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Thread: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

  1. #1
    E500E Guru Jlaa's Avatar
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    Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Hi Gang,

    I am led to believe that eventually, sooner or later, my ETA will fail. It currently works fine, but I never know when the limp home mode symptoms will start. I did replace the upper and lower wiring harnesses in the past year (and saw the crumbled wiring myself) so I know the current ETA will fail at some point (See date code 1993/Month4). Note that this is an early ETA with the big right-angle connector.

    What's the most cost-effective option and fool-proof way to prepare for failure? Should I:


    • Pull out the ETA and send it to Jono for rewiring?
    • Attempt to rewire it myself with a newly purchased pigtail 140.540.15.81 for about $20?
    • Buy a "refurbished" 000-141-79-25 from ebay for anywhere between $279-$399? Which "refurbishes" are reputable
    • Other options?


    Note - I do not consider the purchase of a new ETA at $2027 (discounted) to be a viable option.

    Thanks.
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  3. #2
    E500E Guru nocfn's Avatar
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I would say to collect an ASR spare from a yard, (don't look just at e420/e500) and or reach out to the forum to purchase one when they are offered by folks who often sell one.
    1994 E500
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    My $0.02:

    The best thing is to leave it alone, for now. The ETA can last a VERY long time if the wiring is not disturbed. Our 1995 E420 still had the original ETA working great when it was totaled at 203kmi (original upper + lower wiring harness too!).

    That said... the wiring (pigtail off the ETA) is not the only item which fails. There are internal components which can also wear out, despite having good wiring. While you can visually check the wiring, there's no easy way to test the internal bits. I would leave it alone until it starts acting up, at which point I'd consider the DIY pigtail swap since you have that in-hand. If that doesn't work, the next option is a Beckmann rebuild; which does more than just swap the pigtail. I don't think Jono works on these directly, I think he sends them to Beckmann? (Jono?)

    An ETA's that has a late datecode (say, 2000-up) is not a guarantee it will be problem-free; it just guarantees the wiring will have good insulation. In general a late-datecode unit has a better chance of working than an early-90's unit, unless it happens to have high miles, which you can almost never find out. People selling used ETA's will typically have no records showing the miles on the donor car when the ETA was installed vs current mileage when it was parted out.

    The most foolproof option is to buy a brand new one from MB when yours dies; right now that would mean $2k expense from Naperville vs $1k for Beckmann, but the new unit should last a VERY long time. If you plan to keep the car for decades, this might be the smarter option despite the higher cost. Let's just hope MB doesn't jack up the price to anything crazier.

    Dave M.
    1997 E420 (Bugeyes)
    1994 E420 (Blondie)
    1994 E500 (Q-ship)
    1992 500E (Mach 5)
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I would like to attempt to refurbish one. I have my original one in the garage, that had minor issues. I replaced that with a unit made in 2003 IIRC. So I think I'm gonna attempt to service it, and replace the wiring at the same time. When I start that little task, I'll make a thread for it. No success guarantees though!
    Thomas
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  9. #5
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Thanks guys for all the feedback.

    I did a bit more searching for info about the early ETA (which I have --- the pancake connector) and there is a rumor(?) that these do not suffer from Eco Junk wiring:


    - Thread from JC220 who spoke w/ Viktor @ Restore Your Mercedes about it - https://www.500eboard.com/forums/sho...l=1#post124565

    - Thread from Pat500E who opened up the wiring on his early ETA only to find that the wires were fine - https://www.500eboard.com/forums/sho...l=1#post105408


    Hmmmm .... perhaps I will leave well enough alone for now and reprioritize this expenditure for now and get to the Neutral Safety Switch and the Ignition Lock Cylinder first.... (wanting to bomb-proof the car this year for several decades of ownership)
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    viktor is a pretty cool dude

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    My suggestion-

    I believe the ETA's are now available remanufactured from mb. I would go that route over Beckmann or anyone else. Keep your eyes out on ebay for a late date code early style out of a S420/500 or E400.
    Out of the 3 dozen or cars I've pulled parts from- I've found what ? 3 replacement etas installed. But some of those cars someone beat me to the ETA.
    Look @ car-parts.com for local mbs with a suitable donor and look up all local pick n pulls .. more and more independents are showing up.

