Electrical & Starting Problem, advice needed! - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 09-24-2013
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Question Electrical & Starting Problem, advice needed!

I have had my wonderful 2004 SLK 230 for a whole two weeks, and... now a problem I need help figuring out. I searched but could not find a post describing my same symptoms.

My SLK ran this morning without fault, and after about 4 hours at home, refused to start. No warning lights, no other indication of problems.

1) Any large draw of power triggers a "shut off" to all systems. Starter, headlights, roof operation all trigger a shut down.

2) Removing the key then reinserting and rotating to the accessory position resets the car system. Dash lights, dome lights, radio, etc. all function normally until you place a large power demand on the car. Then the system seems to shut down.

3) Unable to shift the car into neutral (out of the garage to jump start the car). Is this a normal MB feature, to prevent rolling when the engine is off?

4) I connected a charger to the system, and it indicated within about 20 min a fully charged battery. Disconnected the charger and the problems remained the same.

5) I checked all the fuses under hood and left side interior, and none were blown. I checked the ground connections, cleaned them even though they were clean, dry and tight.

6) I disconnected the battery for 30+ min, reconnected it and problems unresolved or unchanged (I'll leave the charger on overnight, and see if this allows the car to start).

7) Thoughts: The battery appears fully charged per the charger gauge, BUT are these symptoms consistent with a bad battery? I don't have a volt meter, and may need to pull the battery and run it to a parts store to have them check it.

8) Do the '04 SLKs have a safety "cut-off" for a low-voltage reading? I'm new to MB, so I'm unfamiliar with MB unique features.

9) Is there a bypass for the transmission lock? I'll need to get the SLK out of my garage if I need to have it towed to a repair shop!

Thanks for any advice.
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#2 Old 09-24-2013
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It sounds like there is a bad connection on the other ends of the battery wires, since you have had the battery terminals off. Or it could be internal to the battery. Easy to check. pull the ground wire from the fender and clean the area very well. Check all the connections to the positive wire as well. As to the battery, charge it fully at home and bring it to Advance Auto Parts and have them check it. I believe it's no charge (no pun intended) for that service.
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#3 Old 09-24-2013
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Thank you, Jim- Battery cable connections cleaned & checked, starting w/ ground, and now positive. I'll pull the battery and run it up to the auto store in the morning.
thanks!
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#4 Old 09-24-2013
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In the future if you need to get your car out of park, right at the base of the shifter you will see a small "flap". It is about the size of a pen and the opening is "D" shaped. Stick a pen in that hole and push. With the brake pedal depressed, you should be able to shift it out of park and into neutral. And yes, it is a safety feature.

Most of your problems sound like a faulty alternator, however, I have never seen one that is causing a problem intermittently. Usually when they go, they are gone.
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#5 Old 09-24-2013
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It doesnt sound like a battery problem to me at all either. I wouldn't focus there, I would let a reputable shop look at it and provide an estimate of repairs. I'm with DIY girl, it sounds like an alternator issue.


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#6 Old 09-24-2013
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Smile Victory!

Good news, but some questions...

After charging overnight, I tried to start my SLK, but problem persisted. I pulled the MB battery and ran it up to Autozone, where the employee tested and showed the battery fully charged, (12.9v). I then thought through all of the electrical modules that could be faulty. Daunting!

I re-installed the battery, and the car started right up! Even though I took off the positive & negative cables and cleaned all contact surfaces including the neg. to the body, the car would not start last night, but after transporting the battery, now it works? Also disconnecting the battery last night did not resolve the problem, but after having it disconnected today, it starts? I'm leaning towards the battery being good all along, and a poor contact somehow not allowing enough juice through the cables preventing the car operating.

Thank you for the tip on getting the car into neutral when not running DIYGirl! Also, sometimes the simplest solution is the best place to start- thanks JiminFlorida. Love the forum, and appreciate the help!
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#7 Old 09-24-2013
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1) Bad cables;

2) How long was the battery off when you ran it over for testing? It may have allowed more time for the system to reset and;

3) I have no idea, maybe the experts will chime in here!
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#8 Old 09-25-2013
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Elapsed time battery disconnected

First time 40 min, problem remained.
Next morning about 40 minutes, car fired right up.

side note: I did get the code (trying to remember...) ESC or ESU on bottom right of instrument cluster. Thanks to SLKworld research, I knew it was coming and knew how to fix with a steering wheel turn full right, then full left and back to center. It's the unknowns I worry about- "Will this be a $200 repair or a $2,000 repair?" Glad to DIY this one!
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#9 Old 09-25-2013
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check your earth connections to the engine are good if the starting problem re occurs put a jump lead from the neg terminal of your battery to the engine see if that helps
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