2006 Mercedes E350 Common Problem: Balance Shaft Failure

2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 with 49,914 miles came to J&T Automotive when the Mercedes Check Engine Light (CEL) displayed on the dashboard.  Our technician scanned the Mercedes engine controls to find P1200 and P1208 error codes.

Mercedes Fault Codes p1200 and p1208:  Mercedes Camshaft Adjuster Solenoid Failure or Balance Shaft Failure Worn M272 Balance Shaft

The camshaft adjuster solenoid, related to the variable valve timing system, may possibly fail or the balance shaft components may become worn, resulting in a Check Engine Light and
numerous issues related to drivability.  A Mercedes service bulletin has been released which outlines repair instructions specific to the combined p1200 and p1208 stored fault codes.

In the case of this particular customer, the balance shaft sprocket was worn down due to poorly designed materials and poorly managed heat.  The two fault codes were triggered by improper timing of the o/s camshafts which was caused by the worn balance shaft sprocket.

Balance Shaft Replacement

The engine had to be removed in order to replace the defective Mercedes-Benz balance shaft with a newly designed shaft constructed of stronger alloys.

m272-lower-oil-pan After removing the engine, the Mercedes technician at J&T Automotive had to remove the sump, g-box, front timing case, and other associated components in order to access the balance shaft. Thankfully the cylinder heads did not have to be removed for this repair.

The timing chain tensioner, oil pump, 4 camshaft positioner solenoids, all the necessary gaskets and valves also required replacing with Mercedes-Benz OEM parts, along with the actual balance shaft.

Needless to say, this was a Major Mercedes Repair job.

2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 Common Complaint:  Balance Shaft Failure

According to www.carcomplaints.com/Mercedes-Benz/E350 the 2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 was the worst model year in number of complaints.  What do you guess is the #1 reported complaint when it comes to 2006 Mercedes E350 problems?  If you guessed Balance Shaft Failure, you win!  Failure typically occurs at 80,000 miles with repair costs north of $4400, according to carcomplaints.com.  Message and MB forum boards put the cost of balance shaft repair well over $5500 when quoted by the Mercedes-Benz dealer service centers.2006-mercedes-benz-e350-balance-shaft

The Mercedes-Benz M272 and M273 engines were part of a class action suit (Greg Suddreth and Paul Dunton v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC) filed in the United States District Court of New Jersey in February of 2011.  In the event of the M272 engines, the suit states they were “equipped with defective gears in their balance shafts.”  The suit also refers to the M273 engines which were equipped with idle gears that were defective.  “These defective gears wear out prematurely, excessively, and without warning, causing the vehicle to misfire, the ‘check engine light’ to remain illuminated, and the vehicle to misfire and/or stop driving”, according the class action suit.  It is also claimed that the Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC was fully aware of the defect, as acknowledged in its internal corporate documents, yet failed to take the appropriate actions to correct the defect and in fact, hid the existence of the problem to its trusting customers.

The judge in the case tossed the claims of fraud, pointing to the plaintiffs’ inability to allege with certainty that the defective balance shafts and gears were known to Mercedes prior to warranties being issued.  Other attempts at bringing a class action suit against Mercedes-Benz have met with similar dismissed outcomes, leaving owners of the M272 and M273 with having to pay for the repairs themselves.

Trusted Independent Mercedes Repair Shop

2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 Balance Shaft RepairJ&T Automotive has been servicing, maintaining, and repairing Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Houston/Spring Branch area since 1989.  We are family-owned and operated with long-standing ties to the community.  Our shop is equipped with the same state-of-the-art tools and diagnostic equipment as the Mercedes-Benz dealer service departments.  We take enormous pride in the investment we have made which allows us to perform ANY job on ANY model Mercedes has built.  Come see for yourself what makes us the areas #1 Independent Mercedes repair shop in Houston.



Posted on

April 3, 2015