Greetings to all--
First, I have to say that this community is plain awesome. I purchased my very first car one month ago--a white 1999 E320 sedan. She has 176k miles on her but looks and feels almost like new, and she offers a magnificent ride, especially for me as a rather tall driver (6'3''). I am from Germany, and it amazes me how you can buy a luxurious, well-maintained high-mileage Benz here in California for the same money you would pay for an ordinary, less safe, less comfortable, less enjoyable, and not even necessarily more economical and reliable used car.
I bought her from the original owner, a very nice local person with whom I have stayed in contact since. The car has a virtually complete service record. She also had a new (rebuilt) transmission installed at 110k miles in 2007 which has already been serviced once, so that should rule out one major issue of concern. She had also some other things replaced, inter alia the EGR valve assembly 60k miles ago and the water pump and one of the catalysts about 30k miles ago. The engine runs very smoothly, the only thing is that it's a bit oily and dirty on the outside because there was an oil leak at the front cover plate that was repaired only one year after it had first been detected.
Reading through threads on the W210 forum has already enabled me to change the air filter, cabin filter, clean the MAF sensor (there was no error code yet, but I did it nonetheless since the current one is already 70k miles old; and indeed, the car is significantly more responsive in the low RPM range now), and tackle a few other small things that I otherwise wouldn't have thought of doing myself. Soon I'll try to clean the throttle, and also to re-torque the screws on the breather and valve covers as recommended on the forum, since there seems to be just a minuscule amount of oil leaking out there at some places.
I am actually more of a bicyclist, and I have taught myself doing all my bike repairs and maintenance myself. Now I look forward to slowly acquiring some car DIY skills, too, in order to keep costs low and to keep her in the shape she deserves
Again, I really like this forum, and I appreciate the competence and helpfulness of many members posting here. This is internet at its best