Shopping for a E430 (W210), what are some things I should know? Parts that should be - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Question Shopping for a E430 (W210), what are some things I should know? Parts that should be

Hi all, I've read the stickies and searched through the forum taking notes; but I know there's no replacement for experience. So any and all opinions are welcome.

I'm shopping for a E430 (W210) and am wondering what things I should be looking for. I'm aware of the rust & harmonic balancer issues.

Are any years better than others? Were most of the issues resolved by the 2002 model year?

Are there any options or packages I should avoid because they come with problems?

Since I'm not a mechanic I would take any car I'm considering to a shop to have them do a pre-purchase inspection. Should I have a dealer do the PPI or should I have an independent shop do it?

Does a shop being "Bosch Certified" mean they're trained to work on Mercedes? How can I tell if an independent shop really knows mercedes well?

I found a website called Mercedes-Benz Repair Shops - Find a Mercedes Mechanic | BenzShops.com which lists some, and I thought I could use Yelp to help narrow the list. Are there any other ways to find a shop that would be proficient at servicing a mercedes?

What should a PPI consist of? What should I make sure they inspect prior to buying?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm also trying to figure out what I should get replaced which may possibly cause problems if it degrades and it's not noticed (gaskets, hoses, belts, bushings etc..).

Where I live (southern oregon) there is no room for a lift, and the ground isn't flat enough to put the car on jacks with any confidence; so I would either have to find somewhere that would let me rent time on a lift, or else pay someone to do the work for me.

This is why I would like to have anything which could fail and cause damage preventatively replaced all in one go (hopefully at a discount for doing one big job).

  • What are the things which should definitely be replaced?
and at how many years / miles?
  • What are the things which should probably be replaced?
and at how many years / miles?
  • What are the things which would need replacing but wont cause damage to other parts / systems if they fail?
and at how many years / miles?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm looking at cars with anywhere from 70,000 - 220,000 miles. Most are around 120,000 miles.

I was reading through the forums and looking at some parts catalogs and trying to come up with a list of parts which should be replaced to make sure it runs like new for as long as possible.

If something is bound to need replacing, given the car is 12 years old & will probably have over 100,000 miles; I would rather replace it before it starts leaking, breaks, etc.. and potentially damages other parts/systems.

continued....
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Question

When looking at cars & their service records are there some things that I should check for being changed at different mileage or age intervals?

From the A & B service manual I downloaded, I know Coolant is every 3 years, Brake Fluid every 2 years, Oil & Oil Filter/gasket every 10k miles, spark plugs every 100k miles, & Fuel Filter 60k miles or 4 years.

How long do X last? Which will probably go bad with mileage and/or age?

Engine:
  • Water Pump?
  • Serpentine Belt? (or is it a V-Belt?)
  • Tensioner & Pulley?
  • How often does the timing chain need to be tightened or adjusted?
  • Are there any parts in the timing chain assembly that wear out and need replacing? Timing Chain Link for double chain?
  • Chain Tightener (same as Chain Tensioner?)?
  • Timing Guide Rail?
  • Oil Pump?
  • Harmonic Balancer?
  • Head Gaskets?
  • Valve Cover Gaskets? (is this the same things as CYLINDER HEAD COVER Gasket?)
  • Intake Manifold Gaskets?
  • Exhaust Manifold Gaskets (1 per cylinder)?
  • Oil Pan Gasket?
  • Timing Cover Gasket?
  • Crankcase Breather (aka Ventilation) Hoses?
  • What other hoses should be replaced? (Cooling? Transmission? Vacuum? Pressure? HVAC? Exhaust? others?)
  • Does it use EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) Valve(s)? Does it vary by state or year? California vs federal?
  • Electric Air Pump?
  • Valve seat rings? Valve stem seals? Valve Retainers? Valve Keepers? Valves?
  • Camshaft seals?
  • other...?

Ignition system:
  • Spark plug tube seals?
  • Spark plug Caps?
  • Ignition Cable?
  • Ignition Coil?
  • Alternator?
  • other...?


Fuel System:
  • Fuel Pump?
  • Fuel Hose / Fuel Lines?
  • Activated Charcoal Filter?
  • Fuel Filler Cap?
  • Fuel tank / Expansion tank?
  • Fuel Injection Valves? O-rings?
  • other...?

