ABC Warning Light, Part 2 - 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG Long-Term Road Test

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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65: ABC Warning Light, Part 2

January 22, 2014

2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65

Earlier this week we towed our 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 to the dealer for service following an Active Body Control (ABC) system failure. Here is what happened next.

As mentioned previously, Dan, our advisor at Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz, called us once roadside assistance dropped the car off to him. He called again the next morning to tell us what they found and the cost to repair it. His third call brought good news, "Your car is ready."

He explained that the high-pressure ABC line between the pump and junction valve box had burst. At this valve the line splits into four, one for each strut. We got the impression this was the part that usually fails. The fluid level was corrected, system flushed and all of the surrounding area steam cleaned.

Our advisor, Dan, was on top of things. He had answers to our questions. He was polite and professional. And throughout the repair process he not only communicated frequently but initiated it. We would recommend him based on this experience.

Total Cost: $1,217.75

Total Days out of Service: 2

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 58,940 miles


  • mieden mieden Posts:

    In the interest of reliability, you should have replaced ALL pressure hoses, not just the failed one(s) the dealer suggested (If one has aged enough to fail, so have the others). The complete fluid flush and filter replacement(s-hopefully) will buy you some time, but once the system has been opened and exposed to contaminates its only a matter of time before the pump and valve blocks fail too ($$$!). Depending on how the hose failed (center, or ends), you needed to renew (at least) the pressure supply accumulator too or pressure spikes will cause the new hoses to fail prematurely. Hose replacement requires engine lifting, so most in-the-know replace the engine mounts while there to save a little money on the labor for this wear item. You'll just spent $1K on fluid and labor, but didnt protect yourselves against future failures of the system, which will require (at least) another $1K in fluid and labor the next time any part of it fails and it has to be opened up again. I try to always recommend to my customers that they pony up a small percentage more money and replace all common wear items in the system if they're about to spend THAT much on fluid and labor. The dealer is not as interested in not seeing you again...

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    mieden, i generally agree with your post that one should make sensible preemptive repairs when the opportunities arise. but this is a 1-yr ownership vehicle. in this case i disagree.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    I tried to post my guess for the cost of the repair, but none of the comments would load. I was pretty close at about a grand. Always a premium to be paid on the left coast.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Hey is commenting turned back on now?

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @mieden, I really wish you had been our service tech when we first had issues with the ABC on my wife's old SL500. Had that been done the system wouldn't have completely failed on her in the middle of a parking lot. :/ On a different note, do you happen t

  • mieden, where is your shop?

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    Comments came back a few hours ago, it seems. I guessed $799 but that was too low. The first comments about all that is involved in doing this job right are enough to scare me away from owning without a warranty.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    That's not bad, at all. I would've guessed $2,000.

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    @s197gt, I thought about that too. Had this been the end of the test I wouldnt suggest the preemptive maintenance, but 10 months is plenty of time for ABC to fail again, especially since its been recently touched. On the other hand, nothing increases re

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    mieden, was there a campaign that resulted in the quality of the replacement hose on this car being the same as those on newer cars? Or is this hose the same as the hose it replaced?

  • ttopjohn ttopjohn Posts:

    mieden, you seem very knowledgable about the ABC system - what are your thoughts on a middle ground, in which you don't replace every hose the first time one of them leaks, but instead you guard against contamination of the system (or worse, running the system dry) and the resulting pump failure by regularly monitoring for leaks, addressing any leak right away rather than waiting for a failure or an ABC warning light, and changing the abc fluid at a regular interval? It's a hydrualic system like the brakes, and like the brakes contaminates and moistrue introduced into the fluid can damage the elements of the system, but it would seem to follow that you can remove these contaminates the same way you do in the brake system - e.g. flushing the fluid at a regular interval, and flushing the fluid whenever the system is opened, either opened for maintenance or opened by a leak.

  • I was thinking about how disappointing this Long Term entry was from a professional point of view. Edmunds did zero research as to what the problem was, and what the best fix would be. Something that anyone with an internet connection and search engine could have done. We needed mieden's expert comments to shed light on it. Instead what we got was, paraphrased, "excellent service from the dealership for $1200". When in actuality they should have informed the customer (Edmunds) of the service concerns for the ABC system. Edmunds acted like your typical uneducated customer. Maybe this was the intention - to show how regular folk would be treated - but if that was the case shouldn't Edmunds have also then shown what should have happened? Otherwise what is the point to this? The only real lesson learned was from a commenter to this site - mieden . All we learned from Edmunds was to take it to the shop and open your wallet. I am undecided if this is just lazy "journalism" or incompetence.

  • mieden mieden Posts:

    @fordson1, shortly after I first got to the dealer there was an open recall on a different pressure hose because it was a fire hazard, but to my knowledge there hasn't been any "campaign" to improve the quality of this hose. Id assume, like the

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