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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello forum,

i decided to have my own thread where i will post updates regarding my own experience with my Mercedes C220 (w203) from 2001. Of course, feel free to participate as well.

The car:
I own Mercedes Benz W203 C220 for almost 4 years now.
The exact model i have is C220 CDI from 2001 with 143hp (105kw). The W203 from 2000 to 2004 is well known for its corrosion issues and this is something that i also experienced quite a bit, but overall my W203 served me well during the years.

Short intro:
This W203 was my first car bought by me and least to say that i was fascinated with it since then. The main issue for me was always the corrosion, it was the only reason why i was thinking of selling the car and getting some other model of MB.
Call me however you want but i like my car to be clean and well maintained, but with corrosion that was not possible, and it was always poking me in the eye.
Of course, i had attempts of fixing it in various places (fenders, trunk) but as time went by it showed only more and more. Bear in mind that i wash the car and keep it in garage over winter times.
Basically said, you can't temporarily fix it unless you invest "more seriously".

During the years:
After years of driving the W203, besides regular maintenance of the engine i never had serious issues, it would never let me down.
At 40C+ degrees it never overheated nor gave warnings and at -20C degrees it started always from 1st attempt (cold start and heavy winter), the car sometimes had to spend the night outside in heavy winter it wasn't always in the garage.
Long story short, i maintained my engine with fresh oil at 15k (KMs) usually, filters and replacing the parts when they are worn out and that's probably why the engine served very well.

In last year:
In the last year i was thinking to get W211, even asked here for opinions but ultimately i couldn't find any that was "good enough" that would make me leave my W203.
W211 is another wish of mine that's why i was looking at it.

Final decision:
After a lot of thinking i decided it's better that i further invest in the engine and other components and get my W203 to pristine condition, i did that but then, i found out about, you guessed it, even worse corrosion on rocker panels. This was very demotivating, you can see that in my other thread with pictures.
Despite that I've made a final decision i will fix its body fully. The car served me and i believe it can do even more KMs (miles) on the road.

Next steps: Fight against corrosion
A few days ago i ordered brand new rocker panels and rear fenders (both sides). This means i will fully replace and put the best possible coats of protection on them.
Total cost for all will be 400€ with parts and labour. (I'm in Bosnia if you are wondering)
When i get these fixed the next step will be the hood and trunk, most likely first i will search for a completely new trunk.

Summary:
I will work on my W203 in the next weeks and months. First, on the list are rocker panels and rear fenders, i will post pictures before and after the repair.

For other people that may be considering W203 C220, in particular, i recommend 105/110kw engine versions, and of course i can only speak of Diesel engines, don't know how Petrols work.
If you can get a 2005 and younger model, go for it unless you want to work on its body as i do. :)
W203 C220 is the car which will serve you if you take care of it.

My own tip:
Never expect a car to "just run", don't think it will do if you just fill in the fuel, even the fuel sometimes needs additives to help it run better, not to mention the engine which has many different components.
Don't listen to what everyone is telling you about Mercedes, the MB W203 will keep you content if you take care of it. Simple.
 

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2003 C320 coupe, 2000 ML320
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618 Posts
Very commendable, Muris93.. Unfortunately most American youths are lazy and brain dead.. They can't make change from a dollar, or figure out how to change a light bulb.. Not let alone, service any kind of a car.. Keep up the good work..
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Very commendable, Muris93.. Unfortunately most American youths are lazy and brain dead.. They can't make change from a dollar, or figure out how to change a light bulb.. Not let alone, service any kind of a car.. Keep up the good work..
Not only do today's yutes not want to learn anything about servicing car,s they don't want to drive them, either. The percentage of teens getting licenses is at an all time low. It's partly because today's traffic is much worse and it;s harder to learn to drive, but also because they'd rather stare at a phone screen then have to pay attention to driving.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
23.11.2019

Corrosion where you don't expect it
Today i decided to check the passenger side footwell area and see how that can be removed together with carpet and plastic covers. I thought i have some sort of filter in that area but i don't.
After i figured it out how to do it, i found out that sadly somehow the car has corrosion on the inner part of the body, not sure how that happened but the picture below shows its location.
Footwell passenger, right side under the plastic cover.
2611985


It appears as if someone was already working on this area in past but i can't tell for sure because all other components and cables appear to be factory mounted.

If you ever decide to inspect this area, the procedure is simple.

Remove upper plastic part below the drawer, 2 screws are holding it, then pull it with the adjusted amount of force towards the back seat.
Right foot plastic cover has a small plastic cover which can be removed, underneath you will find one screw holding it, rest is just pulling to the left towards the steering wheel.
Bear in mind that you first need to remove the plastic cover on the inner part of the rocker panel before removing the plastic on the right side footwell area. To do this pull equally until you can feel it's getting loose, 3 clippers + small velcro strap (some type) are holding it tight.

What i did:
I decided to remove the corrosion with a metal brush as much as i could, it appeared to be only surface rust since the removal process didn't produce a hole in the metal.
I then used some liquid metal and covered the area just in case. I plan to get some coating on it as well to further protect the area. I just need to figure out what should i use.