Cooling system:
  • Radiator?
  • Cooling System Thermostat?
  • Coolant Resivour / expansion tank?
  • Radiator hoses?
  • Transmission Oil Cooler?
  • other...?

HVAC / Air conditioning system:
  • HVAC Operating Unit?
  • Blower?
  • Blower regulator? (evenness of the blowers?)
  • Refrigerant Compressor?
  • Compressor Coupler (Clutch) with solenoid?
  • Refrigerant Lines?
  • Condenser?
  • Evaporator?
  • Heat Exchanger?
  • Heater Sensor?
  • Evaporator Temperature Sensor?
  • Sun Sensor?
  • Cabin Temperature Sensor?
  • Gaseous Pollutant Sensor?
  • other...?

Transmission:
  • Gear select bushings?
  • Guide bushing?
  • Pilot bushing?
  • O-rings?
  • Drain plug?
  • TCM (transmission control module)?
  • Torque Converter?
  • other...?

Driveline:
  • Flexible Joint Disc?
  • other...?

Rear Axle / Differential:
  • Breather valve?
  • Roller bearings?
  • Bushings, washers?
  • other...?

Exhaust:
  • Catalytic converter(s)?
  • Exhaust pipe?
  • Mounts / clips?
  • Muffler?
  • other...?

Brakes:
  • Brake Booster?
  • Brake Pads?
  • Rotors?
  • Brake shoes?
  • Calipers?
  • Dust caps & boots on calipers? Bleeder Valves?
  • Brake Lines? (would it be worth switching to stainless steel lines?)
  • Parking Brake Cable?
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) Hydraulic Unit?
  • other...?

Front Suspension:
  • Shocks?
  • Dust caps?
  • Springs?
  • spacers, shims?
  • Torsion Bar? (rubber mounts?)
  • Wheel hubs?
  • Bushings / Rubber Mounts?
  • Ball Joints?
  • Turning Angle Sensor (for turning headlights - Dynamic Headlamp Range Control)
  • other...?

Rear Suspension:
  • Shocks?
  • Springs?
  • Struts?
  • Tie Rods?
  • Bushings / Rubber Mounts?
  • Ball Joints?
  • Thrust Arms?
  • Spring Control Arm? Rubber mount?
  • Wheel Bearing (Carrier)? Flange?
  • Torsion Bar? (rubber mounts?)
  • other...?

Steering:
  • Hydraulic Power Steering Pump?
  • Steering pump intake Gasket? Other gaskets?
  • Anything in Steering Column?
  • " " " " " Steering Shaft?
  • " " " " " Steering Gear?
  • " " " " " Steering Linkage?
  • " " " " " Steering Knuckes?
  • " " " " " Control Arms?
  • other...?

Frame:
  • Subframe mounts?
  • Engine mounts?
  • Transmission bushings?
  • (any other bushings?)
  • Undercarriage covers, pans, trays, panels, screening, etc..?
  • other...?

Sensors
  • Mass Airflow sensor?
  • Oxygen sensors? (what is the difference between this and a sender unit?)
  • Cooling Temperature Sensor? (Sender the same thing?)
  • Steering Angle sensor?
  • Crank Position sensors & senders? (same as TDC : Top Dead Center sensors?)
  • Camshaft Position Sensor?
  • Knock Sensor?
  • ABS sensor (G-Sensor)?
  • Brake Pad Sensor? (should this be replaced every time brakes are?)
  • Wheel speed sensor? (if it uses one?)
  • ECU?
  • TCU?
  • Windshield Rain Sensor?
  • Washer Level Sensor?
  • Outside Temperature Sensor?
  • other...?

Interior:
  • Electric windows? Window regulators?
  • Door Lock Actuators?
  • Electric sunroof?
  • Electrochromatic mirrors?
  • LCD / LED readouts? Bulbs? Instrument cluster pixels?
  • Power Rear Sunshade?
  • Headliner sags?
  • Leather wears in any spots?
  • Dash cracks or shrinks from sun?
  • Radio malfunctions / speakers break?
  • Electric seat motors? Heated seat issues?
  • Passenger Seat Sensor?
  • Steering wheel tilt/telescope?
  • Seatbelts?
  • Noises from loose parts?
  • other...?

