. I have left it for now and will see how it goes. It doesnt really affect the drive apart from a few seconds of silly warning lights at pulling away from cold.
 

Petrol Pete

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Nov 11, 2016
Messages
8,028
Location
Petrol stations ...everywhere
Car
C55 AMG Wagon
Sorry folks I might be off message here . Does this car have an hydraulic steering rack with a pump (in which case check/change the fluid) or is it manual with electric motor assistance ...or both 🤷‍♂️
 

ShaunNuckley

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Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Essex
Car
2013 Mercedes C350 CDI
I set up a camera today to try and catch the error message that pops up when the fault occurs (it happens so fast I never have time to read it!) and it appears that the ABS and ESP become temporarily unavailable for a second. This only occurs during medium acceleration after a cold start, normally when reaching around 30-40mph, the steering goes heavy, the doors locks click and the radio will flicker off and on all at the same time, after which the car will be fine for the rest of the journey. Seems like some sort of electrical spasm that causes all these systems to switch off and on again but I have no clue.

Screenshot_20210414-230046_Video Player.jpg
 

MJoh

New Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Great Yarmouth
Car
C180 W204
I set up a camera today to try and catch the error message that pops up when the fault occurs (it happens so fast I never have time to read it!) and it appears that the ABS and ESP become temporarily unavailable for a second. This only occurs during medium acceleration after a cold start, normally when reaching around 30-40mph, the steering goes heavy, the doors locks click and the radio will flicker off and on all at the same time, after which the car will be fine for the rest of the journey. Seems like some sort of electrical spasm that causes all these systems to switch off and on again but I have no clue.

View attachment 111726
Pretty much the same as I have been getting - see 2nd and 9th reply in this thread.
 

VishalBaal

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Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Trinidad
Car
C180 w204
Hey guys I have a c180 w204 and it’s doing the same thing.. about 10 seconds into drive from cold start, a random error comes up on the onboard computer, the steering gets heavy, the radio and AC flickers and then in a few seconds everything is fine and works with no issues for the rest of the drive, has anyone solved this issue?
 

optimusprime

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Dec 29, 2013
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4,896
Location
Kidderminster Worcestershire UK
Car
Mercedes W124 260E M103
Power outage or bad earth ...check conections on the battery and all earth points along with fuses . Battery on the way out, or even low on power . Power steering goes off, if the engine stops for a few seconds .Its the first thing you notice brfore engine dies on you
 

VishalBaal

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
2
Location
Trinidad
Car
C180 w204
Thank you, I’m very new to this vehicle so I might asked noob questions, please bare with me.
Today I will clean and secure the battery terminals. However I did notice that there are two batteries, if I need to replace the battery so I need to replace the both at the same time?
 

Guvner58

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Joined
May 14, 2022
Messages
1
Location
Melbourne Australia
Car
C180 Coupe
I bought my 2013 C180 and found it had all the faults noted above. Obviously didn't happen when I took it for a test drive, happened 2-3 days after I bought it, sods law, thought I'd bought a pup. Anyway, took it to our little independent garage, Wade Bros, who said 'reckon it's both batteries that are cactus'. So, they changed both batteries and all is fine with the world. Even ECO is working fine.
 

=Stretch=

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Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
25
Location
South West
Car
2012 C180 1.6 Petrol SE (Executive Pack) 7G-Tronic Plus 4dr
Hey guys I have a c180 w204 and it’s doing the same thing.. about 10 seconds into drive from cold start, a random error comes up on the onboard computer, the steering gets heavy, the radio and AC flickers and then in a few seconds everything is fine and works with no issues for the rest of the drive, has anyone solved this issue?
Hi, I had the same problem with my 2012 C180 w204. When the doors automatically locked when I was pulling away the entertainment screen would go off and then come back on, at the same time the steering would go stiff as well as a warning sound and parking brake warning on dash.
I don't know if this information will help. But check possibly there is too much of a load on the front cigar lighter/front socket.

SOLVED: I discovered my retrofitted reversing camera and dash cam were causing the problem. Both items were using the cigar lighter/front socket fuse 71 so I have separated them and kept the dash cam on the cigar lighter/front socket fuse 71 and put the reversing camera on the rear socket fuse 76.
This has cured my problem.:banana:
 

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