Mercedes Benz – Theft Relevant Parts (TRP)

Autobahn Performance is L.S.I.D licensed to purchase TRP parts. You do not have to take your vehicle to the dealer for TRP part replacement!

A new worldwide Mercedes-Benz anti-theft policy went into effect at Mercedes-Benz USA on November 10, 2008. This policy has specific requirements for the ordering and delivery of Theft-Relevant Parts (TRPs), which may require you to get information from the vehicle owner to place an order for certain spare parts. In addition, for certain theft-relevant parts, such as electronic keys, electronic ignition switches, infrared and other locking control units, it is mandatory for the dealer to install them. Please contact your local dealer for a copy of the policy so you can be better prepared to help them protect all Mercedes-Benz vehicles from theft.

Mercedes Benz claims the reason they classify parts as TRP is to keep your insurance costs down, on their vehicles.

Please visit Bob Beckmann’s great website that explains TRP and the difficulty shops like ours will face in the future if the parts that manufacturers can classify as TRP parts and their availability to the aftermarket is not limited by the lawmakers.

These Mercedes parts listed here are vague and could involve a majority of the repairs we perform at Autobahn Performance. We have the equipment and the capability to install all these TRP parts.

[1] Keys: electronic and traditional blade type (also green and orange programming keys
[2] Electronic Ignition Switch EZL
[3] Infrared control Unit, Drive Authorization Module DAS
[4] Locks and Lock Cylinders: mechanical and electronic
[5] Electronic Selector / Shift Lever Modules (electronic shifter assembly) on models 215, 220 and 230 only
[6] Transmission gear control unit (Electronic Valve Body on 722.9 G-tronic transmissions only)
[7] Engine Control Module
[8] Flashware or repair CD’s
[9] Certain Airbag / SRS supplemental restraint system cables, etc.
[10] Body Shell, certain body panels, and components

At Autobahn Performance Inc., we have been negotiating with our local dealers and with other affiliates to resolve this problem.

It is insulting to a reputable company like Autobahn that Mercedes and our local Mercedes dealers, that we have purchased hundreds of parts from over the years, that they would treat us as insignificant and do not trust us, or even think that we are stealing vehicles or parts from them.

If the dealers correctly fill out the paperwork and forms (as required) on the theft relevant parts that we purchase, there would be an obvious paper trail leading back to us, if a vehicle we had repaired, was stolen.

I am sure that there are companies out there that will do this, but there is no amount of money that could entice Autobahn Performance Inc. to knowingly become involved in the theft of a vehicle or parts and jeopardize our name and reputation for such a minimal profit. Our annual sales averages are in the millions of dollars; and to risk all that on some illegal activity is absurd.

Some of the parts listed seem to have no relevance to the possibility of using the part to steal a vehicle. How could you steal a vehicle with an ignition lock cylinder (with no key to it), or with an un-programmed engine control unit (ME control unit)? The only way that I can see is if you use that part to throw through and smash the glass window of a locked vehicle to gain access to the interior of that vehicle. I hope Mercedes is not trying to corner their share of the repair market by requiring customers to have their vehicle repaired at the dealer. This would be a monopoly and should be illegal. The dealerships seem to be using the TRP policy to their advantage by selectively enforcing their interpretation of the policy and requiring that vehicles be brought to them to be repaired when the sale of parts is refused due to the policy’s vague guidelines.

I think the reason that Mercedes is pressing this issue is to keep insurance costs on their vehicles down. If the vehicle is harder to steal or fewer are stolen, the customer’s insurance cost for that vehicle will be lower. In turn, Mercedes should sell more cars due to a lower cost of ownership.

If anyone has any further information or updates on this policy, please contact me. I would like to hear your stories and ideas on this subject.

On January 2012, Autobahn Performance, inc. became a licensed locksmith with a NASTIF LSID locksmith ID (a lengthy and expensive process). We can now acquire TRP parts and repair your vehicle without being forced to refer our customers to a dealer.

