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So, just to summarize for others with same problem.

Friend of mine's 2000 E320 had SRS light on and it wouldn't pass inspection. He took it to indie and had diagnosis of both the seat weight sensor and the SRS electronics module having failed.

We pulled seat and based on experiences of many owners, checked continuity of seat sensor wiring and found all OK; replaced sensor (exhorbitant price, but interestingly the dealer seemed to have plenty of them) - not difficult. Tried to get SRS light reset, but wouldn't as electronics module was stilll bad. Friend was exasperated at this point and paid indie to replace module and reset SRS light.

Although I have owned several MBs over the years, still have my 350 SDL and loved our E320 4Matic wagon, I am appalled at the cost of repairing this single circuit - at the indie it was $2200 to replace two small electronic devices. I have read and followed several threads concerning MB quality - this reinforces what I usually tell everyone who asks about buying a used MB - "if you don't do your own work, or don't have a lot of extra money - just don't."
 
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