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Thread: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

  1. #1

    M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Hi guys

    My 500e started to have less power and now runs juddering and with a heavy noise in the exhaust.

    I took off the catback and the cats aren't broken, but there is a strange signature in the left one. I started it and it seems that the left cat (with the star in it) flows less gasses than the right one.

    Anyone seen this or can confirm anything?

    Thanks,

    Steve20180420_113610.jpg

  2. #2

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    I took out my O2 sensor to gain flow and that doesnt make any difference.

  3. #3
    E500E Guru Trae's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Delete cats if legal in your state.

    Your car will be happy to exhale!

    Have you gone through the usual suspects, ie. . . plugs, caps, rotors, and insulators?
    Trae
    1992 500E Renntech
    1993 500E
    1990 560SEC/ 2001 SL500
    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

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  5. #4

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Stupid assumption that it wasnt ignition... after some diagnosis including swapping coils, caps, and even EZL, it turned out to be my right rotor (brand new 200km old Bremi!) that has failed.

    When i pulled the coil lead slightly away from the cap with the enginz running, those 4 dead cylinders came back alive. So must be something resistance related. The old rotor however reads a correct 1k ohm... but defective it is.

    And i thought Bremi was the to-go-for brand these days

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  7. #5
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve119 View Post
    And i thought Bremi was the to-go-for brand these days
    Glad you were able to figure it out, and that it was an easy fix. I've heard complaints about all 3 major brands of distributor parts (Bosch, Beru, Bremi) but keep in mind Bremi was never the OEM any M119 ignition components. OE coils, caps & insulators are Bosch, OE rotors are Doduco (also available reboxed from Beru), and OE wires/sets are Beru or Bosch. OE plugs are Bosch, Beru, or Champion.

    FWIW, I had a defective brand-new Bosch cap a few years ago. Took me forever to diagnose, because you assume new parts are good, right? That soured me on Bosch stuff so I'm currently using Beru, despite the fact Bernard hates them.


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  9. #6

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    It's the assumption that is always the dangerous bit indeed!

    New can very much be defective indeed.

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  11. #7
    E500E Guru Trae's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Great that you found the problem.

    The guys here have taught me to do the easy stuff first. . . don't ask me how I know.
    Trae
    1992 500E Renntech
    1993 500E
    1990 560SEC/ 2001 SL500
    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

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  13. #8
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Stupid assumption that it wasnt ignition... after some diagnosis including swapping coils, caps, and even EZL, it turned out to be my right rotor (brand new 200km old Bremi!) that has failed.
    Just bought a set of Bremis to have in my stock. Now I'm wondering if they are actually URO but simply re-boxed as Bremi!
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

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  15. #9
    E500E Guru Trae's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Haven't had any problems with my Bremi rotors so far, BUT you never know these days.
    Trae
    1992 500E Renntech
    1993 500E
    1990 560SEC/ 2001 SL500
    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

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  17. #10
    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Here in Arizona with single-digit humidity most of the year, rotors and caps seem to last a long time. I guess I'll have to wait and find out whether I got a good set.
    Jon D.
    1994 E420
    1995 E420

  18. #11

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Update:

    Took the 500E out for a spin this morning, and the first 30km were great. Good power, perfect smooth idle, had it up to 220km/h.... but then i arrived at my destination and the idle was bad. Half an hour later we left again, and it was ok until on the highway I was cruising at 140kmh and it would hold back when accelerating.

    Got home with very light throttle. Asking anything more it would judder. So steady load was ok, but nothing more.

    Popped the hood, and again the 4 cylinders from the P/S rotor/cap are pretty much dead. When lifting the HT lead up a bit i don't hear a popping noise, and it barely makes a difference to how it runs. They arent completely dead, but far from strong spark.

    It clearly is a thing that comes up with heat. Could the (2 year old) coil be failing when it gets hot?

    No moisture in the caps btw.

    Still strange also that last time the rotor was an instant fix. Maybe that got blown by the coil?

    Not sure how to go further...
    Last edited by Steve119; 05-06-2018 at 04:30 AM.

  19. #12

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Went for a drive with the coil (wrong side one though) from my 500SL M119.960 and had no problems, besides the car would now not go over 4500rpm. A strong cutout. I noticed the temp sender on the left headlight panel was left unconnected, but i dont think it uses that... rather a difference between the 2 coils i guess.

