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I live in the salty Northeast, and have an '03 W210 4Matic Wagon (last of the W210s) with 80k miles. She's been quite flawless except for standard dashboard LCD issues, sway bar bushings, and a faulty oil level sender - absolutely love the car.

Until...... this winter, when I started to notice random rust spots on the body: near the body side molding, aft of the rear wheel, aft of the front wheel... arrghh. And these aren't neglected paint chips (the paint is pristine), rather, they seem to be erupting spontaneously. WTH?? The paint is original, no accidents. Anybody else have this? The stealer says I'm out of warranty, so I'm out of luck. Hell, my mom's 20 year old Jetta has less rust. I'm having post traumatic stress from memories of rust-bucket Triumphs and Alfas, but surely not my awesome MB? Of course MB does not have a 10 year corrosion warranty like my Audi... anybody have any suggestions other than 'dump it'?

- John
Boston
 

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I live in the salty Northeast, and have an '03 W210 4Matic Wagon (last of the W210s) with 80k miles. She's been quite flawless except for standard dashboard LCD issues, sway bar bushings, and a faulty oil level sender - absolutely love the car.

Until...... this winter, when I started to notice random rust spots on the body: near the body side molding, aft of the rear wheel, aft of the front wheel... arrghh. And these aren't neglected paint chips (the paint is pristine), rather, they seem to be erupting spontaneously. WTH?? The paint is original, no accidents. Anybody else have this? The stealer says I'm out of warranty, so I'm out of luck. Hell, my mom's 20 year old Jetta has less rust. I'm having post traumatic stress from memories of rust-bucket Triumphs and Alfas, but surely not my awesome MB? Of course MB does not have a 10 year corrosion warranty like my Audi... anybody have any suggestions other than 'dump it'?

- John
Boston
John:

I too live in Boston and understand the northeast rust issues but I am quite surprised to hear of this. I will watch the thread and hope you can resolve this.

Howard
 

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2002 E430 4-Matic
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The exact same rust pattern developed on our '97 E420 but add to that 2 rusted trunk lids near the key opening. It's a common problem in the older W210s.

We dumped Ol '97 and updated to an '02 hoping the rust issues would be behind us.... I'm very dissapointed to see your post.
 

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1998 E320
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A local body shop specialist told me that in 1998 they started introducing thinner coats of a water based paint which has lead to issues such as this. His recommendation was to sand down to metal and repaint.
 

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96 E-320, 91 190E, various and sundry Euro and American vehicles
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Figuero.
I also live in the N/W Chitown burbs (wauconda area), and also currently have a 96 E-320 with spot rust issues. Sad that my 190E is still spotless, and this car is breaking out with the measles.
Most has been around the fender lips but also seeing rust at the door trim trunk lock and antenna. Since the car is black and I used to do bodywork as a side job in a past life, I have been able to keep up on it. Sandpaper and spray paint. I will continue to keep after it, but kinda know in the end I will lose. Sad statement on the quality of their paintwork. Luckily it is black and color match is a non issue, so my repairs are not noticeable .

Aardvark
 

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What is the corrosion warranty on an '03? At some point they got really long (like 30 years).
 

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03 E320 4M Wagon & 97 E320
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What is the corrosion warranty on an '03? At some point they got really long (like 30 years).
In the USA, it has always been the standard 4 year/50k miles for corrosion. This is very short, compared to other car makers.

In Europe, it is probably 30 years.

The various corrosion warranty in the USA can be found here (for 2009).

Compare 2009 Manufacturer Warranties - Cars.com

We (Mercedes owners) really should cry because Mercedes offers one of the shortest warranty on this (Bentley is shorter). BMW, for example, offers 12 years/unlimited mileage coverage.

I also have a 2003 wagon and last year, I had to POR-15 and touch up an area right under the rear window.
 

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1982 300D-T, 1989 Porsche 911 Cab, 1986 Volvo 760T, 2010 BMW 535XiT 6MT and 2014 i3 Rex
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my 00 has the same rust spots (car spent 1st 6 years in Boston)
some of the places near door handle and trunk star, but other spots totally random like middle of a fender. I bought this car knowing it had some cosmetic flaws but it is my "driver" - I'll keep it looking as good as I can reasonably but I know these spots will get bigger with time.
 

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Mercedes W210 E320 wagon
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I'm guessing that tailgate in 210 wagon is very sensitive for rust area. I fixed rust there a couple of years ago. Rust was under bottom trim. All trim mounting holes were rusted, near the key opening area was rusted as well and small treads were around the star emblem.
In this year new rust spot appears under window. The rust spot was bad and as result the body shop cut piece of metal and replace it on new one.
 

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BTW after those repairs I've put preservative on all areas which have any hole and under all trim parts.
Mercedes also recommended put special tape as a gasket between trim and shell. You can find a tape part number in TSB regarding tailgate rust. Unfortunately I don't have it now.

Mercedes Benz Rust preventive Grease part# A000986727005
 

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03 E320 4M Wagon & 97 E320
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Bansai:

I remembered you did an excellent job by yourself fixing the numerous rust on your wagon.

On my wagon, the area is that horizontal narrow surface right below the tailgate window. Water collects in that area and it is a design flaw, IMHO.

I have observed in several Mercedes model that they use unprotected fasteners to attach trim pieces. Rust usually start from these fasteners then spread to the panels.

