I own a 1994 Mercedes E320. The check-engine light came on, so to the shop I went. They said the problem was carbon buildup and the cost to remove the carbon is $2,500. Is there any cleaner that I could put in the gas tank to remove the carbon?
QUESTION: I own a 1994 Mercedes E320. The check-engine light came on, so to the shop I went. They said the problem was carbon buildup and the cost to remove the carbon is $2,500. Is there any cleaner that I could put in the gas tank to remove the carbon?
ANSWER: There are no mechanics in a can or bottle that can remove the carbon you describe. Any cleaners put in the gas tank have to be weak enough not to take the protective finish off the tank, not damage the fuel pump or clog the fuel filter. There are professional cleaners that do work and the chemicals are introduced directly into the engine by way of the fuel rail, being careful not to let any of the cleaning chemical into the fuel tank. The use of premium gas can help clean the back side of the intake valves. If the engine is running well and the car does not have to go through an emission test for state inspection, I would not spend any money on the repair.
QUESTION: I have a 1998 Lincoln Town Car that has been at the Ford/Lincoln dealership for repairs for a no-start (intermittent) condition for an amazing six months (they have provided a loaner). Initially told it was in the PAT (passive anti-theft) module, which was replaced, then was told it was in the instrument cluster. They say no one or no business rebuilds the cluster and none are available aftermarket. I would like to know what to do. Of all the ’98 Lincolns sold, I guess there is nothing available from the factory or salvage yards. Am I to throw the car away? A friend who sold me the car was at the dealership a few weeks ago, saw the car and asked the service manager about it. The service manager said, “They (the dealership/svc. dept.) don’t know what to do with it.” I haven’t called the dealership since I’m driving their 2010 loaner – and they haven’t called me. Help! What can be done?
ANSWER: First, more information is needed about the no start. With this said I would suggest contacting Identifix at 800-288-6210 for a shop in your area that uses them along with Alldata. These two companies will be able to provide both wiring diagrams and step by step diagnostic procedure. As for dash cluster rebuilding we use a company called BBA at 800-573-2740 in Taunton. I can tell you that you cannot just change electric components that work with anything computer related unless programmed for the computer in the vehicle.
QUESTION: I own a 2005 Mercedes S500 and have a problem with the tire pressure monitoring system. The dealer checked the car and said all the batteries in the monitors have ended their life cycle and need to be replaced. The cost of replacement will be $888. In my three-year ownership of this car I have never seen any tire pressure warnings. Is there any cheaper alternative verses the $888?
ANSWER: There is an alternative to replacement of the tire pressure sensor replacement, and that is to reprogram the computer not to look at the tire pressure sensors. The reprogramming can be done at a Mercedes dealer or specialty shop that has a factory Mercedes scan tool. The dealer will charge out one hour of time, and I think it is well worth the cost. An average Mercedes labor rate is $120 a flat rate hour.
Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.