Mercedes Benz is a name that carries the weight of elite status, particularly here in the US. The name makes us picture elegance and luxury, and if you own a Mercedes Benz, you know that is accurate.
What you may not know is that they may suffer from an infamous transmission problem with that very car that awards them so much status. The 13-pin electrical connector in the automatic transmission may leak transmission fluid. Over time, leaking fluid migrates through the wiring harness and damages the transmission control module, causing the car to lose communication with the valve body. This problem is common with Mercedes Benz cars from 1998 up to 2008.
Often people and even mechanics misdiagnose transmission problems, thinking they need a new valve body or even transmission. In reality, the problem is often that the transmission connector plug leaks oil at the rubber O rings. So before you do anything else to your car, replace this plug and add transmission oil to eliminate this common problem. It is a simple task you can do yourself.
The key is to catch this early. Newer models have double O rings which are much more resilient to leaks. If you do not catch it before too much fluid has leaked onto the control module, you will have to replace the entire control module and harness.
There are at least two issues that can cause leaks in the pin connector in Mercedes Benz cars. The first is that one of the 13 pins can break off. A break like this prevents the connector from holding in place correctly and invites the possibility of transmission fluid leaks. In a pinch, some owners have tried to replace it with a hypodermic needle that has been cut to size and superglued around the base. That is not an ideal fix, but it may buy you some time until you can get to a specialty European auto mechanic, such as Euro Plus Automotive.
The second cause of pin connector leaks is the degradation of the O ring. If it is not clean and snug in place, or if it has worn thin, it needs a replacement. Again, the key to keeping these maintenance costs low is early diagnosis and prevention. Once the fluid has damaged the control module, the costs for repair and replacement rise significantly.
If early detection is the key to taking care of 13 Pin Connector problems, what are the symptoms to let you know something is going wrong?
All the symptoms are transmission related. Your transmission may go into “limp mode.” Shifting can become stuck, or it can become erratic. Eventually, the problem grows from hard shifting to no shifting at all. If you start to notice problems shifting smoothly, especially in engines built 1998-2008, get your 13-pin connector checked out immediately.
Sometimes, if you catch the problem early enough. When you first notice transmission trouble, try this:
1. Pull over and turn your car off. Remove the key.
2. Do not press any pedals or other buttons on the car.
3. Wait at least 20 seconds.
4. Restart the car and drive it again to see if it is out of limp mode.
You can also take a look at the 13-pin connector and see what is looks like — are all the pins still there? Does the O ring appear to be in good shape? If you spot any issues or don’t understand what you’re looking at, it’s time to get it to the shop for an expert to take a look.
While the 13-pin connector O ring may be a weak spot in the transmission of Mercedes Benz, the transmission itself, mainly those built 1998-2008 are still among the best built. The key is proper maintenance and getting it checked out as soon as you notice the early symptoms. If you live in Los Angeles County, CA or the San Fernando Valley, particularly near Canoga Park or Woodland Hills, come speak with our expert service technicians at Euro Plus Automotive. We have years of experience on European vehicles, so we can diagnose the problem and get you back out on the road as soon as possible.
* Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG image credit goes to: kurmyshov.
Mercedes cars come in a range of different sizes and shapes in the various models they offer. Depending on the type of terrain the car will drive on and the purpose of the vehicle, different cars, and Mercedes for that matter, have different features and parts that contribute to executing the specific performance function of that particular vehicle. For instance, an off-road vehicle will have a very different structure than a four-door sedan because they serve different purposes. The Mercedes G-Class for example is equipped with a locking differential to specifically handle off-road terrain.
All vehicles have differentials, as they’re essential to making the wheels turn. If you’re not familiar with what a locking differential is or does for your own Mercedes, then you’re not alone—many drivers struggle with automotive terminology. This article will briefly go over what a locking differential does, why it’s important to maintain properly, and how you can find the care you need for your Mercedes-Benz.
When you hear the word “differential,” think of “different.” The differential is part of the drivetrain of a car which simply allows the wheels to rotate at two different speeds. In certain cars, like all-wheel-drive cars and the Mercedes G-Class, they’re equipped with what is called locking differentials, where more than one differential are at work to keep your car’s wheels maximally gripped to the ground, better handling difficult, rocky, or unstable terrain. Differentials must be properly maintained in order to perform optimally. The most important aspect of differential care is maintaining its fluid. Differential fluid is critical for the intricate parts within the differential system which require continual lubrication to work properly. When this fluid becomes contaminated or runs dry, it can cause serious problems with your Mercedes’ differential functionality.
As previously mentioned, it is critical to keep your differential in working order at all times to ensure your car’s optimal performance. However, there are other reasons for regular fluid changes that are often overlooked.
Should you ever see the day that you require a differential replacement, you’ll want to avoid it at all costs—literally. The price of replacing your car’s differential is not something most people keep in a piggy bank. Depending on the type of car and the need for additional repair, it can cost anywhere from hundreds to over a thousand dollars.
If your car’s differential isn’t working properly, it can have a significant affect on your car’s performance, which makes your car essentially useless. Regardless of how well-maintained the other parts of your car are, without a properly maintained differential, your car won’t even be able to travel up a hill let alone go off-roading. When you attempt to resell your car, the value will be significantly reduced with a damaged or broken differential.
Maintaining your differential is important for your safety for a number of reasons. In the most important moments is usually when car trouble arises, so it’s better to take precautionary steps to prevent disaster. The locking differential on your Mercedes is important to maintain with regular fluid changes because without proper lubrication a lot of things can go wrong, leaving you susceptible to causing an accident. If you notice any performance differences in your Mercedes, it’s critical to have it checked out by a professional Mercedes mechanic immediately.
The most common signs that a differential is failing or one of the components is failing are important to look out for in your Mercedes. If you begin to hear odd noises while turning, or experience any vibrating or rattling while turning, it could be related to a differential issue. Contact a trusted Mercedes service center nearby to schedule a differential diagnosis as soon as possible.
The Mercedes experts here at Euro Plus Automotive have served the communities of Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, San Fernando Valley, and the greater Los Angeles County, CA for nearly 3 decades, and they’ve seen it all. On top of our experience, knowledge, and skill to prove our dedication to automotive repair, we passionately approach customer service with honesty and integrity. We are familiar with many types of differentials and their common issues, including that of Mercedes-Benz in particular. If you’re experiencing concerning symptoms in your Mercedes, please call us right away to schedule a diagnostic appointment.
* White Mercedes-Benz G-Class image credit goes to: Snap2Art_RF.