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Q: defective 1994/ 1995 C220 models ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: defective 1994/ 1995 C220 models
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: biga-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 01 Nov 2002 10:06 PST
Expires: 01 Dec 2002 10:06 PST
Question ID: 95564
I am trying to determine if Mercedes Benz USA has acknowledged a
problem with its 1994 or 1995 C220 models having defective
biodegradable wiring harnesses.
Is this a problem they have issued information to their service
allowing for no blanket fix or recall, but a case by case decision
whether or not to repair the problem.
Subject: Re: defective 1994/ 1995 C220 models
Answered By: alexander-ga on 01 Nov 2002 11:54 PST
Could you be more specific about what you mean by "biodegradable
wiring harnesses"? Are you referring to a bundling tape or other
exterior wrapping that is falling apart, or are the wires themselves
(copper or insulator) actually disappearing?

There are no recalls for this issue for 1994 or 1995 C220 models (I
can provide you with a list), so such a problem would not be covered
free of charge. Recalls are typically only issued when there is a
safety risk -- for example, if the actual wire insulation were
degrading and wires had a chance of shorting. If an outer wrapping
tape was degrading, it would probably not be considered a safety
issue. (Though it would depend on the circumstances.)

I am also able to access a list of Mercedes technical service
bulletins for this model, and nothing appeared directly relevant, but
the list is unusually extensive, so I may have missed something deeper
inside. Note that even if there was a service bulletin, it would be
likely to merely give the service department tips about how to perform
the replacement procedure, not authorize out-of-warranty coverage.

I can also provide ideas for further action and possible information
if you are viewing this as a safety issue.

Please let me know if you would be interested in this information as
an answer.

Clarification of Answer by alexander-ga on 01 Nov 2002 12:05 PST
Oops, accidentally posted that as an answer. I've done some more
digging, and think I have enough evidence to answer the question and
provide the above references. Give me a few minutes...

Clarification of Answer by alexander-ga on 01 Nov 2002 12:38 PST
Ok, first, the list of recalls and technical bulletins are available
at: (1994) (1995)

You can access the fulltext of all recalls and bulletins for a single
car for an annual fee of $24.95. ($39.90 for two cars.)

If you feel you have a safety issue, you may want want to fill out the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's online complaint form

This data is reviewed, and if a significant number of owners have an
issue legitimately related to safety, a report is created and sent to
the manufacturer. If there are a large number of people involved, it
can lead to a recall -- the NHTSA is the driving force behind most
vehicle recalls. They may also be able to tell you how many other
people have filed similar complaints.

As this is apparently a common problem, I think I now also know how to
answer my clarification request: The actual wire insulation is
degrading, and causing engine problems.

This thread provides many useful links to a similar problem with
1993-1995 C280 models, which may be related:

Because this is a common problem and there is no mention of official
coverage from MBUSA, I think it is safe to assume that they have not
officially acknowledged the problem -- in my experience these kinds of
things pop up very quickly on these message boards. Due to its
frequency, Mercedes is certainly aware of the issue, but has
apparently declined to take a unified stance on it. This comment
pretty sums up the problem, which I can't say is uncommon for any

"As far as the automaker.....there is no way in hell that anything
will be published by them officially, putting them on the hook for
millions of dollars in repairs and bad press."

I assume that you have this problem, and are faced with wanting MBUSA
to cover the repair charges. This does appear to be possible with some
wrangling on the case-by-case basis you mention via a decision to
cover it under "goodwill" -- an allotment of money given to each
dealer to apply at their discretion. Because it is at the dealer's
discretion, it may pay to try different dealers until you find one
willing to cover it. It sounds like they are more likely to provide
such coverage if the car has relatively low miles.

And probably the best thread on the issue, with lots of tips for
getting this covered under the "goodwill" program:

Note that these threads mentions that there was a wiring harness
"95-0223 Safety Recall - Wiring Harness Chafing/Shorting
95V031000 Wire Harness Protecter Installation"
but I don't believe that this particular recall applies to your
specific model. You may want to ask MBUSA about this, if you haven't
already, as it is apparently based on VIN number.
There are no comments at this time.

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