On 6/22/2009, Mercedes refused sale of an instrument cluster for a 2005 Mercedes CLK55 AMG. Customer’s cluster was totally dead, there was no communication and nothing at all lit up or moved. The vehicle still drove fine but soft top operation was locked out, probably due to the vehicle speed signal not being distributed on the CAN bus due to the failed cluster. The convertible top control module needs to know the vehicle speed to make sure the top is not being operated while the vehicle is in motion. Autobahn has the technology and the equipment to install the new cluster, but Mercedes and our local dealer, Mercedes of Ft. Lauderdale, refused to sell us the replacement part. The part has been ordered from an outside source and we should have the vehicle repaired for the customer in three to four days. This is normally a one day job if the parts are available locally.

On 7/7/2009, Mercedes refused sale of RCL or DAS module of a 2000 Mercedes SLK 230. Part number is 168 820 03 26. This vehicle has a current or hard code in the RCL locking system of B1000 internal module failure. This code will not clear / is always present. The customer also has a problem with intermittent engine CAN communication problems; when this occurs the transmission goes into limp home mode and does not shift. This problem may or may not be related to the DAS module but its replacement is warranted due to the B1000 code. We got the module from another source and it corrected the fault code. With this part alone there is no way to compromise the security of this vehicle.

As of 6/20/2011, Mercedes will not sell 722.9 valve bodies or conductor plate control units. Even with the TRP paperwork completed. The newer Mercedes 7 speed transmissions (also called G-tronic) have the electronic control unit mounted inside the transmission these control units are failing frequently; with speed sensor codes (the usual codes are related to speed sensor faults). The speed sensors are not replaceable as they are part of the electrical conductor plate that bolts to the valve body inside the bottom of the transmission. The transmission does not need to be removed to replace the valve body or the conductor plate. A valve body does come complete with the conductor plate / control unit. Early valve bodies must be replaced as a complete unit but later second or third generation units can be repaired by just replacing the conductor plate / control unit assembly. Autobahn has replaced many of these and have the capability of performing the SCN coding to complete the installation of this repair.

These units are failing so often that the dealer has restricted selling them even in their own shops. To order a part the dealer must submit a request with computer scans and control unit log reports of the suspected failed vehicles electronics. The factory then sends the parts they deem necessary for the repair (conductor plate assembly or complete valve body).

It is rumored that Siemens VDO, the manufacturer of the electrical control units is in a battle with Mercedes over the validity of failing units. Why should an internal problem with Mercedes and its suppliers affect our ability to acquire parts and repair our customer’s vehicle? Mercedes is requiring the vehicles be brought into one of their dealers for any valve body or conductor plate repair even if the vehicle is not covered under warranty and the customer is paying for it. Our customer’s view this would be perceived as an inability for us to repair their vehicle and give the dealers an unfair advantage at gaining the customers business. Losing a customer for ever could be worth 10’s of thousands of dollars.

On 10/19/2012, we installed our first 722.9 valve body since the “dealer only” ban. We probably have had 75 – 100 missed sales on valve bodies and conductor plates alone. We have established a non-local (can acquire next or second day) source. Installed and SCN coded with no problems. our source told us we would not be able to install the part and that the vehicle would need to be towed to a Mercedes dealer for installation. We Installed and coded this module to the car with no problems or delay’s. If your vehicle needs a new valve body, we can get this part and install it in your vehicle saving you a lot of money. Most importantly, keeping you from having to go to the dealer.

Correct Parts Can Prevent Costly Repairs

Is your “Check Engine” light on with BMW codes 2882 or 2883? The OBDII (on-board diagnostics version 2) generic codes are P0171 P0174. Don’t let other shops mistakenly replace your Air Mass Meter or MAF Sensor (Mass Air Flow) costing you hundreds! Your most likely problem is an incompatible air filter. The proper air filter for your car is supposed to have a foam backing that directs air through the system properly.


2003 BMW 325i


Reference Number(s): Sl B 12 20 07, Date of lssue: November, 2007
E85 with M54 produced from 3/02 to 11/05; E46 with M54 from 8/00 to 8/06; E46 with M56 from BMW.

12/01 to 12/04

GROUP: 12 – Engine Electrical Systems

SUBJECT M54/M56: Mixture Too Lean – Fault Codes 2882/2883 are Stored in the DME

SITUATION: The customer complains that the “Service Engine Soon” light is illuminated. The fault codes “2882/2883 – fuel trim, mixture too lean” are stored in the DME.

