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The Lightening Bolt Of Doom!

swirl flaps

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#1 Briscoe76

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 02:42 PM

Afternoon all.

 

I thought I would share a bit of a story that happened to me this weekend, in the hope that it will help some others if the same thing happens to them.

 

The model it concerns is any 300C with the Mercedes 3 litre V6 diesel. I'm guessing the newer models with the VM diesel will be totally different.

 

So there we are, on the way to Wakefield from Essex where we live, merrily trotting along the motorway. All of a sudden the dashboard starts to chime repeatedly (as if i've left the headlights on and got out), the engine cuts out completely, and on the dashboard are the engine management light, and the red lightening bolt, with a reverse bracket either side (see attached photo).

 

We coast to a stop onto the hard shoulder, and i try to restart the car. It turns over and over, but refuses to fire up.

 

The missus gets on the phone to the RAC, and we're told there's roughly a two hour wait, so this gives me a bit of time to do some Googling before the patrol arrives.

 

Now then, if you refer to the handbook, it clearly states (even in the diesel supplement) that the lightening bolt light indicates there is a fault with the "Electronic Throttle Control". This is utter nonsense. As it turns out, on the diesel models only, this light refers to a fault with either the Swirl Flap Motor, or the Turbo Actuator. Annoyingly this isnt listed in any of the handbooks that come with the car. Poor show Chrysler!

 

Whenever you turn the ignition on in the car, you can see the arm of the turbo actuator raise up. So if this is the problem, then its very easy to diagnose. I tried this little test, and sure enough, the turbo actuator arm wasn't popping up when my wife turned the ignition on, so naturally I thought this was the problem. Sadly I was wrong.

 

What had happened to my car was this....

 

Over time, the seal around the air intake on the front of the turbo degrades. This allows a small amount of oil to drip onto the swirl flap motor, which is situated directly below. (very poor design). This oil had eventually seeped inside the motor, causing it to short out. This short had instantly popped fuse number 15 under the bonnet, which in turn had caused the engine to shut down while doing 70mph to protect itself. I didn't have the handbook in the car with me sadly, so searching on the internet just have me fuse diagrams of the petrol models, which on those shows its for the injectors. Again as it turns out, fuse 15 in the front fuse box does completely different things on the diesel models. It protects the following.... A/C Clutch, A/C Pressure regulator, Crankcase Vent Heater, EGR Valve, Engine Control Module, Fuel Pump, Glow Plug Module, Swirl Flap Motor, Oxygen sensors..

 

So I replaced the blown fuse with a spare 20 amp, and the car fired straight up. It was now in limp mode, and showing the EML and Lightening light, but it was drive-able up to about 80 mph, albeit a bit slow getting there.

 

By this time, the RAC man had arrived. Now there is nothing worse that someone interfering when a pro is at work, so when he arrived, I left him to it, and he plugged the diagnostics in, and it threw up a ton of errors all related to things connected to this fuse. All except the swirl flap motor. He was a bit confused at first, but then I mentioned that I think it might be the swirl flap motor. He hooked up all his testing gear to it, ran a load of tests, and sure enough confirmed to me that the motor was dead.

 

He then cleared the ECU codes, started the car, and only then did it throw up a specific Swirl Flap related error.

 

HE gave me some spare fuses, and after a quick road test, we were on our merry way albeit in limp mode.

 

Now to fixing it.

 

The cheapest place I could find to supply and fit a new motor quoted £575 plus VAT. The motor is just over £100, but the labour involved is a joke. Anything that is situated inside the VEE of the engine (Swirl Flap Motor, Oil Cooler) etc needs major open heart surgery to fix it. Annoyingly both the motor and the cooler seals have known faults, so they couldn't be in a worse place!

 

If you fancy forking out all that money to have the motor replaced, then that is no doubt the best way in the long run, however there is a quick fix for £1.99 and YES it does work perfectly.

 

Get yourself some 4K7 resistors off of ebay, they are £1.99 for 50. Remove the engine cover, then remove the intake pipe that runs from the airbox to the front of the turbo. Right below the turbo, you will see a black box. This is the offending motor. On the right of the motor is a multi plug held in with a grey clip. Remove the metal bracket above the plug, and pop the plug off.

 

Grab a resistor, and bend the legs in such a way that they will fit snugly into the two centre holes in the plug. Theres 4 in total. Once you have put the resistor in, and you can confirm its in there properly. Tape it up with electrical tape so the resistor wont fall out. Replace the metal bracket, and the air intake pipe, leaving the plug sticking up so you can get to it again in the future if you need to. Then start up the car, and stand back in amazement as both the engine management light and the lightening bolt lights extinguish, and the car comes back out of limp mode.

 

Take the car for a drive, and you will see that it drives as good as new.

 

What you have done here, is fool the car into thinking the swirl flap motor is working again. WHen in fact its now disconnected.

 

You shouldnt notice any difference in performance or fuel economy at all. The emissions may be up slightly when cold is all.

