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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

thought i'd introduce myself first, My name is Haris, I'm only 20 so don't currently have a Benz. My dad actually owns a A reg 230E, which if he let's me I am going to fix up for him.





And I currently drive a euro style Vw Polo. Die hard dubber, but i love my old skool mercs and beemers too! Not a big fan of the new stuff



Right anyway that's the intro over with...

I need some advice regarding a 320S which my dad is thinking of buying. But I told him I would find out for him what the common problems are on these and any other S class models really. He is quite open to buy any S class but would obviously prefer a 500/600 though.

I have had a look on the forums but surprsingly I couldn't find a post with common faults or what you should check before buying other than the usual stuff. Maybe there aren't any faults with this car being a Benz, their built like tanks and hardly ever go wrong anyway:)

So if someone could point me in the direction if such a post exists I might have missed it. Or provide some more info..

I would be very grateful and any help would be appreciated.:thumbsup:

Thanks,

Haris
 

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2004 Toyota Avalon XLS
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I'm not very mechanically experienced or anything, but I'd look at 96+ cars only.

Some basic things that you'd want to check on a car of that age would be all the bushings, flex disks, motor mounts, suspension, etc.

I would check the climate control unit and make sure every function works 100% as these can be expensive to fix or replace. The S320's 3.2l engine is very reliable, and the only issue you'd really want to check for would be the head gaskets, as long as it's not leaking. From what I understand, the bigger motors tend to have more issues, not so much with the V8's but the V12's can be more complicated and more expensive to fix (again, just from what i've read so far)

Hope my little information helps.

Also: Go to consumerguide.com and go to used autos, and find the 92-99 S-Class. Under reliability, it will give you a whole list of the year ranges the car was made, and the associated trouble spots it may have, so you can check all of those. Very useful website, and it's free.

Edit: I just realized you mentioned you're looking at a 320S, personally I think that's the best choice (unless you REALLY want more power, but i think the 320 does a fine job) And, like i said, these are pretty reliable cars, just check that the head gasket is NOT leaking, and make sure the transmission shifts just fine. One thing you might do is pull the trans dip-stick and see if it smells very burnt, or has any metal shavings in the fluid, these are signs of issues (applies to any car)

Things that i've had go wrong have mostly been minor details, since these cars are so loaded with features, things will break. I would check to see that all four doors and trunk's close assist works properly, if none work than you may simply need to reset the close-assist pump, which is located in the left side of the trunk, behind the carpet backing in the rear. It's stuffed in some gray-colored foam, you can pull it out, unplug the power, wait a minute, plug it back in, and then see if the close assist will work (this is what I had to do)

Check both drivers side and passenger side mirrors, make sure they both fold in and out properly, and the glass operates properly. You'd also want to check the power seats, and power tilt, to make sure there's no problems there. In general you also will want to put a load on the electrical system, turn on everything you possibly can and play with a bunch of things like tilt, mirrors, windows, etc. to make sure than there's no shorts or any issues with the wiring. I think the most common issues you'll have with an S-Class would be electronics.
 

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Zotye Auto 1.5T T600 2016
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First things first, are you talking about the S320, W140 or the S320 W220? there is a huge difference in the problem side.
 

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First things first, are you talking about the S320, W140 or the S320 W220? there is a huge difference in the problem side.
but i love my old skool mercs and beemers too! Not a big fan of the new stuff
Though W220 doesnt really count as "new" these days, I assume his definition of "new" is anything beyond the w140 generation ;)
 

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The search function here is about as artificially stupid as they come; no boolean connectors, no word proximity functions, nothing, bupkis. Learn to use it anyway. There are a number of past and recent threads concerning common problems of these vehicles. Some recent advice from BrettSanDiego was to treat the purchase of a w140 like you would any other vehicle: gather all relevant information specific to the vehicle, including warranty and other repairs, information about past owners, where the vehicle has been driven (corrosion issues), etc. As for the M120 engine, there seems to be a great mystique to 12 cylinders that is vaguely negative. Aside from a more crowded engine bay, there is no information I am aware of that suggests the M120 suffers more problems than e.g., the 119.

I've had two S600s for a little over three years. None of the repair issues have had anything to do with the number of cylinders. The common problems tend to revolve around wear items (big surprise). Some common issues are: soft close pump in the trunk (see Brett's write-up); rear accumulators/nitrogen spheres that serve as shock absorbers through rear struts; look for leaks around engine and trans; motor mounts collapsed; transmission tunnel liner (will either be long gone or collapsed on top of trans & drive shaft); suspension bushings (and ball joints) up front; brake pads/rotors; slack or slop in steering; steering gear box leaks; flex disks cracked; heat/ac system operating properly; windows go up/down; all three rear view mirrors operational/intact (from 1995 earlier the interior rear view mirror was operated from the same console switch as the exterior mirrors but this did not keep the unwary from grabbing the mirror and breaking it by attempting to reposition it).

The list could go on. The other hopefully obvious items are routine maintenance things like last oil change; coolant change (see threads on controversy surrounding HOAT coolant recommended by MB); brake fluid flush; transmission fluid change (get the right damn kind for your trans); feel up all the hoses you can reach for soft spots and look for crazing; is serpentine belt OK.

I feel tired after all that and I'm going to go lie down . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help, Plenty of information there that is useful!

As I said in the first post did try to find a common faults post but didn't come across one.

And by old skool I mean before 1990:D

Thanks everyone really appreciate the help, some quick and quite detailed replies which is a lot more than i was expecting:cool:
 

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1997 S600 (sold)
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Thanks for the help, Plenty of information there that is useful!

As I said in the first post did try to find a common faults post but didn't come across one.

And by old skool I mean before 1990:D

Thanks everyone really appreciate the help, some quick and quite detailed replies which is a lot more than i was expecting:cool:
Still unclear on model years you are interested in. How about giving the model year of the particular "320S" in question. W140s are of course from model years 1992-1999 in the US. Outside the US, I think it's 1991-1998.

There are a couple of common high dollar repairs worth mentioning. One is the wiring harness on 1995 and earlier cars. This is not specific to the W140 but common across all Mercedes cars manufactured in the early 1990's. The insulation becomes brittle and simply cracks and falls off the wires causing big electrical problems. The other is the AC evaporator corroding and developing leaks. Again I think this problem is shared by some other models. A leaky evaporator will need to be replaced, and it's a big job to do it. Entire dash has to come out. Posts here say it's a $3000-4000 job, or maybe more. You should ask if these problem areas have been addressed and look for documentation to support the owner's claims.

Brett
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for that mate,

If you read the first post again, you'll see that the car is actually for my dad. and the first bit is just an introduction and as part of that i've mentioned that i'm a die hard member of the dub/euro scene but i also love my old school beemers and benz's pre 1990.

The car in question my dad is looking for is an S-Class between the years of 1991-1999 which is why posted this section of the forum

Hope that clears any confusion up. If you read the first post again it will make sense!

Thanks,

Haris
 
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