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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans



  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    Martin (haspelbein),

    Thanks from all of us for that instruction sequence..

    Now, on my 96 E320, some of the bulbs in the concole are burned out or the connections are intermittent. I can't always tell where the tranny is at night.. Do you have instructions for removing the center console panel?

    Many thanks in advance,
  • What do you proud MB owners think of Lexus as far as reliablity, resale value and cost of ownership is concerned?
    I am in the market for a used MB, 99 or older, but the reports I see shows a lot of unhappy MB drivers. Please share your thoughts..
  • I think that Lexus probably has better reliability, in the sense that "little" thingse are unlikely to go wrong with them. Mercedes (I have 2--a 96e320 and a 2001slk) tend to have those little things go wrong with them now--for example, windows might not go up, rough idle in the morning, some wind noise that comes through the window but cannot be explained. The lexus's, in my experience (I had a 1998 ls400--great car until my wife got ahold of it--women drivers, that's another story) don't tend to have these little issues. In terms of service costs, actually, the lexus cost me more than the mercedes--but then again, the lexus dealer network is considerably more customer service oriented. Back in the 1980's, when I purchased my first mercedes---they were THE standard, b/c nobody made anything better. At the time, I thought I was driving the best, most reliable car possible. And I was. Now, my more recent mercedes are MORE reliable than anything I drove in the 1980's, but the problem is, everything else is more reliable too. I don't really subscribe to the belief that mercedes quality has gone down, but I do believe everything else is better. So, to answer your question--you're not going to go wrong with either a Lexus or a Mercedes--just make sure you have the service records and a clean service history. Otherwise, walk away, b/c these cars are expensive enough to service (both lexus and merc) when they've been properly maintained---I shudder to think how expensive they are to maintain if they have not been dilligently looked after. Good luck.
  • SMurad, I have had both flawless and very troubled MB's. My wife is on her third and I my second. I also owned several Honda Accords which were flawless, and older Volvos, which were troubled.

    The complaints you hear will be found on every message board from Honda to Yugo. The recently launched C class and the M class seem to have more than their share of growing pains. I think the E class is the most reliable of the Benz-- this makes sense because it has the highest unit volume and has been refined for decades. Stick with E class and you'll be fine. But, stay away from 1st year models if possible. We had a 1992 320S (1st year) that had radiator, suspension, transmission and other problems that cost over $7,000 in repairs between miles 75k and 90k. I was SOOO glad to turn it in at 95k at age six.

    The Japanese cars in my experience have more proven electricals and climate control, and conveniences like cup holders. But they do not have the solidity to go past 150k without rattles and shakiness. Add to this the superior ride of both Mercedes and BMW, and the differences are quite notable. Even the 320 S with 95k miles we turned in seemed like brand new in every respect: ride, lack of rattles, condition of leather, paint and other hardware.

    The Lexus may be close, but only your test driving will confirm this. Honestly, as much as I love my E 320, I know people very happy with their Lexus as well. I don't think you can go wrong having narrowed your choice down to these two. Good luck.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I've never owned a Lexus but I've had 3 Mercedes and currently own 2 of them. The Lexus will run as reliable as a refrigerator and, in my opinion, they are about as exciting as an "icebox" :o)

    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • Fred (Microrepair),

    I haven't had a reason (yet) to pull the center console myself, but I'll see what instructions I can find. I promise to follow up.

  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508

    I was the on ewho mentioned the lack of headroom in the '03 w/sunroof. The first thing I do before getting into ANY car that has power seats is to lower the seat right to the floor. I did that in the '03 and still had less headroom than in my 96.. Now that I think about it, I believe that the seat doesn't go as low as the seat in the 96. Otherwise, the cabin does have more room, especially for the driver's legs.

    Someone else recently complained about the single wiper blade on the 96-02 models. You DO NOT need to buy 25" blades at MB prices. A couple of years ago I got fed up paying $10-12 just for a single blade refill and bought a 24" Trico blade arm assembly at my local auto parts store. The replacement blades are now only $4-5 dollars (available everywhere!) and you will never notice the 1" less of swept area since most of the difference is at the bottom of the blade and you are mostly looking at the hood of the car through that space.
  • I actually miss the single blade design. I thought that was one of the features that gave my old E lots of character. I am up to 3500 miles on the new E500 and could not be more satisfied. What a beauty inside and out!
  • I have an E500 with a pano roof and I'm 6'2" and have plenty of headroom.
  • Fred,

    I checked my manual, and it only described the removal of the center console (or rather the shiftgate and the surrounding veneer in your case) for the manual transmission E.

