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Mercedes in Alaska

My wife and I own a 2001 S430 Mercedes. It has been a great road car. We live in Juneau and only use the car for trips to the lower 48 or to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Juneau is land-locked and there is not a certified Mercedes shop here. The closest is 750 miles away in Anchorage. I am curious to chat with someone about a few issues we are having. The two most pressing are that the auto door closer and locks are not working and the other is that there is a water leak coming in from the passenger side floorboard. Any wisdom to be shared? Take care. Chris

Regarding the leak, it’s often caused by a clogged sunroof drain - have that checked. It could also be a plugged AC evaporator drain. It’s very important to stop leaks, so get that fixed ASAP. The electricals are harder to diagnose - have you checked/replaced the associated fueses? They can look good, but the contacts can be corroded.

I hate to ask, but why would you own a vehicle in such a remote location that no one would ever be able to diagnose, repair, or easily get parts for? If it breaks down, you’re stuck.

You might want to drive it the 750 miles in the summer, and get something better for your location.


The door and lock issue may be due to broken wires in the door jam but that is just a guess. The water problem may be due to a leak in the windshield seal or maybe a drain vent is plugged for the air vent.

My understanding is that leaks from the fresh air intake are common on this model. The intake is in front of the passenger side windshield. If the bottom is clogged with leaves or something rain overflows and leaks inside. The real problem is it works its way to the rear of the car where it soaks one of the SAM modules, which can cause electical problems. Malfunctioning heater blower is often the first symptom of the leak, since it sucks in the outside air, and in this case, water as well.