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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #1
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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2006 E320 CDI
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
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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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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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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1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E320
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I'd never buy a newer "Bluetech" diesel anyway.
Good, that's because they are crap. Ssssh, don't let Kajtek know. :D


[*]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? :p

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.)
 

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2006 E320 CDI
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Discussion Starter #5
@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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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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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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Discussion Starter #7
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.

...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?

...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.

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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Discussion Starter #8
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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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 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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Discussion Starter #10
...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?
That's a good question. The paint on my car is amazingly good for the high mileage. Indeed, I'll have to do some research on it and see how far I want to take it.

Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
...I think going for LED makes no sense.
I think you misunderstood what I meant. I wasn't talking about the headlamps. Mine has the Bi-Xenon headlamps, which are pretty good.

I was talking about several of the incandescent lamps that are either yellowish, or difficult to repalce. The front fender marker lights are one example of a small lamp that is hard to replace that an LED would be good for. And I don't care for the yellowish lamps beside the headlights. Those could be whiter.
 

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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
I also have a 2006 cdi non airmatic. I had a tough decision on B6 or B4 struts, decided on B6 and glad I did, handling is very nice. But only did the fronts at the time July/2018 @144K miles, B6 rears were backordered until November, but they didnt really need replacing yet anyway. I talked to FCP today and got them to put the B6 rears in their inventory, so they are coming next week, and now to examine the springs, @159K miles they are getting bouncy. I wasnt aware of the rear spring breakage problem.
 

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Flitz seems to work very well on the headlight lens, also used their orange drill polisher.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I also have a 2006 cdi non airmatic. I had a tough decision on B6 or B4 struts, decided on B6 and glad I did, handling is very nice. But only did the fronts at the time July/2018 @144K miles, B6 rears were backordered until November, but they didnt really need replacing yet anyway. I talked to FCP today and got them to put the B6 rears in their inventory, so they are coming next week, and now to examine the springs, @159K miles they are getting bouncy. I wasnt aware of the rear spring breakage problem.
I went to Bilstein's website and look at their products. They make rear coil spring replacements for stock! It is described as a heavy duty OE replacement. That's worth a shot.

So, how's the ride on B6's VS stock? I need a "touring" ride. Handling is important, but since most of my days are spent in the car sometimes 6 hours at a time, ride quality is important.
 

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I went to Bilstein's website and look at their products. They make rear coil spring replacements for stock! It is described as a heavy duty OE replacement. That's worth a shot.

So, how's the ride on B6's VS stock? I need a "touring" ride. Handling is important, but since most of my days are spent in the car sometimes 6 hours at a time, ride quality is important.
The B6s struts IMO are a very good match, keeps from bottoming on speed bumps, stable during highway lane changes and negotiating interstate ramps at a clip. The bore and piston rod are substantially larger in diameter then the stock shocks and the height is adjustable and locks in securely, the bottom spring plate that usually holds crud has a design of super heavy (~3/8”) hardened anodized aluminum, that does not have cupped sidewalls so crud and salt is not held to allow rotting like the typical steel plate design.
I pondered the B4 against the B6 for a few months, and i am quite content now, next week the B6 rears go on.
 

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So glad to see people putting love into high mileage CDI's.

Iv'e had to face nearly every problem these CDI's CAN face over my 4 years of ownership, so i'll give some tips on things to look out for and whats made the biggest difference restoring ride quality and comfort on my car with over 450k miles of wear.

-Motor and transmission mounts. if they haven't been changed in 5 years or more, change them. it makes idle vibration dissapear and low RPM acceleration not vibrate the entire unibody.

-Shocks, as you've already discussed, transforms ride quality more than you realize. i made the mistake of going with OE SACHS for replacements rather than bilsteins, the Sachs have a much too squishy feel, and not in a good classic-luxury-car-squishy kind of way. The Sachs still feel as though the car wofts around too much on the road, without soaking up as much of the rough road as they should. Definitely go with bilsteins, and DONT go cheap on the Chinese aftermarket shocks such as Monroe or Stagg.

-Driveshaft center support and bearing. its not so much the bearing that goes bad (mine was fine with nearly half a million miles of wear), but the support that HOLDS the bearing that goes bad. if your transmission mount has ever allowed the trans and driveshaft to sag for any period of time, it wears out the rubber in the support and causes it to crack and break loose.

-Check ALL your ball joints and rubber suspension mounts. you would be amazed how much super tight suspension improves ride quality and handling. check the rubber bushings super closely, any cracking is a sign that excessive movement is taking place in that bushing, and it needs to be replaced.


Engine related things to check:


Swirl Flaps, heres a video i made on that:

-A mod i made for the engine covers makes removing the covers MUCH easier. i essentially used the om642 engine cover fastening grommets and adapted them to fit in the 648 covers, a video on that too:

-alternator clutch pulley and all idler pulleys. check idler pulleys for wear, and if you hear a squeak coming from the engine when you shut the engine off, it means your alternator clutch pulley is bad, that should be replaced.

