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My car is kaput......

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Feeling sad and frustrated.
My lovely little Merc went from Thursday me washing and polishing it to Friday it not starting. Call out the motoring association, no luck. Towed it (first time ever I’ve had a car towed) to the mechanics and then got the call.
The timing chain has come off, stripped the carburetors and bent the pistons.
No warning light I ignored, no funny engine noise I ignored, geez, just 16 days ago it was serviced and re registered and 4 new tyres put on.
Engine is fried. Not even a rebuilt, a whole engine is required circa $10k - $15k or write it off for scrap.
Now comes the frustrating part.
I’ve had cars fully insured for over 30 years. I’ve never had an accident, never made any claims. In fact I’ve never had a ticket for anything, ever. If I had been an idiot, distracted or careless and crashed into someone or something, or if similar crashed into me, I am covered under insurance. If I left it somewhere unsafe and it got stolen or vandalized, I am covered under insurance. However I am a good and careful driver, a sensible and responsible owner and my “Act of God” event is not covered in any manner or form.
The car is out of dealer warranty (it’s 8 years old) and apparently these events though rare, do happen and it’s just too bad.
Sigh. :cry:
 

moneymeister

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I'm sorry to hear. That's rotten luck. It seems very premature for a vehicle to go so totally "kaput" at 8 years.
 
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Karl_K

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Sorry this happened but im curious,
Which merc and which engine? mileage?
Many cars the timing belt is a 80k to 100k miles suggested maintenance item($1.5k in some cases)
It would be very rare for a timing chain to fail with no warning but with a belt it happens a lot more often.
And yes insurance does not cover mechanical failures.
 

mary poppins

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Bummer, @Bron357. That is very disappointing and frustrating.

Changing timing belt is preventive maintenance based on mileage. Owner's manual should contain life expectancy / mileage recommendation for change. No act of God event occurred here.
 

Bron357

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Bummer, @Bron357. That is very disappointing and frustrating.

Changing timing belt is preventive maintenance based on mileage. Owner's manual should contain life expectancy / mileage recommendation for change. No act of God event occurred here.
The mechanic said it came “out of the blue” because the car has less than 50,000 miles on the clock and full service history with regular oil changes (the right type) and oil filters.
What he thinks caused the unexpected event is that mine is the Kompressor engine and they tend not to give any warning. It also appears my driving style and the cold weather played a part. I don’t do a lot of driving so it was probable I wasn’t getting the oil up to temperature before stopping the engine, to do the same thing again. And again. Apparently this can cause the timing chain to stretch and once the chain slips, it’s history.
 

arkieb1

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I just had to do nearly $4000 worth of stuff to my 3 series BMW, it's always garaged has 38 000 original kms (not miles) on it and is about 10 years old. One lady owner since new (me) and I literally only drive it to the supermarket, shops and to do school pick ups. I guess when they get about that old things start going wrong on them. It has always been serviced and is pristine ie looks like almost brand new interior wise inside.
 

Bron357

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Sorry this happened but im curious,
Which merc and which engine? mileage?
Many cars the timing belt is a 80k to 100k miles suggested maintenance item($1.5k in some cases)
It would be very rare for a timing chain to fail with no warning but with a belt it happens a lot more often.
And yes insurance does not cover mechanical failures.
It’s the Mercedes 200C. It has 76,000 Kms on it. It is the “bad” engine that has a history of this problem (who knew) BUT it’s very unusual given its relatively low kms and complete and proper service history. It’s normally seen in higher km cars and those that haven’t been serviced regularly and correctly.
 

arkieb1

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I wonder if our cars had major issues because they sat around a lot, yours isn't high kms and mine is about half that all my cars are always really low km because we use my husband's car when we go out anywhere as a family and on holidays. People seem to be able to put a lot of kms on the same model in both cars (yours and mine) and either never have, or before having major issues.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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It’s the Mercedes 200C. It has 76,000 Kms on it. It is the “bad” engine that has a history of this problem (who knew) BUT it’s very unusual given its relatively low kms and complete and proper service history. It’s normally seen in higher km cars and those that haven’t been serviced regularly and correctly.
it seems particulary unfair in that you took it for regular servicing
ive always understood cars need to go for reasonably long drives and lots of short about town trips in the traffic is bad for them

we once brought a Nissan Maxima one careful lady owner
a full service history plus my BIL had a Nissan dealership and was a machanic and had given it the all clear
turns out there had been some sort of fault that became apparent after a reasonable amount of milage
for some reason ours had never gone back to have the part exchanged durring the recall and sure enough we ran into trouble when we approached that milage
 

