Case Studies

Mercedes Benz – Camshaft Adjuster, VVT Faults and Timing Chain Faults

Mercedes-Benz is one of the most well-known auto manufacturers in the world and continues to rival other automotive giants with their durability and German engineering. Unfortunately, all cars have their shortcomings and failure points. For Mercedes, the camshaft adjuster solenoid (sometimes called the “oil control valve”) is one part that prematurely fails.

What is a Camshaft Adjuster Solenoid/Oil Control Valve?
As part of the variable valve timing (VVT) system, the camshaft adjuster solenoid is responsible for allowing the oil to adequately flow through the VVT system. The VVT system engages in delivering extra power to the vehicle when it’s traveling under added stress, such as when it is carrying a heavier load, or when going uphill. Since the solenoid is necessary to allow the oil to lubricate the timing chain and gears if oil cannot reach these parts, then too much friction can cause them to wear out quickly, this can lead to engine failure and expensive repairs.

Most Common Occurrences
Not all Mercedes vehicles experience a problem with the camshaft adjuster solenoid failing prematurely; however, the most frequently documented occurrences take place in the Mercedes-Benz E350 from the years 2006-2012, but has also been found in models like the C230. Failure usually occurs well before the 100,000 mile mark, often in as little as 50,000 miles, which is generally too soon for this part to require replacement. Mercedes has addressed the issue, giving specific replacement and repair instructions for the various faults when encountering this problem.

Common Symptoms Associated with Failure
It’s essential to keep an eye out for the various symptoms your Mercedes may exhibit when it encounters camshaft adjuster solenoid failure. At the first sign of problems, it’s critical to bring your car to a Mercedes specialist to accurately diagnose the issue and get the problem fixed right away.

Check-Engine Light
Whenever your car’s check-engine light illuminates, you shouldn’t overlook it. The check-engine light emits a code that your reliable Mercedes specialist will read with special equipment. Since Mercedes has addressed the solenoid failure issue, your automotive specialist will likely follow the instructions for repair designated by the manufacturer.

Lowered Fuel Efficiency
Solenoid failure can also lead to diminished fuel efficiency. When the variable valve timing system cannot function properly, and valves open and close at improper times. This leads to engine performance and fuel consumption becoming significantly inefficient.

Contaminated Engine Oil
While the faulty solenoid won’t likely cause engine oil to become contaminated, the reverse may be right. If you haven’t kept up on your Mercedes’ routine oil care and filter changes, the dirt and debris buildup can keep the oil from properly flowing through your engine. This can lead to damage of the VVT system, which can cause the solenoid to fail. If your engine oil is dirty, this could be the original cause of the problem. This is why we recommend engine oil changes every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, rather than the standard 15,000-mile mark.

Rough Idling
If the solenoid is not letting the appropriate amount of oil into the system, then too much or too little oil could cause the engine to idle roughly. This can cause clogs if there is too much oil, and too little oil can cause premature wear to the various components within the engine.

How We Can Help You
The Service Team here at Atlantic Motorcar is well experienced in this issue, and others, with over 35 years of Mercedes specialization, serving clients from the areas of New England, we are familiar with the camshaft adjuster solenoid failure issue in various Mercedes models. Since we have diagnosed and treated this problem many times, we have the experience and qualifications necessary to return your Mercedes to its original self.

As Maine’s leading European auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a much lower rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms of solenoid failure in your own Mercedes, please call us right away to help prevent your engine from incurring damage. At Atlantic Motorcar we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap. Well, maybe not a “snap”, hard to call a day + of labor a snap, let’s just say that we make it flow very, very smoothly.

Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.

The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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