Stumbled across an E320 wagon w/60,000 miles.... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Stumbled across an E320 wagon w/60,000 miles....

Hi, all.

Been a member here for a few years and a proud owner of a 560sl.

I recently came across a privately owned 2002 0r 2003 E320 wagon with only 60K mile. It is located in SC, but I don't yet if it's always been here. Based on the rust belt issues, I'm hoping that is the case.

Manufactured June or July of 2002 per the door sticker.

Is this definitely a 2002 model year based on manufacture? I wasn't sure when the year models switched over.

I was told that the 2003 model year kept the 210 body but incorporated 211 sedan bits.

Is this accurate info? The value between the two model years is a significant $1600 per NADA.

I've read up a good bit on some of the known issues and was curious if the suspensions/ball joint issues are issues on all cars or only salt exposed vehicles? And, if they were addressed early on, were the new parts improved to prevent subsequent failures or should one expect to replace these items again down the road.

Any help appreciated.

Thanks!



1987 560sl, 3rd owner, 120K miles
2003 E320 wagon, non-4matic, 61,000 miles.
2004 Acura TL, 6 speed, 95K miles
1964 Chevy G-10 Panel Van, 350 V-8
2001 Infiniti QX4

Parts wanted: Excellent condition, color matched 3rd brake light, washer fluid bottle, hood heat shield material, driver's side chrome latch for convertible top, passenger side chrome cover for seatbelt on side of seat.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 09:36 PM
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2003 E320 wagon was still W210. It did not incorporate W211 bits. 2002 and 2003 wagon were all W210, including all flaws of W210, which as you noted, rust. And yes, all W210 years were susceptible, not just a specific model year.

And yes, new parts would've been improved upon the old part, especially the spring perch. But then again, the only 100% fool proof way to confirm that the spring perch is healthy is to actually take out the spring with a spring compressor. Someone gotta pay for that labor. It is most definitely not included in PPI.

However, the E320 4matic uses a different spring perch and is not susceptible to rust like regular RWD W210.
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--1998 MB E300TD 285k
--1997 MB E320 198k
--2004 Dodge Ram 5.7L 212k and holding (damn gas guzzler)
--2011 Suzuki DL650 44k
--1997 MB E320 161k. SOLD...loved that stupid car.
--1998 MB ML320 207k. SOLD, thank heavens!
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 04:26 AM
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Living in the rust belt is less terrifying than it used to be. My '98 E320 is just now showing rust on the fender lips at 110,000 miles and having spent its entire life in SE MICHIGAN where the typical snow removal process is salt application. MB has very good rust prevention procedures. The underside of a rust belt vehicle may not look pretty, but I've found it not to be as much of a factor as it was in the 70's-90's.

In my experience cars age chronologically and by use. The car you describe has 15 years of age on the soft parts like rubber, plastic and upholstery. The low use can hide aging in springs and the A/C.
Brake fluid can also suffer with low use as it adsorbs water which leads to rust. Often the owner may not have followed the two year recommended replacement guideline.

In my case I found the serpentine belt tensioner to have weakened to approximately 1/2 of normal strength. I completely missed the A/C condition which lead to an expensive replacement of the evaporator.
Otherwise it's a solid vehicle which is passed to my daughter after driving for 4 years. Other normal wear items like motor mounts, transmission mount, front sway bar bushings and the flex disks are likely due for replacement soon.

As Deplore suggests, a PPI is a useful step. Also take the VIN to your local MB dealer and see what their records show. Ask the current owner what has been done and the use your own sense to decide.

This forum has a wealth of information on these vehicles along with plenty of experienced owners.

Happy hunting.

Skippy

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'07 E320 BlueTec
'98 E320
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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 09:39 AM
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I own one of these, and has been flawless at 193k. Now at 60k it can be a car that never gets a chance to warm up because it doing a few mile drives. Open up the oil filler cap for white-guck(looks like butter). A little bit is fine, but mounds of it like cake frosting is just not great in my camp. I have a few relatives that do about four one-mile trip through out the day, and their cars need oil changes every 1000 miles, and they wear their tires out quick from all the turning, yet for my 100 miles on the highway I may turn the wheel 30 times, yet my relatives will do 3000 turns for their 100 miles, and their oil is thick and black at 3k to 4k, so have the car inspected very well.

I do 80% highway and 20% city driving

Martin
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkippyJasper View Post
Living in the rust belt is less terrifying than it used to be. My '98 E320 is just now showing rust on the fender lips at 110,000 miles and having spent its entire life in SE MICHIGAN where the typical snow removal process is salt application. MB has very good rust prevention procedures. The underside of a rust belt vehicle may not look pretty, but I've found it not to be as much of a factor as it was in the 70's-90's.

In my experience cars age chronologically and by use. The car you describe has 15 years of age on the soft parts like rubber, plastic and upholstery. The low use can hide aging in springs and the A/C.
Brake fluid can also suffer with low use as it adsorbs water which leads to rust. Often the owner may not have followed the two year recommended replacement guideline.

