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300CE-24, W204 C220 CDI, W210 E55 AMG, W124 300TE, W163 ML270 CDI
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399 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi there everyone,

I was pondering the possibilities of the new car in the family when I realized I had never given the W210 a fair go.

I always dismissed it as a car full of electronic gremlins, and a not quite as safe body structure (thanks to a youtube video I accidentally saw)

But then I re-evaluated my decision after seeing a delicious looking E55 that may be for sale.
I also have seen quite a few E320's around for cheap, and Maybe an E430 if I saw one.
So here are my questions:

1. Are they reliable; say, like a W124 (probably less so)

2. Are they expensive to run? (its a luxury car, I'm not expecting ford like servicing...or am I?)

3. What would be the easiest to live with? (430, 320, 55?) I have a feeling the 200K is underpowered, I've seen a 240 but I feel its just too small a motor, that won't suit the waftability I'm looking for.

4. How much more expensive is the E55 to own over a non AMG?


I'm a W124 guy...so I guess the W210 is just like a younger brother, So I'm hoping it would be an easy to live with car like the W124, albeit slightly more complicated.

Thanks for any feedback :cool:
 

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Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
Check the stickys (top of W210 page) for the commonly encountered issues. Overall, mine has been reliable for the 33,000 miles I have put on it. I bought a well taken care of car w/53,000 that now has 87,000. It has never left me stranded but there have been some niggling issues with the electronics.
 

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300CE-24, W204 C220 CDI, W210 E55 AMG, W124 300TE, W163 ML270 CDI
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399 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot, are these electronic problems serious or...?

Still you have a lovely E320 with a nice mileage.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
My pleasure and no they were not serious.

1) The COMAND unit started acting up and would barely eject CDs. This was replaced under the CPO warranty.

2) Then I had trouble with the phone (bluetooth upgraded one) and they replaced the TeleAid unit with the newer digital one (CPO warranty again).

3) I also had the common missing pixel issue on the instrument cluster and that was replaced by the aftermarket warranty I bought when the CPO expired.

4) Now I have valve covers that are leaking and that's next on the list but the warranty will cover those too.

5) The power rear window sunshade is failing but that is another warranty covered replacement.

I think that's all except for the A and B services.
 

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300CE-24, W204 C220 CDI, W210 E55 AMG, W124 300TE, W163 ML270 CDI
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399 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input, How do you find the car mechanically? Whats the price of the servicing?
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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I forgot to mention I had a rear main seal(s) leaking that was covered by the CPO warranty too.

Mechanically it seems as sound as a rock. Servicing is expensive for me because I don't do any of the work myself ($100 US per hour at the dealer). Some of the DIYs will chime in and give you their insight soon. From what I gather, buying the parts from reputable suppliers and doing the work yourself sure seems to be the best and least expensive way to own any MB.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
I missed a couple of your questions. The E430 or E55 would be my preferences because of the engines. I had a 1998 E430 that had plenty of power but too many miles (and other issues) so I traded for the E320 I have now. I'd imagine the E240 would be a slug. If the E55 has been well taken care of the cost of ownership should be roughly comparable with the others. If it's been run like a mad dog, beware.
 

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2012 E350 :-) 2002 E320 (sold)
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432 Posts
I have a 2002 E320 with 95K miles on it. Except for a few front end bushings or whatever and two cats (1 under warranty) , it has been maintenance free (less oil changes, etc). I replaced the plugs myself last month in about 2 hours and about $50 for plugs. I fixed the pixels myself for about $35 and a few hours. I will try to put in new motor mounts later this month (about $150 online). It still runs and rides great. It's a very comfortable car.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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LOL, my list keeps getting longer. Since ALLIKANBE mentioned it, I had my cats replaced too, both under warranty (72,000 miles). I'm beginning to think these beasts aren't that reliable after all.

During a "free" safety inspection some play was found in one of the ball joints. The tech said it was minimal and wouldn't worry about it yet.
 

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96 E-320, 91 190E, various and sundry Euro and American vehicles
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12,141 Posts
Reliable? No!
At least mine hasn't been (on so many fronts) and I've only had it 2 years.
I'm to the point where the car is considered untrustworthy. It is also up "for sale".

but that's mine.
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,631 Posts
"Reliable" is a moving target. As compared with what? The 124? All other things being equal, I'd say yes.

The 124's three biggest problems in terms of reliability are the head gasket on the M104, the engine harness, and the K40 relay. The latter is pretty inexpensive and easy to take care of, the other two are not and the head gasket can lead to worse issues.

Thus far none of those issues have surfaced in the W210. The common issues thread in the stickies will give you some idea of what to look (and look out) for.

If properly maintained, the 210 is a pretty solid car. The 5-speed seems to have more than it's share of problems, so newer is better than older (2000-2002), but they still need to be maintained, and if so I'd say they are reliable. None of the engines have any oft-recurring and expensive problems, which is also good.

Don't be fooled by the AMG though. It's a great car, but is more expensive to own (insurance, fuel) and maintain (go price new rotors and get back to me). I've been more than satisfied with my car's performance and economy; it's also lots easier to work on than the M113, which means quite a bit to me. (Indeed, if someone offered to trade me an E430, all other things being equal, I'd decline, just for that fact alone.)

Shop around; there are way too many of these in the market for you to have to settle for a car with problems. And don't be scared to travel to get one. I went 1,300 miles away to find the car I wanted and got a great deal (which is why I traveled, there were good ones closer but 1/4 more).
 

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07 Silverado CC Z71, 10 Chevy Tahoe LT, 12 BMW K1600GLT
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Since you are looking for a used one, the reliability also depends a whole lot on the maintenance it has had during the years prior to your ownership.

