Mercedes TRP: Theft-Relevant Parts

Good news! As of Jan 2012, Autobahn Performance Inc. is a licensed locksmith with a NASTF LSID locksmith ID.

We can acquire TRP parts and repair your vehicle without you being forced to go the dealer.

From NASTF’s website:

quotation marks  The NASTF VSP [Vehicle Security Professional] Registry program allows access to security-related information while protecting the safety and security of consumers and the integrity of automobile security systems."

TRP History, starting in 2008:

Mercedes-Benz USA tightened the reins on their sales of theft-relevant parts on November 10, 2008, when they announced:

quotation marks  A new worldwide Mercedes-Benz anti-theft policy went into effect at Mercedes-Benz USA on November 10, 2008. This policy has specific requirements for the ordering and delivery of Theft-Relevant Parts (TRPs), which may require you to get information from the vehicle owner to place an order for certain spare parts. In addition, for certain theft-relevant parts, such as electronic keys, electronic ignition switches, infrared and other locking control units, it's mandatory for the dealer to install them. Please contact your local dealer for a copy of the policy so you can be better prepared to help them protect all Mercedes-Benz vehicles from theft."

Industry Reaction

Please visit Bob Beckmann's great website that explains TRP and the difficulty shops like ours will face in the future if the parts that manufacturers can classify as TRP and their availability to the aftermarket is not limited by the lawmakers.

Our Action Plan

At Autobahn Performance Inc. we are trying to work with our local dealer and with other affiliates to work through -- if not around -- this problem.

[1] Keys: electronic and traditional blade type (also green and orange programming keys)

[2] Electronic Ignition Switch EZL

[3] Infrared Control Unit, Drive Authorization Module DAS

[4] Locks and Lock Cylinders: mechanical and electronic

[5] Electronic Selector / Shift Lever Modules (electronic shifter assembly) on models 215, 220 and 230 only

[6] Transmission gear control unit (Electronic Valve Body on 722.9 G-tronic transmissions only)

[7] Engine Control Module

[8] Flashware or repair CD's

[9] Certain Airbag / SRS supplemental restraint system cables, etc.

[10] Body Shell, certain body panels, and components

These descriptions of parts listed by Mercedes are very vague and could involve a majority of the repairs we perform at Autobahn Performance Inc. We have the equipment and the capability to install these parts.

What’s Mercedes’ Intent?

It is insulting that Mercedes and our local Mercedes dealers that we purchase parts from don't trust us or think that we're stealing vehicles or parts. If the dealers correctly fill out the paperwork and forms on the theft-relevant parts we purchase, there would be an obvious paper trail leading back to us, if a vehicle we had repaired were reported stolen.

There is no way, for any amount of money, Autobahn Performance Inc. would knowingly become involved in the theft of a vehicle and jeopardize our reputation and name for the minimal profit of selling stolen vehicles or parts. Our annual sales averages are in the millions of dollars without the aid of stolen vehicles or parts.

Not entirely logical

Some of the parts listed seem to have no relevance to the possibility of using the part to steal a vehicle. How could you steal a vehicle with an ignition lock cylinder (with no key to it), or with an unprogrammed engine control unit (ME control unit)? The only way that I can see is if you use that part to throw through and smash the glass window of a locked vehicle to gain access to the interior of that vehicle.

A dealership windfall?

I hope Mercedes is not trying to corner their share of the repair market by requiring customers to have their vehicle repaired at the dealer. This would be a monopoly and should be illegal. The dealerships seem to be using the TRP policy to their advantage by selectively enforcing their interpretation of the policy and requiring that vehicles be brought to them to be repaired when the sale of parts is refused due to the policy's vague guidelines.

Mercedes’ Motives

I think that the reason Mercedes is pressing this issue is to keep insurance costs on their vehicles down. If the vehicle is harder to steal or fewer are stolen, the customer's insurance cost for that vehicle will be lower. In turn, Mercedes should sell more cars due to a lower cost of ownership.

