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W211 Instrument Cluster Dead + headlights on??

Discussion in 'Electrics, Vacuum, Ignition and ECU' started by jetjockey, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    A friend with a 2004 W211 E320 CDI has just had his instrument cluster fail (Dead as a dodo). Happened when he jumped in the car to drive to work the other morning. Had a quick look and have checked Fuse 64 and Fuse 52. Both are fine and have voltage on them (fuse 52 when ignition turned on). Have removed the fuses, applied switch cleaner, re-seated the fuses, all to no avail.

    I also disconnected the battery for an hour. still no dashboard, nothing, no illumination, no digital readout, no gauges, no clock, now't, dead as a dodo!

    I have also noticed that the headlights come on immediately you start the engine, irrespective of whether you have them selected on at the light switch. Even when switched off, they are on!

    The car otherwise starts and runs fine.

    Anybody have any ideas please? :)
     
  2. moob

    moob Senior Member

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    Location:
    Glasgow
    Your Mercedes:
    E320 cdi W211
    Mine is in the garage at the moment for a new cluster with pretty much identical issues, including the lights staying on. Apparently you can send them for repair, Malcolm knows the details, I'm sure he'll be along.

    Sent from my MZ604 using Tapatalk
     
  3. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    If this is just a cluster fail then Actronics in Colchester can repair it for £115 plus vat.

    I do not know why the headlamps come on while in this condition, but its all CAN controlled.
     
  4. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Thanks both.

    Just wondering if I can repair the cluster myself. Do you know what actually fails on the cluster? are we talking voltage regulators or flexi PCB's?

    Thanks. :)
     
  5. mersum1es

    mersum1es Senior Member

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    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Location:
    Finland
    Your Mercedes:
    W212/-09/350CDI, W219/-07/320CDI, W220/-01/320CDI, EX:W211/-04/320CDI, EX:W210/-01/270CDI
    Automatic light setting may have switched on when IC has been dead/reset. Try put parking lights on by light switch, head lights should not be on then.
     
  6. Cole@MBS

    Cole@MBS Forum Supporter Authorised Forum Supporter

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    Location:
    Hedge End, Southampton
    Your Mercedes:
    124 300 CE 24 Coupe, 209 240 CLK
    Lights come on as default when cluster goes down, works the same on 203,211 and 230 chassis.......
     
  7. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Thanks for that.

    I am tempted to have a look at the cluster when I remove it from the car, might save a visit to ACtronics. I would like to make sure that the voltages from F64 and F52 are actually reaching the cluster. :Oops:

    Is it a difficult job to remove the surround and cluster on the W211?

    Thanks. :)
     
  8. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    In the cluster there is nothing that you can see, its all CAN controlled from the 2 CAN connectors, it comes apart very easily.
     
  9. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Update.

    Instrument cluster removed and confirmed that correct voltages are reaching the cluster. Looks like a phone call to AC Tronics. :)
     
  10. bembo449

    bembo449 Senior Member

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    lincolnshire
    Your Mercedes:
    w221 320cdi , r170 23k , range rover vogue , insignia vxr , shitron dispatch
    least you know once repaired it will cure the fault ;)
     
  11. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Further update.

    After removing instrument cluster and getting it on the bench I split the front and rear plastic casing to expose the inner workings of the cluster. A quick inspection revealed nothing of note. A quick continuity test showed no real problems. No sign of any circuit board damage or component distress.

    I then removed the central PCB to expose the back of the connector pins and re soldered all of them. I reassembled everything and then applied power to the assembly as if it was in the car with the ignition off. The clock immediately sprang into life and reset itself to 12 noon. It then started running in normal time. I then applied the switched 12 volt and the cluster illuminated and sprang into life. Various messages appeared on the central display consistent with the absence of the CAN bus.

    I will reinstall the cluster in the car tomorrow and see what happens. At the moment it is looking promising. The cluster was dead as a Dodo before removing it from the car. To be honest I don't think I have really fixed anything. Possibly the movement of the PCB has made good a bad connection, or maybe disconnecting the PCB has caused a reset of sorts? Anyway, will update further tomorrow. :eek:
     
  12. anyweb

    anyweb Senior Member

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    Sweden
    Your Mercedes:
    w213,w120 (petrol),w120 (diesel)
    interesting, some photos would be worth their weight in gold here
     
  13. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Latest Update.