CAUSE: Possible causes may include: incorrect air filter, unmetered air or a defective air mass meter.

PROCEDURE: Remove and inspect the air filter element. Only the filter with the P/N 13 72 1 744 869 must be fitted. lf the filter is the correct one, please follow the test plan and repair accordingly.

WARRANTY INFORMATION: Covered under the terms of the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Please refer to the latest KSD for all applicable labor operations and allowances. lf the appropriate labor operation is not contained in KSD, then a work time labor operation should be used. Defect Code: 13 72 01 48 00

Porsche Boxter – Emergency Hood Release

It is no longer possible to jump power to the driver’s kick panel fuse box to power the vehicle and pop the electric trunk or hood, on Porsche Boxster 987 models (2005 and up). On the 986 model (first generation Boxster) the emergency cable was on the passenger side below the headlight. You could grab it through the fog light hole by gently prying the plastic trim back at the top.

On the newer 987 model (pictured), the emergency cable is now located on the driver’s side, behind the inner fender well, in front of the left front tire. It is directly inward of the left front headlight. Here is a picture of one we did at Autobahn Performance of Fort Lauderdale. You will need a pair of pliers to pull the cable as it no longer has a loop in the end of it. You have to pull it with quite a bit of force to unlatch the hood. Then charge your battery with a charger. Try to avoid jump starting with jumper cables. However, if you do, connect the cars together and let the running car sit at an idle for at least 15 minutes before attempting to start the dead car.

BMW M62 Timing Cover Weep Hole Leak

We have seen this problem several times and it is usually misdiagnosed or not repaired correctly. If you have a BMW model 740i, 740il, 540i, 745i, or 745il with the 4.4 liter V8 (M62) engine, and you have a coolant leak from a small weep hole in the front timing cover, be very careful it is not misdiagnosed as a water pump or valley cover problem. What you probably have is a front timing cover to engine block coolant leak. BMW engineers were smart enough to know their design for sealing the water passage from the front timing cover to the engine block would probably not last forever, so they made provisions for a cavity to catch the coolant leak and eject it through a weep hole at the upper right corner of the timing cover. The cavity and weep whole keep the engine coolant from leaking into the engine oil that would probably lead to engine failure if not detected in time.

The repair is quite labor intensive. Most manuals seem to estimate the repair time around 30 hours. All data repair information service shows the timing cover remove and replace time at 30.6 hours. There are also other labor operations that should be done at the same time as the timing cover that are not included; for example, replacing the valley block cover. The cover is not resealable and should be replaced. Part of the labor for the cover is overlapping (removing the intake manifold), but replacing the cover itself is not included in the front cover time estimate.

From the factory, the timing cover has just a very light sealant on the surface where the coolant passes from the cover to the engine block. BMW now offers sealing strips to better seal this surface. The sealing strips are made of metal that is laminated with a light coat of rubber-like sealant; we also use a small amount of sealant in the corners of the gaskets to ensure proper sealing. Great care must be taken to ensure the parts are thoroughly cleaned.

Autobahn technicians are instructed to clean parts with mineral spirits in a parts washer first, then all sealing surfaces are cleaned by sanding with 440 grit wet or dry sand paper in a figure 8 pattern. At Autobahn we rarely use surface preparation pads or discs; they are too aggressive (even the fine or soft rubber ones) and end up removing surface material and rounding off the edges of the surface. Also, with a perfectly ground flat sanding block, imperfections in the sealing surface can be easily seen and usually can be corrected or eliminated. Contrary to most technician’s belief, it is not much slower to prepare the surface by hand than it is to use a die grinder and high speed surface conditioning pads (“cookie monsters”, 3M Scotchlock pads, or green and yellow 3M surface conditioning pads). The final cleaning step is to wash the parts in hot soapy water and then dry with a hot plate and compressed air. This step removes any contaminants or oils from the surface and allows the sealant to adhere to the surface properly.

Mercedes Benz – Wire Harness Insulation Failure

We have seen this problem for over 12 years now and it appears to be a common occurrence. The wire insulation on various Mercedes vehicles and various harnesses turns brittle or deteriorates to the point that normal engine vibrations cause the insulation to crumble off leaving the wires exposed. The subsequent short circuits can cause anything from the annoyance of erroneous warning indicators to massive electrical fires.

