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Is my 2002 Mercedes-Benz C240 a Lemon?

I purchased this car in 2005 with 5K miles. As of 08/2011 it has 65K miles. What this means is over the past 6 years, I have put 60K in miles on it, and it’s a 9 year old car with very low miles.

Since I’ve owned it the following has been replaced:

Fuel pump.

However, as of the past month I’ve experienced the following problems:

At a complete stop, the car sputters as if it’s going to die, but it calms down and doesn’t die. This problem is relieved when I put the car in neutral and pump the gas, then the sputtering would stop. I’d then put it in drive and it’d be fine.

Sporadically, when I’m at a complete stop, I’d push on the gas and nothing happens. The car doesn’t accelerate. The RPM doesn’t go up. I’d release the gas, pump it again, and then it goes.

At a complete stop, I’d accelerate on the gas and the RPM goes way up and stays up and there’s a delay when the engine should shift into the next gear. This problem is relieved when I don’t floor the gas, apply gas, then release, then apply gas again. As if I’m manually shifting my gears by releasing the gas.

Transmission is automatic with sport shifter. I’m not sure if I messed up the tranny when I’d shift the gears while driving and forget. In the past I’ve managed to come to a complete stop on 4th / 3rd / 2nd gear, then realize what I’ve done and shift back to automatic.

Anyway, the questions are: Are these problems related to transmission? Do I just have a lemon? Should I just get rid of it and look into getting a different car (read: car payment)? Or should I get it fixed and keep it considering how much I’ve already invested in it and own it outright?

:: addendum :: The tranny shop told me there’s nothing wrong with the transmission, rather a problem with the exhaust system. Taking to a different mechanic to get it checked out today.

They’ve also informed me that the transmission is MB (apparently MB’s transmission are numbered, so the number on the tranny verifies that it’s MB’s and not OEM) so I’m not sure if the transmission was ever replaced or just fixed. The person who did the work is no longer around so I’m in the dark as to what was fixed.

Have you had the car serviced at all ?

You might start there .

AC and fuel pump are no surprise. A transmission is not great to replace on a low mileage car, but if the fluid was never changed that won’t be a big surprise either. You don’t have a lemon, you have a car and all cars (even MB’s) need maintenance and repairs.

Low mileage doesn’t mean you car has an easy life. Sometimes low miles means lots of city driving and short trips which are harder on the car the going a couple of hundred miles on the highway.

Yes, these are transmission problems.

The first is probably the torque converter lockup clutch having difficulty releasing.
The second is porbably torque converter related as well. When you sit at a stoplight, the torque converter allows the engine to idle without pulling the car forward by absorbing the energy in a fluid in the torque converter. When you accelerate, the engine spins the front half of the torque converter and the fluid in the converter is supposed to pull the back half of the torque converter along and make it spin too, until a clutch lonks the two together. Apparently yours is failing to do this.

Start by checking your tranny fluid IAW the instructions in the owner’s manual. Then, if it’s full or filling it fails to solve the problem, get the car into a tranny shop.

PostScript: 6 years is well beyond the lemon limit. And lemon laws only apply to new cars. With used cars it’s “let the buyer beware”.

Is there a Check Engine light on? If yes, read the codes to help identify the problems you’re experiencing.

When was the tranny replaced & how long was it warrantied?

To save money, I’d stay away from the MB dealer, do you have a good independent mechanic?

In the long run, this car won’t be cheap to own unless you can fix it yourself. Your annual repair/maintenance bill would be less with an Asian or American car rather than a German or Swedish.

Thanks for your replies.

The car has been maintained well. It has regular oil changes and tune ups. I have taken it to a tranny shop and was advised it was not my transmission, instead it was a problem with the exhaust system. I’m going to take it to my mechanic to have him look at it tomorrow.

The check engine light is not on.

Another thing, the transmission was replaced by family’s friend who is no longer around. But I’m not sure if it was replaced or just fixed. The transmission shop told me today that my transmission is MB. They also told me that this car is very reliable. Not sure what to believe.

Your car is almost 11 years old and these problems don’t make it seem like a lemon to me. The late Tom McCahill who tested cars for Mechanix Illustrated once made the comment “For some people, riding behind the three point star [Mercedes Benz hood ornament] is more thrilling than if they had won the Nobel prize for caterpillar racing”. If I had a your MB, I would keep it up and enjoy the ride.

more thrilling that that?

jtsanders–these are great links. However, at my age, I would have to get my thrill from driving a Mercedes Benz, and with my modest pension, it doesn’t seem like I’ll even get that driving thrill.

I’ll never drive those Caterpillar “products” either, or anything like them. I’m fortunate to have been able to fully fund my 403B and 401K accounts for the last 25 years. That and the astonishing $196 per month I will get from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. will keep us comfortable enough.

That’s a great air brush job on the dump truck picture, though.