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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans

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  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    The 124 was regarded as a benchmark for stiffness with a resonant frequency that the Olds Aurora used as its design goal. I agree with Merc1 it is extremely suprising to hear anyone complain about that car's stiffness
  • ralkassralkass Posts: 1
    I’m considering the purchase of a ’02 E-320. But all this talk about MB quality is making me wonder if this car is worth the asking price. What’s the bottom line here? Is the E really that bad?

    Also, what is a ‘02 E-320 with E2, rear sun shade and COMND going for this late in the game?

    Thanks
  • waltowalto Posts: 34
    I think the key is "in it's day." We have been talking here about the progression of MB quality over the years, and the current E is an immensely stiffer structure than the 124. This is, of course, a lot easier now because of computer modeling, which has made all cars better in most respects. The multilink rear suspension introduced on the 124 was not even possible without computer modeling because the geometry could not be calculated.

    The 124 involved a lot of efforts to reduce weight, parts count, and cost, and MB did not really refine this effort until the current E. I think the trade-offs in pursuit of efficiency are much less noxious in the current car.

    On the structural stiffness issue, one of the really nice benefits is much more consistent suspension geometry. On the 123 cars, one could literally feel the suspension geometry change through a corner as the structure settled into the turn. In the 124, this became more a need to adjust steering inputs, especially on rough surfaces. On the 210 there is a kind of consistency of handling that can only come from a very stiff structure and very consistent geometry. This is one of the reasons the 210 handles so well despite the soft spring and (especially) damping.

    The overheating problem on the 124-2.8 was more about the electronic controls than mechanical issues.
  • waltowalto Posts: 34
    On the shortcomings of the current E car, I'm not sure I've had it long enough to have pespective on this. I find a remarkable seamlessness in the structure/chassis, engine/transmission, and interior ergonomics.

    I did think the suspension too softly damped and replaced the shocks with the Bilstein HD units. I also think that my car was delivered with inexcusably mediocre tires (the Michelin MXV4) and that all the cars should have the 17" wheels.

    Beyond that, I haven't had much to complain about. The car certainly doesn't offer the craft of earlier cars (123 and earlier); but it comes in at about 3700 pounds which is practically a miracle given the complexity and number of systems. The body panels seem very thin, but these have become decorative and aerodynamic components with no structural function whatsoever. And one might gripe about trim details, like the tail lamp "covers" cut into the trunk liner. But I also don't want a 5,000 or 6,000 pound car.

    An old friend of mine is the manager of a large MB parts department (a good statistical sample), and he knows what's going wrong with cars because he knows what parts he selling. I've always asked him what critical spares to carry in a new car. This has typically amounted to a collection of 15 to 25 relays, belts, hoses, valaves,etc. When I asked him this question about the 210, he said, "The only thing we ever really replace is the lousy cupholder in the front arm rest. Maybe you'd want to carry one of the HID head lamps, but we've never actually replaced one unless the car was wrecked."

    I know that people on this board have been critical of quality and that one also reads this in the press. But I think MB buyers expect absolute perfection, and that buyers of cars like VW, Audi, or BMW don't. MB owners complain a lot more about small things. I have a lot of experience with these other cars too (and have owned several VWs and BMWs), and these cars simply do not have the depth of engineering of an MB. Look at the revision number on some of the parts (the last two digits after the hyphen)--there are ashtray parts, for heaven's sake, that are in 20-something revision. So, the 210 is certainly not absolute perfection, but I, for one, am completely astonished at the accomplishment that this car represents. I have never said that about an MB before, though I've loved many of them.
  • I am negotiating to purchase a 2001 4matic w/ 29k mi. which are mostly highway. I took it to a MB service shop for inspection. The only thing found was the need for front pads and rotors. The owner last had the car in his dealers shop about 4k ago. When I told him of the inspection finding, he called his service guy who told him the work was not necessary and the owner subsequently called me to say he would not fix something that was not wrong.
    1. Do these cars need brake service at this approx. point?
    2. I have a call into the serv. mgr. where I got the inspection to see what criteria they used to make that statement. Does anyone know the criteria?
    3. Any estimate as to what this work would cost?
    4. Any other thoughts on the matter?
  • joeadpjoeadp Posts: 68
    I have a 2000 E320 and just had the brake pads and sensors replaced.

    The car has 22,000 miles the cost was about $260.
    This was for the front brakes, cut the rotors and mercedes original parts.

    I would think at 29,000 miles if the brakes were not serviced they will need it shortly.

