2006 E320 CDI - Refurbishing my beloved ride. Looking for things I might miss. - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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2006 E320 CDI - Refurbishing my beloved ride. Looking for things I might miss.

I'm inviting comments and suggestions on this "rebuild".

I've had this E320 CDI since 2007, when I purchased it 1 year old with about 30,000 miles on it. I now have 320,000 miles on it. I bought it for several reasons - Cost of ownership, safety, mileage without giving up torque and it's just a flat out nice riding car for someone that drives a lot of miles every year. It is a true touring car. But, she's getting older now and I had to make a decision - Sell it and get something new or ignore street value and rebuild it. After 6 months of consideration, I've opted to rebuild her and to ignore street value. I think this car will easily take me all the way to retirement in another 6-7 years. The drive train is certainly solid still and the body has zero rust, even living here in Ohio. I'd never buy a newer "Bluetech" diesel anyway. Even the techs at the dealers say the new ones are crap. This one was pretty loaded, but didn't have satellite, Bluetooth, rear seat center pass-through or the shades on the side windows. It had nearly every other option available at the time.

So I've started with the drive train because of the black death; i.e. leaking injector seals. Next will be chassis, then the electronics and finally, the body. The interior is pretty spotless and just needs a good detailing. New floor mats may be in order.



Current order of the plan
  1. Replace EGR - New one is on the way. I pulled it and it really wasn't that dirty. I took the external cover off and it worked fine mechanically and wasn't frozen, so I assume it's position sensor is shot. It always stays at 5% according to my diagnostic computer. Engine seems to be in limp mode currently. No real turbo boost can be seen in the diagnostics.
  2. If the EGR replacement doesn't bring the turbo boost back, look into this problem and fix it. I'm guessing the EGR will fix it based on what I've read here, but I'll brace for it if it doesn't.
  3. Have the power steering flushed. I'ts never been done and well overdue.
  4. Work through some under-hood detailing and replace aged plastic parts and zip ties. Things like the glow plug caps and hose organizers are toast from age and heat cycling. Clean the engine and engine bay when this is done.
  5. Rebuild the valve body in the tranny. I did this once at around 200K and it's getting a bit choppy in the shifting again on the low end. Perhaps replace the clutch coil too.
  6. Optional - Chip the engine. Not going for the highest power, just a bit better mileage and perhaps reduce the black smoke under hard acceleration. Is it greedy to want more than the 44 MPG I get now on the highway? The other side of this coin is the current engine curve has worked pretty darned well for 320K miles and it's certainly not lacking for torque. So I'm on the fence on this one. More research needed.
  7. Replace the struts. Yep, they are worn out after 320K miles.
  8. Find aftermarket rear coil springs when I do the struts. These cars are prone to breaking the rear springs and I'm on my third set. There has got to be a decent aftermarket version that won't break. Stock sets seem to make it about 100K miles, so maybe I'll just call this normal maintenance.
  9. Optional - Replace the transaxle gears with a limited slip version. If the car's drive line has a weakness it is in getting the torque to the ground. It's too easy to spin the tires when the roads are wet due to it's high and wide torque band.
  10. Go over the drive line and replace anything worn.
  11. Go over the undercarriage and clean/recoat anything that is starting to rust due to the coating being chipped off.
  12. Look at the possibility of replacing the COMAND unit with a Xtrons unit or similar. This would add Bluetooth and all the niceties of android with a modernized screen. I'd probably lose the built-in GPS (who cares?) since I use Waze all the time anyway.
  13. Polish out the headlamps.
  14. Replace a number of the incandescent bulbs with modern LED equivalents, especially the marker lamps. Those are a pain to change.
  15. Bodywork and a repaint. Lots of minor door dings. The front end is pretty speckled from gravel chips and probably WAY past a paint correction.
  16. Have the wheels stripped and refinished.
  17. Replace the windshield. It's a mess of microchips from the high mileage, plus there a few significant larger chips I had repaired already.

If I've forgotten something or you have general comments, please chime in.
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post #2 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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EGR Installed - The boost is back!

The new EGR valve came in and I installed it and cleared the codes. BOOM! The Turbo boost is back and she's out of limp mode. Looks like I was getting 15 PSI boost, but I didn't give it an extensive test. I don't know what the factory spec on boost for it is.

Now, on to the next thing on the list
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post #3 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 08:50 AM
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As the owner of an '05 E320 CDI, I'd say you're making a wise decision. Rossafuss, with over 450,000 miles on his '05 E320 CDI, would certainly agree.