Tekate

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@Bron357 let me tell you a story about my 1983 Honda Prelude. In 1985 my husband and I split up I got the 83 Prelude he got the 80 Volvo DL. So in 85 I was driving 20 miles down to my parents house to do my laundry (my bf now husband and I were on the outs :) ) so I'm driving on the NYS Taconic Parkway to 84 East in Dutchess Cty NY and I go up a hill and the car dies, kaput DEAD and just basically stopped, it was a standard trans and it had a "SOHC 12-valve, 1,829-cc four-cylinder" engine :) it as a little speedster, 12 valves! no power steering (which is why I have shoulder arthrtis today!).. so my car dies, it's towed to Honda in Poughkeepsie NY, 2 days later they tell me that my timing belt broke and to fix is would be 1,200$ is 3K today, it was overwhelming to say the least so I did it, no choice but it ate up most of my savings as a young(ish), free, happy, divorcee. Two years later I'm remarried, a mom of 1 and I get this letter from Honda USA, dear Prelude customer please take your Prelude in asap as we have a recall due to timing belt FAILURE, okay, so I get my paperwork make a plea and Honda refunded the 1,200$ I couldn't find the 100.00$ tow charge so I couldn't get that back, my point is, your timing belt shouldn't have failed especially on a Mercedes, maybe there was a recall? Fight it if you can with the dealer. I kept the Prelude till 1993 and it ran like a charm.. I am sorry this happened to you and it sucks.
 

tkyasx78

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I am sorry! We take care of things so well and it is beyond disappointing when they do not last.
I had to get a new washer a few weeks ago and literally wanted to hug my old washer when it was taken out. Weird I know, but it was reliable until it stopped working and I really liked it.

I am sorry about your car. That would have been beyond disappointing to find it unusable and having no warning at all!!
 

OoohShiny

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Okay, this is in no way meant to sound like I am a 'mansplaining' dick :lol: but please may I check if you have the diagnosis in writing?

I only ask because I am slightly confused - an 8 year old Merc would not have Carbs, everything has been fuel injection for probably 25+ years now, and even if it did, I don't understand how a timing belt failure would have 'stripped' them.

WRT the pistons, it is extremely hard to damage pistons - they are considerable chunks of metal! - so I would have thought that the valves in the head would have been bent, rather than the pistons or the connecting rods (conrods for short).


I guess what I'm asking is whether you may have terminology confused (and I do not in anyway mean to come across as condescending or 'mansplaining'!) or whether the garage has actually said the exact things detailed - because if it's the latter, you should seek an second diagnosis elsewhere before making any decisions on what to do. (And not sell the car to the garage doing the diagnosis either way, I reckon, if that is an option you are considering.)

I would have thought that timing belt failure and subsequent damaged valves would only mean sourcing a secondhand head and swapping it onto the block, which would not be cheap but would also not be 15 grand...

Or if wider damage has been done that I'm not considering, you could source a secondhand engine and get that swapped in for much less than 10-15 grand, I would reckon.

@sledge and other car enthusiasts - back me up on this! lol


EDIT: Thinking about it, when you say 'not starting', was it turning over but not firing into life? Or just completely dead, nothing happening when you turned the key? I can see how the former might cause damage if the belt snapped at the moment of initial cranking, bashing pistons into valves in their open phase, but the latter would cause no damage at all because nothing would be moving, and I can't imagine the timing belt would have snapped just at the moment of switching the engine off.
 