    Michael

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I've seen reman ETA part numbers on the RevolutionParts websites (Naperville, Husker, etc) however I believe they are NLA. I would have sworn the last time someone checked (mid-2017?) these were unavailable.

    If available, I'd snap one up fast at that price (<$750):
    https://www.mboemparts.com/oem-parts...e-000141792581


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I would suggest you replace the ignition lock ASAP and only replace the ETA if it fails.

    If you plan on replacing the ETA, I was satisfied with Beckmann’s customer service, but had doubts with their quality control, as I had two of their parts installed in my ‘92 that failed within a couple of months. I can’t imagine that would happen again and blame it on bad luck. The person I spoke with at Beckmann said he has never seen one they’ve worked on fail “in 12-years” of him working on these.


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    My $0.02:

    The best thing is to leave it alone, for now.
    This is the best advice there is!! Chances are very good your ETA will last a lifetime unless you start messing with it and disturbing the harness. That's when it crumbles to bits and never works right again.

    Reman units have not been available from MB for well over 2 years. I believe that ship has sailed....

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by SG-Motorsports View Post
    This is the best advice there is!! Chances are very good your ETA will last a lifetime unless you start messing with it and disturbing the harness. That's when it crumbles to bits and never works right again.

    Reman units have not been available from MB for well over 2 years. I believe that ship has sailed....
    OK OK --- don't fix what ain't broke. Got it. Glad I asked the gang here --- often it seems my OCD tendency leads me to fix stuff that ain't broke, which, of course, leads to more broken-ness upon more broken-ness and then culminates in existential self-doubt "Oh why did I decide to touch XYZ --- it was working fine before I touched it!!!!"

    I'm sure nooooooo ooooooooone here ever has ever experienced that. Ever <lots of friendly sarcasm>
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I have two spare ETAs that I keep as "backup" units in case mine ever fails.

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    An FYI for anyone buying spare ETA's, or who has untested spares on the shelf:

    You can do a quick test to confirm it's not totally DOA by plugging it in to your car with the linkage in the idle position, and turn the key on. The ETA should make all the usual clicking / buzzing noises. If not, it's DOA. The only complete test is to actually install the spare unit on the car and drive a few hundred miles with it, but that's a bit of a PITA.

    UPDATE: An in-between test is described by Klink in the HOW-TO section here (thanks Jlaa for finding this!).

    Also, the early ETA connector (on pre-facelift cars) has a weird spring-loaded connector. Use a small screwdriver to gently press the lock tab and it should pop open with no force required. Facelift cars have a different, smaller connector with a simpler flip-up locking mechanism. Photo attached, the large one is the early style.

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  27. #14
    E500E Guru JC220's Avatar
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    This thread has good timing - I’m just about to solder on a new MB pigtail to a spare ETA. I will
    take pics and create a DIY later!
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    I have two spare ETAs that I keep as "backup" units in case mine ever fails.
    Gerry I am so disappointed to hear this. I thought for sure you would have at least a double digit number of spares on the shelf. ?!?!?!?

    Just kidding man!
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlaa View Post
    Gerry I am so disappointed to hear this. I thought for sure you would have at least a double digit number of spares on the shelf. ?!?!?!?

    Just kidding man!
    New house = no space. Once the shop gets built, it's double digits all the way!!


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Ive been putting massive metal shelving in my basement for spare parts storage. 1,100 square feet !!!


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Ive been putting massive metal shelving in my basement for spare parts storage. 1,100 square feet !!!
    Pics or it didn't happen.

    (OK, ok, fine... yes, I am jealous!)


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Dogpile on Honch and his basement stash (to the victor goes the spoils)
    1994 E500
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    1991 560 SEC
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    ...to the victor goes the spoils...
    I'm sure Victor would really appreciate that.