    Hope that helps.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    Re: brake servicing intervals: my 96 E320 had brake pads replaced at 40K and 80K miles. And that was with a mix of city and highway driving.

    Re: Yokohama AVS db tires. They are no longer on the E320. The local Yokohama dealer tooka test drive with me and agreed that there was something wrong with these tires with only 12K miles on them. He called Yokohama and they agreed to a pro-rata replacement of any other Yokohama tire. I first called Tire Rack, which is where I had bought thema nd fo course they wanted me to remove the tires and ship them back and they would pursue the same pro-rata rebate but I could then apply it to any other brand. Then I would have to pay for the shipping both ways and the re-mounting and balancing. It would have cost far more than getting a new set of a different model from the local dealer. So I ended up with their AVID V4 tires. Initial impression is that these are a better match for the E320 than the AVS db tires. They are one grade less on the speed rating and are smoother and quieter than the AVS db tires were when new. And they don't appear to be trying to climb the sides of the truck ruts on the highways like the AVS db's were doing constantly. I think the AVS db's were too far on the performance side for the standard suspension of my E320.

    But the dealer commented that the AVS db's were off balance by 1/2 ounce and that I really need to rotate the tires and have the front end aligned because of th wear pattern they saw on the tires. I had an alignment and rotated the tires at the 6K mile mark. And there was absolutely no vibration (shimmy) at any speed, legal or illegal. He claims that the superior suspension of the Benz masks small amounts of imbalance. My experience has been that the suspension is so sensitive that a 1/2 ounce unbalance is magnified to where it is really noticeable. (Anyone care to comment on which way this works?) All of which leads me to believe that this is not an appropriate tire for this car; although it is possible that the Sport models could probably run well with this tire.

    Based on the tread depth after 12K miles, I would have gotten about 33-35K miles on these tires, which is less than the 40K I got from the previous Goodyear Eagles LS tires. Of course the Eagles did cost more than the AVS db..

    For now I'm happy with the Avid V4 and just hope they stay quiet...!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks for the in depth response. I have always believed that Mercedes did more concentrated under-the-skin engineering that all the rest, but I've never thought about what people were expecting in relation to the number of problems being reported Mercedes' today. Good point. From what I've read and seen first hand with people I know that have Mercedes, most of the irritations come in the form of electronics and other small items. There was an article in CAR magazine a while back where they asked veteran Mercedes buyer about their quality. He basically stated that yes, their quality has gone down.......only on the things you can see and touch, but the "guts" of the car hasn't been compromised. I would say this to be true on most new Mercedes except the S-Class, which clearly lost some "meat" in its structure compared to the W140 model. Again thanks for such an informative reply.

    M
  • bigrobnhbigrobnh Posts: 114
    microrepair. Interesting you should document your experience with Tire Rack. I have issues with them too that will preclude me from using them again.

    Warning...long append.

    I purchased 4 snows for my 2001 E320 4Matic. THEY recommended Blizzak MZ-01. I receive them and get them mounted at the local tire shop (that has the state of the art Hunter road force balancing system). Car rides like CRAP (sorry). I return it and they say they had trouble with the balance on one of them (why they didn't say that in the first place is another matter). Re-balance all and 1 of the tires fails the Road Force test horribly (39 pounds, anything over 25 is ususally an immediate reject). Two others are in the low 20's. On is a 10. FYI - Road Force is a measure of Roundness. Basically, only one of these is close to round.

    Contact Tire Rack. After a few go-rounds they agree to replace it on the word of the shop, even covering shipping. Problem is they apparently sold me the last 4. Now I wait 3 weeks for my replacement.

    Get the replacement. Mount it. It scores 25 on the road force! The sent me ANOTHER out of round tire. At this point I'm pretty P.O.'d. Now I have 3 marginal tires and it still rides like crap (sorry). I decide to suck it up since the 3 months out of the year I can put up with this the roads are pretty lousy here (of course, it's been beautiful this year so I REALLY feel the crappy ride). In retrospect, I should have remounted my all seasons, eaten the 180 bucks (80*2 + 20) and told tire rack to shove them.

    Why I won't use Tire Rack again. They sold me tires they couldn't (immediately) replace. They sold me marginal quality tires. I had to bear the cost of their shoddy merchandise. I will pay the local guy from here on out.

    As to your question regarding the E's ride characteristics. I find that the car rides so wonderfully that ANY issues with the tires, balance, alignment will be immediately noticeable. It doesn't hide anything. The car is a perfectly tuned machine and lets you know exactly what the situation is.