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Karl_K

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@OoohShiny
True the termonology is off but its close enough to what happens in an interference motor.
The valves hit the pistons which destroy the valves, rockers and cam and head and the pistons and the bore and the intake because they are often plastic.
It is the equivalent of a grenade going off in the motor.
 

mary poppins

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The mechanic said it came “out of the blue” because the car has less than 50,000 miles on the clock and full service history with regular oil changes (the right type) and oil filters.
What he thinks caused the unexpected event is that mine is the Kompressor engine and they tend not to give any warning. It also appears my driving style and the cold weather played a part. I don’t do a lot of driving so it was probable I wasn’t getting the oil up to temperature before stopping the engine, to do the same thing again. And again. Apparently this can cause the timing chain to stretch and once the chain slips, it’s history.
Oh man, that super sucks that you maintained the car well and didn't even get the manufacturer's expected time from the timing belt. Grrrr. I'm annoyed on your behalf.

@Tekate, I had an '85 Prelude and loved it! They had power steering by then. I learned how to drive on a manual Honda Civic with no power steering, so I definitely can relate to the no PS experience.
 

Dancing Fire

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We own a Mercedes 450 SEL and a BMW 540I in past. both of these cars was always in the shop for repairs, so we finally got tired of getting repairs on German cars and now we only buy Japanese cars. Love driving my old 2005 Lexus LS430 with only 103K on the OD. I still haven't service the timing belt yet...:silenced:
 

OoohShiny

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Here are some pics of what can happen....
DSCN4537.jpg DSCN4528.jpg

edit... different brand motor but an example.
That is pretty spectacular! lol


We own a Mercedes 450 SEL and a BMW 540I in past. both of these cars was always in the shop for repairs, so we finally got tired of getting repairs on German cars and now we only buy Japanese cars. Love driving my old 2005 Lexus LS430 with only 103K on the OD. I still haven't service the timing belt yet...:silenced:
My good lady's car is Japanese and just ticked over 233k miles :D
 

tyty333

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Sorry to hear this @Bron357 ...I know very little about cars but this really stinks!
 

Bron357

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Thanks all.
It wasn’t completely dead, it just wouldn’t “fire”. That’s because of no compression in any of the cylinders. It could have been old spark plugs or flooded carbs but it wasn’t.
It’s the timing chain that’s on these cog sprocket things. The cog sprocket ends got sheared off when the timing chain slipped and those bits of metal went through the engine. The pistons are bent.
Here in Australia we pay much higher labor prices than the US. Cars and parts are just more expensive. I think it’s $85 an hour. So it would have been a $3,000 - $4,000 job to replace the timing chain and get better cog sprocket things. To replace the engine it’s much more like $7,000 - $8,000. But the current engines available here are all over 150,000 kms. And put in a 150,000 km engine and you get all sorts of other expenses and repairs.
The $16,000 came from buying the same model car (but lesser options and a few little crinkles in the body work with only 45,000 kms) that has been sitting in an elderly gents garage and taking out that engine for my car and the scrapping the body of the other car. Otherwise I can scrap my car for $2,000
 

Bron357

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We own a Mercedes 450 SEL and a BMW 540I in past. both of these cars was always in the shop for repairs, so we finally got tired of getting repairs on German cars and now we only buy Japanese cars. Love driving my old 2005 Lexus LS430 with only 103K on the OD. I still haven't service the timing belt yet...:silenced:
I’m looking longingly at the little Lexus convertible. Pre loved of course. I just want something a “bit nice”.
 

Dancing Fire

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I’m looking longingly at the little Lexus convertible. Pre loved of course. I just want something a “bit nice”.
That was supposed to be my wife's mid-life crisis car.... a red Lexus convertible till I LMAO
.
 

Dancing Fire

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That's what I drive! Lexus SC 430, Pebble Beach edition! Last of the awesome hard top convertibles... we looked at the IS convertibles - thanks, but no!
But my wife is too old for driving a red convertible...:bigsmile:
 

prs

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If you have a full service record with the Mercedes dealer it might be worth asking them to contact Mercedes and ask for a courtesy repair at Mercedes' expense.

