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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

So I am (or was) about to buy a 250K mile 320 SWB from 1996 for pretty neat $2,800. The test drive revealed some minor issues (a/c is noisy, minor rust at non-critical places, one rear window is not working properly but also not needed), but overall it's a well maintained car for this age/price.

The only thing that's really annoying and the (Subaru) dealer doesn't want to fix: Central locking. Well, not all of it. Just the two front doors are not locking at all (back doors and trunk are fine). Now I read a lot about the central locking here in this forum, about the pump and everything, but I still don't get how it's possible that only the front doors are not locking. I mean, it's two different pipes (tubes?) for these doors, the pump is running...

...and I really don't want to buy a car that can't be locked :D

Looking forward to some input!

Best,
Sebastian
 

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Premium Member
'97 CL600
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2,969 Posts
I just ordered out a new actuator from Mercedes of Scottsdale. Reasonably priced (for a dealer). On my car, one door will lock but will not unlock unless manually. And try to reach the lock button from the drivers seat.
 

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1994 S600 Coupe, 1995 S600 Coupe
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2,283 Posts
The door locks actuators are easily repaired if they will lock but not unlock. The body of the actuator separates and leaks under pressure, but holds under vacuum. There is a zip tie fix discussed many times here. It makes the actuators better than new as new ones are no better made than old ones. I've fixed 6 of them with zip ties with zero issues since. I've included a picture below of the fix, shamelessly lifted from another post on this forum.


Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks you two! I checked independent mechanics on www.benzshops.com and found one pretty close to the dealership where the car is located, they do check-ups for $100.
@Jon: They're not locking, unfortunately. But I also didn't test if they would unlock after being locked by hand.
 

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Moderator
93 SL500, 95 SL320, 96 S320, 98 S500, 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon & A little 91 5.0 FORD Mustang
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8,088 Posts
Sebastian,

Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your post...

Looking at a 250kmile S320? for $2800 it is a bit steep even for West Coast prices.. I paid $10k for my 100kmile 1996 S320 14 years ago, yet I my regrettable mistake is I wish it was a 97/98/99. These W140 are becoming harder to find, but found a 97 119kMile for $5k, and it must have torn seats as no picture of front seats. See attchment Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 3.02.05 PM.png

97-99 six cylinder cars have a 722.6 transmission which is more powerful and longer lasting transmission. Actually I'd own any car with a 722.6 it is the best longest lasting transmission. The new 722.9 is very expensive to maintain that came in the W220's. The 722.3-722.5 just do not last long. Plus mercedes has discontinued some key parts on the 722.3-722.5, but not problems on the 722.6 as they use it on their AMG cars to this date..

Yea, the guys here think I'm a bit jaded with that comment since I work on MB transmissions.

If you live in a state where emission testing is done(like in California), you will certainly fail every time if the smog shop does not know about this problem with the 96 S320's-see the epa document in the attachment that covers all cars...

Do not be disillusioned with torn seats as you can buy new leather skins for $350 from Lseat.com for single color seats.


Whatever you do, do not buy any MB car with a Green/Blue/Red/Brown/Coffee/Caramel interiors buy your black, mushroom, grey interiors, yet some grey seat cars may have some like navy blue. Those are okay, but the others will be near impossible to find interior parts.

Ahhh whatever you do when you find your GEM, change the heater tee like yesterdays "New York Second". You blow this tee on the highway, and you got 60 seconds to stop the engine before it welds it self together. Buy a new fresh MB tee, Rein brand tee. No ebay/craiglist/offer-up/junk yard or URO brand tee's. They are good 70k to 80k miles safely, and 80k to 100k you are in the danger zone-true for any +94 W140

Read all about it:




This tee breaks too:


The Rein tee:


With every tee I change this sucker if you are using the factory radiator:


The thermostat on a S320 is super easy to change out. Change it and the rubber o-ring too...

Find that queen..

All the best,

Martin
 

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Premium Member
1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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930 Posts
Pay the $100 for the PPI. Would be better to take it to the MB Dealer They charge $200 but they know MB's. It is a Subaru Dealer. They probably have very little in it. The PPI will be the best money spent. AC could need a new blower motor. These are about $300(?). How are the tires? Michelins will be about $7-800.
 

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1998 S320LWB
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667 Posts
I recall that the door front actuators are difficult to remove from the door to perform Mava famous zip tie Repair.
Any tips on that or do they remove easily?
 

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'97 CL600
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2,969 Posts
Quakercity, our local MB dealer isn't fond of cars older than about 10 years. In my area, the GOOD Benz mechanics go out on their own but then are captured in a time-warp of about 10 years. They are whizzes on the cars that were being sold when they worked at MB but as the years rolled by, they had less hands on experience. My mechanic who is the best in my area had NO experience on the 12 cylinder engines but jumped right in. Another GOOD local wouldn't touch the 12 banger.
 