In any case, you are soon looking at a car that is at least 10 years old, so things will eventually start to go wrong. All in all, though, I don't think there are any major issues with these things. Cats are definitely expensive, though. Most transmission issues are usually electrical in nature and are fairly easily remedied.

In any case, you need to be prepared to do some maintenance, no matter how well kept car you find. And with MB's the thing is that the more you can do yourself, the better you are off.

AMGs are nice but they do have premium in everything, also on operating and maintenance costs, so be prepared for those, too.

Good luck with your search! :thumbsup:
 

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Reliable? Mostly, yes.
My '99 E320 has left me stranded thrice.
Once with a broken drive belt tensioner (no parts store had one in stock on a Sat., I could have swapped it out in the parking lot but ended up getting towed home).
Once with a disintegrated/clogged CAT (scuttlebutt says they will only last about 120k).
I leave the best for last, the transmission died. Common failure of a main internal bushing while my daughter had it up at college. $2500 fix. Although I cannot prove it, I suspect it failed due to some over-enthusiastic driving by my son a few months earlier (he was clocked doing 122 mph on the interstate returning from FLA). Oh the joys of parenthood. Fix included swapping out the bushing for roller bearings. Fine ever since.

I turned wrenches as I put myself through school and still do most of my own work so maint. costs are low for me as I am not paying for labor unless the car is stuck where it isn't convenient to get home to the shop (i.e. tranny).

I would rate it not as reliable as a 9xx RWD Volvo but more so than any American vehicle of the same vintage. Especially if you don't do any highway racing;) What was that about an AMG?:D
 

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2002 e320
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344 Posts
Satisfying to drive. Yes. Reliable. No. I have had a steady trickle of so far minor problems like window regulator failing and stop light lamps losing contact. Meanwhile I have Honda Accord that has twice as many miles on it but has never had an issue.
 

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2002 E320
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307 Posts
My troubles...

Crank Position Sensor at 100k miles. Easy and cheap fix but it did leave me stranded at 2 am alone for about a half hour. Car shut off on me at about 40 mph so that was quite surprising.
Brakes were replaced recently but that is a regular wear item.
Headlight bulbs kept burning out so I upgraded to HID and no troubles since.
Oil changes, also regular maintenance.
Ball joints will be replaced as soon as UPS delivers my lost package. 108k miles.
Time/gear indicator bulb burned out, easy fix but I'm lazy and don't know where to get the bulb.
 

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96 E-320, 91 190E, various and sundry Euro and American vehicles
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12,141 Posts
To put it simply.
If you are going to have a shop perform repairs, this is NOT the car for you, and if you do have a shop do some work, you better have some automotive knowledge behind you.

If you do your own repairs, be prepared for a lot of issues I never had with pre 1991 Benzs. There has been a significant QC drop everything from rust prevention to electronics.

My 1992 GT Mustang that I beat up, on a regular basis (since it is so fun to mistreat that horse), has had virtually no issues in the 7 years I've owned it. So my Fords and Saabs outperform the E320 in dependability. I've had the E-320 for 2 1/2 yrs. It has been one thing after another, to the point of straight out paranoia., (but I will give the Benz a thumbs up for comfort).

So, again. If you are going to do your own repairs, you may survive it.
 

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300CE-24, W204 C220 CDI, W210 E55 AMG, W124 300TE, W163 ML270 CDI
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks fr all the input everyone.

I would sum up all of the above as follows.

1. An AMG is good, but expensive as hell (Thanks Gregs)
2. Don't buy a dog of a car, opt for low mileage
3. Servicing is on the expensive side, and buy a later model
4. The 320 is cheaper to own than the V8's but still, the 8's are fine
5. Overall, I see most of the cars have similar issues, I totally forgot about the rusting issue of the E-class (thanks aardvark) such as the worn bushes, cats and electronic systems.
6. They are very comfortable! (thanks aardvark and others)

Overall, I am going to thank you all very much for the awesome input, but it looks like I probably will not be owning the W210 E any time soon...although a lowered Black 430 with 10 spoke elegance rims looks quite "sexay".


So any ideas of my possible new car? (has to be a benz by the way, no less [can't be no more, can it?])

I was thinking of the first Gen ML, I think its called the W162 or something.
Also possibly a W140 S-class, or a very well kept W126 560.
By the way, might sell the C-class, its just too unreliable, and the motor as cute as it sounds, is too weak for the family hauling, also it seems to be consuming more fuel than my 300ce.

Any way, thanks a lot
 

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2012 E350 :-) 2002 E320 (sold)
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Hmmm, having read and contributed to this thread, I would get another E class if I ever sell this one. I recently test rode a 2010 E class and, except for some minor gizmos and toys, I didn't think it was that much better than my 2002 with 95k miles.
 

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300CE-24, W204 C220 CDI, W210 E55 AMG, W124 300TE, W163 ML270 CDI
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Discussion Starter #19
Hmmm, having read and contributed to this thread, I would get another E class if I ever sell this one. I recently test rode a 2010 E class and, except for some minor gizmos and toys, I didn't think it was that much better than my 2002 with 95k miles.
This might be a bit of an anal question, but whats the sound system like in your benz? :) my C124 has six speakers, but the sound they produce is very crisp; beautiful... The C-class has 10 speakers but the bass is quite hollow, the sound is not as powerful either, I also find that I hardly get any sound from the 4 parcel shelf speakers. Aren't the sound systems the same in the C and E?
 

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1999 E300TD 176,000 miles/ 1998 E300TD 195,000 miles
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W210

AH...How about the W210 E300D (Diesel)?:bowdown: I have two and they have been great. Never been left anywhere and gets great fuel mileage. Yes some small items adressed but all in the shop stuff DIY :thumbsup:
 
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