The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2006 Mercedes-Benz E350, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Driver Air Bag Circuit High Resistance

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE10017

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: May 14, 2010
    • Date Closed: November 24, 2010
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal
    Electrical System
    Electrical System:Wiring
    Electrical System:Wiring:Interior/Under Dash

    Summary: Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has reported a high number of warranty claims for air bag warning lamp illumination due to a diagnostic fault code 9103 or 9123 indicating a high resistance in the driver's frontal air bag firing circuit.MBUSA's testing and evaluation have shown that this condition is the result of a faulty connector (specifically, improper wire crimp) but that it will not prevent proper deployment of the driver's frontal air bag.The faulty connector can cause the air bag circuit resistance levels to exceed the threshold that illuminates the air bag warning lamp, but they do not exceed a higher limit at which proper deployment of the air bag may no longer occur.The agency believes that further expenditure of agency resources does not appear to be warranted at this time.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.The agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances.During the investigation, ODI learned that MBUSA will initiate a warranty extension program to address the faulty connectors in subject model year 2005 and 2006 E-Class and other MBUSA model/model year vehicles.This action will extend the warranty coverage for this issue to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first.MBUSA will notify all affected vehicle owners of this action.A bulletin describing this program is available in the investigative file.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Fuel Leakage From The Fuel Tank

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA13003

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 15, 2013
    • Date Closed: December 19, 2014
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery:Fuel Pump
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened this investigation on January 23, 2012 as PE12-001 based on 20 consumer reports in model year (MY) 2003-2006 E55 AMG vehicles.Based on new reports in other E-Class vehicles, ODI upgraded the investigation to Engineering Analysis (EA) 13-003 on March 15, 2013, and expanded the scope to all E-Class vehicles through MY 2008.The complainants alleged a strong odor of gasoline fuel both inside and outside of their vehicle, particularly after refilling the fuel tank.Many of the complainants noted that the odor subsided or went away after driving some distance thereby lowering the fuel level in the tank.Other owners reported they would only fill the tank to about three quarters full to avoid the odor altogether.Some complainants alleged fuel leaked from the fuel filter/sender, located on the top of the fuel tank on the driver's side, and collected on top of the tank.There were also allegations that the fuel leaks were associated with an Emissions Recall Campaign (No. 2008020001) conducted by Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes) in 2008 on MY 2003-2006 E-Class and CLS-Class AMG models.The issue in the recall involved small cracks in the pressurized outlet fitting of the fuel filter/sender.AMG vehicles are high performance models that operate at higher fuel pressure and use a different fuel filter/sender and fuel pump than non-AMG models.Information on Recall No. 2008020001 is available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.EPA.gov.ODI's investigation found various leak sources that are unrelated to the outlet fitting cited in the EPA recall campaign.Through interviews with complainants, field inspections of complaint vehicles, and the collection and laboratory analysis of failed parts, three identifiable leak sources were found.The component parts and areas of the leaks involve the On-Board Diagnostic fuel tank pressure sensor (located on top of the fuel filter/sender), the outlet of the centrally mounted fuel tank fuel filling limiter valve, and the top of the fuel pump. These areas of leakage are located at the top of the fuel tank in unpressurized parts of the fuel system. When the tank is full, fuel can slowly weep/seep from micro-cracks in these components and may collect in cavities on top of the filter/sender, pump, or tank.Contrary to complainant's allegations that fuel entered the inside of their vehicle under the rear seat bench, neither ODI nor Mercedes found a plausible way for this to occur.The fuel tank is located outside of the passenger compartment, attached to the underside of the vehicle.The service access ports for the fuel filter/sender (driver's side) and fuel pump (passenger's side) are located under the rear seat bench, covered by a steel plate, sealed and bolted to the vehicle floor.When technicians service the fuel filter/sender, which has a regularly scheduled 60,000 mile service interval, and/or the fuel pump, the work is performed from inside the vehicle by working through the access ports.By letter dated September 4, 2014, Mercedes has notified the agency that it will extend the original warranty coverage to 15 years and unlimited mileage on "Covered Fuel Tank Components" in E-Class vehicles in MY 2003-2009 and CLS-Class vehicles in MY 2006-2011.The covered fuel tank components for the warranty extension include the fuel tank, fuel filter/sender, fuel pump, and all related gaskets/seals and retention rings.ODI is closing this investigation based on the manufacturer's extend warranty of the affected fuel system components and in consideration that the nature of the leaks does not appear to present an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.Additional information concerning this investigation, including a list of the above ODI reports and Vehicle Research and Test Center Report No. VRTC-DCD-3206, can be found at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues (search for EA13-003).