Regarding paint, here's what I did to my silver 2003 S430. Had the paintless-ding-remover guy come out, and he got rid of every dent. Then, I had the hood re-clearcoated. Finally, I did the wet-sandpaper treatment on the car, using the following regimen.

1200-grit
2000-grit
3000-grit
5000-grit
Polishing compound and electric buffer wheel

The car now looks almost brand-new. For those rock chips, you can have just the front end sanded and repainted, maybe the whole hood, and that probably will do it. Then do the sanding and polishing regimen above.

Regarding the head unit, I haven't used the Xtrons, but @Dave2302 and I have used Erisin's units. They seem to be pretty good so far. Presumably the Xtrons units are just as good. Note that if you do go with an Android head unit, that means you can install Waze on it and use your phone as a hotspot. Also, the head units do support 3G/4G connectivity on their own.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--second W220 project car, just for fun--decided to keep it after all)
2003 S600 (third w220 project car, the sports car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)

Formerly--AND ONCE AGAIN! (I just married the girl):
2000 S500 (best friend's--now WIFE's--DD: my first W220 project car, once gone to, AND NOW RETURNED FROM, an excellent home--welcome back home, baby!)
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post #4 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smyers View Post
I'd never buy a newer "Bluetech" diesel anyway.
Good, that's because they are crap. Ssssh, don't let Kajtek know.


Quote:
[*]Optional - Chip the engine. Not going for the highest power, just a bit better mileage and perhaps reduce the black smoke under hard acceleration. Is it greedy to want more than the 44 MPG I get now on the highway? The other side of this coin is the current engine curve has worked pretty darned well for 320K miles and it's certainly not lacking for torque. So I'm on the fence on this one. More research needed.[*]Replace the struts. Yep, they are worn out after 320K miles.[*]Find aftermarket rear coil springs when I do the struts. These cars are prone to breaking the rear springs and I'm on my third set. There has got to be a decent aftermarket version that won't break. Stock sets seem to make it about 100K miles, so maybe I'll just call this normal maintenance.[*]Optional - Replace the transaxle gears with a limited slip version. If the car's drive line has a weakness it is in getting the torque to the ground. It's too easy to spin the tires when the roads are wet due to it's high and wide torque band.[*]Go over the drive line and replace anything worn.
You found the one E320 that wasn't optioned with airmatic? Wow, what is this world coming to?

Which shocks did you replace it with? Bilston B4 is a good alternative, and Sasch is OE.

You can replace the diff with a LSD, but where are you going to find one? IIRC that CDI uses some absurdly high differential ratio (2.82? I'd have to check) and those are usually sourced from AMG....but the E55 of that era did not have LSD.

Driveline =

Both flex disc
Center driveshaft bearing and bushing
Differential bushings (they can and do go out, and your car torque doesn't help either. They are practically maintenance items on high mileage AMG's.)

--1998 MB E300TD 291k
--1997 MB E36 Frankenstein'd AMG 199k
--2011 Suzuki DL650 58k
--1997 MB E320 161k. SOLD...loved that stupid car.
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--1997 MB C36 AMG 273k -- stripped and junked
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post #5 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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@cowboyt

Thanks for the input. Sounds like a decent plan on the paint and body.

I'm intrigued by the Erisin units. Howver, my car does have the Harmon-Kardon 7 channel amplified system, and there is some notes about once you go with theirs, the fiber optics can't be used again in the future. I'll have to look into that a bit more. Thanks again
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post #6 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:05 AM
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Well.. if you go back to topics around 2006 -everybody was telling that E320 cdi are crap.
SBC failing, black death, fuel filter problems, crappy cabin filters.
The same goes with about any new model MB puts on the market.
Go back to first years of ML class and it is hard to believe that with all the crap drop on them in first years, those cars are still appreciated 20 years later.
When new 250 Bluetecs finally are getting support for their emission problems, they don't have any mechanical issues and don't think any other model can touch 60 mpg.
Than even I am on the fence with radars helping me in driving, the live traffic GPS is extremely handy tool.
So having the records straight, I love machinery and restoring old pieces is in my blood, so I see nothing wrong with "labor of love" (guilty of few of those myself) and keep nice car on the road.
Ready for pictorial coming.
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post #7 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:16 AM
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^^ Really? That's interesting, because in 2006-2007, I was reading Diesel Power magazine. They did a special on first the '06 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (stick shift), and the the Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI. They had nothing but praise for either car. So, I took an '06 Jetta TDI 5-speed for a test drive and very nearly bought it on the spot. The E320 CDI, I bought never having driven one before, and I'm glad for making the purchase. The reviews clearly were right.