The problem was most common on engines (injector, sensors and coil harness) built in 1994, 1995 and early 1996. There are also common failures with transmission wire harnesses, positive cable harness (usually also incarcerates alternator, starter and oil level and pressure sensors), neutral safety switch / transmission range selector switch harness. On V12 SL600’s with the 120 engine the body mounted engine harness often fails. The harness on this vehicle takes over 40 hours to replace. It is usually only the air mass meter portion of the harness that fails. At Autobahn Performance, we have the factory air mass meter harness with enough wire to connect directly to the terminal at the engine computers. The harness can be rerouted through a new loom that can be placed directly beside the existing wire loom. This can save about 30 hours labor (assuming the rest of the harness is OK).

We fixed the body mounted engine harness for the auxiliary fan resistor. We also preformed the resistor update. We replaced the defective wires only, from the fuse / relay box to the Aux fan resistor that is mounted between the auxiliary fans. Wire harness replacement would be over $4000 parts and labor! Repair was done for less than $500 including the fan resistor’s, brackets and hardware necessary for the resistor update / modification.

The wire insulation for the knock sensors had the severely deteriorated. The engine was replaced by another shop. When the harness was switched from the original engine to the replacement. The unavoidable movement and flexing of the harness caused the wires to short circuit between the knock sensor wires. That resulted in codes and drive ability problems with the engine.

The Mercedes parts catalog must have the two possible harness part numbers reversed or switched. Our vehicle does not have ASR (automatic slip regulation) or traction control. There is no ASR computer and the part number for the throttle actuator corresponds to a non ASR vehicle. Also the data card in Mercedes EPC online shows the vehicle does not have ASR.

The first two harnesses we got from the dealer were part number 210 540 2105 they did not match the original harness in the car. Both of the harnesses we got had boxes that were beat up and had extra delivers stickers stuck to them, indicating they had been shipped and returned several times. The part number tag on the harness was missing so the part had to be ordered by application with the VIN number. The parts manager at the dealer finally decided to order the harness for the vehicle with ASR and the part we received was now the correct part. The part number of this harness is 210 540 3305. It indicated it is for vehicle with ASR. It seems Mercedes has accidentally switched or incorrectly matched the non ASR harness with the ASR equipped harness in their electronic parts catalog.

We had almost the same situation with incorrectly updated part numbers for the front wheel speed sensors on 1990 through 1993, 129 chassis SL vehicles. If you ordered both front sensors one would come as a plastic housing and the other a metal housing. If both were installed on the same vehicle there would be incorrect wheel speed indicated, causing several problems and of course, those loveable warning lights.

BMW Battery Registration

On late model BMW’s, it is important to “register” a new battery when it is being replaced.

This process will increase the longevity of the new battery and will keep any battery and charging system warning lights off. The process can only be done with factory BMW scan tools or high end aftermarket tools like the Autologic. The battery control module charges a battery differently depending upon it’s age and the type of battery installed AGM (glass mat battery) or conventional (lead acid). No longer are radio codes needed as most modern European vehicles have V.I.N. Recognition through the on board diagnosis system of the radio and the vehicle. If all computers have matching V.I.N. numbers the the radio will work automatically.

Codes in all systems should be scanned, documented and cleared because a failing battery will usually set under or over voltage codes and possible many other codes. Also scanning is important to verify other settings that need to be updated or fixed due to the battery replacement. Steering angle sensors can require calibration, windows, sunroofs and convertible tops need to be synchronized for proper express functions.

Gone are the days when major retail chains and gas stations can replace the battery in your vehicle. At Autobahn Performance in Fort Lauderdale, Florida we have the factory equipment and the training to properly service your vehicle’s battery to assure factory specs and warranty requirements.

Models that Require Battery Registration

2002 and newer 7-series E65/66 chassis 2003 and newer 6-series E63/54 chassis 2004 and newer 5-series E60/61 chassis 2006 and newer 3-series E90 E91 E92 AND E93 CHASSIS 2007 and newer X5 series E70 chassis 2008 and newer X6 series E71 chassis.