    Speaking of which, now that they are neighbors, Honch needs to visit Victor's shop!!


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  40. #21
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Imagine the (cue thicker, non Annapolis accent) Hello this is Victor from Restoremymercedes.com WIth guest star GVZ, Banzworld aficionado...
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    Imagine the (cue thicker, non Annapolis accent) Hello this is Victor from Restoremymercedes.com WIth guest star GVZ, Banzworld aficionado...
    I'd watch that.


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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    I watch them with morning coffee, just after I visit your Uncle....(two feeds I get when our lowdownFingdrummer is busy)
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Yes perhaps I’ll visit the Vic-Meister at some point.

    Here are a couple of examples of the metal shelving I’ve been installing in the basement.

    Along with a couple of the dozens of containers of packed up spare parts. These will all be carefully arranged and presented on the basement shelving. I expect about 8 of these shelving units will be filled up at some point with parts.








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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    1,000 sq.ft.??? Now I’m really ticked off!! DAMN!! That’s 1/2 the sq.ft. of my FRIGG’N house interior.
    Some people just like to flaunt it in your face.

    I’m lucky I got barely 1/2 of the 400 sq.ft. garage. It’s so tight in my garage I have to use a “CAN OPENER” to get into my “FRIGG’N CAR” Spare parts are stacked on top of the toilet paper and between the X-Mass Ornaments.
    DAMN!!! I’m really JEALOUS NOW!!!

    I think Gerry is accumulating spare parts so that he can build a spare E500E in his basement.

    Remember, You heard it here first!!
    Terry

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    LOL! Well, 1,100 square feet of unfinished basement space is nothing too special. It is plumbed and we do plan to turn half of the basement into a finished bedroom/apartment/sitting room, and keep the other half as mechanical and storage+MB parts storage, for now. Until the garage shop happens, but that's probably going to be 2019 or 2020.

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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    My $0.02:

    The best thing is to leave it alone, for now. The ETA can last a VERY long time if the wiring is not disturbed. Our 1995 E420 still had the original ETA working great when it was totaled at 203kmi (original upper + lower wiring harness too!).

    That said... the wiring (pigtail off the ETA) is not the only item which fails. There are internal components which can also wear out, despite having good wiring. While you can visually check the wiring, there's no easy way to test the internal bits. I would leave it alone until it starts acting up, at which point I'd consider the DIY pigtail swap since you have that in-hand. If that doesn't work, the next option is a Beckmann rebuild; which does more than just swap the pigtail. I don't think Jono works on these directly, I think he sends them to Beckmann? (Jono?)


    Actually, an old friend who has helped me out on Many a wiring endeavour just moved his shop into mine..
    https://www.facebook.com/AnnexGarage/

    He's an exceptionally gifted fellow when it comes to all thing magi...I mean electrical in the automotive realm..and his harnesses are so damn cool. He recently wired our 500E track rat and it's Spectacular.

    Anywho, I've been playing with ETA's here for a bit, learning how to test them/work around certain problems....But now we'll be tending to them in house Utterly.

    Also, any harness that goes NLA if you have a core we'll build it to FIA/MIL spec for likely Less then what MB was charging before them went away.....alt, we're doing one for a 95 500SL upper engine. List is around 1600 and change. Customers cost for the part is 1250 through us and this will Never, Ever fail.

    If y'all have any requests wiring wise, hit me up....

    Jono
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  53. #28
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    So, Beckman has real competition!
    I'd go with Jono's shop for sure.
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    Re: Best option to prepare for eventual ETA failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    LOL! Well, 1,100 square feet of unfinished basement space is nothing too special. It is plumbed and we do plan to turn half of the basement into a finished bedroom/apartment/sitting room, and keep the other half as mechanical and storage+MB parts storage, for now. Until the garage shop happens, but that's probably going to be 2019 or 2020.
    LOL,

    It was just a



    I’m still waiting to see the gsxr expansion plans for your new garage.

    Take Care
    Terry

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