    Since there is no shift boot to get out of the way, I would try to lift up the veneer off the center console until you can compress the clasps for the shifter gate from underneath.
    The veneer is supposed to come out by removing the ashtray, pressing the front plastic clasps of the veneer inward, and pulling it up.

    Sorry I didn't have more information for you. Please let me know if you're going ahead with the replacement of the bulbs. I'm now curious myself.

  • ny15ny15 Posts: 1
    My mother drives an E320, but she used to have an LS400. She constantly talks about selling the E320 and going back to a Lexus. This may seem to be the wrong forum to discuss complaints with our E320, but I would be very interested in comments.

    1. Her service stinks. The people are not responsive. A plastic part came cracked. It took months to be replaced.

    2. A light fault frequently comes up on her dashboard. I replaced the broken bulb and still got the same problem. When she took in the car, MB re-replaced the bulbs saying my bulbs were not MB brand. As she left the shop, the fault light returned anyway.

    3. I removed the original license plate advertisement. The dealer keeps replacing the advertisement. It should be my choice to advertise the dealer. Dealers are welcome to pay me for the privilage.

    4. The accelerator and the brake seem to start and stop suddenly. In other words, they are hard to control. I think they are set like a sports car, rather than a luxury car. Our Lexus was more gradual.

    5. The headlights do not automatically turn off when the ignition key is turned off. Even my older Subaru has this feature. I understand the newest MB's have this feature, but it is very annoying not having it.

    None of these issues hurt the car's excellent reliability. When I pay this kind of money, I expect the whole package. If the Lexus LS-430 had all wheel drive, I would trade in the MB E320 right now.
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    ny15's comments reflect MB's decline in quality especially compared w/ Lexus. Hopefully, MB will address the quality issue. I've had both a Lexus and now have two E320s, a '98 and '01. My wife and I both prefer to drive the E320. They have much better suspension or steering control. Also, the Lexus 430 is too big for us. The Lexus does have a better stereo though.
  • 1. It often does. I don't know if you have any option in dealers. Switching dealers made it much better for me.

    2. Unfortunately, that's common problem. Many times, it's not the bulb, but the socket or harness.
    I actually went as far as buying a multimeter and measuring the electrical resistance of most of my lights. It's a pain, but it got rid of the problem.

    3. My dealer doesn't do that. It's very inconsiderate. I hope you have a choice.

    4. Yes, the accelerator reacts faster in the newer E-Class. My '96 E-Class still has the 'mushy' feel to it. I drove a '98, and it reacted much sooner. I have not idea why it was changed. I'm wondering if it is configurable, as it is a drive-by-wire system.

    5. Stupid, I know.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508

    I'm a little over 6' 3" so maybe that's enough to get near the roof. But I don't know which roof was on the car I sat in. Is the Pano roof the only option or is it also available with a standard sunroof? That might make a difference also.


    Martin, I may try removing that veneer panel this weekend. It appears to be a bad bulb or a bad connection for the backlighting for the tranny gear selection. When I get to it, I'll post my progress.
    Thanks for the hints..
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    For those on a power binge, take a look at ... They have E class rigs with up to 530 HP.. In the W210 they used to have an E60... They have a used one listed for sale. They also show a 2003 SL500 for sale with 575 HP...

    It wouldn't be hard to spend 130K to get the ultimate E-Class rocket, with all the doodads they have for it; suspension, brakes, exhaust, wheels, interior trim, etc.. not to mention the engine bay goodies. Hmmm, Christmas is coming..!!
  • Hi microrepair. There are two options for the sun roof. The regular sun roof and the pano roof, which is what i have. The pano roof option adds a non-opening sun roof over the back seat too. The result is the entire roof of the car is glass with the exception of the 6" support beam going across the middle of the roof.
  • In preparation for removing the instrument cluster and replacing the light bulbs in my E-420, I went to my Mercedes dealer and ordered the full set of bulbs for the instrument cluster. Turns out there are 15 bulbs and the total cost was $175 including tax. That was a little bit of a shock. I checked on using the part numbers and found they had four of the 15 bulbs (the cheapest ones unfortunately) at a significantly lower price, but they didn't carry the other bulbs. Does anyone know of other dependable online sources for Mercedes bulbs?
  • ...sells the 12W/2W instrument cluster bulbs for $2.20 apiece. I believe those are the most common ones. The others were between $2 and $4.
    I replaced the ones in the multifunction display the last time, as they burn out the fastest. (The display is always on.) I paid less that $5 per bulb at the dealer.