    Cluster reinstalled in car. Working a treat after some initial spurious messages due CAN bus disconnection. Taking it for a drive now. :)
     
  14. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    On these clusters they can lock up, applying 12 volt to the right sockets and grounding the CAN connections will often bring them back to life.

    Its not easy telling people to do this as I have no idea of the electrical competence of the one doing it.

    I have done a few

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Nailzy

    Nailzy Senior Member

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    Location:
    Bridgend
    Your Mercedes:
    W211 E320 CDi
    I've still got a heap of faults on mine but haven't found anything out of the ordinary. Pretty handy with a soldering iron and multimeter if I knew where to look. I've already taken it apart but there's a fair amount on there and not 100% where the illumination is driven from.

    List of faults on my cluster:

    Illumination on dial backs failed (needles and gauges ok)
    Clock refuses to move / reset
    Flickering / strobing fuel low light (only when I'm low on fuel)
    Mileage sometimes stops going up - randomly kicks in again

    Dont know whether it's an EIS failure or the cluster. But there's no other problems on STAR, only thing STAR reports is the MOST configuration doesn't match the specified config.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  16. television

    television Always remembered RIP

    Messages:
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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    Cluster can fail with other faults,,, we have no info on the illumination
     
  17. OP
    jetjockey

    jetjockey Guest

    Well, after several trips out today and stop start driving the cluster is working perfectly. I can only assume as Malcolm suggested that the cluster had locked up. Even disconnecting the battery and pulling the fuses did not help.
    I am assuming that the act of totally disconnecting the cluster, plus disconnecting the central PCB, plus running a continuity check around the PCB's generally just kick started it back into life. A hard reset so to speak.

    Anyway, another happy customer, in fact very happy after the oil and filter were changed and the service interval reset. :D
    As I said earlier, I just hope mine never fails. :)

    P.S. Sorry about the lack of photographs, didn't occur to me until the cluster was reassembled. Couldn't be bothered to pull it apart again.

    P.P.S. It was interesting to note that the cluster can be powered up quite simply on the bench with 3 connections (Ground, +12v, and switched +12v) and the cluster will illuminate and present a few messages on the central display. Makes it a bit easier to find out if you have resurrected the cluster.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014
  18. television

    television Always remembered RIP

    Messages:
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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    It will keep running OK, although I fixed a few, there was no real fault, they are still working from 3 years ago.
     
  19. Cityfinal

    Cityfinal New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLS/2007/320 and S320L CDi
    I had the same problem i.e. dead instrument cluster, no steering wheel buttons working, lights staying on even when they were switched off.
    All working now though. All I did was remove and unplug the cluster. Took the back cover off the cluster there by exposing a detachable PCB with six sockets including the main power socket. When PCB had been removed I re-melted the solder holding the power socket in place. The same was done to the multiwire sockets to the left and right that connect the PCB to the main PCB. Further to this, there was evidence of salt contamination on the board, so I swept this away with an old toothbrush and some meths.
    I then reassembled the cluster and replaced it in the car turned the ignition on and it sprung into life. The only addition was the engine management light which switched off after taking and leaving the key out of the ignition for a few minutes.
    If you try this, just try melting the solder on each pin of the power socket, then have a go to see if it works. I re-melted the solder on the other sockets, but this may not have been necessary.
     
  20. sxlcartron

    sxlcartron New Member

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    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ireland
    Your Mercedes:
    E280/2007/3.0l
    My 2007 w211 instrument cluster went dead 7 days ago,garage said no response from diagnostics so unit must be caput and needs replacing ( 1300 euro !). Unit ordered from Germany and while waiting the 'Caput' cluster came back to life! Just as suddenly as it died it lit up again - everything back on except the yellow engine warning symbol stays on. Whats going on?? Did all the diagnostics prodding somehow reinvigorate it?
    Or will it fail again and is replacement the only solution? wait and see I suppose.
    Anybody have a similar experience?
    ( lucky me the garage didn't have a unit in stock!)
     

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