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Premium Member
1999 S600 & 1999 S500
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930 Posts
Quakercity, our local MB dealer isn't fond of cars older than about 10 years. In my area, the GOOD Benz mechanics go out on their own but then are captured in a time-warp of about 10 years. They are whizzes on the cars that were being sold when they worked at MB but as the years rolled by, they had less hands on experience. My mechanic who is the best in my area had NO experience on the 12 cylinder engines but jumped right in. Another GOOD local wouldn't touch the 12 banger.
My dealer wanted $4500 to change the valve cover gaskets. Got it done by an indie for $2100. He also replaced all or most of the vacuum hoses and the maf sensor "pipe".
Ursula now runs like a new car. I do still use the dealer for oil changes. Ursula likes being pampered at the car spa. They always hand wash and vac after the oil change They also let me know about any other concerns.
 

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1999 S500; W140.051
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749 Posts
I have only had to do door lock vacuum actuator on driver's door on my '99 S500.

Like many of these jobs, the first time isn't real easy, and that's aside from the door panel R&R that isn't a real hard job, but has a few idiosyncratic details of procedure that are not real well documented so getting good success at that part is like being a member of a secret masonic order.

R&R of the door lock actuator is complicated by the plastic anti-theft shroud that completely surrounds the unit such that it has to poke up thru a tube and the easily broken potmetal connecting rod to the lock handle must be fished up thru just right while getting the vacuum actuator hooked on the inner door skin and lined up for fixing screw install.

After breaking one potmetal lock rod (you can't try to force that thing up when you're ever so close...), I ended up on the 2nd try using a piece of wire to guide the lock rod. I formed an eyelet that fit snug on the lock rod threads then fished wire with eyelet down from lock rod hole in the door top above; engaged the wire eyelet on the lock rod, then fished the vacuum acuator/lock rod assy up into position on the inner door skin.

Hopefully you get the idea on this.

That anti-theft housing/cover thing makes the W140 a 'slim-jim proof' setup.

The actuator is cheap; ~$25 so definitely replace it for the hassle of the R&R. You could apply Mava's 'failsafe' for the housing breakage leak failure, but for $25 use a new part.
 

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Registered
1998 S320LWB
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667 Posts
I have only had to do door lock vacuum actuator on driver's door on my '99 S500.

Like many of these jobs, the first time isn't real easy, and that's aside from the door panel R&R that isn't a real hard job, but has a few idiosyncratic details of procedure that are not real well documented so getting good success at that part is like being a member of a secret masonic order.

R&R of the door lock actuator is complicated by the plastic anti-theft shroud that completely surrounds the unit such that it has to poke up thru a tube and the easily broken potmetal connecting rod to the lock handle must be fished up thru just right while getting the vacuum actuator hooked on the inner door skin and lined up for fixing screw install.

After breaking one potmetal lock rod (you can't try to force that thing up when you're ever so close...), I ended up on the 2nd try using a piece of wire to guide the lock rod. I formed an eyelet that fit snug on the lock rod threads then fished wire with eyelet down from lock rod hole in the door top above; engaged the wire eyelet on the lock rod, then fished the vacuum acuator/lock rod assy up into position on the inner door skin.

Hopefully you get the idea on this.

That anti-theft housing/cover thing makes the W140 a 'slim-jim proof' setup.

The actuator is cheap; ~$25 so definitely replace it for the hassle of the R&R. You could apply Mava's 'failsafe' for the housing breakage leak failure, but for $25 use a new part.
Thank you for the response to my question, your tips and advise.
 

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97 S600 Coupe. Former 83 300D, 97 C230, 93 400E, 92 500SL, a few others
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420 Posts
Great info by all, especially Mava and yes, the .6 trans is the best ever, 189k and counting on 23 years of abuse from my v12, with 3 services.

Short answer, and I'm sorry if I'm posting what some may think of non-helpful responses, but after going through a 2 year rolling restoration of my 2-owner, 17 page VMI s600 coupe, and while I know this is a technical forum, the only data points you need to focus on are the following.

1) You're looking at the most complex car MB made in the 90s - albeit the simplest version
2) The car has 250k miles
3) The asking price is someone's average 2 week paycheck

With these points in mind,
1) The car has survived this long. It has thus had a certain level of care
2) Are you going to use it as a daily driver? Do you have potentially $10k to spend on repairs the first 2 years?
3) I wouldn't waste the money on a "dealer inspection" at this price and mileage. If you want to talk yourself into buying a 140 S class, do it. You are clearly hesitant, and my best advice so that you sleep at night would be to find the best 60k mile version you can, get THAT car dealer inspected, and when he finds $3k in immediate work needed, get it for $6k and have yourself a low mileage car that you budgeted for deferred maint o and had a very clear path from the start and not a car that will have THREE HUNDRED k in a year.

When I bought my S I wasn't hesitant, I wanted it, I called my master tech and confirmed that he would work on it without protesting, and I jumped in feet first. Do or do not, there is no try. 140s are not for hesitant buyers.
 
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