If anyone has any further information or updates on this policy, please contact me. I would like to hear your stories and ideas on this subject.

jason@autobahnperf.com

Misery log from the past

6/22/2009 refused sale of an instrument cluster for a 2005 Mercedes CLK55 AMG. Customer's cluster was totally dead: no communication and nothing at all lit up or moved. The vehicle still drove fine but soft top operation was locked out, probably due to the vehicle speed signal not being distributed on the CAN bus due to the failed cluster. The convertible top control module needs to know the vehicle speed to make sure the top is not being operated while the vehicle is in motion. We have the technology and the equipment to install the new cluster, but Mercedes and our local dealer, Mercedes of Ft. Lauderdale, refused to sell us the replacement part. The part has been ordered from an outside source and we should have the vehicle repaired for the customer in three to four days. This is normally a one day job if the parts are available locally.

Mercedes 2005 Mercedes CLK55 AMG instrument cluster

7/7/2009 Refused sale of RCL or DAS module of a 2000 Mercedes SLK 230. Part number is 168 820 0326. This vehicle has a current or hard code in the RCL locking system of B1000 internal module failure. This code will not clear / is always present. The customer also has a problem with intermittent engine CAN communication problems; when this occurs the transmission goes into limp home mode and does not shift. This problem may or may not be related to the DAS module but its replacement is warranted due to the B1000 code. We got the module from another source and it corrected the fault code. With this part alone there is no way to jeopardize the security of this vehicle.

DAS module of a 2000 Mercedes SLK 230

6/2011

Mercedes now will not sell 722.9 valve bodies or conductor plate control units. Even with the TRP paperwork completed. The newer Mercedes 7 speed transmissions (also called G-tronic) have the electronic control unit mounted inside the transmission these control units are failing frequently; with speed sensor codes (the usual codes are related to speed sensor faults). The speed sensors are not replaceable as they are part of the electrical conductor plate that bolts to the valve body inside the bottom of the transmission. The transmission does not need to be removed to replace the valve body or the conductor plate. A valve body does come complete with the conductor plate / control unit. Early valve bodys must be replaced as a complete unit but later second or third generation units can be repaired by just replacing the conductor plate / control unit assembly. We have replaced many of these and have the capability of performing the SCN coding to complete the installation of this repair.

complete 722.9 valve body with conductor plate
722.9 valve body electrical conductor plate with control unit, solenoids, speed sensors

These units are failing so offen that the dealer has restricted selling them even in their own shop. To order a part the dear must submit a request with computer scans and control unit log reports of the suspected failed vehicles electronics. The factory then sends the parts they deem necessary for the repair (conductor plate assembly or complete valvebody)

It is rumored that Siemens VDO the manufacturer of the electrical control units is in a battle with Mercedes over the validity of failing units. Why should an internal problem with Mercedes and its suppliers affect our ability to acquire parts and repair our customer’s vehicle? Mercedes is requiring the vehicles be brought into one of their dealers for any valve body or conductor plate repair even if the vehicle is not covered under warranty and the customer is paying for it. In our customers view this would be perceived as an inability for us to repair their vehicle and give the dealers an unfair advantage at gaining the customers business. One customer lost for life could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

10/19/2012

We installed our first 722.9 valve body since the dealer-only ban! We probably have had 75 - 100 missed sales on valve bodies and conductor plates alone. We have a non-local (can aquire next or second day) source. Installed and SCN coded with no problems. Our source told us we would not be able to install the part and that the vehicle would need to be towed to a Mercedes dealer for installation. We installed and coded this module to the car with no problems or delays. If your vehicle needs a new valve body we can again get this part and install it in your vehicle, saving you money and keeping you from having to go to the dealer. Please call 954-771-5181 for more information

9/2011 Refused sale of ME (engine control module) for 2006 Mercedes SLK280 part number 272-153-5591 inv31454 many many many more in between 10/18/2012 Refused sale of ISM (Intelegen Sevo Module) for 2006 Merceds R350 Maurice inv34509 12/11/2012 refused sale of valve bodies on two vehicles inv 34953 inv 34957