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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • ciracira Posts: 37
    John, you warn "but make sure they use the correct bolt torque and use a real hand torque wrench, not a gun, to tighten the bolts." I had my tires rotated at Town Fair Tires and they gunned all the bolts. What's the problem with doing it that way that I need to be aware of?
  • The owner's manual for my 2002 C240 has instructions for "Audio system tone level selection" where you can set the tone levels for Driver, Speech, or Ambience (page 179). It states that you press the "AUD" key to access the tone level setting menu. However, my "AUD" key on my non-Bose system only allows individual bass, treble, fader, and balance settings. Am I missing something? Does this apply only to the Bose system? Or is there a problem with my radio?

    BTW, I've had my C240 with C2, auto, and CD for 13 months. Except for an axle issue the day after I took delivery, the car has been 100% problem-free. It has been flawless. I am more satisfied with this car than I ever thought possible.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    ...overtorquing lug nuts to beyond specification can lead to damaged rims and warped rotors. Undertorquing can lead to lost lug nuts and worse.

    I tighten mine with a hand torque wrench anytime a wheel comes off the car and then recheck the torque after 100-150 miles to ensure the are on correctly. I do it at times right in the dealer's parking lot after a service.

    Is improper torquing the end of the world - IMHO no. But one set of rotors too soon easily justifies the cost of a torque wrench.

    Good Luck.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    Just had my tires rotated and balanced on my '00 C230 by the dealer today at 6,800 miles and what a difference - thanks for the advice, John! On the highway, the car rides quieter and handles better. Even with the $40. charge (not included in scheduled maintenance), it was well worth it. I will continue to do this every 6k as it seems to be a good investment of maintenance $.

    The "free" car wash by the dealer was great too, and I got to drive a '02 C240 as a loaner. Due to the design and familiarity I still prefer my '00, but I can see areas where there have been definite improvements to the car (i.e., tilting steering column - not only telescopic, digital speedometer, MPG gauge, etc.).

    - Paul
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Well, Rob has answered the question. The problem with the guns is that they are rarely set to exactly the recommendation of the manufacturer, and worse, do not always stop when they're supposed to.

    Most common result is overtightening, but the worst possible outcome is uneven tightening - almost certain warped rotors and vibrations will be the result.

    I too follow the regimen that Rob talks about - I never drive the car away from a service in which the wheels have been disturbed without using my own torque wrench on the spot, and then follow up with a retorque [as recommended by all car makers] sometime during the next couple of hundred miles. [ A side benefit is that you KNOW you'll be able to take a wheel off in an emergency - some shops have been known to tighten them so much that you literally can't generate enough force to move the bolts if you are a small person. ]
  • ciracira Posts: 37
    Thanks for the tire rotation advice. I have an unrelated question. Does anyone know if you can maintain the digital speedometer readout in the dashboard display on restart? Mine always resets to the odometer display on engine shutoff, then I have to scroll back to the speedometer display when I start the engine. Is there a way to lock it in place? Thanks for any advice.
  • I have @11k miles on my C320 wagon and I have had significant quality issues that has surprised me. I bought the car for the quality reputaion, I thought anyway. 1st I was astonished when the first day the car sputtered and then the main computer module went out and the car stalled. Then the power seat modules went out, door lock knobs came off. Center shift trim came off, lighter got stuck in hole. This is not what expected from a Mercedes. Based on what I have seen so far, I would not want to buy another. Anyone else have these issues? I was told that Mercedes quality has taken a dive, their quality cost for repair of triples the past 3 years. Is this true?
  • You seem as surprised about build quality as the rest of us who bought our first MB. The only words of advice I have is once the bugs are worked out the car is rock solid. Working out the bugs is frustrating, time consuming, and not in keeping with today's quality standards. Talking to other MB owners the nigling repairs are part of the package. Constant references to Japanese quality standards don't help any. MB hasn't figured out parts vendor realationships yet like the Japanese have. I prefer the MB comfort, solid ride, power characteristics, safety and handling above all others...or I would buy a Japanes car if detail to quality was more important. So far my warranty repairs haven't been show stoppers...just irritants.
  • We haven't thrown in the towel yet..just expected more quality from a $41,000+ car. I speak with other new Mercedes owners an they too have these problems. Wish MB would listen more. For now I would not buy another. Return buyers are the heart of a franchise. Perhaps time might change my mind.
  • Hi all - unusual question perhaps, just wondering if anybody had heard anything regarding changes for 2004 model year C class.

