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Should I scrap it?


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2004 Mercedes Benz E320
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello friends,
A little over 1 month and a half ago, I purchased a 2004 E320 (4 Matic) for $1500.00 (CAD).
Joining the Benz family really felt great (although I knew the car wasn't perfect). I really love the look of the car.

Recently, I noticed the front driver's side was a little lower than the rest of my car.
So what did I do? head to my local Mercedes Benz independent mechanic.
I asked him to perform a general inspection and he provided me with the following list:

Front Coil Springs Replaced (2)
New Mufflers (2)
New 3rd Brake Light
Short in Trunk Light System
New Front Suspension Top Plates (2)
New Shock Absorbers (2)
New Front Axles (2)
New Front Ball Joints (2)
Rear Exhaust shield covers (repaired)
New Trunk Lock Mechanism
Short Circuit in Passenger Seat

He provided an estimate of $12,000.00 (if not more).
Of course, i'm not paying that amount.

My goal was to drive this car for a year or 2 and then buy something better(newer).

For an individual who does not have much experience repairing cars, are any of these repairs DIY? I am also guessing each repair may not be mandatory.
Right now, i'm thinking I may not have any other choice but to scrap the car.(or maybe get another opinion). Pretty depressing...
 

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1992 500SL, 1993 300SE, 1997 S320L, 2000 C230K, 2003 E500, 2005 Smart ForFour, 2008 Smart ForTwo
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381 Posts
Just remember, if the dealer says it needs xyz some of the parts may still be in operable condition and may be quoting to replace said parts as preventative maintenance.

You should be able to replace all those parts for less that $2k if you DIY.


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2004 Mercedes Benz E320
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Just remember, if the dealer says it needs xyz some of the parts may still be in operable condition and may be quoting to replace said parts as preventative maintenance.

You should be able to replace all those parts for less that $2k if you DIY.


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@BenzWillMakeHerDance , thanks for the advice. I have been looking at tutorials online. Just a little worried about the coil spring replacement, seems like this could be a deadly fix if done incorrectly.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,707 Posts
Start with memorizing the next time to do inspection BEFORE the purchase.
I ditto tjts comment.
The only way this car ownership will make sense is DIY.
In USA the SBC system has extended warranty, but that might be your responsibility in Canada.
Start with evaluation what mechanic found.
Sounds like you have torn boots on front axles. If that was not driven like that too long, you can buy new boots for about $100 per axle and clean the joints in 1-2 hr job.
Replacing axles with originals will cost you about 4 times more than car purchase price.
Other things might or might not be urgent, so inspect, inspect, inspect.
 

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2008 E350 4Matic, 2011 E350 4matic
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937 Posts
Why do they think you should replace the springs? Are they broken? Sagged? Recall?
They get weak just like struts. I replace mine and the ride height went back up. Occasionally you do hear of springs snapping too, but not too often. If you're going to do struts, you mind as well replace the springs while you're at it as you need to compress it regardless if you're going to use them again or not. They were around $60+ each from MB.
 

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2,829 Posts
Hello friends,
A little over 1 month and a half ago, I purchased a 2004 E320 (4 Matic) for $1500.00 (CAD).
Joining the Benz family really felt great (although I knew the car wasn't perfect). I really love the look of the car.

Recently, I noticed the front driver's side was a little lower than the rest of my car.
So what did I do? head to my local Mercedes Benz independent mechanic.
I asked him to perform a general inspection and he provided me with the following list:

Front Coil Springs Replaced (2)
New Mufflers (2)
New 3rd Brake Light
Short in Trunk Light System
New Front Suspension Top Plates (2)
New Shock Absorbers (2)
New Front Axles (2)
New Front Ball Joints (2)
Rear Exhaust shield covers (repaired)
New Trunk Lock Mechanism
Short Circuit in Passenger Seat

He provided an estimate of $12,000.00 (if not more).
Of course, i'm not paying that amount.

My goal was to drive this car for a year or 2 and then buy something better(newer).

For an individual who does not have much experience repairing cars, are any of these repairs DIY? I am also guessing each repair may not be mandatory.
Right now, i'm thinking I may not have any other choice but to scrap the car.(or maybe get another opinion). Pretty depressing...
Mileage??

