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2007 C230 Sport
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Gentlemen,

Could someone please lookup my car's VIN# and tell me if I'm sitting on a ticking bomb full of catastrophic defects?

Thank you...
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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WDBRF52H27A923198 has M272 engine number #411843 which is within the affected range. As for it being a ticking time bomb, it's not possible to say. The reality is, the timing gear in any car with a timing chains will fail. Over time, it wears and stretches and will eventually break. This issue with these affected engines is that defects in the material or forging process used causes them to fail early. How early is unknown. Some of will fail very early, like the one in my CLK550 began having symptoms throwing DTC's 1200/1208 at 30K miles. MBZ covered the repair even though I was over a year out of warranty. I have heard of others going well over 100K miles with absolutely no symptoms, but at those miles, MBZ won't cover the repair. It's about a $4K job.
 

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2007 C230 Sport
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Balance shaft

Well...now I feel I have egg on my face. I didn't follow due dilligence procedures and I'm now stuck with a beautiful car (I haven't made the first payment yet) with a fatal design flaw in its engine! It drives perfeclty as of now but the balance shaft issued seems inevitable and unpredictable.

Other than setting aside $4k to $5k or starting a "balance shaft" fund to prepare for doomsday...what kind of measures can I take to prolong the life of this poorly designed timing set up?

1-Would changing oil more frequently help at all?
2-Is there a way to inspect the gear and establish a baseline?

Thanks!
 

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2002 Mercedes C240 Elegance
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155 Posts
Change the oil with full MB recommended synthetic (check your owners manual for specs).

Do the change every 10,000KM or 7-8 miles. Dont pound on the engine, or do high revs.. go over 150km etc. Start calling delaerships describing the problem, call every dealership in your area.

Prepare the the failure in the future so by the time in happens, in a month, year or two years. You will have a quote and mercedes MAY offer a discount of some sort. You could goto a professional indy shop but there is no chance of them offering to pay for some of the labour.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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There is really nothing you can do to prevent failure. More frequent oil changes won't help. It's not a lubrication problem; it's a problem with the metal alloy used for the gear being too soft. As it drives the timing chain, it wears either losing material and/or stretching. Limiting maximum RPM's or abrupt RPM changes might help, but it's doubtful that you could really do this long term. Because of the defects in the forged metal of the gear, it's just not possible to predict when it will fail, but it will fail prematurely. Just remember that "premature" is really anything short of about 300K miles. Yours might go 299K miles, or 29K miles - it's just unknown. Some might suggest buying a warranty, but I'd instead suggest you start a "vehicle maintenance" fund. Why pay $3K+ for a warranty that would be wasted if you never had problems, or if the car is totaled before you have problems, when instead money in the bank is always there?
 

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2007 C230 Sport
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Discussion Starter #7
Gamble

Definition of Reliability: "The probability of failure-free performance over an item's useful life, or a specified timeframe, under specified environmental and duty-cycle conditions." I think for a modern Mercedes asking for 10 years/ 100k miles of trouble-free engine performance is reasonable if the car is properly driven and mantained.

Over the years I've driven my fair share of crappy vehicles (Fiats, Renaults in Latin America), Japanese cars (Suzuki, Hondas) and German cars: Audi 100 Quattro:lots of quirks but the engine and transmission bullet proof; 3 VWs (Rabbit and 2 Jettas), my favorite car a 1980 Mercedes 300D (super reliable, the engine worked perfectly even though it had over 300k miles).

When I was stationed in Germany in 2004 I bought a 1991BMW 316i for $200 that was headed to the junk yard...I applied TLC and the car never let me down. Now we have a 2004 Honda Pilot (80k miles - rear shocks and engine mounts are the only repairs) and a 1999 Civic with 100k miles (a $120 oxygen sensor and a head light bulb have been the only repairs...talking about a reliable car this is a great example).

My experience with German cars indicated that I would encounter electric problems (myriad of faulty Bosch sensors, window regulators and so on)...but never a fatal flaw with the metalurgy of an engine component!!

Fast forward to 2012. I decided to buy the C230 as an anniversary gift for my wife and naively didn't research enough. My wife loves the car and I haven't had the heart to tell her about this major failure lurking in the horizon.

My understanding is that it all begins with the CEL on...but the car continues to be drivable...is this correct?

The dealer gave me a "great" price on the car (not so great now that I know the facts). That allowed me to set aside $2k for unexpected repairs (tires, a sensor here and there). Silly me.
 

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2002 C230
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Best case scenario if you maintain good relations with the dealership you should be able to trade it in within a couple of years for a bit more than they normally would.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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My understanding is that it all begins with the CEL on...but the car continues to be drivable...is this correct?
It will be OK for a while, but eventually, the timing gear will become so worn that the timing chain will skip a tooth (or more) and this can cause major problems as valves will be in the open position, colliding with the pistons as they reach TDC. Of course not every MIL occurrence means you have this problem. The tell-tale DTCs are 1200 and 1208 (P0016/P0017). The errors will start very intermittently at first. It may take thousands of miles before they become constant, and that's then the problem can become critical.

The dealer gave me a "great" price on the car (not so great now that I know the facts). That allowed me to set aside $2k for unexpected repairs (tires, a sensor here and there). Silly me.
Was this an MBZ dealer? If so, and if the failure occurs early enough (say under 80K miles) then they may go to bat for you and help.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Best case scenario if you maintain good relations with the dealership you should be able to trade it in within a couple of years for a bit more than they normally would.
I wouldn't count on it. In fact, they will probably give you less simply because they know of the defect. It's quite common - dealers won't disclose these problems to buyers and will sell for top retail dollar, but when buying a trade-in, the use every possible opportunity to devalue the vehicle and buy for bargain-basement wholesale. It's how they make a profit.
 
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