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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought a used 2016 Metris Passenger with about 12K miles. This van has most of the possible options installed, including the cold weather and full safety package w/parktronic. It's been pretty cold the last couple of weeks in the Midwest, with temperatures well below freezing (-5F right now). I've been having some issues and wanted to get some feedback before taking it to a dealer (closest is about a hour away).

First, and most annoying, is that the heated seats aren't working properly. They won't turn on until the van has been driven for 5-15 minutes. I push the button and the 3 lights come on and the turn right off again. This problem seems like an obvious malfunction.

The second issue is that it doesn't seem like the air coming from the vents warms up any faster than other vehicles I have with similar sized engines. I thought the cold weather package was supposed to electrically heat the air so the van warms up much faster. Not sure if I just have unrealistic expectations here or not as I've never had a car with anything like this.

The third issue is that the parktronic system totally freaks out and starts beeping like crazy (even in forward) even though there are no hazards around the van. Sometimes is just beeps a few times then shuts up. Last light right after I started the van the warnings went crazy (lights indicated front right of vehicle despite) and I ended up having to shut off the parktronic system to get it to silence it.

I'm going to call the dealership on Tuesday, but wondering if anyone else has had similar issues and if they were resolved to satisfaction. Any tips for working the a dealer service shop would be appreciated as well as this will be the first time I've had it in for anything. I understand that very cod temps can cause a number of problems, but these issues are even happening when I pull out of my garage, which while not heated is much warmer than outside.
 

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First issue, seats should be almost hot after about 5 minutes on the highest setting regardless of how cold it is. Definitely sounds like a malfunction of some sort.

Second issue, read this thread. Should give you all of the info or lack of info that you are looking for.

Don't know about the parktronic system. I intentionally looked for a van without it.

Quick note... The search function on this site is your friend. There is a search box in the upper right corner of the page. Flip it to VB search, and you can find just anything that on the site with the right search terms.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, when the seat heaters actually turn on, they get warm very quickly. My issue is that they don't turn on correctly. They worked when it was warmer, but now they turn off right after I hit the button to turn them on. Lights come on and turn right off again. So I assume its a malfunction, just curious if anyone else had sen that.

For the issue with the air heater, I'll try the recirc idea, but for most cars I've driven that's a quick way to get fogged up windows. The manual says to only use the recirc air mode briefly for that reason.
 

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I have never had that happen on my van (the seat heaters). But I did have it happen on several other MB models (quite a bit older) when it was very cold out, and it is indicative of inadequate electrical current in the system at that time (this, admittedly, was from a time when turning on a dome light would notably dim lights in the cabin. I would say you have a problem, and I would guess it is related to an electrical fault of some kind that is also preventing the electric heater booster from turning on; the car should be producing warmish vent air within a few minutes of setting out (It will not warm up while idling- it is not designed to work in that circumstance).

By the way, electric heater boosters are not a new concept, and quite a few cars have them as standard. It is possible that other cars you have owned have actually been equipped with electric heater boosters. The main purpose of the system, really, is to allow the cabin to heat up without drawing heat from the engine, allowing it to warm up faster- which is better for both emissions and economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
By the way, electric heater boosters are not a new concept, and quite a few cars have them as standard. It is possible that other cars you have owned have actually been equipped with electric heater boosters. The main purpose of the system, really, is to allow the cabin to heat up without drawing heat from the engine, allowing it to warm up faster- which is better for both emissions and economy.
I guess that could be the case. I've never seen that listed as a feature on any of the cars I've owned so far (mostly Toyota and Honda). How warm should the air feel coming out of the vents within a couple of minutes? Should it feel obvious? Should it take 10+ minutes (driving) to noticeably warm the interior? Just trying to understand what I can realistically expect.
 

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In ordinary cold weather (20s-30s) it should be warmish within a minute of starting driving, and hot within 3 or 4. I usually shut off or turn it to low fan within 5- or Im sphitzing. (I have a thyroid condition, but my wife agrees on the time frame).

In this weather, quite honestly, I don’t use the heater at all. I am usually bundled for spending the day in the back of the van with the thing shut off, and I am more interested in warming the engine than heating myself up.

I would try the following: leave it off, drive for a minute at 20 in second, then two minutes at 25 in second, and then 30 in third until you are at 60 ( should be there fast) and then turn it on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just got back from an hour drive. I noticed that it didn't turn on the fan until I'd driven a couple of miles. Once it cranked the airflow it did feel warmish to my hand. So I think it's probably working. I did notice what others have reported about the coolant temp not warming much. It took quite a while to get above 50C. The seat heaters didn't stay on until I'd been driving 15 minutes or so.

But now I think I have a bigger problem. The last 5 minutes or so of the drive it started pouring out a large volume of exhaust. Like it started burning oil or something. No warning lights though. I'm definitely contacting the nearest service center now.
 

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It could just be water. In very cold weather water vapor in the exhaust condenses in the cold exhaust system and collects there until the system warms up, and then comes out all at once. If it's white, you probably don't have to worry (blue or black however...).
 

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it was so cold this morning, my recently filled, -20 rated washer fluid froze... before it hit the windshield. This abnormal weather is probably causing problems for cars that aren’t acclimatized to it.
 

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I just drove from Green Bay to Detroit and experienced what you have. Here are my solutions:

Parktronic - pour a little washer fluid on the sensors to remove any caked on ice or debris that is covering the sensor. Don't rub or you'll scratch your delicate paint.

Heat - we have the cold weather package and although it isn't an instantaneous heat, it is indeed faster than my E320 CDI in warming up the cabin. I surmise that the large cabin volume of cold air keeps dissipating the heating effort. Once it gets going, it is very hot. Also, I point my side vents up and out to keep most of the side windows defrosted early on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It could just be water. In very cold weather water vapor in the exhaust condenses in the cold exhaust system and collects there until the system warms up, and then comes out all at once. If it's white, you probably don't have to worry (blue or black however...).
Thanks! It didn't seem blue and certainly not black. It smelled very strong, almost like burning rubber.
 

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That might be worth a visit to the dealer. Hot ethylene glycol smells a bit like burning rubber. You might have a bad head gasket or (not likely) a cracked block.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The dealer wasn't able to reproduce the exhaust issue, so took no action.

For the seat heater, they found that on a cold start, the seat heater control unit was overheating. They have a new controller on order.
 
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