In my case I found the serpentine belt tensioner to have weakened to approximately 1/2 of normal strength. I completely missed the A/C condition which lead to an expensive replacement of the evaporator.
Otherwise it's a solid vehicle which is passed to my daughter after driving for 4 years. Other normal wear items like motor mounts, transmission mount, front sway bar bushings and the flex disks are likely due for replacement soon.

As Deplore suggests, a PPI is a useful step. Also take the VIN to your local MB dealer and see what their records show. Ask the current owner what has been done and the use your own sense to decide.

This forum has a wealth of information on these vehicles along with plenty of experienced owners.

Happy hunting.

Skippy
Thanks, Skippy.

If I get the opportunity to purchase, I am going to have a PPI done. I called my intended Indy mechanic and he quoted only $85, so that is a bargain. He immediately said he loved this particular car as soon as I mentioned it and said he owned one prior to someone wrecking into him. His first and immediate suggestion was to do a transmission service for $250 if we didn't know the history. I presume that is a reasonable price? Oil changes were, I believe, $110. Is this normal? Seems high.

Regarding your A/C, what was it that you missed regarding the evaporator?

I am very familiar with the rubber bits concept that you mention after catching up my 560.

When you say the tensioner was 1/2 tight, that was based on age alone (older but with low miles?) or from mileage?



1987 560sl, 3rd owner, 120K miles
2003 E320 wagon, non-4matic, 61,000 miles.
2004 Acura TL, 6 speed, 95K miles
1964 Chevy G-10 Panel Van, 350 V-8
2001 Infiniti QX4

Parts wanted: Excellent condition, color matched 3rd brake light, washer fluid bottle, hood heat shield material, driver's side chrome latch for convertible top, passenger side chrome cover for seatbelt on side of seat.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkippyJasper View Post
Living in the rust belt is less terrifying than it used to be. My '98 E320 is just now showing rust on the fender lips at 110,000 miles and having spent its entire life in SE MICHIGAN where the typical snow removal process is salt application. MB has very good rust prevention procedures. The underside of a rust belt vehicle may not look pretty, but I've found it not to be as much of a factor as it was in the 70's-90's.

In my experience cars age chronologically and by use. The car you describe has 15 years of age on the soft parts like rubber, plastic and upholstery. The low use can hide aging in springs and the A/C.
Brake fluid can also suffer with low use as it adsorbs water which leads to rust. Often the owner may not have followed the two year recommended replacement guideline.

In my case I found the serpentine belt tensioner to have weakened to approximately 1/2 of normal strength. I completely missed the A/C condition which lead to an expensive replacement of the evaporator.
Otherwise it's a solid vehicle which is passed to my daughter after driving for 4 years. Other normal wear items like motor mounts, transmission mount, front sway bar bushings and the flex disks are likely due for replacement soon.

As Deplore suggests, a PPI is a useful step. Also take the VIN to your local MB dealer and see what their records show. Ask the current owner what has been done and the use your own sense to decide.

This forum has a wealth of information on these vehicles along with plenty of experienced owners.

Happy hunting.

Skippy
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAVA View Post
I own one of these, and has been flawless at 193k. Now at 60k it can be a car that never gets a chance to warm up because it doing a few mile drives. Open up the oil filler cap for white-guck(looks like butter). A little bit is fine, but mounds of it like cake frosting is just not great in my camp. I have a few relatives that do about four one-mile trip through out the day, and their cars need oil changes every 1000 miles, and they wear their tires out quick from all the turning, yet for my 100 miles on the highway I may turn the wheel 30 times, yet my relatives will do 3000 turns for their 100 miles, and their oil is thick and black at 3k to 4k, so have the car inspected very well.

I do 80% highway and 20% city driving

Martin
Thanks, Martin, for the input.

When you say flawless, you certainly can't mean that it didn't need anything. I presume you did the normal stuff in terms of the failing suspension parts, transmission plate, etc?

I totally get the concept of cars needing to be driven. Cars that sit, especially with complex fuel systems, don't do well.

Thanks in advance.



1987 560sl, 3rd owner, 120K miles
2003 E320 wagon, non-4matic, 61,000 miles.
2004 Acura TL, 6 speed, 95K miles
1964 Chevy G-10 Panel Van, 350 V-8
2001 Infiniti QX4

Parts wanted: Excellent condition, color matched 3rd brake light, washer fluid bottle, hood heat shield material, driver's side chrome latch for convertible top, passenger side chrome cover for seatbelt on side of seat.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 03:02 PM
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Nkn560,

It was my mistake on the A/C. I didn't know enough on what to look for and presumed that some work was needed (like an evacuation and refill).

The tensioner took some time to diagnose. The belt was tight enough for low to moderate electrical uses.
I had a trip from Buffalo, NY to home in SE Michigan during cooler weather and it rained the entire trip. When I parked in the garage there was a pronounced burning rubber smell and the battery was slow to start the car the next morning.
Following that I decided to replace the tensioner and measured the force required to move the old and new units. The old unit took 25 ft lbs and the new was 50 ft lbs.
After that there was no more issue with a higher electric load.