Stealership is taking you for a ride to see if you will bite. They do this with everyone that comes in for a checkup. Period. Now that you have that in info in hand go find a reputable indie or 2 or 3, and have them look at it (without giving them any info, of course on what the stealership side you needed)
See what they see and report back.

EDIT: as for the front springs, hummm, I have my doubts
 

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They get weak just like struts. I replace mine and the ride height went back up. Occasionally you do hear of springs snapping too, but not too often. If you're going to do struts, you mind as well replace the springs while you're at it as you need to compress it regardless if you're going to use them again or not. They were around $60+ each from MB.
But replacement should (must?) be substantiated by a ride height measurement.
I'm surprised that Benz springs do that on a 15 year old car. I've heard of it on 30+ year old American cars, which were hardly known for engineering or quality.
 

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2008 E350 4Matic, 2011 E350 4matic
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937 Posts
But replacement should (must?) be substantiated by a ride height measurement.
I'm surprised that Benz springs do that on a 15 year old car. I've heard of it on 30+ year old American cars, which were hardly known for engineering or quality.
Yes, I set the ride height for the same as the old one. It's the nature of all springs, they eventually sag. Already did the rear springs on my W212, that one had more mileage.
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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4,750 Posts
Looks like you got a good deal on the car. My guess is that you did so because the Stealership told the previous owners the same thing with a similar estimate.

Yes, the mileage is important to know on the car. What is just as important, though, is age of the car. At 16-17 years old, rubber components such as control arm bushings will usually need replacing. Such was the case with my Dad's car that had only 78,000 miles on it (it was 16 years old when I got it).

So, using the info you've provided, let's see what is likely to be needed and what is not.

Front Coil Springs Replaced (2)

Possible, if the car's been over a bunch of bumps. Could be a crack close to the top or bottom of the spring; I've seen that before. Mine don't sag at all on my '05 E320 CDI; they're doing just fine at 15-16 years old and 150,000 miles (243,000 km).

If you're concerned about safety, then be sure to get the right tools for the job. Do not go cheap. There's a reason why professional mechanics pop the cash for the good stuff.

New Mufflers (2)

Possible, but doubtful, unless there are holes in them that are actually leaking exhaust fumes.

New 3rd Brake Light

Really? Those generally don't go bad.

Short in Trunk Light System

How did the tech determine this? Is it just because one of the bulbs won't come on? Did the tech bother to try a new bulb or actually measure the voltage at the bulb terminals with a voltmeter? I smell a rat.

New Front Suspension Top Plates (2)

I'd want to know specifically what's wrong with them. Did they crack? Are they bent? Are they just rusted out?

New Shock Absorbers (2)

Now, this one is possible and even probable.

New Front Axles (2)

Really...? And what signs are pointing the tech to this, pray-tell? Did the tech provide this information?

New Front Ball Joints (2)

Yeah, probable. Generally, ball joints last about 10-15 years or 150,000 km.

Rear Exhaust shield covers (repaired)

Depending on where these are and how they were "damaged" this might not be necessary.

New Trunk Lock Mechanism

Is that so? Why--does it not work? Does the trunk not open?

Short Circuit in Passenger Seat

OK, where in the passenger seat is this short supposedly at? Did the tech bother to make that determination? Or are we simply talking about the SRS Airbag sensor in the passenger's seat? What's actually not working to lead the tech to this conclusion?

Let's continue.

Hello friends,
A little over 1 month and a half ago, I purchased a 2004 E320 (4 Matic) for $1500.00 (CAD).
Joining the Benz family really felt great (although I knew the car wasn't perfect). I really love the look of the car.
Like I said, that's a good deal. My buddy bought a 2004 E320 4Matic and got a similar great deal on it.

Recently, I noticed the front driver's side was a little lower than the rest of my car.
OK, this can happen depending on road conditions. A mechanic I know sees coil springs crack at close to the top or close to the bottom in his neck of the woods, due to rather poorly-kept roads.

So what did I do? head to my local Mercedes Benz independent mechanic.
I asked him to perform a general inspection and he provided me with the following list:
Addressed above, by item.

