Volkswagen 2.0l TDI Engine BHW Oil Pump / Balance Shaft Modification to Gear Drive Assembly

The VW TDI (Diesel) engine of 2005 is prone to problems with the oil pump assembly. The oil pump that came in the car is chain-driven and the pump also drives the balance shafts that smooths the engine vibrations. VW has updated the balance shaft and oil pump assembly to a gear-driven unit. The chain and chain-tensioner of the original style assembly wears and creates slack, lowering oil pressure. This can eventually break and cause no oil pressure and severe engine damage.

The oil pan needs to be removed to gain access to the assembly. (This also requires lowering of the sub-frame assembly.) The front lower timing cover / crankshaft seal fixture needs to be removed and the factory chain-driven gear pulled off the front snout of the crankshaft with a special puller. Ours came right off with the special puller. We’ve heard of difficulties removing the gear and having it break and needing to be chiseled or cut off. The new crankshaft drive gear needs to be heated to the proper temperature and it will slide right in place. There is no key-way for the drive gear. The balance shaft assembly is timed with a special lock tool. The oil pan and lower timing cover are sealed with sealant only — no gasket. Special VW approved Diesel oil must be used in these engines.

1981 VW Rabbit Broken Clutch Cable Bracket

Our good friend Rolf Engelfried had his very clean and original 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel towed in to the shop with a non working clutch. We had adjusted the clutch cable on a previous visit and thought the clutch may have failed. After inspection it was discovered that the clutch cable had broken its retaining bracket off of the steering column and the cable casing was pushing against the firewall instead of the bracket under the dash.


I remember working on a lot of these cars at my uncle’s repair shop J&R foreign cars of Lowell Massachusetts in the late 80’s and remember seeing this before. Unfortunately the only way to fix this properly is to completely remove the steering column form the vehicle and re-weld the bracket in place. We ground the old weld mostly off and cleaned the area on the column where the new welds needed to go. We welded the bracket on more than just the two ends that were welded from the VW factory. Here are some photos of the process.

Mercedes C300 Broken Rear Axle

It’s been a while since I needed to use this trick and it saved me (and the customer) about 8 hours of labor. This 2010 Mercedes C300 204 chassis vehicle broke the rear axle shaft (1/2 shaft). It sheared clean off where it comes out of the side of the differential. Vehicle was in a minor accident and somehow the axle twisted and broke. We used a miller stick welder and the largest diameter welding rod we had around. We let the rod get a good molten puddle going in the center of the broken axle stub and then pushed the electrode straight into the weld puddle stopping the arc.

We quickly unclamped the rod and shut the welder off. After allowing the rod to cool we used a slide hammer with a vice-grip attached to the pulling end (This is also a neat and useful trick / tool I made). I tightly clamped the vice grip to the end of the welding rod and with one good pull of the slide hammer the broken stub popped out still attached to the electrode. The new axle went in fine and everything worked good without removing and disassembling the differential.

Mercedes SL600 with Wiring Problems

We are working on a very clean and original 1995 SL600 (129 chassis) that has less than 30,000 miles on it. Unfortunately this vehicle was made by Mercedes with faulty wiring insulation that has deteriorated and caused short circuits in many components. The main engine harness (just includes the fuel injector wires and a few others) is in the worst condition. The main body mounted engine harness has some wiring circuits that are bad, Mostly the air mass meter harness. This harness is over$5000 for the part and approximately 60 hours labor to replace. It runs from the headlights to the trunk of the car, behind the dash and under the interior. This job at the Mercedes dealer could legitimately be $14,500. Just for the body mounted harness.

Here at Autobahn Performance Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale Florida we have developed a repair kit and procedure to repair this harness without removal for less than $1800. It will work on V12 engine in the 129 (SL convertible) chassis and the 140 chassis (4-door sedan or 2- door coupe). In rare cases more than the normal wire circuits are affected by the insulation deterioration and the harness is unrepairable. This is usually only in European-delivered vehicles and the sedan 140 chassis. If a wire suffers from insulation deterioration the entire length of wire must be replaced. Trying to splice onto a section of the wire will not work properly and will result in short circuits and possibly a fire. The insulation will start to crumble near where you are trying to repair it and you will probably make your problems worse rather than better.

The throttle actuators (electronic controlled throttle body, TBA Throttle Body actuators): There is one for each side of the engine. (note: the one on the right side of the engine feeds the air into the left side of the engine and vise versa) The actuators have a short wire harness coming out of them, it’s about 14 inches long, that connects to the body-mounted engine harness. These harnesses also have the insulation failure problem. The harnesses are part of the actuators and are not available as a separate piece from Mercedes. The Actuators can be rebuilt and new harnesses soldered into place. Again, do not try to repair these as you will not be able to properly connect new wires to the electrical connector end of the harness. Short circuits in the wiring of the actuators commonly cause damage to the E-GAS actuators (the control units that control the throttle actuators). These also can be rebuilt.

Mercedes Benz 107 Chassis Euro Bumper Conversion

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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.