-REBUILD YOUR INJECTORS! Seriously, due to the solid reliability of the injectors, the age and wear of the nozzles vary so much. the balance of all the injectors is most likely off pretty far between cylinders. if you've got black smoke on acceleration, 90% guarantee you its worn injector nozzles. i made a video on refurbishing om648 injectors as well:

And a primer on the fuel system:




As far as mods go, there are 2 quality of life mods i've made that i would ABSOLUTELY recommend.

First really doesn't apply to OP since he has HID's, but anyone with halogen headlights i HIGHLY recommend a set of high quality LED replacements. i bought a set of HIKARI H7's to replace my low beams, and holy crap do they make a difference. i also replaced my fog lamps and parking lights with LED for aesthetic reasons.

second mod is replacing the radio with an OEM-look android head unit. this is SUCH a huge quality of life improvement, its incredible.
it has modern navigation running google maps, hands free Bluetooth, Bluetooth music streaming, i can play DVD's on trips to entertain the passenger. SO many features and the insane customization with the integrated graphic equalizer makes my stock non-HK sound system sound 10x better than the HK system in other W211's.

Controversial statement here, but Mercedes Benz has not made a 'bad' diesel since the rod bender 603, and enthusiasts would say even that engine is fantastic when fixed with upgraded parts. All the bluetec models can be rid of all the troublesome emissions equipment by literally deleting it, an initial cost of around $1k for the tune and physical delete fixes all the issues. the om642 and 651 are fantastic engines, with proper care and maintenance they will (and do) last hundreds of thousands of miles. each model and chassis has its own issues and quirks, but that's what we are here for at the forums ;)
 

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1999 C280 (sport), also 2001 SLK230
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Check out YouTube's "LegitStreetCars"

@smyers

If you're not already aware, Alex Palmieri has a YouTube channel "LegitStreetCars," where he buys a high mileage E320CDI and does a lot of rebuilding, and performance modifications. Alex is a former MB tech, very knowlegeable and also an entertaining YouTuber. I'd recommend his videos on the topic, starting with this one where he buys the car and goes into what a fantastic car it is.


Cheers,

Kim G
Redding, CA
Where I'm almost constantly fantasizing about replacing my '99 C280 with an 05/06 E320 CDI.
 

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Definitely check out LegitStreetCars if you're a Benz fan, he's a great guy. Ive talked with Alex quite a bit lately helping him with his CDI and expressing our love of diesel. Haha

He's about to do a facelift AMG appearance package upgrade on his CDI, it's going to look great.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
-Motor and transmission mounts...
Yep. I've replaced those before.

... I made the mistake of going with OE SACHS for replacements rather than bilsteins, the Sachs have a much too squishy feel, and not in a good classic-luxury-car-squishy kind of way. The Sachs still feel as though the car wofts around too much...
OK. Which Bilsteins did you go with? B4 or B6? I've read that B4 build quality isn't as good as Sach OE, but that B6 is much better. I'm looking for long life.

-Driveshaft center support and bearing. its not so much the bearing that goes bad (mine was fine with nearly half a million miles of wear), but the support that HOLDS the bearing that goes bad. if your transmission mount has ever allowed the trans and driveshaft to sag for any period of time, it wears out the rubber in the support and causes it to crack and break loose.
I'll have a close look at this soon.

-Check ALL your ball joints and rubber suspension mounts. you would be amazed how much super tight suspension improves ride quality and handling. check the rubber bushings super closely, any cracking is a sign that excessive movement is taking place in that bushing, and it needs to be replaced.
I do try to keep up on ball joints and mounts.

Swirl Flaps, heres a video i made on that...
A mod i made for the engine covers makes removing the covers MUCH easier...
...alternator clutch pulley and all idler pulleys....
I've actually seen your swirl flap video before. Mine is fine.
I'm OK with the standard torx head bolts on the engine cover. It's plenty easy enough for me.
Yep. I've had to replace an idler before. I keep my eyes and ears on this.

-REBUILD YOUR INJECTORS!...
I may do this exact thing toward the end, as I've had this recommended before. It idles smoothly and not excessive black smoke on acceleration. Haven't done a leak-off test though, which would be the tell-tale. I get a puff of black on hard accels, but it's always done that, even when it was a puppy.

And a primer on the fuel system...
Nice video. I'll have to watch it in it's entirety when I have a moment. I note your fuel pump is silver. Mine is painted black, which is original. Did you replace yours at some point?

...replace with an OEM-look android head unit...
As in my original post, this is definitely on my radar screen. I'll have more questions about this when I get to that point for sure.

Thanks!
 
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