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About to buy W203

1133 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  kuseetha
Dear friends,

This is my first post in this website. I am from Sri Lanka and I am a car enthusiast. I own two Alfas thus somewhat competent with small DIY things but new to Mercs.

My uncle is looking to buy a W203 (that is what his budget allows) and he asked me to find himself a good car.

Since he hardly drives faster than 50km/h (on normal roads) and never above 100km/h (on expressways), I suggested him a C180 non-supercharged model (one less component to worry about and better fuel economy) with an automatic trans. He is 63 this year.

As M271 seem to have issues, all our shortlisted cars have M111.951 engines and I guess the 5g tronic trans. (Made between 2002-2003)

I have read many posts and noted a few issues with these models
1. Valeo radiator leaking coolant to ATF eventually failing the transmission
2. Cam angle sensor leaking oil to wiring harness causing other sensors to fail
3. Head gasket issues
4. Worn suspension

Since we are going to inspect these cars soon, I would like some advice on the following:

1. How to visually identify whether the problematic radiator was replaced or not

2. I have read that some solution is available for this cam sensor wiring oil seep issue, but how to identify whether some damage has been already done or not? Or whether this was already fixed?

3. Does this have engine and transmission oil dipsticks?

4. I have a simple ELM327 code reader with android app. Where is the OBD2 port located?

5. Does these have any liquid filled mounts or suspension components that are prone to go bad and are short-lived?

6. Does this model have any crucial parts which are in short supply?

7. Where to find the workshop manual and the parts catalog with diagrams on this site?

Thank you very much

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Hi all,

We bought a '02 C180 N/A car with 5 speed auto in Elegance trim.
Silver with black leather interior.
Had no mayonnaise on the coolant cap (another one we checked did have that!) and it did have the better Behr radiator (identified from the crimps!!).
Had 141k kilometres on the clock.

It kept blowing AC to windscreen and it kept on condensing on the outside which was a PIA.
Did not know how to adjust air directions so have to read the owners manual today LOL
Hope it is not an issue that has to be fixed.

Steering lock was broken so that fix is high on the list. (already saw a video on Youtube)

Foot on and off of the gas pedal made some short whirr noise clearly audible inside, which I dunno whether its normal or not.

Engine has a dipstick, apparently not for the transmission.

Thanks heaps for the information, so far it really did help.

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Hi all,

Today I had this steering adjustment lock fixed. I could not access the rod by removing just the lower cover (I could have though....after seeing it) so I had a local friendly mechanic tear down the lower steering panel.
Then I went ahead and put a wire so that the plastic rod doesn't pull out from the hole. Then got his help to put things back in place. Cost was like $20 for his help but it took a good 3 hours to dismantle it and fix it. Could have been a lot expensive if I had to do it at a merc stealership.

Next is the ATF change. Valvoline Maxlife is the choice. Waiting for filters to arrive along with the electrical connector piece and a dipstick. (Thanks Cowboyt for your instructions!)
Hi friends,

Today I just decided to have a look at the engine bay to identify things. Really appreciate your comments and suggestions.

1. I checked brake fluid with a tester and the moisture content was so much, it showed a warning light. So that has to be flushed. (I decided to use Delphi Lockheed DOT4 brake fluid, hope this is okay?)
Fluid Soil Liquid

2. Any oil seeping can be cleaned up and should cause no permanent damage.
Next I popped the front cover to see what this cam magnet oil leak is. Found the sensor. Disconnected the battery negative first. And took off the connector slowly.
Oh dear!

Small pool of oil.

I wiped the connector and the socket with tissue paper, then q-tip and finally sprayed contact cleaner.

Found online that I need:

Cam sensor 1110510177
Pigtail extension/connector 2711502733

Replacing these are OK with me. However, I have these questions.

2.1. Where is the ECU located in my car? (is it at the opposite corner to the battery, covered in a plastic cover?)

2.2. How to know whether the issue has gone beyond saving and I am sitting on a ticking time bomb? I mean, whether oil already seeped up the harness to some extent and ECU will be contaminated/fried sooner or later?

2.3. Obviously the leaking cam sensor is a Mercedes branded genuine unit. Should I replace the leaking one with another Mercedes branded unit OR are there any aftermarket brand I should be looking at? (which doesn't leak, if there is anything like that?)

2.4 Pigtail connector 2711502733 (starts with 271. Would this be compatible with M11 engine? If so, it should start with 111, isn't it?)


I'm not familiar with Valvoline Maxlife ATF fluid, but as long as it meets any of the following specs:

  • 236.10
  • 236.12
  • 236.14
Thanks so much for the information! Yes,I checked Maxlife data sheet. It says that it is compatible with all 3 specs above. About to place an order for transmission filter kit and power connector plug adapter.
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