Three months ago my Lexus RX350 developed an oil leak, it was six months out of warranty. The fix involved pulling the entire engine out of the vehicle at a cost of over $3,000!!! I'd had the car serviced religiously every 5,000 miles since new, so my service guy told me this should not have happened, it was a stupid Lexus design, and he was pretty sure he could get Lexus to pay for the repair as a "courtesy". It took a couple of days to get approval, but sure enough that's what happened.
 

jordyonbass

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@Bron357 this is from my wife who worked as a team leader for another big motor brand in Australia;

In 2012 there was a change to consumer law in Australia where the warranty is essentially made unlimited if this is a manufacturing fault or other issue that is not related to wear and tear. If you take it to Mercedes and they deem it is not a wear and tear issue and has failed, then it's your choice for repair, replace or refund. The fact a warranty has run out is of no issue. She said the only thing she has concern for is the fact it's an 8 year old car, it's right on the cusp of what they might accept.
 

PreRaphaelite

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I’m so sorry this happened to you. It seems so unfair as you weren’t abusing the car or anything. Before you scrap it, perhaps give a call or message to your local Mercedes owners Club (often they are on Facebook and Twitter) as they have monthly (or at least very regular) meetups... some clubs have a monthly garage workshop day where they co-op share the small cost to rent out a local garage for the day and discuss recent issues and take on a ‘pet project’ as a volunteer thing. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes. Many brains make solid answers.

There is one in Dallas that helped me (I do realise you’re Down Under but so many cities worldwide have a local club). Back in the early 2000s my dad brought me there as the pet project; I felt in good company with the enthusiasts there and everyone got small servicing done and a lunch with live guitar and a raffle! The collective wisdom of two dozen or so mechanically-smart club members helped me tremendously. I could never have made the repairs myself nor afforded to pay a shop.

If nothing else can be done, at least your club would have contacts in the area who can either buy it from you for a better price, or offer to buy and remove individual parts before you scrap it... might as well get a bit more money back out from it before it goes. Many enthusiasts want to upgrade their interior or replace a door etc, and you might be able to help them as much as they help you.

As a personal aside, I used to work in automotive as a service writer, and my partner is an ASE master tech. Long story short, he wants me to drive a Lexus because the parts are less expensive and he can do all the repairs for much less than other makes. I wish I had agreed as I’ve been through so many unhappy repairs in the Audi. I only *just* bought a Jeep SUV as a hurricane was coming and I wanted to be able to load up the pets and evacuate which I couldn’t do in the little convertible.... I thought I was making the clever choice but then came to find out just days after buying it, there’s another recall for an exploding gas tank! So, next year I’ll finally go get a Lexus. I’m so tired of cars. Is it any wonder I bury my head in PS.

No matter what you drive, I wish you the happiest and safest motoring!
 
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missy

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I am sorry @Bron357.

When our car died December 2017 I cried. Not because of the money we had to spend to get another car (though that wasn't fun) but because I loved that inanimate object and it had been with us for 15 years and went through a lot with us. It had about 130K miles on it so he owed us nothing. So I imagine it is much harder when a younger car with less miles goes kaput. FWIW we named our new car after our old car. Somehow it lessens the sting thinking that our older car is still with us but reincarnated into the newer car. Yup we are weird that way.:oops2:

Anyway sorry about your car and may your new car be a winner. Wishing you safe and enjoyable driving.
 

OoohShiny

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Thanks all.

It wasn’t completely dead, it just wouldn’t “fire”. That’s because of no compression in any of the cylinders. It could have been old spark plugs or flooded carbs but it wasn’t.

It’s the timing chain that’s on these cog sprocket things. The cog sprocket ends got sheared off when the timing chain slipped and those bits of metal went through the engine. The pistons are bent.

Here in Australia we pay much higher labor prices than the US. Cars and parts are just more expensive. I think it’s $85 an hour. So it would have been a $3,000 - $4,000 job to replace the timing chain and get better cog sprocket things. To replace the engine it’s much more like $7,000 - $8,000. But the current engines available here are all over 150,000 kms. And put in a 150,000 km engine and you get all sorts of other expenses and repairs.