He provided an estimate of $12,000.00 (if not more).
Of course, i'm not paying that amount.
That's why we call it the Stealership...and I don't blame ya. :)

My goal was to drive this car for a year or 2 and then buy something better(newer).
You might change your mind once you get this car into good repair. Do so, and you will find it to be surprisingly low-maintenance, solid, comfortable, and easy to own, operate, and maintain. That's how I feel about ours; we just get in it and drive it, no fuss, no muss. The drivetrain in your car is a particularly solid and durable one; I like to call it, "Honda-reliable", because it is.

For an individual who does not have much experience repairing cars, are any of these repairs DIY? I am also guessing each repair may not be mandatory.
Right now, i'm thinking I may not have any other choice but to scrap the car.(or maybe get another opinion). Pretty depressing...
No, you don't have to scrap that car, based on what you've told us so far. Even if your car really does actually need all of the above...yes, all of it is DIY-able. If I told you how scared I was at the prospect of working on a Mercedes-Benz before I got into it, you might not believe me. But do believe this: if I can learn to do it, anyone can. Nobody is born knowing how to do this, and you can learn it, just as I did. I now do ALL maintenance on our cars, and as my sig shows, we do have several.

Here's an example of why I do all maintenance on our cars and have for a few years now.


You will definitely want a STAR Diagnostic System (SDS) setup. Count on about US $600 for a turn-key system that's ready to go. This is the actual dealer tool that the Stealerships use, and yes, it is most definitely worth the expense.

And most of all...you will know that the job was done right. Your safety, as my wife's did, will count on that.
 

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Registered
2004 Mercedes Benz E320
Joined
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Start with memorizing the next time to do inspection BEFORE the purchase.
I ditto tjts comment.
The only way this car ownership will make sense is DIY.
In USA the SBC system has extended warranty, but that might be your responsibility in Canada.
Start with evaluation what mechanic found.
Sounds like you have torn boots on front axles. If that was not driven like that too long, you can buy new boots for about $100 per axle and clean the joints in 1-2 hr job.
Replacing axles with originals will cost you about 4 times more than car purchase price.
Other things might or might not be urgent, so inspect, inspect, inspect.
Thanks so much for the advice @Kajtek1 .
Once I get the car up and running again, i'll definitely make it a point to resume the inspection process. To be honest, I bought the vehicle during the peak of the Corona virus pandemic. I desperately needed a vehicle (due to the risk of taking public transportation). As everyone was in confinement, it was difficult to get a professional inspection, but I will know for next time...
 

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Registered
2004 Mercedes Benz E320
Joined
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
They get weak just like struts. I replace mine and the ride height went back up. Occasionally you do hear of springs snapping too, but not too often. If you're going to do struts, you mind as well replace the springs while you're at it as you need to compress it regardless if you're going to use them again or not. They were around $60+ each from MB.
Thanks @CetiAlpha5
I have a spring on the driver's side that broke due to driving over a pothole.
As you mentioned, the best decision is probably to replace everything.
 

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Registered
2004 Mercedes Benz E320
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Mileage??

Stealership is taking you for a ride to see if you will bite. They do this with everyone that comes in for a checkup. Period. Now that you have that in info in hand go find a reputable indie or 2 or 3, and have them look at it (without giving them any info, of course on what the stealership side you needed)
See what they see and report back.

EDIT: as for the front springs, hummm, I have my doubts
@khomer2, thanks for the advice. My current mileage is 374153 km (232487 miles). The driver's side front spring is definitely broken. I can see this from the difference in vehicle heights. My tire is practically touching the left fender...
 

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2004 Mercedes Benz E320
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Discussion Starter #19
But replacement should (must?) be substantiated by a ride height measurement.
I'm surprised that Benz springs do that on a 15 year old car. I've heard of it on 30+ year old American cars, which were hardly known for engineering or quality.
@The Dark Side of Will, can you provide instruction on how to substantiate the replacement by ride height measurement?
 

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You will definitely want a STAR Diagnostic System (SDS) setup. Count on about US $600 for a turn-key system that's ready to go. This is the actual dealer tool that the Stealerships use, and yes, it is most definitely worth the expense.
Can you get real ones that cheap or just the Chinese knockoffs?
Is there one you recommend?
 
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