Mercedes-Benz Actros – the problems you need to know about

Commercial Motor
May 2, 2023

Mercedes is keen to emphasise the longevity of its Actros, and that’s not a claim without substance when we’ve both heard and seen documentary evidence of clutches lasting for more than 750,000km and brake discs for 450,000km.

The B10 life of an Actros truck – that’s the time within which 10% of a product will have failed – currently stands at 1.2 million kms, but operators say it’s worth looking out for the following:

1) Early models (pre-63 plate) had water ingress via the wiring looms, which tracked down inside and damaged ECUs. There is a fix now, but it is worth checking that it’s been done.

2) TCM module (gearbox control) leaks air on Euro-5 and early Euro-6 models. Again, check for replacement – a major VOR failure.

3) We have heard multiple reports that all Euro-5 and -6 engines are mildly prone to engine management and AdBlue warnings on the dash, which largely turn out to be AdBlue sensor issues, although some pump replacements were needed as well. Check history for replacement.

4) Grill-mounted radiator vents are designed to be variable, opening up as the engine warms. Issues have been reported with these sticking.

5) “Consumer shutdown” battery-saving system for when the vehicle is parked up: some earlier models bleeped to inform drivers when low voltage triggered the system, waking them up.

6) First generation run-up ramps are stronger than the chassis. Reports of chassis actually bending when drivers tried to pick up loaded trailers from sloped docking bays. The ramp spec has since been changed so they should now bend first.

7) Euro-6 is better than Euro-5 on fuel, with version two being better again, but using more AdBlue.

8) Wiper motors are prone to early failure, according to some of the operators we spoke to.

9) Retractable catwalk steps have been known to fall down – due to poor catches.

10) Failure of the release cable on factory-fitted fridge drawers, and interiors can rattle.

11) Front corner scoops near headlamps have been known to develop rattles on higher mileage examples.

12) Kerb mirrors, in exceptional circumstances, work themselves loose of their mountings.

13) Bottom corner panels and front bumpers are excessively prone to damage due to being mounted so low.

14) Cruise control and driver’s side window switches are prone to showing wear. Light coloured bunk and walls attract stains.

15) Excessive use of headlight bulbs. This doesn’t affect vehicles using xenon lights, so perhaps consider changing.


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