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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just returned from a 2500 mile road trip and had a loss of power steering two times. We received an error that said "Power Steering Malfunction See Owners Man.". The loss of power steering occurred both times while driving over metal Cattle Grates at around 50-60 mph. Fortunately we were able to turn off the car and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the computer to shut down and upon restarting the car the error message was gone and we had functioning power steering. It's a bit unsettling driving on curving mountain roads not knowing if/when you are going to lose power steering. We are scheduled to bring the van in for service next week but I wanted to know if anyone else has had this issue.

Mercedes said that there wasn't a recall for my vehicle relating to steering but I found this online relating to a possible recall relating to steering.
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2017/RCAK-17V595-5757.pdf
 

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Last September, the power steering on mine stopped working (with the same message on center display) while I was in the middle of nowhere Nevada. Nothing I could do but keep driving. I stopped later for a bathroom break, and it was working again.

10 minutes later, it died while I was driving along. When I next shut down for gas, it started working again and lasted a few more hours until I got home.

$4100 list to replace. They don't even try and diagnose what's wrong; they claim the rack, electric motor, and electronic control module are a single unit. Given my service history (5 tries to fix a problem with the engine stalling), my service guy says he got Mercedes corporate to pay half of their internal cost, and I only got charged the other half. But, I also had to pay the required $400 front end alignment, too.

I was not a happy camper.

The notice posted says the recall was to affect only three units? I never received a recall notice on my 2016 Metris. I wonder if mine failed due the same poor contact welding mentioned in the above letter.

Damnit, I love the way the van drives, but this sort of thing makes me crazy.
 

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Based on the campaign number in OP's letter, the actual recall notice is here: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2017/RCLRPT-17V595-7604.PDF



Description of Defect : electric power steering (EPS) might not have been properly welded, in which case a permanent electrical connection could not be ensured.

Description of the Safety Risk : In case the pins completely lose contact, a malfunction of the electric power steering could result and the power steering assist could deactivate. This could increase the risk of an accident.

Description of the Cause : Due to a process deviation at the supplier, certain power steering control units might not meet the requirements regarding the welding of contact pins. Due to a technical weakness in the optically guided laser welding machine during part manufacturing on supplier site and due to light refraction and mirroring effects, the camera could have recognized incorrectly the outer edge of the pins and interpreted this as welding zone. An automatic position and path control of the laser was not implemented.

Population : Number of potentially involved: 3
Estimated percentage with defect : 100%

Chronology:
In March 2017, DAG received a report regarding a defective steering rack from a passenger car (C-Class) vehicle within the US-market, and immediately requested the return of the part for analysis. In April 2017, the steering rack was delivered to the supplier, who initiated root-cause investigations. After identifying the root- cause to be incorrect welding of pins inside the control module, the supplier implemented corrective actions by installing a position monitoring of the lasers at their production facility in late May 2017. In addition, the supplier reviewed all welding parameters from start of production to then, which resulted in the identification of additional control modules with insufficiently welded pins manufactured for DAG. In August 2017, DAG reviewed production records to match the potentially defective steering racks to the respective vehicles. It was identified that Mercedes-Benz Metris (VS20 – model series 447) vehicles were affected as well. In September 2017, DAG determined that a potential safety risk cannot be ruled out.

Identify How/When Recall Condition was Corrected in Production : A change in the production procedure of the supplier ensures that this recall condition can no longer occur, from June 1, 2017 onwards. An
automatic position and path control of the laser was implemented and an improvement of the light conditions was conducted in the production of the affected part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tree 95 - Thanks for the information.
Did you notice if steering went out over any kind of bump or rumble strip? Also does your steering wheel have the leather wrap with buttons for music and toggling through the dash computer?
It sounds like an improper weld could wiggle loose with vibration then sit back in contact even though it is loose and work until hitting another significant bump in the road.

I know the Metris steering wheel is shared with the 'c' class sedans so I wonder if the whole steering assembly is the same.
My van manufactured date is 07/2015 which is prior to the June 1, 2017 recall cutoff date. It seems really odd that only 3 vans would be eligible for repair under the recall.
I'm at 55k miles which is beyond the 36k warranty so hopefully I'll be able to resolve this with our local dealer without putting out a significant sum of $$.


Overall I have also been pleased with Van but steering like breaking are things I expect to work flawlessly for safety sake.
 

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Yes, I have the steering wheel with the extra buttons.

I remember no specific bumps. I was cruising along highway 95 in Nevada. The road certainly had bumps, but it's not like I noticed a huge bump and then immediately lost the steering.

Yeah, it seems odd that only 3 vans are eligible.

My service advisor did say the steering rack is shared with the 'c' class - if you look at the recall notice I posted, the history of the event says that the initial failure was reported on a C class sedan, and the issue was worked back to the supplier, Bosch, and then worked forward to the other mercedes models using the same steering rack.

> but steering like breaking are things I expect to work flawlessly for safety sake.