    By the way, which bulbs are so expensive ?
  • Yes, my 2001 E-430 has a manual light switch, but I like it. It has a very solid feel to it. Two of my other cars have the auto-on feature, but I still don't mind.

    In any event, if it is important to you, you can buy the Canadian daylight-running version that has an auto-on feature. The only problem is you won't be able to turn off the lights during the daytime.
  • I am the owner of a new E-class, which now has 1000 miles on it. No problems up until a trip I took yesterday. After about 4 hours an annoying noise was coming from underneath the driver's seat whenever I would step on the accelerator. Actually sounded like the thing was out of gear, but the RPM's were in check. Also has anyone had a problem with the rear windows fogging up? First time someone was in the back seat for an extended period and I could not get the back windows to defog. If anyone knows what needs to be set on the climate control please let me know. All in all this is a great looking car, one you wouldn't expect to have any problems for the price!
  • stvirstvir Posts: 13
    Press both front and rear window 'Defrost' buttons ... works like a charm!
  • hi there, i'm getting ready to trade in my 1996 SL500 for a 2003 E320. for those of you who recently bought a 2003 e320, are you satisfied with your purchase? any surprises? also, did you pay msrp or did you get any kind of rebate? thanks for your help, i need some last minute reassurance ;-)
  • I'm in the market for a CLK or E-class. The dealer was willing to come about $800-1k off the e-class. No such luck on the CLK Coupe. the convertible however, dealer willing to come off $3k.

    eclass is a great ride. looks younger than the old design.
  • monakhmonakh Posts: 16
    There is plenty of room for negotiation on the E class as many folks over at mbworld forums have suggested in their posts.

    I picked up my well-loaded Silver E500 from MB Alexandria, VA for 2K off of MSRP and I believe there has been talk of dealer holdback so the figure can potentially go higher. Shop around and talk to the Internet reps of the various dealerships, you will find that a little bit of legwork will yield some savings.
  • niggling problems. To be surprised at this stretches credulity. Fortunately they are minor annoyances that the dealer can easily fix, but, dude, come ON, why do you feign surprise at this?

    I am more surprised at people who buy first year cars :)
  • There has been a lot of discussion on Dealer Discounts on the MBForum site. There is a lot of detail including dealer names and discounts to be expected in different areas. Worth looking at if you haven't ordered yet. Lot of interesting discussions on this site.

  • It is not probable but I asked anyway. Does any one have a DVD player installed in their E class (not in dash DVD) in the rear right behind the sunroof? I have a little boy who keep asking about this DVD player.
  • Martin [Haspelbein]
    My Mercedes parts dept gave me the following list of bulbs and prices for the instrument cluster:

    Part No., No. bulbs, Dealer Price, Price
    001-544-55-94, 2, 6.75, 2.10
    000000-000955, 2, 6.75, N/A
    000000-000953, 2, 7.65, 1.40 (4.19)
    910141-000000, 3, 7.23, N/A
    002-544-19-94, 3, 13.60, N/A
    910146-000000, 3, 18.00, N/A

    I entered each of the Part Nos. above at Mercedesshop and it gave me the prices you see above. N/A means nothing was listed for that part. Part No 000000-000953 showed two bulbs for that part number, hence the two prices. I am planning to replace the bulbs this Friday and I will try to make a diagram of where each of the bulbs goes. BTW, I found out that there is supposed to be a Mercedes Hook tool which is used to remove the instrument cluster without removing the lower dashboard cover. I am trying to find someone who carries it now (My Mercedes dealer says he doesn't sell Mercedes tools-period). Will let everyone know what I find.

    PS Sorry for the appearance of the table. All of the spaces except one were deleted when the message posted, so I have inserted commas between the data.
  • I found the hook tool at for $24.99. Mercedes part no. 140 589 02 33 00.
  • ...that tool would have saved me some time. Guess I went about it the Neanderthal way. I suppose these hooks must fit through the tiny openings between the cluster and the wood veneer.

    Yes, most dealers don't sell tools. It's somewhat annoying.

    Hey, at the cost of the bulbs, I would just by the tool and pull the instrument cluster as you need it, and just replaced the expired bulbs.

    I checked the benzbin. The prices and availability are similar. But at least one bulb came up as a bulb and socket.

    I don't think I remember, which bulb in your instrument cluster actually went out ?
This discussion has been closed.