The "Black Death" can be an issue, sure. But then, I wouldn't be putting foam right on top of the fuel injectors the way the CDI's have. I'd do that sound deadening another way, and due to this forum's warnings about Black Death, I did remove that insulating foam. Sure, my car sounds kinda like a John Deere tractor. So what? The car is as solid as a block of granite, and that engine will last, and last, and last.

The SBC issue was an issue, yes. Fortunately, MBUSA took care of that recently with the 25-year warranty.

The problem that a lot of us foresee with these newer cars with their newer emissions systems is that A.) parts like replacement DPF's are very expensive, and B.) it seems that almost every nut and bolt has to be VIN-locked to the car, with things like SCN codes that only the stealership has access to. That's why I bought my CDI, because it's the last "modern" M-B Diesel that should be relatively easy to DIY.

2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--second W220 project car, just for fun--decided to keep it after all)
2003 S600 (third w220 project car, the sports car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)

Formerly--AND ONCE AGAIN! (I just married the girl):
2000 S500 (best friend's--now WIFE's--DD: my first W220 project car, once gone to, AND NOW RETURNED FROM, an excellent home--welcome back home, baby!)
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post #8 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deplore View Post
You found the one E320 that wasn't optioned with airmatic?...
Apparently. I didn't realize that most of them had that option and I'm VERY glad I don't have it. So no, I've just got the coil springs that break occasionally. The first turn at the bottom tends to snap after a while.

Quote:
...Which shocks did you replace it with? Bilston B4 is a good alternative, and Sasch is OE.
I haven't yet. I know the original OE's lasted a pretty long time before they started feeling soft, but if the Bilston B4 are better, I game. Thoughts?

Quote:
...You can replace the diff with a LSD, but where are you going to find one?
It's been a while, but I thought I'd found a gear type of the right ratio made in the UK. But perhaps those are no longer made. Don't know. I do remember it wasn't cheap at over $1K for the guts. I'll have to research that again though.

Quote:
Both flex disc
Center driveshaft bearing and bushing
Differential bushings (they can and do go out, and your car torque doesn't help either. They are practically maintenance items on high mileage AMG's.)
I'm pretty sure the center drive line bearing is getting sloppy. Most of my driving is constant speed highway mileage, so not a lot of start-stop high torque acceleration. It's probably why it's lasted this long.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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I don't want my thread turning into a straight 6 CDI VS V-6 Bluetec argument. This is about my rebuild. So lets keep it on point guys.

I will offer that I'm a mechanical engineer and in my day job, I have to deal with truck and offroad diesels systems and controls design. There is a reason I jumped on a straight 6 non-Bluetec when I did in 2007. "Tier 4" part 2 (Which is what a Bluetec engine is) has been a nightmare for us to deal with, with is what the urea injection in the exhaust is all about. It's was a stupid idea to deal with a non-problem decided at the highest levels of world governments by politicians who haven't a clue. The air going into these engines is higher quality than what goes in! And guess what? Only Western Europe and NA comply anyway while the rest of the word is still on Tier 2 and 3 engines and will be for years to come. Does it sound like I'm cranky about it? Yes, I am. I'ts a pain in my rear on a daily basis.

A Tier 4 engine can still be a very good engine, but it comes at high cost, high complexity with a very complex exhaust system. Torque band is narrowed, RPM ranges are different, more heat is produced and life is shorter. It's just the nature of tier 4 diesel. In order to fit the package into the same space, displacements generally have to get smaller in order to fit in more cooling, HP management becomes an issue, the torque bands get MUCH narrower (need more ratios in a car and truck tranny to keep in the peak torque ranges) and a plethora of other complex issues.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled program. ;-P
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post #10 of 165 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 11:49 AM
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For the record 250 BLuetec is I-4 engine
But when I admire your drive to restore mechanical part of your car, the highest value I put in MB is excelent paint.
And that is main reason I eventually replace aging car with newer one.
Do you have good paint shop that can come close to original paint quality?
I was researching car paint when living in San Francisco area and common choice was $300 respray at Miracle paint, or custom restoring shop, where full blow paint restoration was starting at $12,000 (my friend worked there)
I think going for LED makes no sense. Would if you could convert headlight legally, but that is not going to happen.
W211 has lot of aluminium parts and even I had one coming from NY, I did not see any rust on body parts. Only bolt heads in undercarriage had some color .


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