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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I never thought I'd own a fancy car, but two weeks ago my father-in-law called and said "Hey, I hear you're looking for a car. Want my old 1998 E430?" Ummmm..... lemme think abouOMGYESPLEASEANDTHANKYOU!!!

A little background - In May of 2015 I sold my 08' Mazda3 hatch so my wife and I could pay off debt. I work from home so one car was a bit of a challenge at times, but someone had previously given me a 1983 Yamaha xs400 so I began to fix that up as my daily driver. I put a ton of work into it and it started looking awesome. Then, late November, some jackass (uninsured, of course) pulled out of his driveway without looking when I was about 15 feet away. Had time to mash the brakes but not enough to stop. Hit the quarter panel and flew over the car into the street. Insurance totaled it, paid me a crisp $738 dollars, and I was once again without a vehicle. I thought I'd go a while without a car again until I got the call just two weeks ago.

My project list goes something like this:
  • Oil check (done)
  • Oil change
  • Front standing light (found small, blown in-line fuse)
  • Rear brake light (intermittent failure)
  • Brake switch replacement (ASR/BAS light on)
  • Wet-vac carpet (done)
  • New mats (done)
  • Transmission fluid change (Do I only need this if I'm experiencing problems? How do I know if I'm having problems?)
  • Dash cam
  • Backup cam
  • Fresh coat of synthetic sealant
  • [taking suggestions for other things too]
Anyway, excited to be a part of the community!

2618752
2618753
2618754
 

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w163 02 ML500 W210 97 E50Amg w202 99 C230K w124 - need more space, time to build again
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2,189 Posts
Welcome brookslindseyjr, :)

What to look for - What to look for when buying a W210, A Buyer's Guide


As for the transmission oil, it is NOT lifetime sealed as MB claimed back then.

Keep an eye on the known spring perch issues. - The Dreaded Spring Perch!!!
 

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w163 02 ML500 W210 97 E50Amg w202 99 C230K w124 - need more space, time to build again
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2,189 Posts
add headlights polishing to the above.
Congratulation on new drive.
I think you are smart installing dash camera. Too many weirdos will blame you for accident they created.
I would even recommend a 2-channel and having a backup battery for the cams activated when in park mode
 

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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@Kajtek1 Forgot that on the list, but have a new polishing kit in my trunk ready to roll.
@khomer2 Thanks for that starting list. I've put cams on all my cars. Makes me feel much safer. The one I have isn't two channel or battery operated. Maybe I'll upgrade since I didn't actually have to buy the car.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , SDS Guru
1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E36 AMG, 2001 MB E55 AMG
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3,512 Posts
Change all fluids, including PS, brake, differential.
 

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2002 Mercedes SL500
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10 Posts
The above are all great ideas, but in this instance you know (and hopefully trust!) the previous owner - can you get a comprehensive list of what has been worked on over the years? The car looks in decent shape so there's probably a paper trail. No sense in changing $omething out if it's already been done!
 

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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
True that. The previous owners were my father-in-law and his mother (purchased it new), and I believe I have pretty much everything they've ever done. Just need to sort through it all. Did I mention it has 104k miles on it? Yeaaaaaa buddy.
 

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2002 Mercedes SL500
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10 Posts
Awesome! So rare to get nice car, low miles,few owners and all with a bunch of records. The car's a keeper. I have a 320 wagon with 230,000 miles (150,000 of which are mine) and it still runs like a champ and sails through SMOG every 2 yrs. Keep the rust at bay, stay on top of maintenance and it will last forever.
 

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Premium Member
2005 CLK500 w/30K
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838 Posts
Looks really nice. Enjoy the V8, and know that this forum will hold all the answers for you. And make sure you have 2 working keys.
 

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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I remember seeing that somewhere on the forum, but why 2? And something about replacing the batteries? Doesn't the key have an RFID chip and a physical key if the batteries die?
 

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Premium Member
1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
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6,186 Posts
I remember seeing that somewhere on the forum, but why 2? And something about replacing the batteries? Doesn't the key have an RFID chip and a physical key if the batteries die?
So you will not get stranded if one of the keys fail. The key does not have an RFID chip for your car but a microcontroller for authorization. The batteries are for to lock/unlock the doors remotely. The key gets its power from the ignition switch via induction. The key fob for 1998 E430 uses infra-red signaling for authentication, metallic key is to unlock/lock the doors, if the remote battery is weak.
 

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1999 E320, 2003 E320 Wagon, 2005 C230K SS, 2010 Accord LX w Eibach & Koni FSD's
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2,653 Posts
I remember seeing that somewhere on the forum, but why 2?
If your one and only key dies..........you will have to tow your car to the dealer in order to PICKUP your new one. They need to verify that it works. MB protocol. My dealer even log the mileage of my car.

You can order a new one without bringing the car in. Proof of ownership or registration in your name and driver's license required. They check to see if the address is the same.