The transmission maintenance seems reasonable. At a minimum it will need 4+ quarts for a pan drop and the whole trans holds 12. Add to that for a filter, gasket and time. An important element to every trans maintenance is replacement of the electric connector. Only use a genuine MB unit which is about $15. This connector has two O rings that leak over time and can bugger things up. Simple to replace when the pan is drained - slightly tricky when pan is full.

Engine oil maintenance uses 9 quarts of 0-40 Mobil 1 along with a fleece filter. The oil can be had from Wally World though I buy the filters from Autohausaz or similar (sometimes the dealer). The price you mention is in the ball park.

Skippy
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Skippy,
Current Garage
'08 320ML
'07 E320 BlueTec
'98 E320
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkn560sl View Post
Thanks, Martin, for the input.

When you say flawless, you certainly can't mean that it didn't need anything. I presume you did the normal stuff in terms of the failing suspension parts, transmission plate, etc?

I totally get the concept of cars needing to be driven. Cars that sit, especially with complex fuel systems, don't do well.

Thanks in advance.
I mean California to New York reliability-Just hop in the and go to New York today.. A W210 is a very reliable car over a W211 by 10 fold. I do not baby my car. I haul construction materials, and transmissions in mine. I love the self leveling function on these wagons. The other day I hauled 1,300lbs of Laminate Flooring-Filled the back.. I have hauled close to 1500lb of Lava Rock a few times from the building supply, and since I rebuild transmissions. I have had three 722.6's in the back, but the trannies are light as they weigh about 220lbs with torque converter each...The Next endevour may be a M119 long block for my buddies S500

When you get yours, Change ALLLLLL the fluids.... Change the coolant as old coolant can lead to head gasket problems. Use distilled water to flush and fill. Use Zerex G05 from Napa it is approved for the Mercedes Cars... Change those differential fluids. The transfer box is a separate reservoir; even though, it is the same fluid as the transmission, and is known not to be changed as frequent as the others. Change that thermostat too. A new thermostat just gives you better economy as the engine warms up quicker. New overflow tank cap as one needs to change that every few years too. I change mine every three to four years. I'd change the radiator hoses, and the overflow tank hose... Do not forget the hydraulic fluid for the rear suspension-Do a fluid exchange, but you may need accumulators on the rear rams(the shocks as everyone calls them). The shock function is done by the accumulators(they are easy to replace, and cost about $100 each-you need two, The are good for 50k miles or so)I just seek that California to New York reliability... The last one.. Change your fuel filter


Ahhh one problem the rust-belt people go through with these Self-Leveling cars is the valve, and node around the rear differential tends to get rusted-out, and one day you may find the wagon doing the LOW RIDER. Take a look at those hydraulic lines for the suspension back there, and the metal distribution block. The killer is you destroy your tandem pump up in the engine area because you lost all your hydraulic fluid, and did not act quick. The pump in the wagon like a W140 S500/S600 does two functions-Power Steering and Hydraulic Pump for the rear suspension.

All the best,

Martin
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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Martin.

That makes perfect sense. This car is part of an estate. We handle estate sales for people and I would normally be offering the car for sale to the folks in our customer base. Most of them will see a low miles car and think this is something they should pay a lot for if it runs and shifts well. They would not have this kind of information unless they really went digging to learn.

After reading on my own and after reading your posts, it is clear to me that paying full book value is not a good idea unless most of these components have been addressed. I am eager to see what the previous owner has done over the years.

Your advice about fluids is spot on. The Indy guy I hope to use immediately said change fluids and started quoting prices for various services. I almost feel that I need to leave myself $1500-$2,000 to get all this done if I don't attempt any of it myself. I have read that these cars are fairly easy to service, but "handy' is not in my vocab. I do think I could do basic hoses if access and basic tools are all that is required.

I appreciate your taking the time to list all of these things. You are clearly enthusiastic about the wagon and the 210 platform as a whole. I had posted on a Facebook MB page for advice as well, and the general consensus is that these are great cars if properly maintained.

I will definitely update if I end up with it!

Best regards,

Lee
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1987 560sl, 3rd owner, 120K miles
2003 E320 wagon, non-4matic, 61,000 miles.
2004 Acura TL, 6 speed, 95K miles
1964 Chevy G-10 Panel Van, 350 V-8
2001 Infiniti QX4

Parts wanted: Excellent condition, color matched 3rd brake light, washer fluid bottle, hood heat shield material, driver's side chrome latch for convertible top, passenger side chrome cover for seatbelt on side of seat.
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 09:23 PM
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Unfortunately with used car buying it is never easy prediction and PPI is having lot of limits to it.
I bought meticulously dealer-maintained 2008 model with 163k miles on it.
Last service was done about 1500 miles before I picked up the car from Ford dealership, where it was traded.
You might expect that after all the money PO spend at dealer the car will not need much work?
Not so. Even the car look new outside, under the hood, (where female owner never looked) I found lot of kinked and crack hose, missing clips, packed air filters and about 30 lb of gunk from old leaks and oil spills.
Beside quite few days it took me $600 in parts to bring the car closer to 7 sec it suppose to take to accelerate to 100.
You want the car to last and perform >>> DIY
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