    Enjoy,
    BigRob.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    My only disappointment is the single wiper blade I have to replace 4 a year.

    I definitely do agree with Walto's evaluation of the 124 vs. 210.
  • cduongcduong Posts: 70
    Help...How often do you have to change spark plugs for '96 E320? What type do you use? Does anyone have a clear instructions how to...? Thanks. I change spark plugs on my 87 Camry and 94 Mercury Villager van all the time. Not quite sure best procedures for '96 E320.
    Thanks
  • rolandsrolands Posts: 14
    I paid $450 for brakes and rotors at an independent Mercedes repair shop. The dealer was asking over $600.00
  • itchmayitchmay Posts: 4
    Great board! Have been enjoying it for a couple years. I write from time to time to report on my experiences with my 2001 E430, now with 10,000 (completely trouble-free) miles. The car has been and remains 100% bullet-proof. The only warranty work I ever needed was my "smart" key failed, so I am having it replaced while I use the spare. However, let me dissuade anyone thinking of parting with a few hundred dollars a year for the tele-aid. Not too smart. At the end of my free contract a couple of weeks ago, I ran over a 5 gallon water bottle on the freeway and it lodged in my wheel well, making a screeching, howling sound right out of Poltergeist. I thought something really awful had happened, so I pulled over, and punched the friendly glowing red button above my head, and waited. And waited. I watched it blink, blink, blink, while cars whizzed by me. After 3 - 4 minutes (which seemed like an hour), an operator answers and says, "Mercedes Tele-Aid, can I help you?". I said, "Yes, I have a problem with something in my wheels or transmission, I'm at the side of the freeway, and it's an emergency. Please send help" The response? "Please hold." Before I could say anything, she was gone. And then I waited. And waited. Maybe after another 3 - 4 minutes, I just picked up my cell phone and called the Auto Club. They were there in 10 minutes.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I do not know if Mercedes considers its Tele-Aid program a success, or if they receive positive feedback from their customers. My guess is that it's a loss-leader for them, and that most people now realize they don't need a $350 blinking red button on their headliner. It serves no other purpose. Thank Heavens I had Auto Club!
  • dkatlantadkatlanta Posts: 23
    After much contemplation, I decided it was not the time to splurge on new wheels, so I went searching for replacement tires that would fit the original 16" wheels on my 2000 E320. I ended up with Bridgestone Potenza S-03's. The other tires I was considering--the Michelin Pilot Sports and the (apparently controversial) Yokohama AVS db's weren't available for 16" wheels; I chose the Bridgestones largely based on the very favorable reviews they earned at Tirerack.com. Although the new all season version of the Pilot Sports would also have fit the 16" wheels, a local dealer had criticized them.

    So far, after a weekend trip to the mountains, I'm delighted with the Potenzas. They're far superior to the original equipment Michelins and the XGT V4's I'd tried later. It's easy to feel through the wheel how stiff the sidewalls are. Particularly combined with the upgrade to Koni shocks I made several months ago, the tires make the car track and turn very nicely, with immediate response to steering input and good straight ahead stablity. The tires aren't silent, but are noticeably quieter than the Michelins.

    Two caveats, according to the Tirerack postings. First, these tires aren't designed for driving in snow. Second, they probably won't last very long.
  • acorbyacorby Posts: 14
    I have a 2001 E430 and ran into the issue of roundness and fit with Blizzak MZ01s with my previous car - Ordered them for my Audi S4 only to find out that the indicated size (stock 225/45/17) was not correct because the shoulders were too large. Mounted the tires would not clear the suspension where the stock tires had no issue.

    I then went to Discount tire locally and they ordered LM02s - these are far superior and ride better than the MZ01s - if you have a choice go with them over the MZ - they provide good traction in the snow and are relatively quiet. They also come in 225 and 235/45 17 size.

    Luckily I did not have to buy new snows because these tires fit the E430 as well....
  • cduongcduong Posts: 70
    My E320 has " Lamp Defective " on this morning. It looks like the light bulb at the temperature digital readout area went out. Not sure if it's the light bulb or a fuse. Can anyone tell me where to look.
    Thanks a bunch
  • The dealer who did the inspection yesterday quoted me $495.
    What is an independent MB dealer?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    A major midwestern newspaper is interested in speaking with folks who have anecdotes and opinions on rear wheel drive vs. front wheel drive in winter driving conditions.
    We're also looking for people who recently switched one way or the other and what they like/dislike about what they're driving now.
    If you are interested in participating, please provide your city/state of residence and your daytime phone number to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than March 20, 2002.
    Thanks as always,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    I have a 96 E320 also and changed the plugs for the first time at approx. 84K miles. I was apalled at how much the anodes had worn. And at how large the gap was; over .050..!!
    New plugs made a big difference. As soon as I touched the key the engine was running. No more cranking 2-3 revolutions before firing.