Exterior:
  • Paint prone to sun damage?
  • Wheels prone to sun damage or clear coat peeling?
  • Window Moulding degredation?
  • Headlights / bulbs?
  • Headlight washers?
  • Taillights?
  • Trunk issues?
  • Parktronic parking assist?
  • other...?


Routine:
  • Oil / Oil filter / Oil filter gasket
  • Air filter
  • Coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Power Steering fluid
  • Automatic Transmission Fluid
  • Automatic Transmission Fluid Filter
  • Transmission Pan Gasket
  • Differential fluid? (Does this ever need to be changed?)
  • Spark Plugs
  • Fuel filter
  • Oil filler cap Gasket
  • Battery
  • Tires / Alignment
  • Wipers
  • Cabin air filter
  • other...?

Annoyance fixes:
  • Any rattles, knocks, creaks, squeaks, moans, or thunks that can be fixed w/ putting a better designed bolt, washer, etc.. somewhere?


  • Any other bushings, gaskets, seals, boots, O-rings, bearings, springs, valves, caps, joints, straps, tubes, protective sleeves, grommets, dampers, cable harnesses, plates, mounts, hoses, tanks, clamps, fasteners, joints,
  • belts, wires, electric motors, plugs, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, pads, shims, disks, pins, coupling pieces, misc plastic / rubber / wear & age prone parts or parts with updated designs etc.. that can need replacing?


Are there any parts that they improved & released under a updated new version that are more reliable?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 08:37 PM
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you should sign on to MBUSA's Electronic Parts Catalog and cruise for recommended part #s which should include updated/superseded numbers.

you can check Consumer Reports for highlighted ailments

you can check the Technical Service bulletin listings to get an idea of some problem
areas (also recalls)

you can check your local library to see if you can gain free use of All-Data online repair
information

you can sign up for one day's worth of access from MBUSA's WIS

you're giving folks a tall order of stuff that you may find answers to in the STICKY, from
MBWorld, or PeachParts technical forums.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymond- View Post
you should sign on to MBUSA's Electronic Parts Catalog and cruise for recommended part #s which should include updated/superseded numbers.

you can check Consumer Reports for highlighted ailments

you can check the Technical Service bulletin listings to get an idea of some problem
areas (also recalls)

you can check your local library to see if you can gain free use of All-Data online repair
information

you can sign up for one day's worth of access from MBUSA's WIS

you're giving folks a tall order of stuff that you may find answers to in the STICKY, from
MBWorld, or PeachParts technical forums.
Thank you for the excellent advice. I didn't know you could get free access w/ MBUSA.

I have tried my local library before and they don't have access to all-data unfortunately. They do subscribe to consumer reports, I'm not sure which issue would list frequent car issues.

I have found that MSN has a reliability category ( 2002 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Reliability - MSN Autos ), though nothing besides the MAF is listed for the W210 (a good sign?).

I've also looked at the TrueDelta -- Real Car Owners Driving Real Car Information reliability reports but I don't know how helpful they'd be since there are no 2002 reports. And for some reason 2001 has a much worse rating than 1999; which seems counter to what I've read (that mercedes continually improved it).

2001 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Problems and Repair Histories
2000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Problems and Repair Histories
1999 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Problems and Repair Histories

I didn't mean to word my question in a way that made it sound like I wanted answers for every part.

I'm just trying to figure out what are the important things to make sure of when looking at previous maintenance records, and what I should make sure they inspect in a PPI so I don't end up with a ticking time bomb.