 

So to summarise, if your car cuts out with the lightening bolt on.

 

1) Coast to a stop

2) Curse, swear, have a fag, but don't despair

3) Check fuse 15 in the front fuse box, and replace

4) Start the car and drive home in limp mode - The car will do upto 80mph

5) Order your resistors from Ebay, making sure they are the 4K7 type

6) Still use your car while you are waiting for them to be delivered, remembering that it wont pull away as quick as usual

7) Fit the resistor at the weekend in the rain

8) Stand back, chest puffed out, hands on hips, telling the neighbours you've just saved almost 700 quid :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • OBD.PNG
  • Resistor in place.PNG
  • Dash Small.jpg
  • Resistors small.jpg
  • Resitor Bag small.jpg

Edited by Briscoe76, 08 April 2018 - 02:45 PM.

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#2 bignev

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 11:39 PM

Chuffing brilliant that fella!!!


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#3 Eightpint

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 06:42 PM

Found that very interesting and one to remember as a get out of jail card.
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#4 Briscoe76

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 03:11 PM

Hopefully this will be of some use to someone if the same happens, which sadly I believe it a common thing :unsure:.

 

I've had the resistor in place for a week now, and its been working perfectly. About 300 miles covered faultlessly. It was playing on my mind about the whole thing being held together with electrical tape, so I decided to buy the ready made part from the chaps at www.custom300cshop.co.uk

 

Its the second time Ive used them, and they are really helpful, with fast deliveries.

 

The part I ordered was the swirl flap emulator

 

http://www.custom300...rtemulator.html

 

Its basically a resistor fitted into a purpose made, and very high quality plastic casing, which fits perfectly into the swirl flap plug. This should take the worry out of the electrical tape melting or degrading over time. It was £40, which some may say is a lot for a bit of plastic, however the fact that they have had these specially made, they fit perfectly, and they are a damn sight cheaper than a new swirl flap motor, I think its good value for money.

 

Pictures below if you fancy a look.

 

Cheers

 

Matt.

Attached Thumbnails

  • In Situ.jpg
  • Plug 1.jpg
  • Plug 2.jpg
  • Plug.jpg

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#5 Briscoe76

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 03:16 PM

Chuffing brilliant that fella!!!

 

Lol, glad you liked it :-)



#6 Briscoe76

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 03:19 PM

Found that very interesting and one to remember as a get out of jail card.

 

You never know, it could come in handy one day!. I do find it amazing though, that in all the literature for the car, nowhere does it mention the proper reason for the lightening bolt light to come on in a diesel model.



#7 phoboff

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 02:43 PM

A lovely well written post. My wife and I had a similar experience on the M5. Our car did not stop, just a dramatic loss of power. Wife consults the handbook, says "There is an explanation for a power station cooling tower with a lightening flash going through it...it is etc. etcetera!"

In my case it was a split air duct to turbo rubber ring (Chrysler rubber goods are very poor and prone to perishing). Now hear is the rub...

I was quoted £475 parts and labour to fix it at the Oxford Main dealers who supplied the car. I small independent did the job for £50. The rubber rings are the same as a Mercedes Sprinter van £16 the pair sold as an individual part. Chrysler UK  only service the whole intake/attenuator system (£285 + VAT.) The owner experience went down hill from then, Beru glow plug controller failure frying the plugs (replaced with NGK items), and an MOT failure by the Chrysler main dealer for "split" suspension bushes, they had just been replaced with the revised scalloped out (pre split) type.

The final straw was when the bolsters on the front seats biodegraded into shards of brittle plastic. The bolsters are trimmed in cheap "nuagahide" a nasty poor quality rexine. Chrysler refused any liability and wanted over £400 + vat each for front cushion covers. Nice car but it had to go. Strange thing is I really miss it!

 

 

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#8 andyp

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 11:04 AM

Hi folks, having owned my 300C for 2 weeks, this has happened to me. Ordered the resistors which turned up yesterday, but when I went to fit one, that little plug shown in the picture just in front of the turbo isn't there!  Has it been pulled up from below for the sake of the picture or should it be sat there in plain sight?

 

Any suggestions really appreciated as the wife is far from pleased with me for buying the car in the first place only to have it go kaput shortly afterwards :(

 

Andy

Hopefully this will be of some use to someone if the same happens, which sadly I believe it a common thing :unsure:.

 

I've had the resistor in place for a week now, and its been working perfectly. About 300 miles covered faultlessly. It was playing on my mind about the whole thing being held together with electrical tape, so I decided to buy the ready made part from the chaps at www.custom300cshop.co.uk

 

Its the second time Ive used them, and they are really helpful, with fast deliveries.