Yeah. I made Mercedes come get my van; I refused to drive it to them after having the steering fail twice. I thought long and hard on whether to just get rid of the van given the safety issue.

My history with this van is bad - from the other thread, you can see the problems I've had with the fuel system. Since last October or so, the van's been OK for the last several thousand miles.

It's frustrating as I love the size and love the way it drives. But, what an unreliable piece of crap so far. Hopefully you can sweet talk your dealer and avoid paying the $4100 I was quoted for replacing the entire rack, electric motor, and controller. Based on my prior (and at the time still ongoing fuel problems), the dealer worked something with corporate so I only paid $800. I still had to pay another $400 for a front end alignment, though!

I probably screwed up by not getting the extended warranty.

If Ford actually had Transit cargo vans in anything other than white, I'd have bought it instead of the Metris. Last fall, after multiple fuel issues and then this steering rack, I spent time looking at Transits again thinking I'd just donate the Metris to my local food bank. But, the Ford dealers in the area were assholes and didn't want to do anything other than sell me one off their lot or partnered dealer's lot nearby. So, I stuck with the Metris. I have a lot of time invested in it converting it for camping.
 

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What are you manufacture dates in the door jamb of your affected Metris units? Thanks
 

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Thank you, this is quite worrisome as my Manufacture Date in 1/2016
Drive with two hands. It's a bear to steer at low speeds without assist. Thank goodness both events occurred for me on straight road at speed rather than in a turn so I had plenty of notice before slowing down. It takes a lot of effort to hold the wheel through a slow speed turn. If mine had failed mid turn, I'd likely have ended up in a ditch, or worse, oncoming traffic. That's why I refused to drive it to the dealer and made them come get it.

The recall notice implies an automated inspection camera could incorrectly report a bad connection as good. The implication is that tens of thousands of records were reexamined to come up with the three racks that ended up on Metris vans. It makes one wonder how accurate that reexamination was. It looks like ‘not good enough’ for OP.

I'm a bit annoyed at my service advisor as at the time he said the same rack was used in C class, and he was unaware of any issues even though this recall had already been issued for Metris and presumably another recall for the affected C class cars that ended up with faulty welds from the same Siemens factory.
 

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Anyone here got a recall letter about this?

My van is now in the dealer for the fuel line/leaking gas recall and they didn't say anything about this power steering problem.
 

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Anyone here got a recall letter about this?
See post #4 in this thread for the recall document. It claims only 3 Metris vans were affected. The chances of one of those three owners being here and supplying the actual recall letter seems slim.
 

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An equivalent or nearly equivalent system has been in use on the majority of their vehicles for several years now....if it was a huge issue I'm sure we'd have heard much more about it. For the record my GLK has electromechanical steering of the same type, and it works just fine at 4+ years and 76k+ miles, never been replaced.
 

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Ya know how many I've replaced since them introducing it... 4. 3 were smashed by faulty jump attempts (By jump, I mean airborne, not battery jumping)
 

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my Metris is build 04/16 purchased 05/2017 as new from the dealer. Right now I have my Metris at the dealership to align the front and change the front tires for new (that is after aprox. 16,000 miles on hgwy, I did email the dealer the information on the possible los of steering. Monday I should have an answer, thank you Tree95, my steering wheel has no buttons to push, maybe is different baby I for sure would not like to be with out power steering on a camping trip in the Rocky mountains of Colorado.
 

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my Metris is build 04/16 purchased 05/2017 as new from the dealer. Right now I have my Metris at the dealership to align the front and change the front tires for new (that is after aprox. 16,000 miles on hgwy, I did email the dealer the information on the possible los of steering. Monday I should have an answer, thank you Tree95, my steering wheel has no buttons to push, maybe is different baby I for sure would not like to be with out power steering on a camping trip in the Rocky mountains of Colorado.
I have no idea why VANZ was so fixated on whether the steering wheel has buttons. It has nothing to do with the steering rack/motor/controller under the car that moves the front wheels from side to side. All Metris have the same things below the steering wheel itself.

As for your fear of the Rocky Mountains, for both my failures and VANZ, the power steering recovered after stopping the engine and restarting it a bit later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Regarding the buttons on the steering wheel...I heard the Metris shares the same steering wheel with the C-class. Fixated is a strong word... I understand the buttons vs no buttons on steering wheel might not make any difference in the electrical power steering mechanism but I’m also not making any assumptions at this point. I’m taking my van in for service tomorrow and wanted to see if someone had my exact set up with exact issues I am having. I’ll keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update:
I took our van in for service a few weeks ago and had the dealer look at the power steering. Dealer said they had heard of a couple other people having the cattle grates cause power steering failure. They made it seem like more of a quirk with the power steering system rather than a serious issue. They did look at the power steering unit and didn’t see anything obviously wrong. I have been driving the van and it’s been working fine but I also haven’t encountered any cattle grates lately. It still doesn’t feel right knowing that the power steering can fail when a certain type of road vibration occurs.
 
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