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About to buy W203

1128 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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1. See pics here: Benzbits: Valeo vs. Behr Radiator

2. Any oil seeping can be cleaned up and should cause no permanent damage.

3. Yes, I believe the M111 engines did have a leave-in dipstick.

4. The port is under the dash, driver's side, near the parking brake release lever.

5. Yes, the engine mounts and front control arm bushings are fluid-filled and prone to failure every 50K miles or so.

6. Not in the USA.

7. Get a copy of WIS. You should find it on eBay for under US$30.
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