If you are in a rust area and have a pre-face lift car, take a look at the grill to see if there is any rust in that area. If there is, take the grill out (just some 8 mm screws) and you will most probably see the rust started on these screws or the lower corners where water collects. The face-lifted model eliminated this lower trim.

They should use stainless steel or at least galvanized fasteners. :confused:
 

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Bansai:

On my wagon, the area is that horizontal narrow surface right below the tailgate window. Water collects in that area and it is a design flaw, IMHO.

I have observed in several Mercedes model that they use unprotected fasteners to attach trim pieces. Rust usually start from these fasteners then spread to the panels.

If you have a pre-face lift car, take a look at the grill to see if there is any rust in that area. If there is, take the grill out (just some 8 mm screws) and you will most probably see the rust started on these screws.
loubapache, you are right. This is design issue. Window sealer collects a water in this area. That kind of rust I just fixed in shop!.. :( You need to remove the window and see what it going on under it.

About galvanization.. Those parts are galvanized BUT cutting areas have unacceptable preparation or paint quality (?) This is why most of us have rust areas around attachment holes.

This is example.


That guy was galvanized on both sides, but as you can see, a rust came from cutting area.


I'm guessing that it happening because after 1996 MBz started using wated based paint.
 

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03 E320 4M Wagon & 97 E320
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loubapache, you are right. This is design issue. Window sealer collects a water in this area. That kind of rust I just fixed in shop!.. :( You need to remove the window and see what it going on under it.
Yes, I am thinking about to have the whole tailgate cleaned up and painted (by shop). I have not asked for a quote yet but would expect to be around $1k.

What is worse is that the "water" collecting in that area is salty water in the winter. I did not drive the wagon for about a month in the winter and had to wipe out a thick layer of white crystals once I discovered it. I had the wagon washed before hand anf even blew out the water with compressed air.
 

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Yes, I am thinking about to have the whole tailgate cleaned up and painted (by shop). I have not asked for a quote yet but would expect to be around $1k.

What is worse is that the "water" collecting in that area is salty water in the winter. I did not drive the wagon for about a month in the winter and had to wipe out a thick layer of white crystals once I discovered it. I had the wagon washed before hand anf even blew out the water with compressed air.
loubapache, for $1k you could install new, pained shell on your car.
Check the price on part# 2107400405 - door shell (it will be around $500..700).
Now I have aftermarket seal around the window. It covers area much better then original. I'll make a picture later and show you what I'm talking about.
 

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loubapache, for $1k you could install new, pained shell on your car.
Check the price on part# 2107400405 - door shell (it will be around $500..700).
Now I have aftermarket seal around the window. It covers area much better then original. I'll make a picture later and show you what I'm talking about.
Thanks in advance for the pictures.

Yes, the parts are galvanized but some of the fasteners are not so in two cases I see rust started there. One was the grill area in my 1997 E320. Another is the truck panel in my 1991 300E (sold). After I POR-15 and touched them up around the screw holes, they did not re-appear.

I was also thinking about POR-15 the under window tailgate area, and then cover that narrow horizontal area with aftermarket rubber seals.

A new tailgate was a good idea but I seem to remember it was much more than $700. Plus the lock cylinders etc. need to be transferred over.

I have onwed a W124 wagon (1987 300TDT) and the tailgate had no rust when I sold it in 2007 (20 year old wagon).
 

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I have onwed a W124 wagon (1987 300TDT) and the tailgate had no rust when I sold it in 2007 (20 year old wagon).
Your Benz didn't know anything about "green" water based paints... ;) I had 14 years old W201 190E2.6. When I sold her, she was absolutely rust free...

Check this price ;)
Lift gate.
 

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Your Benz didn't know anything about "green" water based paints... ;) I had 14 years old W201 190E2.6. When I sold her, she was absolutely rust free...

Check this price ;)
Lift gate.
Thanks for the link. So it seems I can get the tailgate for around $550 delivered. Then adding paint etc would be less than $1k. I might POR15 that upper portion before painting.

Thanks.

Do you have pictures for your after market window seals?
 

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No, I don't. I'll make a shot later.
Ok, no big deal.

Are they wider than the OE seals? I was thinking that a seal that covers that whole area so water cannot stay there.

Speaking of older rust free Mercedes. I still see many rust free W124 and W126 in my area. A couple week ago, we parked near a black W210 wagon and it looked pristine. Wife made a comment on how that car looked. However, when we walked by the tailgate, there was a palm sized rust spot just above the 4Matic letters. Good grief.
 

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Ya gotta catch the rust fast before it roots deep. Once the roots get hold it spreads like wildfire. When you see the rust start to effect the paint surface (even before it breaks the paint) ya gotta jump on it. There are rust killing solutions. Naval Jelly was one of the first to oxidize and kill the rust, but there are better products out there that can stop the spread, if (again) caught early. Naval Jelly had muratic acid ( as do other products that actually turn the rust black. Then it is essentially dead (at least on the surface). Get the rust ground down to good metal as best you can and then treat it. Oxygen is what feeds the rust, and with moisture (and salt) , it takes off. Ya gotta starve off the rust food source. Then get it covered properly so it can not breath and eat again. Paint it and wax it . Should get a number of years out of it.

Aardvark
 
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