Overall it doesn't seem to be severe damage going on but it will be interesting to see what else i can find under other plastic covers and carpets.

Footwell area under the carpet looks awesome and i found out that it's glued on with something, a lot of things and wires are underneath, good thing that saved it probably is that i always reduce the water accumulation during the winter.
Another interesting thing is that at the very top of the footwell under the carpet you can find pretty big styrofoam piece and aluminium element over the whole area.

This is W203 C220 for the European market so it might be different for your car if you are elsewhere.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
29.11.2019
Smoke after a cold start

For two days in a row, the car is smoking quite a lot when i start the engine. What i've noticed is that when i turn the ignition i hear weird noise like it wanted to stall but then it starts.
Smoke lasts approximately 10 minutes and then completely disappears and doesn't show up during the day anymore.

I also can see black grease beneath the exhaust pipe.

2 weeks ago i used some sort of fuel additive which should clean the injectors, it was not a cheap one and the description said it was intended for Diesel engines.
I also check the car for codes and none are being shown.

The engine is clean, there are no leaks but i do notice few drops of antifreeze on top of the water pump.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #7
Update:
According to mechanic 99% something is "going on" with fuel injectors. Especially since i used injector cleaner additive a few weeks earlier.
It could now mean several things:

-Some or all injectors need to be replaced
-Injectors don't need to be replaced but the car will need time to "stabilize" its cold starts

Diagnostics tool doesn't show codes which makes me believe that is unlikely that injectors need to be replaced, especially since for the whole day car behaves normally and even runs a lot better than before.

I think i will risk it with more experimenting with the injector cleaner additives and see what happens then. But first 30 litres of diesel need to be spent.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #8
30.11.
Wheel arches rear right and left and rocker panels (sills) arrived today.
Total cost for parts 185€

Next step is to get a timeslot and get all of this installed. Cost of labour will be 180€.

2612548

2612549
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
02.12.2019
The battery is on its way out

I had my battery tested approximately 5 months ago and at that time electrician said that battery is at 60%, not sure how to formulate that in a proper way, I guess it's the quality measurement.
Anyway, after 5 months it dropped 1% according to the last test which means it's now at 59%.
He told me i shouldn't worry and that i can survive the winter without issues, but i'm doubting that more and more.

I noticed that cold starts are getting weirder and feel kinda like the car is struggling with the first start in the day, especially with the last case of high smoke on a few first cold starts for the day (see above).
Furthermore, it's easy to notice that the car takes 10-30 seconds to fully bring the power to the interior lighting and headlights. Climate controls are acting weird, turning itself off at random times and i've read about this in the user manual. For example, because of big power consumption by defroster options, it will turn off automatically if battery power is not sufficient.
Turning fog lights on sometimes turns off main headlights.

Also, i noticed that the inductor/coil symbol for glow heater plugs in the dashboard lights up for max 6 seconds i'm very sure that in past this light would show up for a bit longer during colder temperatures. The car doesn't show error codes about anything. I'm suspecting that maybe the glow heater plug relay is bad, but again maybe weak battery simply can't support 4 glow heater plugs so ti shuts down quickly.

Many reasons to change the battery but what do you think? Should i get 100Ah or something like 95Ah? I'm kinda struggling to identify the correct one for the car as the current one doesn't have much info on it (got it with the car 4 years ago).
 

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2008 ML350 (Me!), 2010 GLK350 (Wife), 2003 ML-350 (Deceased)
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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
03.12.2019
With first snow and temperature below zero this year my car battery finally died. It's like the car knew i was writing about it, what a coincidence. :D
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #12
04.12.2019
New battery installed (VARTA 90Ah)

Today i bought and installed brand new battery for my W203 (C220), VARTA 90Ah. The procedure is simple, i won't go much into details.
It's worth mentioning that it's not enough disconnecting the battery and pulling it out. No, you will also need to remove the bracket on the right side which is held by 2 screw nuts and essentially holds the battery in place.

I figured it's also easy to remove the metal battery holder beneath, this is secured with 3 screws. What you will find beneath can be interesting, in my case there was a lot of dirt and moisture because drain pipe was clogged up.

When you get a clear view of red wires you will notice they are in nice order thanks to the plastic holder MB installed underneath, this can be easily removed.
Carefully remove the wires from canals and then gently pull the plastic part. Be careful as the far right side is also being held by 2 plastic cable ties.

I cleaned up all the dirt and what was in there and also replaced fabric tape on the cable which was getting a lot of water.

Here are some pictures of before and after.

IMG_20191204_142312.jpg IMG_20191204_154916.jpg IMG_20191204_142835.jpg IMG_20191204_153932.jpg

Also, i added an extra layer of protection on top of the cables so that any potential dirt and water won't compromise them again.

Old Battery and New battery.

