1993 Mercedes 190E won't start

Posted on 2013-10-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-10-21
I have a 1993 Mercedes 190e that I bought used some time ago. About 170k miles now. Only thing I have done is replaced the water pump myself with the help of the experts here.

Want to know what to check first. I have moderate skills. I turn the key and I only get a hissing sound, maybe from the front driver side underneath the vehicle. The battery is full power, there is no clicking sound, just a hiss. Tow truck driver said it's probably the starter. How can I test to find out? Of course I have to do it myself because I don't have much money.
Question by:artismobile
LVL 22

Assisted Solution

CompProbSolv earned 1000 total points
ID: 39537835
The first trick is to pin down the origin of the sound.  For that you will need an assistant to turn the key while you listen.

It is VERY easy to get deceived about the location of a sound when inside the passenger compartment.

I don't know that car, but there may be a starter relay that is chattering to cause the hiss.  More likely, the relay is part of the solenoid which is typically piggy-backed on the starter.

If it does sound like it is coming from the starter or solenoid, give it a brisk hit with a solid stick to see if you can shake it loose.  That won't be a long-term fix but will clarify the source of the problem.

Author Comment

ID: 39538587
Very good suggestion. I will try that tomorrow.
Thank you.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 39541597
Any smell of smoke like a short and electrical wires burning?

Normally the hiss sound the starter rotating.
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Author Comment

ID: 39543358
I have not had the opportunity to have someone turn the key while I listen. There is no smoke or smell. No bad spot on a starter like when you turn the key and it clicks. Just a hiss, almost like older cars when you hear the fuel pump priming, best I can describe.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 39543515
The hissing sound indicates a poor connection somewhere.

Check all cables from battery to the starter.

Probablly a coroded or loose connection.

Remove and scrape clean the starters connectrs and batteries connectors back to clean metal, then reconnect them.

You can bypass the solenoid of your starter with an insulated screw-driver across the terminals to rule out that the soleniod is faulty.
If this does not solve the problem , then I would suggest the replacement of your starter motor.

Author Comment

ID: 39543608
And that would rule out a simple fuse, right?

Author Comment

ID: 39553861
took me that long to even find the starter.  What a hideous place to put anything! It butts up tight the the bell housing on the transmission on the drivers side, no way can I reach the solenoid.

I did learn the hissing sound is underneath, like when the fuel pump is priming. the only other sound I hear is where the ABS is located.
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

Michael-Best earned 1000 total points
ID: 39583971
Because you cannot reach the solenoid.
Remove the starter to clean the soleniods cable connectors and test that the starter works by direct connection to the battery.


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