    No way should you wait for the magical 100K miles for a tuneup.. Plugs don't last that long, no matter what the mfg. says. At the very least, re-gap the plugs at 50-60K miles.. I'll change the plugs every 50K miles form now on, assuming I keep it that long..
  • waltowalto Posts: 34
    I'm wondering if you could provide the part numbers on the Konis for your E. Are these adjustable in the car? What sort of settings are you using? Thanks for a reply.
  • rolandsrolands Posts: 14
    That sounds about right. I meant an independent mechanic (one that is not associated with the Daimler-Benz.
  • johng14johng14 Posts: 31
    Can someone tell me if 47,300 for an E320 with E2 package is worth it. I was also quoted an E320 with command, heated seats and E2 for 49,955. Any help is appreciated
  • dkatlantadkatlanta Posts: 23
    I'm afraid I don't have part numbers for the Konis. They are the "heavy duty" versions; the "sport" versions are stiffer. As far as I know, they aren't adjustable. A good tire shop shouldn't have any difficulty locating them. Mine found them available through several wholesalers, at widely varying prices.
  • tlam625tlam625 Posts: 13
    Was you able to reach all plugs without any special tools?

    The access space looks pretty tight to me.
  • valueguyvalueguy Posts: 208
    I received my repaired sport wheel today from www.AAArims.com. I am very satisfied with the repair and the price was $135.00 I scraped my rim against a concrete curb and purchased a replacement from aaarims.com as well. The replacement was A- condition and cost $275.00 plus shipping. Now, I have an extra sport wheel in case I damage one again. I think getting your wheel repaired for cosmetic damage is the way to go.

    I really like my Michelin Pilot Sport All Season tires and would buy them again without hesitation.
    These tires have great marks from tirerack.com and are as quiet as they come. Plus, the grip in dry and wet weather is outstanding. Which ever brand you decide on make certain to check the wear rating to gauge the life expectancy of the tire.

    Consumer Reports rated the 2002 BMW 530 its most outstanding vehicle. The E320 received good marks; but, the CLK got the lowest marks of any luxury coupe. Similarly, the S class fared poorly.

    Perhaps, BMW is now the leader in German luxury cars. If the new 5 series is as roomy as my '00E430 I may buy a BMW 540/M5 instead of the new E Class. The ball is in Mercedes' hands now;
    Mercedes must rise up and retake the quality (perceived as well as real) lead from Lexus and BMW.
  • kclkkclk Posts: 11
    I am surprised the consumer report rated the clk the lowest marks for the coupes, lower than the bmw with the cooling fan and steering issues? I am curious how many clk's they sampled and how far back? I assume the more recent clk's are more trouble free than the initial models. So far on 2002 clk only a headrest problem corrected.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well it finally looks like Mercedes is going DVD for 2003, with the E, SL, and S-Classes. Finally.


    http://mbspy.bacosys.be/comand.htm


    M

  • cduongcduong Posts: 70
    Microrepair.... Do you need a special tool to get to spark plug? What type of plug do you use? any benefits with planium plug as advertised? I assume that you have to remove the plastic/metal cover on top of the engine to see wires, right? I have not worked on spark plugs yet.
    Thanks
  • valueguyvalueguy Posts: 208
    Yes, it is surprising the CLK received such low marks. My colleague's '01 AMG 55 CLK has been problem free. Most of the CLK technology is similar to the other M-B classes. Yet, the CLK received the worst marks of any coupe rated.

    The S Class did not do particularly well either.
    I realize M-B owners are picky but BMW 7 series and LS 430 owners are also a demanding bunch.
    Since M-B charges the most money the quality needs to be the best. Perhaps, Lexus is correct in claiming the LS 430 is the finest luxury sedan in the world (as long as that sedan is in traffic or parked).
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... Yeah, I have read that info myself. I have owned probably 4/5 of em' .. sold at least 10/12, never heard a problem, a squeak or a bad word said from the "actual" owners ....

    Meanwhile, the new 7 series BMW is stacked up, dealers are holding on to 3/4 months supply ..and they are scratching their heads wondering about all this great print..

    Their question is .. "where's the buyers" ..?

    Terry.
This discussion has been closed.