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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I am a longtime VW owner and am excited to be making my way over to Benz. I'm looking for some advice before I do.

The car I have the hots for currently, is a 2001 C320 with an automatic transmission. I have found one with 139k miles for 8400 obo from a charming older lady locally. She has had the thing serviced many times and claims there are no problem other than a small scratch on the door. Scratches are no biggy.

While she may not notice anything, I am still skeptical and bit scared to be buying a Benz. I do not know what I am looking for when I look at this car, what problems to expect, and the signs to turn down the deal.

I briefly read something about certain models having balance shaft problems. I don't have a clue what a balance shaft is, but I'm sure I don't want to purchase one with the known problem.

Here's what I'll already be looking for when I go see it.

-Valeo radiator (I've read they leak into the transmission and cause problems)
-If the transmission dipstick tube has the tamper-proof tab.

That's about it. So any other things to look for would be great.

I currently own a Jetta with a manual transmission, and buying a car with an automatic transmission scares me.

Any advice, tips, or stories will help.

Thank you so much!
Henry
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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The M112 3.2l V6 engine in that C320 will have no problems with the balance shaft - that was a problem with the later M272 V6's. The C320 is a solid car. My only concern on that one is that it's the first year for the W203, but surely after this many miles, all its little bugs have been fixed.

Do verify that the Valeo radiator has been replaced with the Behr. You can look here for the visual differences.

Another thing to look for is weak FM radio reception and short range on the remote door lock - there is an antenna amp attached to the inside of the rear glass that fails and causes these problems. It's expensive to repair, generally needing a whole new glass with the module pre-attached.

At this mileage, if the catalytic converters haven't been replaced, they are living on borrowed time. Also, you'll probably need to work on the suspension, but that's fairly easy stuff. Oh, and it's also very common for the LCD screen on the instrument cluster to dim when it's hot. A whole new cluster is very expensive, but there are several companies where you can ship off your cluster for repair, or, if you are so inclined, you can buy a used cluster and swap the LCD panels (you can't just swap the clusters because of odometer anti-tampering security).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The M112 3.2l V6 engine in that C320 will have no problems with the balance shaft - that was a problem with the later M272 V6's. The C320 is a solid car. My only concern on that one is that it's the first year for the W203, but surely after this many miles, all its little bugs have been fixed.

Do verify that the Valeo radiator has been replaced with the Behr. You can look here for the visual differences.

Another thing to look for is weak FM radio reception and short range on the remote door lock - there is an antenna amp attached to the inside of the rear glass that fails and causes these problems. It's expensive to repair, generally needing a whole new glass with the module pre-attached.

At this mileage, if the catalytic converters haven't been replaced, they are living on borrowed time. Also, you'll probably need to work on the suspension, but that's fairly easy stuff. Oh, and it's also very common for the LCD screen on the instrument cluster to dim when it's hot. A whole new cluster is very expensive, but there are several companies where you can ship off your cluster for repair, or, if you are so inclined, you can buy a used cluster and swap the LCD panels (you can't just swap the clusters because of odometer anti-tampering security).

Thanks so much for all the advice. Luckily the car was almost immaculate (minor body problems), so I bought it. There's a check engine light on which she claims is just a sensor, haven't scanned it, but I can't imagine it's that bad. The car runs extremely well.

You mentioned the LCD, this one does need replaced, any links that could get me in the right direction to getting it done soon and cheap?

Thanks again
 

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2002 C320 Wagon
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This site seems to have the LCD display for 80. B.Pounds.
Minitools catalog | MiniTools

Would be a steal if you're very handy and can do the work yourself.

Compare this part price to the $2000.00Cdn my dealership charged the warranty company to replace mine on my '02 C320 wagon last year.
 

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2006 W203 & 2006 W251
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Welcome to the club... I have a buddy that has a VW don't be to scared about parts they are generally around the same price as the VW... Just make sure all Maintance needed between the mileage has been completed after that, happy modding because ur going to really soon... Lol
 

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w124 400E x R129 w210
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I'm looking at a nice C240, manual, with 160K Kilometers, so the radiator issue is not a concern. But what is the story with the cats? Why will they need to be replaced?
 

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Anytime after 100K miles and cats may fail. This is true for any car make and model.
 

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2005 C230 Kompressor Coupe 6 speed; 2015 E350 4Matic Sedan
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Congratulations!

My wife and I replaced her '02 5 speed Passat with an '05 6 speed 230 Coupe and though we liked the Passat, the M-B is on a whole other level. Maintenance costs are similar, if anything, the M-B has been less expensive to maintain than the Passat was. Wear items such as brakes seem to last much longer on the Benz. They cost a little more, but last a lot longer.
 

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w124 400E x R129 w210
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Is there a known problem with the exhaust mounting mounts on this car?
I've looked a several C240's in the last couple of weeks and almost all of them had ALL the brackets on the exhaust broken free.
 

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I see your location is listed as NY - I'd assume this is a common problem due to salt used on icy roads. Down here, we have almost no snow or ice, so no salt, and the parts last forever.
 

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Yeah...the "solutions" they put on the roads are terrible.
On another issue, I'm trying to locate a source the LCD screens in these W203 clusters. Do you know of a source?
The Italian connection isn't working plus I read that their screens had a polarization issue.
I have found someone that will rebuild the whole cluster for $350...but all that is needed is the LCD screen.
Used from eBay probably all have the same issues.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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This Italian site?

Adaptable LCD display for Mercedes W203 dashboards pixel repair | Minitools Product

Their catalog lists the price as EU80, which is about US$100. I don't know what shipping would be. I haven't heard about any polarization issues, but I guess you mean that you can't see it with polarized sunglasses? That's actually a common problem. I couldn't see the radio screen on my BMW with polarized lenses, It was a bit annoying.

Oh, here's another place I found (EU69):

http://www.diyspareparts.net/mercedes-2.html
 

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w124 400E x R129 w210
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Thanks for the contact info.
I seem to remember a bulk buy that was setup at some point but the pieces came from China and there were some "quality" issues.
I know of the Italian seller Minitools.
Is "diysparepart" link the Chinese seller, do you know?
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Sorry, I don't know anything about diyspareparts.net - I just found it by searching. There are a few companies that do the repair for you (send in your cluster) and they must be getting their parts from somewhere.
 
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