The things that seem like frequent issues from reading the forums:

Instrument cluster pixels
Heater blower regulator
Catalytic converters
Passenger seat sensor
Crankshaft position sensor (car immobilized)
Mass airflow sensor
Oxygen sensors
Evap temp sensor
Window regulators
Windows losing 1-touch operation (lost programming?)
Head gaskets
Valve cover gaskets
Timing cover gasket
Drive belt tensioner
Taillight wiring / lamps
Ball joints
Blower motor regulator
Rust in the trunk & spring perches


~~~~

Essentially, if you guys were shopping for a W210 what would be your procedure?

What would you look out for / make sure was done?

What would make you walk away from a car?

What would you do / have done after buying it? (assuming it wasn't already done)

Thanks
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 11:32 PM
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Buying a used W210 is just like buying any other 12 year old car.
If I was buying another W210 tomorrow, first things I would pay attention would be;
1)Rust
2)Spring Perches
3)Transmission
4)Engine
5)Driveline
6)Climate Control

Fixing rust most of the time could be expensive, spring perches could be a safety issue, a transmission without a proper maintenance history could give you some headache.
Engine and well maintained tranny on these cars are known to last for a long time without any major issue. Head gasket problems on modular engines are almost unheard of.
Spark plugs, cables, vacuum hoses, breather cover cleaning along with a new MAF and O2 sensors every 100ish K miles as well as some here and there small items(CPS etc), thats all you can do for these motors, of course regular oil changes... When I say oil, remembered that these modular engines tend to seep just a little bit from the rear main seal, not a big big deal unless you have a little puddle on your garage floor.

Regular maintenance of drive belt system is just like any other car if not easier, harmonic balancer issue is fixed after sometimes mid 2000 if I`m not mistaken, a good quality tensioner cost somewhere between $100-150 online, idler pulley was $55 at the stealership last time I asked 6 months ago and I got the pulley from RMEuropean for about $18 or $20.

Transmission`s achille`s heel is the pilot bushing and ATF wicking up into the TCM but this issue and any other transmission issue(conductor plate, solenoids, speed sensors, shifter module, liquid spills etc) is very well covered here at the W210 stickies. These are really rugged boxes( especially after 2000) and it takes some really stupid actions to hurt them.

Climate control is little tricky but still compare to a lot of other "modern" idiotic designs easy to work on, at least the basics, if something more complicated, then I`d take any car to a professional when it comes to climate control anyway.

Ceilings tend to rattle in these cars a little bit with the age and driving habits, this one is also covered in the stickies.

Pixel issue is well known and also covered here.

Headlight lenses tends to get yellow over the time, some elbow grease, cold beer&good quality cigar and some good music in a saturday afternoon will solve that problem.

Blower regulator blew on me 2 summers ago when it was 107F outside, asked the stealer, it was ridiculous $360, it was $88 online but I didn`t want to wait, got it from an auto recycler for $30, he even let me install and try it before I buy it, so far so good since then.

Engine and tranny mounts are the items you should keep an eye on them maybe every 3-4 years, of course that also depends on your driving habits and mileage.

Within the same family I like the V6 engine better than the V8, it is easier and cheaper to operate and maintain, of course that`s just my 0.02 cents.

Good luck on your search.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01blackhawk View Post
Buying a used W210 is just like buying any other 12 year old car.
If I was buying another W210 tomorrow, first things I would pay attention would be;
1)Rust
2)Spring Perches
3)Transmission
4)Engine
5)Driveline
6)Climate Control

Fixing rust most of the time could be expensive, spring perches could be a safety issue, a transmission without a proper maintenance history could give you some headache.
Engine and well maintained tranny on these cars are known to last for a long time without any major issue. Head gasket problems on modular engines are almost unheard of.
Spark plugs, cables, vacuum hoses, breather cover cleaning along with a new MAF and O2 sensors every 100ish K miles as well as some here and there small items(CPS etc), thats all you can do for these motors, of course regular oil changes... When I say oil, remembered that these modular engines tend to seep just a little bit from the rear main seal, not a big big deal unless you have a little puddle on your garage floor.

Regular maintenance of drive belt system is just like any other car if not easier, harmonic balancer issue is fixed after sometimes mid 2000 if I`m not mistaken, a good quality tensioner cost somewhere between $100-150 online, idler pulley was $55 at the stealership last time I asked 6 months ago and I got the pulley from RMEuropean for about $18 or $20.

Transmission`s achille`s heel is the pilot bushing and ATF wicking up into the TCM but this issue and any other transmission issue(conductor plate, solenoids, speed sensors, shifter module, liquid spills etc) is very well covered here at the W210 stickies. These are really rugged boxes( especially after 2000) and it takes some really stupid actions to hurt them.

Climate control is little tricky but still compare to a lot of other "modern" idiotic designs easy to work on, at least the basics, if something more complicated, then I`d take any car to a professional when it comes to climate control anyway.

Ceilings tend to rattle in these cars a little bit with the age and driving habits, this one is also covered in the stickies.

Pixel issue is well known and also covered here.

Headlight lenses tends to get yellow over the time, some elbow grease, cold beer&good quality cigar and some good music in a saturday afternoon will solve that problem.

Blower regulator blew on me 2 summers ago when it was 107F outside, asked the stealer, it was ridiculous $360, it was $88 online but I didn`t want to wait, got it from an auto recycler for $30, he even let me install and try it before I buy it, so far so good since then.

Engine and tranny mounts are the items you should keep an eye on them maybe every 3-4 years, of course that also depends on your driving habits and mileage.

Within the same family I like the V6 engine better than the V8, it is easier and cheaper to operate and maintain, of course that`s just my 0.02 cents.

Good luck on your search.
Thank you very much blackhawk, that's very helpful.

It's hard to tell by reading forums if something is really a common problem or not because, as the old saying goes, nobody complains when nothing's wrong.

I chose the W210 after searching & reading as much online about different models reliability and comfort. I've always liked it's styling & interior; so it seemed like a good fit.

The only thing I'm worrying about is if I overlook something which could cause problems which domino into an expensive issue. I have at max a $15,000 budget; but I'd like to stay below $10,000. So my plan was / is to find a well cared for W210 with no rust & have all of the aging parts which will inevitably go bad over time replaced with fresh new parts.

I do have another car (cheap little late 90's toyota corolla) which I purchased, after selling my previous car, as a stopgap to the W210. I plan on keeping it as a backup car, but taking the insurance off & using the W210 as my daily driver. The corolla is in good condition & will probably go a long time with no issues, but it's an ugly little car & has no character; not to mention annoyingly loud on the highway.

So that's my story, hopefully that gives an idea of what my intentions are.