Flood Damaged Vehicles

No matter how cheaply you can purchase a flood damaged vehicle, it probably won’t be worth it in the long run. We have repaired many flood damaged vehicles. Here in South Florida and coastal areas of Fort Lauderdale, rising water from flash floods are all too common. Salt water flooding is much more damaging than fresh water. Newer Mercedes and other European vehicles are particularly vulnerable to flood damage due to all the state-of-the-art electronic components they have. On top of that, the modern trend is to place these components in low places on the vehicle for better weight distribution for the best handling and dynamics of the vehicle.

Mercedes Benz and BMW chassis have thousands of dollars worth of control units and modules located under the rear seats, only 6 – 8 inches off the ground. If a vehicle is driven into a puddle that is more than 6 inches deep, its possible that water can leak through the body plugs or seals and flood the area under the seats and carpets. Often the owner is unaware of the damage until some electronics malfunction. Meanwhile, the electronics and the electricity flowing through them that are surrounded by water, start to form acid (like inside a battery) that can ruin components, connectors and wires. When the damage is discovered it is usually too late, especially if the damage is discovered due to a musty smell or odor in the vehicle; this would indicate that the moisture (along with the electrolysis) has been there long enough to mildew or form fungus.

If your car is flooded, the key to minimizing the damage is to (1) disconnect the electrical flow through water contaminated circuits. Disconnecting the battery should be the first step. (2) Get the water out and dry up the area as quickly as possible. A wet vacuum can be used to suck up excess water. The carpeting and foam backing on a Mercedes can be up to 4 inches thick. This acts as a sponge and traps the water inside, leading to long term musty smells. At Autobahn Performance we have a portable dehumidifier that can be placed in the vehicle to draw the trapped moisture out of fabrics, carpets and foam under padding.

The next problem to deal with is the electrical connections and components. Any electrical part that is contaminated with water should be disconnected and dried by blasting compressed air through it. The connectors should be cleaned with a solvent and scrubbed with a brush. Components can be cleaned with electrical cleaners. Corroded areas can be cleaned with vinyl bristle brushes and special solvents to remove surface corrosion. Electrical connectors need to be disassembled (pins removed from the connector) and cleaned in solvent. Any connections on components or harnesses that appear to be damaged beyond repair should be replaced. Many electrical connectors and terminals are available from the dealer, but due to their relatively inexpensive cost and difficulty to look up correctly, most dealer parts personnel will try to sell a complete wiring harness. Wiring harnesses can cost upwards of $5000 and can take over 60 hours to install.

At Autobahn Performance, we have access to most dealer parts data bases, so we can look up the wire connectors ourselves. Usually we can repair an expensive or labor intensive harness rather than replacing it. We also have affiliates that can repair some water damaged electrical components, or acquire used components and program them to the vehicle even if they are one time use (previously assigned to a vehicle or VIN).

The most troubling thing about a flood damaged vehicle is that there is usually no way to accurately estimate the cost or extent of the damage. Sometimes after the vehicle is repaired and everything seems to be fine, another problem arises from the same water damage, and still more repairs are needed.

Another common water damage problem is found in the cowl panel (cavity between the engine firewall and the cabin firewall at the base of the windshield) of most Mercedes cars. This is where the climate control system draws in fresh air from the outside. Older vehicles can have corrosion or rust here. This area is almost impossible to repair once it has rusted through. It can be patched but it will leak again within a few years. The replacement panels are available from mercedes but are very difficult to weld in place and usually require removal of the dashboard, engine and other components to install properly. The cowl cavity also has problems from clogged drains.

An incredible amount of water can run off the roof and windshield and collect in this cavity. Debris from leaves that collect on the windshield will restrict the drain to the point that the cavity fills with water and floods components in the cavity and overflows through the fresh air opening of the climate control system into the cabin of the vehicle.

The Mercedes SLK 170 chassis is especially susceptible to this condition. Even minor overflow from restricted drain will cause water to flow across the blower motor, speed regulator, radio amplifier and wire harness connectors. The water is sometimes not discovered for several days and components start to fail; blower motor speeds are erratic or stop altogether, radio stops playing, warning lights appear on the dash, and the vehicle begins to smell musty inside. The carpet and floor insulation system on late model mercedes is made of sponge like foam that is molded to fill all of the irregular cavities under the carpet. The foam is over 6 inches thick in some areas. This foam soaks up and hold water like a sponge.