    For the 70 euro i'll just buy a new coil and go from there.

  20. #13
    E500E Guru Trae's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Sounds like coils to me.
    I had the same problem of loosing one bank of cylinders.
    Upon replacing coils, got the V8 back instead of just 4 cylinders.
    Trae
    1992 500E Renntech
    1993 500E
    1990 560SEC/ 2001 SL500
    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

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  22. #14

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Indeed, the fact that it needs heat and a few wot pull to start failing strongly hints towards the coil for that bank. Just checked and the coil is 3 years old and around 7000km in. Would still be early...

    Lets hope that is a fix.

    An EZL is rather failed or OK i think? It wont start to fail after half an hour of driving?

  23. #15

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Jus checked my plugs and they are Bosch FR8DC+ ones...

    3 years ago on installing them I was fresh to the 500E/m119 scene, so possibly the cause for my problems...
    Last edited by Steve119; 05-06-2018 at 07:26 AM.

  24. #16
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Have you checked codes on all modules? Not revving over 4500rpm sounds fishy to me... like the NSS sending the wrong gear position...?

    Also - you never answered Trae's question about the insulators behind the rotor bracket. If those are not new, have you removed both and inspected them for liquid present on the back side? If not - that is top of the list to check.


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  26. #17

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    I didnt check codes yet, but just swapping the coil from my m119.960 500SL 6.0 for testing purposes started this symptom... never had that before so i suppose that will be gone again with a correct coil.

    No moisture behind the insulators. They are new since 200km when I did all the chain-work.

    I have ordered correct plugs, and a new coil for that side.

  27. #18
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    I don't believe the .960 coils are compatible with the .97x EZL... so first thing is to pull that out and re-install the correct coil!

    Resistor plugs shouldn't cause this much of a problem btw, but it's always good to have the correct non-resistors in there.


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  29. #19

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Indeed already done, was just for testing. I did a 10km drive and didnt have the issue witj that coil (apart from the 4500fpm cutout) so lets hope that the new coil cures the issue.

    Could the wrong plugs have caused the coil to give up early?

  30. #20
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Wrong plugs should not cause any issues with the coil. Per the FSM information, it appears the only possibly issue would be with the EZL. But if the car is firing on all 8 cylinders, the EZL is fine.


  31. #21
    E500E Guru Trae's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    When I had this problem, I switched EZLs from another 500E and still had the left bank not firing problem, so I replaced my coils.
    Trae
    1992 500E Renntech
    1993 500E
    1990 560SEC/ 2001 SL500
    1991 560SEC ECE/1995 E320 Cabriolet

  32. #22

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Another thing I noticed... all 8 plugs that I pulled last evening had loose terminal nuts on top of the plugs. Never paid much attention to tightening those very firmly when installing new plugs, but apparently they should be tightened down a bit with some pliers.

  33. #23

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    So i replaced the coil, and installed my 8 new non-resistor plugs gapped nicely at 1.0mm

    Did a longer test drive today, and the problem remains. It seems that the problem starts after a good while of driving and some spirited pulls. Again the passenger side distributor starts to make nearly no spark. Pulling up the sparkplug-boot makes no ticking spark-noise on those 4, while the other good ones (from the driver side distributor) make a strong spark noise.

    I will have to start learning the blink codes, but are there any things that could be causing the spark on that side to start failing? If i take it cold out of the garage the next day, it will be faultless the first 20-30 minutes...

    EZL possible? ECU?...

  34. #24
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    What brand coil / caps / rotors / etc are currently installed, and which are new vs old? Can you make the problem move from right distributor to left, by swapping parts back & forth? And do you have additional parts to swap in for testing? How old are the spark plug wires, particularly the coil wires?

    EZL's typically either work on 8 cylinders, 4 cylinders, or zero... and are not intermittent. Meaning, it wouldn't be ok when cold and then act up when warm. Pretty unlikely to be the EZL, or any other ECU.

    Having Klink present with an oscilloscope would be handy to avoid throwing parts it it, but I expect he's a busy guy these days.


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  36. #25

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Everything is new. Caps and rotors from Bremi, NGK leads, new plugs, new Bosch coils, new insulators.

    I have an EZL and ECU that i can try yes.
    An EZL can never be heat related in its behaviour? I think i reas some cases were it did?