I had to buy three new keys last year. $$$$$ 😥
 

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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Ok, I think I have this straight...
  • I should go ahead and buy a second key. Call a dealership to do this?
  • If my key battery dies, I can still start my car and use the physical key to get in. I should probably replace the battery now.
  • If my key dies (circuit boards or whatever) THEN I cannot start the car and will be stranded.
 

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Premium Member
1998 E320 base sedan @ 160kmiles
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6,186 Posts
Ok, I think I have this straight...
  • I should go ahead and buy a second key. Call a dealership to do this?
  • If my key battery dies, I can still start my car and use the physical key to get in. I should probably replace the battery now.
  • If my key dies (circuit boards or whatever) THEN I cannot start the car and will be stranded.
Add one more. If you have two or more keys, and if one key does not turn and start the car, it could be the key, it could be the ignition switch mechanics or electronics. You can insert the second key and if it starts the car, you know that the key is bad. If both keys do not start the car, the chances are the ignition key, the steering lock, or something else is bad. The second key will help you diagnose the issue faster, and cheaper. If the car does not start, and you get to tow the car to a dealer, the diagnose cost will be at least $150.
 

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1996 SL500, 2000 E430
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3,668 Posts
"Transmission fluid change (Do I only need this if I'm experiencing problems? How do I know if I'm having problems?) "

NO!

Every 50K-60K miles.

As others said years ago they learned that these "sealed for life" transmissions would burnout out at 100K-150K. The clutch pack still wears. The filter clogs.

Have a friend who was having a lot of mysterious problems with her 2002 ML500.(same transmission)

Long story short, despite the fact that she took it to our local dealer since new, and trusted them to do whatever needed to be done, they never changed the fluid/filter. Car now has 90,000 miles and my indy shop friend told them because of a leak a $900 electronic component is bad and the fluid had particles in it.

Congratulations on your car - looks identical to mine. I also got mine "free" when my father died. Anything that it needed over its life was taken care off and the result after 20 years is a car I'd drive anywhere.
 

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W220, W210 x2, R170
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182 Posts
It’s worth it to ask your father-in-law and his mother about extra keys. And that’s a really nice rust free N.C. car!
 

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1998 Mercedes-Benz e430 (104k miles)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Ok, I've gone through all available service records and plan on doing the following things in the following order. I'll be getting a shop to do the labor, but will be buying the right parts so I know they are quality. I'm at 104k miles.
  1. Oil/Filter
  2. Trans fluid and filter (kit on FCPEuro)
  3. New Key
  4. Engine/Transmission mounts (AutoHauz)
  5. Crankshaft position sensor
  6. Spark plugs
  7. Fuel Filter
  8. Brake fluid flush
  9. Differential fluid
Things already done (high points)
  1. Harmonic Balancer (1/6/2006 @ 34,851)
  2. MAF (10/16/2006 @ 36,618)
  3. Front rotors (12/14/2007 @ 39,143)
  4. Power steering fluid (3/20/2014 @ 66,259)
  5. Front brake pads (10/22/2015 @ 80,419)
  6. Serpentine belt (12/3/2016 @ 86,445)
  7. New battery and Oil Change (9/13/2018 @ 95,642)
As always, hit me with some knowledge or suggestions. I'm all ears!
 

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Registered
1999 E320, 2003 E320 Wagon, 2005 C230K SS, 2010 Accord LX w Eibach & Koni FSD's
Joined
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2,653 Posts
Ok, I've gone through all available service records and plan on doing the following things in the following order. I'll be getting a shop to do the labor, but will be buying the right parts so I know they are quality. I'm at 104k miles.
  1. Oil/Filter
  2. Trans fluid and filter (kit on FCPEuro)
  3. New Key
  4. Engine/Transmission mounts (AutoHauz)
  5. Crankshaft position sensor
  6. Spark plugs
  7. Fuel Filter
  8. Brake fluid flush
  9. Differential fluid
Things already done (high points)
  1. Harmonic Balancer (1/6/2006 @ 34,851)
  2. MAF (10/16/2006 @ 36,618)
  3. Front rotors (12/14/2007 @ 39,143)
  4. Power steering fluid (3/20/2014 @ 66,259)
  5. Front brake pads (10/22/2015 @ 80,419)
  6. Serpentine belt (12/3/2016 @ 86,445)
  7. New battery and Oil Change (9/13/2018 @ 95,642)
As always, hit me with some knowledge or suggestions. I'm all ears!
Change idler pulley, personally I would change tensioner too if original.

Check both cabin filters. Most likely carbon one is original and disgusting.:eek:
 

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96 E320
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177 Posts
Check both cabin filters. Most likely carbon one is original and disgusting.:eek:
+1 Mine were never changed in the previous 23 years. I guess they get forgotten by most folks for some reason. @brookslindseyjr , nice car! The color looks the same as mine. MB says its "smoke silver metallic" but its more a "metallic beige" or "champagne" to me.
 
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