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Hi,

I'm looking into buying a 2006 E350 with 150K miles on it. This would be my daily driver and I'd need to count on getting 20k miles out of it without too much work.

How big a gamble is this? Is it reasonable to expect a year of solid driving without any major issues? Assuming the PPI checks out.

Only one owner, reasonably well taken care of, and Carfax looks good. DIY won't be an option the first year.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The engine number IS NOT safe from balance shaft issues. Is there a way to mitigate this risk, or is it rolling the dice?
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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Run, don't walk. You're not just rolling the dice, you're playing Russian Roulette! Mitigating that risk means replacing the balance shaft sprocket, and that repair is $8,000, at least. There is no way around that one besides replacing the engine itself.

If I were you, I'd look for a 2005 E320 with the M112 V6. That engine is near-indestructible, and it's definitely not a wimp (my buddy has a 2004 E320 4Matic, same engine). Plus, you get the more reliable, easier-to-work-on, 5-speed transmission. Those are out there.
 

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2009 e350 sport
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Mine is an 09 E350. I don't think I have SBC braking. And not too sure about the balance shaft issue.
I recently had to change the alternator and the intake manifold , over 2 grands for the repair and this with 87k miles on the clock. It's been a daily driver last couple years. I plan to sell this car in few for fear of what next. Tranny? Air Condition?
 

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2001 E320 - Karl; 2000 ML55 AMG - Klaus; 2005 ML350 - Gertraud (daughter's car)
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within the past year i purchased an 08 E350. 108K miles on it, with complete service history. unless it's cheap cheap cheap, i would not consider it without a purchase history. although the engine number falls in the balance sprocket problem, you never know if it's already failed and been replaced ... perhaps do a vin lookup.
 

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87 300D 5 speed
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Hi,

I'm looking into buying a 2006 E350 with 150K miles on it. This would be my daily driver and I'd need to count on getting 20k miles out of it without too much work.

How big a gamble is this? Is it reasonable to expect a year of solid driving without any major issues? Assuming the PPI checks out.

Only one owner, reasonably well taken care of, and Carfax looks good. DIY won't be an option the first year.

Thanks
Don't buy the 06.
 

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2000 S430, 2003 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, and 2005 E320 CDI
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Mine is an 09 E350. I don't think I have SBC braking. And not too sure about the balance shaft issue.
I recently had to change the alternator and the intake manifold , over 2 grands for the repair and this with 87k miles on the clock. It's been a daily driver last couple years. I plan to sell this car in few for fear of what next. Tranny? Air Condition?
No, the post-facelift W211's don't have SBC. However, in the United States, SBC's not a concern any more, thanks to the 25-year warranty over here. Check your VIN to see if you're in the vulnerable range of that balance shaft sprocket problem. If you're not in there, then as far as the engine goes, you should be fine.

The transmission is a different story. I had a guy come by and ask me to look at his car, a 2008 C300. His transmission, a 722.9 seven-speed (same as yours), wouldn't shift past 4th gear. He took it to the shop, they had a look, and there was all sorts of metal shavings down in the trans oil pan. NOT GOOD. He sold that car at a loss and got a 2016 Audi. Now, if M-B had kept the 722.6 five-speed transmission, I'd be much less concerned.

You mentioned the intake manifold. Was that the variable-length intake valve that you had to have done, perchance?

As for the alternator, though, that surprises me. Alternators generally last a very long time in most cars. I had one seize up on a Honda Civic with 200,000 miles, because it'd been sitting for close to 6 months, but that's it.
 

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2009 e350 sport
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For the alternator , the read code was "alternator serial interface".
For the intake manifold , the read code was " throttle valve actuator , the throttle valve is stuck or stiff" My indie tech showed me the intake manifold after it was removed from the vehicle and I saw the external broken plastic actuators.
The throttle valve actuator issue also produced a P0607 (ecm) code as well as a P2237 for upstream O2 sensor.
Tha alternator surprised me also.
Ditto that about the tranny.
My brothers 1986 toyota pickup van is on the original alternator with over 250k miles.
My 91 volvo 740 with 220k miles also original.
tjts1...thanks for the link.
Appreciate it and thanks all for your contribution to benzworld
 

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If you do end up selling it, but you still like the W211 chassis, I would then suggest, as I did to @MikeK80 and get a 2005 E320 with the five-speed and the M112 V6 engine, with the standard coil springs. That combination is like Superman--it's bulletproof. Either that, or a 2005-2006 E320 CDI (Diesel), which also has the reliable 5-speed. We have an example here on BenzWorld of an E320 CDI that is well in excess of 450,000 miles, and rising, and it runs like a top. Only recently did its owner, after 450,000 miles, have to do a tranny rebuild. How's that for longevity? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@cowboyt

Would a 2003 E320 fall into the Superman category? I believe it’s the same engine,5-speed shiftable automatic.

The E350 seller is saying the dealer looked at it and said the car was fine re the balance shaft issue, but the engine number is not in the safe zone. The car looks solid in all other ways. Still advise I run away?
 

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If you do end up selling it, but you still like the W211 chassis, I would then suggest, as I did to @MikeK80 and get a 2005 E320 with the five-speed and the M112 V6 engine, with the standard coil springs. That combination is like Superman--it's bulletproof. Either that, or a 2005-2006 E320 CDI (Diesel), which also has the reliable 5-speed. We have an example here on BenzWorld of an E320 CDI that is well in excess of 450,000 miles, and rising, and it runs like a top. Only recently did its owner, after 450,000 miles, have to do a tranny rebuild. How's that for longevity? :)
Nothing wrong with an 04 E320 gasser either. It's only the 03s you have to worry about. 03s got a bad reputation because it was first model year. Chances are if it made it to 2020, it's probably fine. 04-05 E320 is the sweet spot
 

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Agreed. My mechanic buddy recently bought a 2004 E320 4Matic gasser and likes it. The car had great bones; just needed the maintenance that you'd expect on any 16-year-old car. He intended it for his wife driving the kids around so she'd have something solid, safe, and most importantly reliable, in any weather. She's pretty darn pleased with it.

The 2005's are the last year of the gasser E320's. Therefore, they're going to have pretty much all the electronic fixes and such. @tjts1 raises a good point; the 2004's are almost as good, and I wouldn't turn one down in good shape. The 2003's, the engine and transmission are indeed Superman category (came from the W210's, so they're very battle-tested), but the '03 electronics can have a few gremlins awaiting.

@MikeK80, I'd run like the wind from that E350. Remember, that seller wants to get rid of that car, so he/she will do anything and whisper any sort of sweet-nothings into your ear to try to make that happen. Among used Mercedes-Benzes, there really are better options.

Indeed, I would also commend to you certain models of the W220 chassis. Yes, the W220 chassis! We have four of them, three V8's and one V12. I'd recommend the V8's (M113 V8 is M112 V6 with two more cylinders and equally solid), when matched with the 5-speed transmission, for ease of maintenance. The years/models to watch for are as follows.

  • 2003: S430 or S500, either 2WD or 4Matic (all 2003's are 5-speed)
  • 2004-2006: S430 or S500, 4Matic only (2WD's have the 7-speed; all 4Matics have the 5-speed)
  • 2006: S350 V6 (came in 2WD only, but has the 5-speed since it's supposedly "stripped", but in this case, "stripped" is definitely a relative term!). Note that this V6 is the 3.7L version of the "Superman" M112 engine; it is not the M272.
Our 2003 S430 has been Honda-like in its reliability, just like the E320 CDI. There's a reason those two cars are my DD's.
 
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