    Also tried different rotor and cap, but no change...

  37. #26
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Never say never, lol! But usually, what I've heard is EZL failures tend to be permanent, not intermittent. I've never heard of one that would fire 8 cylinders when cold, and 4 when hot, but anything is possible.

    As mentioned back in post #5, I once had a defective brand-new cap that would cause an idle misfire after it was fully warmed up... but it was OK revved up, or driving. Only misfired at idle. I'm not saying one of your new parts are defective, but as you start running out of options, it might be worth a closer look. Or, swapping items left to right and seeing if the problem changes sides. Would be nice to check codes on everything for grins, but secondary ignition system faults won't trigger any codes.


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  39. #27
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    My observation as well. Once an EZL dies (either totally, or a single bank of cylinders), it is not intermittent. It's either fully alive, or partially/fully dead.

    Over many years, Bosch EZLs have proven to be significantly less reliable / more prone to failures than the Siemens units. My E500 came originally equipped with a Bosch EZL. In January, 2009 it gave me a "one half" failure, and I replaced it with a Siemens unit that has worked fine ever since.

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  41. #28

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    It can ofcourse only be a few things that causes that distributor to start failing under heat?

    I've pretty much ruled it all out, besides swapping an ezl or ecu. Anything else that would be worth checking?

  42. #29

    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    I could try a different/new HT lead from coil to cap... maybe that is starting to fail when it's getting hot.

  43. #30
    postwhore posterchild Klink's Avatar
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    Re: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Most temperature related secondary ignition failures I have seen on these motors were caused by the distributor rotor. The good thing is that if it is definitely “half“ your motor, you have a set of test parts right there.
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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  45. #31
    postwhore posterchild Klink's Avatar
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    Re: M119 catalytic coverter question

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    My observation as well. Once an EZL dies (either totally, or a single bank of cylinders), it is not intermittent. It's either fully alive, or partially/fully dead.

    Over many years, Bosch EZLs have proven to be significantly less reliable / more prone to failures than the Siemens units. My E500 came originally equipped with a Bosch EZL. In January, 2009 it gave me a "one half" failure, and I replaced it with a Siemens unit that has worked fine ever since.
    That corresponds perfectly with my experience. The only failures I have ever seen from an EZL were “half motor“ or completely dead. Never had one with any other problem. Never one intermittent, never one incorrectly setting the timing, or anything else. I have always found them perfect, “half motor”, absolutely dead.

    And yes, I think every defective one I have ever seen on a M119 engined car was a Bosch...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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  47. #32

    Re: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Ok thanks!

    I will swap cap+rotor as a final check before going further... maybe bad batch from Bremi.

    What exactly would start to happen with the rotor in this case?

    Edit: started it up this morning to let it run for 5 minutes... perfectly smooth... not the slightest hint of a misfire. So the hot-only thing is certainly a fact.
    Last edited by Steve119; 05-21-2018 at 11:47 PM.

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  49. #33
    Senior Member jaymanek's Avatar
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    Re: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Sorry if it has been mentioned but have you changed the orange caps behind rotors with new seals?

    I would replace rotor arms again, I certainly have had lots of issues with these over the years, even new.

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  51. #34

    Re: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Quote Originally Posted by jaymanek View Post
    Sorry if it has been mentioned but have you changed the orange caps behind rotors with new seals?

    I would replace rotor arms again, I certainly have had lots of issues with these over the years, even new.
    Yes I replaced both insulators (Bosch ones)

    I ordered a Bosch rotor+cap, to replace the current Bremi stuff. (if it isn't that, it is good to have a spare lol)
    I'm also going to test with a new coil->distributor wire... maybe that is playing up after a while.

    The fact that it runs perfect without a miss for 30minutes or so, and then gradually starts to fail means heat is getting into something.

    I'll go mad if these don't fix it for good

    thanks for the help guys!

  52. #35

    Re: M119 - Four dead cylinders (was: catalytic converter question)

    Replaced the bremi rotor+cap on the ill side for a new set by Bosch, together with new Beru 635 wires. They look to be much better quality than the NGK wires I had before.

    I drove some 75-80km this morning, and it behaved perfect and was still running ever so smooth when I got home.

    Still being scared to call it a fix, I'll see what it gives on an even longer trip, but this seems promissing

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