This SLK was flooded by the customers own lawn sprinkler system. One of the sprinkler heads came loose and the stream of water shot way up in the air and back down on the windshield. The water drains in the cowl at the base of the windshield were slightly clogged with debris and they could not handle the huge volume of water. The water overflowed through the fresh air opening of the AC system and flooded the inside of the vehicle. We had to completely disassemble the interior of the vehicle and replace many of the electronic components; Blower motor and regulator, radio amplifier, Tel-Aid control module / communication module, Radio and the ABS / ETS module (mounted under the hood on the anti-lock brake pump. must also have been electrical short circuit related).

BMW M3 Sub-Frame to Body Reinforcement E46

It is not uncommon for the BMW M3 or other modified E46 chassis vehicles to crack or tear the vehicle body at 4 locations — where the rear sub frame (differential and rear suspension assembly) bolts to the body and trunk floor. All precautions should be taken to prevent this.

This problem is also more likely to occur if the vehicle has oversize tires, is raced or tracked. It’s best to reinforce this weak area before cracks begin. Hard launches or clutch dumps could tear the entire differential and suspension from the vehicle if cracked mounts are left in their relatively weak factory condition.

How to Reinforce BMW M3 / E46 Rear Suspension Mounts

This customer is wisely taking the necessary steps in preventing the cracking problem from developing on his 2003 BMW M3, even before the cracks start. This car has oversize high performance tires and other chassis improvements that would make it a prime candidate for sub frame mount cracking and ultimately a costly failure.

Porsche Intermediate Shaft Bearing Repair & Upgrade

Porsche engines (M96 engine designation) used in Porsche Boxsters and 911’s have a weak link in the bearing that is used to support the intermediate shaft. The intermediate shaft runs through the engine underneath the crankshaft. It is the pivot point for the timing chains.

The shaft bearing fails due to lack of adequate lubrication. There is no pressurized oil flowing to the bearing; the only oil lubrication to the bearings seeps from the crank case through the seals of the bearing, slowly.

Failure of this bearing usually starts with a screeching and grinding sound, then catastrophic engine failure soon follows. The shaft contacts other rotating engine components and can easily damaged other major engine components beyond repair (block or case, crankshaft, connecting rods, etc.). Watch video on intermediate shaft bearing failure (dual row type) dissected on video from a Porsche Boxster with a 2.5 liter M96 horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine.

Mercedes V12 Wire Harness Repair

Autobahn performance is doing another air mass meter wire harness repair on a Mercedes Benz V12. We are getting lots of these cars in for the repair, even being shipped in from across the country. We can repair the air mass meter portion of the body mounted engine harness without removing the harness. Do not attempt to cut open the body harness and repair the wires! This customer did and ended up cutting and damaging non deteriorating wires. You can see in the pictures, the wires are molded into a pass-through loom; it is impossible to separate and untangle the wires without damaging the entire harness. We have repair harnesses in stock to repair the body-mounted engine harness on Mercedes v12 600’s. Usually, only the air mass sensor wires fail. They cost $295 each (2 needed). The harness can be run alongside the factory harness sheathed in long lengths of heat shrink tubing and connected directly to the engine computers.

The other harnesses common to fail are the lower engine harness (also called starter harness or positive cable harness). We can repair your damaged harness but it may be available at a reasonable price from the dealer. If you send me your VIN number for your Mercedes Benz V12, I will send you a price. The throttle actuators have harnesses that come off of them and connect to the body harness. These harnesses fail internally; to check them you need to carefully cut a shallow 1″ to 2″ incision in the covering of each actuator harness and examine the wires inside. If they are bad, we can rebuild your actuators (done at Autobahn) $695 each includes internal motor, plastic gears and new cable harness connector end is disassembled and re-used.

The fuel injection harness sits on the top of the motor and is usually available from the dealer at a reasonable price. These can be rebuilt by us but they must be inspected to give an accurate price. The body harness of the Mercedes Benz V12 usually does not fail or deteriorate on 129 SL’s. If it is, it probably should be replaced with new one’s from the dealer. We could rebuild this harness but it would be expensive and time consuming.