The $16,000 came from buying the same model car (but lesser options and a few little crinkles in the body work with only 45,000 kms) that has been sitting in an elderly gents garage and taking out that engine for my car and the scrapping the body of the other car. Otherwise I can scrap my car for $2,000
Man, this thread is going to make me sound like an argumentative, cynical internet keyboard warrior... :oops: :lol:

... but I still am strongly of the mind that you should seek a second opinion, Bron.


Is it a trusted garage you have used before?

Are you potentially being viewed as a lady who is gullible and could be taken advantage of, either through claiming work is needed when it's not, or through acquiring a great condition vehicle with a minor issue for scrap value that could then be fixed for pennies and sold on in another area as in excellent working order at full market value?


I know you Aussies appreciate straight-talking ;-) so I hope you don't mind me saying that I am still confused as to the explanations given.

To check, it is a W204 model C200 from 2010 with the Kompressor supercharged engine?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_C-Class_(W204)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_C-Class_(W204)#Engines

As mentioned earlier, these engines don't use carburettors - they are fuel injection only, so if the garage is saying it has carbs, that is a big red flag. Is that what they are saying??

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_M271_engine#KE18ML_(271.9XX)
The KE18ML is a 1.8 L (1,796 cc) version. Bore and stroke is 82 mm × 85 mm (3.23 in × 3.35 in). Output ranges from 122 PS (90 kW; 120 hp) at 5200 rpm to 194 PS (143 kW; 191 hp) at 5800 rpm.

It uses sequential fuel injection, is supercharged and intercooled, and features fracture-split forged steel connecting rods. A version running on natural gas was introduced in the German market in 2002.

Have they done a compression test on the cylinders to diagnose lack of compression? If so, have they given you the results?


I don't quite understand what they are saying about the timing chain breaking and cog sprocket things being drawn into the engine.

As mentioned previously, I have zero desire to 'mansplain'... so please accept my sincerest apologies if I am coming across as condescending!! :oops: but the timing chain creates a link between the camshafts in the head (which open and close the valves controlling the air/fuel coming into the cylinders) to the crankshaft in the bottom end (which the conrods connect to, the other end of which connects to the pistons). The timing chain is on the outside the engine, as are the cogs/sprockets it connects to on the end of the camshafts.

If the timing chain breaks or the cogs slip, the camshafts stop rotating in time with the crankshaft, and pistons and valves go out of time, meaning the pistons can smack into the valves, bending the valves usually because they are small, relatively fragile bits of metal.

As the cogs on the end of the camshafts, where the timing chain connects, are on the outside of the engine, I don't understand how the garage are saying they have been sucked into the engine - the only way that would happen is if they somehow fell into the air intake and got through the foam air filter, which I simply cannot see happening.

Have they shown you (in real life) the stripped cogs/sprockets?


I think it could be very worthwhile joining some internet forums specifically for Mercs, as suggested earlier, so you can get some geeks on the case :)

This thread seems to suggest the cam sprocket issue is a known issue, but that bent valves is the outcome (which I would expect):
https://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/index.php?threads/w203-c200-are-there-issues-replacing-the-m271-940-with-a-m271-957.176406/

This place looks pretty busy so you could hopefully search/ask and get a quick response - the first link covers an explanation of the likely issue:
https://forums.mbclub.co.uk/threads/w203-are-there-any-major-difference-from-2002-to-2004.229159/#post-2519894
https://forums.mbclub.co.uk/search/1926119/?q=M271+sprocket+issue&o=date

You could also check out ebay for engine prices, if you have not already done so:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/WRECKING-2009-Mercedes-W204-C200-Kompressor-ENGINE-TRANSMISSION-PANELS-INTERIOR-/162996476904

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mercedes-Benz-bare-engine-271-940-C200-200-1-8-Kompressor-M271-C-CLC-Class-/273944770164

It could be worth searching for Sold / Finished auctions for your model of car with engine failure, to see if $2k is a reasonable offer for scrap - I feel that is low, given what all the parts could sell for.


I may well just be over-simplifying and not understanding the full impacts of sprocket failure on these engines, as I've only really skimmed the links above, but I think I would just summarise by saying I would not want you to be taken advantage of, I want you to be in a position of knowledge and therefore power, and I hope you can find a cheaper fix than writing your whole car off!! :(
 
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