 

The part I ordered was the swirl flap emulator

 

http://www.custom300...rtemulator.html

 

Its basically a resistor fitted into a purpose made, and very high quality plastic casing, which fits perfectly into the swirl flap plug. This should take the worry out of the electrical tape melting or degrading over time. It was £40, which some may say is a lot for a bit of plastic, however the fact that they have had these specially made, they fit perfectly, and they are a damn sight cheaper than a new swirl flap motor, I think its good value for money.

 

Pictures below if you fancy a look.

 

Cheers

 

Matt.



#9 Briscoe76

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 11:50 AM

Hello mate. Yep it’s there, you just need to remove the black plastic air intake pipe on the front of the turbo, below that is the swirl motor. You’ll see the plug plugged into the motor. You also have to remove a bracket if I remember. Unplug it from the motor and fit the resistor. Tape it down well and hey presto you’re back.



Hi folks, having owned my 300C for 2 weeks, this has happened to me. Ordered the resistors which turned up yesterday, but when I went to fit one, that little plug shown in the picture just in front of the turbo isn't there!  Has it been pulled up from below for the sake of the picture or should it be sat there in plain sight?
 
Any suggestions really appreciated as the wife is far from pleased with me for buying the car in the first place only to have it go kaput shortly afterwards :(
 
Andy



#10 andyp

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 09:35 PM

Thanks mate; will give it my best shot tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed!  A mobile mechanic told me it was the turbo actuator. Will try this fix and hope it gets me out of jail. If not, it seems like a turbo actuator is going to be major expense :(

Hello mate. Yep it’s there, you just need to remove the black plastic air intake pipe on the front of the turbo, below that is the swirl motor. You’ll see the plug plugged into the motor. You also have to remove a bracket if I remember. Unplug it from the motor and fit the resistor. Tape it down well and hey presto you’re back.


 



#11 Briscoe76

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 04:11 AM

That’s the other thing it can also be. There’s a quick check you can do on the actuator. Have someone turn the ignition on and off slowly. You stand and look at the turbo. You can see the actuator pop up every time thenignition is turned on.

Are you on Facebook? If you are join this group. I’m on there along with hundreds of other 300 owners. Whatever problem crops up, I guarantee someone can help ??????

https://www.facebook...ubuk/?ref=share

#12 andyp

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 04:13 PM

Fantastic, I'll join the Facebook page. Here's a weird thing....did the cheap fix this morning and when I started the car after that, it coughed and spluttered just the same so I thought, OK, just my like. I then had to drive it a couple of miles 10 minutes later and it behaved perfectly. Will test it a bit harder this evening, could be just a coincidence I guess.

 

That’s the other thing it can also be. There’s a quick check you can do on the actuator. Have someone turn the ignition on and off slowly. You stand and look at the turbo. You can see the actuator pop up every time thenignition is turned on.

Are you on Facebook? If you are join this group. I’m on there along with hundreds of other 300 owners. Whatever problem crops up, I guarantee someone can help ??????

https://www.facebook...ubuk/?ref=share



#13 9aZa

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:50 PM

Hi everyone out of interest looking on the net the 4k7 resistors show various watts  from .25 upwards question what ones do we use for the swirl motor mod thanks.



#14 stemerlin

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 05:10 PM

This something i will have ago at tomorrow as my 300c has all these symptoms even the occasional stall. fingers crossed. i will post an update once i get the resisters. 



#15 Killuminati

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:08 PM

This something i will have ago at tomorrow as my 300c has all these symptoms even the occasional stall. fingers crossed. i will post an update once i get the resisters. 

 

Did you get the resistors? Just wondering if you managed to fix it. I'm getting the same issue today



#16 Killuminati

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:18 PM

I just had an oil leak repaired at my garage, since I got the car back the lightning bolt is now coming on and also the engine light and I'm having loss of power.

There's a strange burning smell coming from my engine.. Does anybody have any ideas what this burning smell could be? 

 

Cheers



#17 Johndeep

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 11:00 PM

Lol, glad you liked it :-)



#18 Johndeep

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 11:04 PM

Hello there I love your post it was really helpful. I want to get that part on the link you posted but the website doesn't ask me for my address lol or are my doing something wrong or missing something out? Or do I need to pay for it first before it asks for my address? If you could tell me if you know I'd really appreciate it thanks

#19 eduanschau

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 12:25 PM

Hi guys

My case was 100% the same as Briscoe76 and I`d like to thank him for this post, very detailed and helpful.

So I followed the instructions on the post, purchased the resistor and did the procedure.

The lightning bolt has gone "aleluia"  , however, the Engine light remains On all the time, the car is running smooth, I took it at 160Km/h and it's fine.

Any idea on why is that light still on??

 



#20 TBirdNeil

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 11:57 AM

I am so grateful to you for this. My car cut out Saturday morning with this fault. I dropped it at our locxal specialist auto-engineer and got it back Tuesaday with a bill for £140 and a 'hot relay' replaced. Last night it recurred so I went a Googling and came across your post. I ordered the emulator from the custom shop last night. Sincere thanks and I hope to buy you a pint one day.






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