IMG_20191204_161252.jpg varta1.jpg
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
06.12.2019
Heavy smoke disappeared with the new battery

After i installed new battery the smoke disappeared with the first cold start. Is it the new battery or something else i don't know but one thing is for sure heavy smoke is not there anymore.
Also holding unlock/lock key on the keyfob close to the door handle now opens and closes the windows, previously with the old battery this was not working. Another something which proves the text from the user manual that some malfunctions are possible if battery is weak.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #14
09.12.2019
Injectors (4) are in great shape

I decided to visit MB expert and get the car connected to the STAR diagnostics tool, oh man I wish I had this tool. :D
This was the only way i could know for sure that everything is alright with the engine, especially with smoke issues from last days before the new battery.
Oh yeah, and the smoke is not completely gone, this means that weak battery was not the reason for that. (more about that down below)

STAR diagnostics showed clear values of each injector when the car was idling, and every one of them was within what's considered to be normal at 820+- RPM.
I learnt that when the injector is about to reach 5.0 mm^3 (Quantity correction) at idle engine speed, it means the injector needs to be replaced. Further signs of bad injector are visible in a form of white smoke after a decent trip when the car is left to idle for a few minutes, in this situation smoke will get thicker and thicker the longer the car is idling. In my case, this was not happening.

The reason behind the smoke in my W203 at cold starts is very likely happening due to temperature differences where the car is sitting overnight and outside temperatures, condensation which gets created in the exhaust must evaporate somehow. This makes sense as the smoke started appearing with the appearance of lower temperatures, at some times going even below zero (Celsius). Note that smoke would disappear after about 10 minutes of a cold start.
There is some type of glass wool in the exhaust which over time loses its original quality which additionally helps that condensation accumulation, somehow.

All in all my "smoke issue" is nothing serious.

Bodywork starts tomorrow

Both rocker panels and rear wheel arches are going to be installed soon. The car is going away tomorrow.
After this, i plan to apply a ceramic coating, the package will be here just in time.

Looking forward to the whole outcome. :)
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
12.12.2019
Bodywork in progress

New rear wheel arches and one rocker panel installed but only welding and some stuff have been done, far from a finished product.
All 4 car jack holders checked and reinforced.
Here are some pictures.
IMG_20191212_164837.jpg IMG_20191212_164858.jpg IMG_20191212_165309.jpg IMG_20191212_164841.jpg
 

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04.12.2019
New battery installed (VARTA 90Ah)

Today i bought and installed brand new battery for my W203 (C220), VARTA 90Ah. The procedure is simple, i won't go much into details.
It's worth mentioning that it's not enough disconnecting the battery and pulling it out. No, you will also need to remove the bracket on the right side which is held by 2 screw nuts and essentially holds the battery in place.

I figured it's also easy to remove the metal battery holder beneath, this is secured with 3 screws. What you will find beneath can be interesting, in my case there was a lot of dirt and moisture because drain pipe was clogged up.

When you get a clear view of red wires you will notice they are in nice order thanks to the plastic holder MB installed underneath, this can be easily removed.
Carefully remove the wires from canals and then gently pull the plastic part. Be careful as the far right side is also being held by 2 plastic cable ties.

I cleaned up all the dirt and what was in there and also replaced fabric tape on the cable which was getting a lot of water.

Here are some pictures of before and after.

View attachment 2612885 View attachment 2612886 View attachment 2612887 View attachment 2612888

Also, i added an extra layer of protection on top of the cables so that any potential dirt and water won't compromise them again.

Old Battery and New battery.

View attachment 2612890 View attachment 2612891
Hi,

The two red wires under the battery, coming from far left (passenger) side on the pictures - what is their function/connection? In my w203 C220 cdi, they have been cut right where they exit the firewall.

Thanks!
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #17
H, can't tell really but my guess would be they are somehow related to powering something. Maybe some modules under the seats and carpets but that's guessing.
Do you have any malfunctions with the car? If not i wouldn't worry.
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #18
17.10.2019
Bodywork almost completed

It's 7 full days without the car but tomorrow the old pal should be back, can't wait.
Being without the car these days made me realize what it really means to own one.
Anyway, here are some latest pics i got (low res).

1m.jpg 2m.jpg 3m.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #19
21.12.2019

He's home!
The car is back home but i didn't find the time (nor good weather) to take some pictures, I'm rebonding with it after 7-8 days being apart :D :D . I plan to polish it and then put ceramic coating but i'm also unsure if i should do it in that order. Polish and then ceramic coating. I read a lot but i'm struggling to understand if it makes sense to do both. It's basically protection over protection from my basic understanding.
Any thoughts and suggestions?
 

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New: 2005 w211 E270 132kw; Old: 2001, w203, C220 105kw
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Discussion Starter #20
22.12.2019

Polishing and test of ceramic coating

I did some polishing work on the hood and roof today, very hard to do in a small garage while it was raining outside.
I also applied ceramic coating to the roof section (after polishing) to see how it will work.
The idea is to do this to the whole car.

Here are some pictures of the new rear-wheel arches although i still have to do some polishing and corrections to the paint.
IMG_20191222_162335.jpg IMG_20191222_162416.jpg IMG_20191222_162407.jpg IMG_20191222_162354.jpg
 
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