~~~~~

Since I'm learning as I go, and haven't really worked on any cars (most of my mechanical knowledge is from reading books, diagrams, forums); I'm not very confident about my ability to see the whole picture. I know that a Mercedes, even an older one can cost big money if something major happens; and I want to take every precaution against that.

When I finally get one, I want to get it in as tip-top mechanical shape as possible within my budget, and baby it as I will try to keep it for at least 10 years.

Hopefully my assessments have been accurate & I'm not living a pipe dream.

What are your guys' opinions?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 11:58 PM
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No, you are not living a pipe dream, but it might take some time to find the right one, some members here opened threads about buying a W210 and it took them months and about 40 pages of advice to read. Take your time, be patient, don`t judge the book by it`s cover.
Stay away from shady owners, cars that look shiny outside but a lemon inside. Ask for the records, maintenance records I mean. Drive the car, feel the car, smell the car, listen to the car.
Take a slow and easy drive, see how she reacts, how she changes the gears, then gun it and observe how she handles, you know what I mean.

Those websites you checked are not the most reliable sources to form an opinion to be honest with you, most of them seems like done at the stealership, some owner paid $350 for the CPS, which I just replaced 2 weeks ago for about $50 and 20 minute with my beer break. Remember those people posting there are the only ones with problems, that also said at the top of that website.
Forums on the other hand are more active and dynamic, not only you will see people with problems also you see some folks doing preventive maintenance and precisely document it so it will show the path if you attempt to do the same work OR if you don`t feel comfortable doing it yourself it will give you some insight about whats going on with your car and arm you with some knowledge before you take it to a shop. Thats a good thing to have when the shop starts to BS`ing you.

Two most important things before I finish
1)Patience Patience Patience... No rush, sometimes it will feel like "I can`t pass this deal" but if you are not 100% sure about the car, remember this; "No, this is not the only car in town/county/state/country, there are still so many of them out there"

2)A PPI from a reputable indy, preferably an MB Indy, along with the service history of the car. Believe me that $150 or $200 spent on a thoroughly PIP is the best money you`d spend.
Cheers
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