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Pete, Mercedes Mechanic
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 28762
Experience:  Over 15 years experience as a Mercedes dealer technician
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2003 SL500: ABC warning light (red display..intermittently

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2003 SL500. ABC warning light (red display: please drive carefully) comes on intermittently. A few days ago it came on every time I started the car, and the car was very 'bouncy' so clearly the ABC was not working. However, for the last couple of days the warning light has not been coming on, and the ABC is working again. Just once, the diagnostic message came up, saying to visit workshop. What is the most likely cause of this? Is it a sensor issue, or is some component of the ABC system faulty?

Hello,I will be glad to try and assist you with this,Welcome to Just Answer.


I just need a little more info to try and assist better.


Have you noticed any fluid leaks on the ground at all lately?


Was anything done to the vehicle right before thei message started to appear?


Did you notice the vehicle low to the ground on any sides when this message displayed or was it bouncy on one particular side of the vehicle?


Let me know and we can continue from here,Thanks Pete!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
haven't noticed any fluid leaks, but I will check where the car is parked every night when I move it this morning.

no, nothing was done to the vehicle recently. it was serviced a few weeks ago, but no repairs.

no, didn't notice the vehicle being low to the ground. the first time that the message appeared, I was entering a parking garage, which had a large dip as I crossed over the sidewalk, which makes the roof creak as the car body shifts because one wheel is higher than the others (if you see what I mean).

when the ABC was not working, it just seemed very bouncy all over; most noticeable when crossing bumps on the freeway. with no feedback from ABC, there was very little dampening.

O.k.,this can be caused by a valve block issue that distrbutes the fluid to the hydraulic shockes when needed to support the vehicle and ride and as well as to raise the vehicle.


The pump for this system is a tandem pump pumping both the power steering fluid and the hydraulic fluid for the abc suspension system,I dont think you have a pump problem here as in most cases the power steering would fail as well if it were.


You dont have any leaking shocks as there has been no leaks on the vehicle so what I think you have failing here is possibly a valve block that distributes the fluid and maintains the pressures and levels,this can bew common.


This vehicle most likely has two of these so the best way to find out which one or what is failing is to have the vehicle hooked up to the Mercedes dealers SDS machine to read out and repair any fault codes.Most likely they will find a valve block concern here that is at fault.


These can cost somewhere around $300 and can take up to 4 hours or more to install and bleed the abc suspension system.


Let me know if you need anything else,click accept if you feel satisfied with your answer as this is how I get credited for my time,Thanks Pete!

Pete and 7 other Mercedes Specialists are ready to help you

There are a few different bulletins out for abc suspension faults and different fixes as well but the code would have to be checked with a dealers sds machine first to see what codes are set and to see if any of these bulletins apply from what codes are retrieved.


Thanks Pete!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I saw some smoke from the front of my car today. I looked under the hood, and I see that the oil from the ABC system has leaked in the engine bay. It seems to be from the top of the ABC oil reservoir. I checked the lid of the reservoir, and it is tightly closed, and there are no obvious leaks. Do you think that this is the cause of the problem, or a symptom?

If the fluid is leaking from the top of the reservoir then most likely this is a symptom of the problem.


This will have to be checked by a dealer to locate a valve block or pump concern as well as any other concern that could cause this.


This doesn't sound like the problem but more a reaction from the problem,a dealer can check codes to see if any component is failing and is causing the reaction.


This fluid can become flammable under certain heat so it would be best to have this checked and repaired as soon as possible.


Thanks Pete!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
okay, thanks. the car is checked in to the garage on Monday for another repair, and they are checking the codes then. I'll clean up the spilled oil.
Your welcome,hopefully the repair will be inexpensive,Thanks Pete!Have a great weekend!