Mercedes-Benz E350 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Mercedes-Benz E350 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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24
Known Problems

The camshaft adjuster solenoid (which is related to the variable valve timing system) may fail or timing chain/balance shaft components may wear, resulting in illumination of the Check Engine Light and various drivability issues. Mercedes-Benz has released a service bulletin outlining specific repair instructions depending on fault codes stored.

Irregular and premature tire wear can be caused by the front thrust link bushings cracking and causing excessive movement in the suspension. The thrust link bushings are fluid-filled (to help reduce vibration), so if they crack, they will leak oil.

The ESP and BAS warning lights may illuminate due to a failed brake light switch. Replacement of the failed switch should correct this concern.

The Mercedes Benz E350 may have engine oil seeping or leaking from the back of the cylinder heads. This is commonly misdiagnosed as leaking valve covers.

On the back of the cylinder heads there are three, in total, plastic expansion plugs that plug access ports to the camshafts. These plugs are well known for seeping oil, and leaking if left unattended. The oil will run down the back of the engine and eventually make it to the ground. 

Replacement of these three plastic plugs is extremely simple, and should be done as regular maintenance. The recommended interval for replacement is every 60,000 miles.

The engine in the E350 is known by Mercedes Benz to have issues due to a poorly manufactured gear on the balance shaft (also known as the counter-rotating assembly). Since the balance shaft gear is driven by the timing chain, which keeps the engine rotating synchronously, when it fails, the timing of the engine will change causing:

-Illumination of the Check Engine Light

-Rough Running Conditions

-Stalling

-Loud Rattle or Slapping Noise

-OBD Trouble Code P1200 and P1208

Correction for this issue is replacement of the balance shaft, or balance shaft gear. Replacement of the timing chain and tensioner should be done as well. The Mercedes Benz dealer may cover some or all of the repair cost on select vehicles as a result of a class action settlement.

The power steering reservoir designed for the Mercedes Benz E350 commonly leaks power steering fluid causing a screeching sound when turning the steering wheel, especially when the vehicle is stopped. The power steering light may illuminate on the dash for more severe leaks.

This is caused by cracking in the plastic reservoir, or a hardened, brittle seal between the power steering reservoir and power steering pump.

Remediation involves replacing the power steering fluid reservoir, power steering fluid, bleeding the system of air, and replacement of the seal between the reservoir and power steering pump.

When starting the engine after sitting for several hours, a knocking sound may be heard for several seconds. This is a common issue with the 2004-2010 Mercedes Benz E350. There are three common problems that can cause this sound to occur:

-Oil pressure building too slowly, allowing for movement between the crankshaft and crankshaft bearings

-Stretch or wear of timing chain and components

-Balance shaft (counter rotating shaft) gear wear

The remediation for these problems can be crankshaft bearing replacement with correct size, replacement of timing components, or balance shaft replacement.

Vehicles equipped with a 7-speed automatic transmission may develop a rough shifting condition, most commonly going up from first to second gear and going down from third to second or second to first gear. Our technicians tell us this is due to an internal component failure. Mercedes has released updated parts; the transmission will need to be removed and disassembled to complete the necessary repairs.

High mileage or older vehicles commonly develop leaks from the differential seals and/or cover. Our technicians recommend a complete reseal of the differential unit whenever these leaks are repaired.

Due to the size and material used on the brakes of these vehicles, the brakes may start to squeak around the 50 percent wear point. The brake rotor surfaces become uneven, causing a lip to form at the outer edge of the rotor. Because of this, the rotors are usually replaced when the pads are worn (pad life varies depending on driving style and terrain).

The early versions of the central gateway module (which allows different systems to communicate with each other) have software problems. 

Lack of audio or cell phone functionality may be related to the failure of the audio gateway module.

This vehicle has sensotronic brake control (SBC). If the SBC light on the dash illuminates, have the brakes checked. If the SBC is not working, limited brake pressure is delivered to the front brakes, increasing the distance it takes to stop. The SBC hydraulic unit has a specific service life programmed into the control module; follow the manufacturer's recommended service procedure for proper maintenance of the SBC.

The engine may develop a stalling and/or no start condition due to a failed crankshaft position sensor.

Water can damage the weight sensor in the front, passenger seat, causing the SRS (airbag) light to illuminate. There is an electrical component in the seat cushion susceptible to fluid damage. Any spills should be dried up immediately in order to try and prevent damage to the sensor.