    Quick internet search revealed nothing interesting, just wondering if any of you Benz watchers had any info.

    Question is related to "when" for W203 C Class purchase; info I've found to date indicates W204 will come along in 2007 or so. So one could expect a mild face lift or styling freshening, and possibly engine tweaking in the middle of the product cycle (2001-2007).

    thanks all...rj
  • Interesting discussion. Has the "key" problem been fixed then? (Seem to recall hearing a lot of problems related to keys in the early days.)

    My experience is perhaps typical with Otto (99 C280) (electrical gremlins mainly: inop sound system, 3xblown instrument lights, 1xblown taillight, finicky operating sunroof control, and one semi-serious engine problem in which a pulley at the front of the engine shed a rather important looking piece of rubber causing an unscheduled trip to the service dept.) Otherwise my W202 is still pretty much as solid as a rock, quiet, smooth, powerful...just wish it had a 6 speed:)
  • I am in the process of researching my next vehicle and I have decided that it will be a wagon. One of the wagons that I am interested in is the C240 which of course is new for the 03 model year along with the offering of 4-matic AWD.
    Living in Toronto,this is an option that would be of interest to me. My concern is that 168 hp isjust not going to be adequate given that the 4-matic will be at least 200 lbs or so heavier than the non awd version. The C320 would be perfect but the cost is getting a little high with that engine. Does anyone have any thoughts on this car with this new option?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Yes, there will be the usual mid-life kicker for the W203 C for the '04 model year [10 calendar months from now]. Look for the usual stuff: small changes in exterior trim [rocker panels, bumpers], new wheel design, a standard single-slot CD to replace the cassette, and yes, just possibly some new engine choices. Just enough to keep the car from looking unchanged for the full 6-7 model year run of the current chassis.

    As for the performance of the 2.6 engine with 4-matic, I know for a fact it would be quite good enough for me, but everyone has different tastes in these matters. Our '02 C240 sedan has only 1800 miles on it, so it is still not making all the power it will eventually, and I find it entertaining to drive and fun on onramps. Everyone wants more hp, and I would never kick it out of bed, but it is not necessary to keep this car from being both safe and fun, and that would be just as true with the extra poundage that the AWD hardware represents.

    Having said that, I wouldn't be shocked to see more hp as part of the '04 facelift in the entry-level engine, either with internal changes or by bumping the displacement to 2.8. The new 4-valve heads are coming, and they alone will make a small positive difference to all of the engines, though the focus there is on emissions and fuel consumption more than raw power.

    Personally, I think the current obsession with increasing hp in the NA market has gone more than far enough, but no one asked me and don't expect them to anytime soon...
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    When I press the brake, I can feel it vibrates. It is a 01 C320. It happened from the 1st day. Is it a problem? I also have a TOYOTA CAMRY, it is very smooth when press the brake.
  • Knowing how/what vibrates will help the dealer fix the problem. Steering wheel or brake pedal? Frequency? At any rate, nothing should vibrate....take it in for warranty service.
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    It is the brake pedal. It vibrates everytime I press the pedal. I think they use fluid to control the brake, so I should feel nothing. In my case it feels like they use machanical stuff to control the brake.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    You have a case of warped brake rotors. Easy for the dealer to handle under warranty. Don't wait too long - the longer you wait, the more ammunition you give them to deny the claim. Frankly, you should have been back there within the first month for this problem; a good dealer won't argue, but some might.
  • Warped rotors are an increasingly common problem these days. They are most often caused by overtorquing the lugs when the wheel is mounted. Going to a decent mechanic will help you avoid this, as he or she will instruct their personnel on how to properly use a torque wrench when mounting a wheel. If you have your tires rotated at the corner service station by the 16 year-old cashier, though...

    A reputable independent mechanic or your Mercedes dealer should allow you to avoid this problem in the future.
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    The car only got a A service at the dealer, nothing else in one and half years. I did have one tire (rear left) fixed once at a tire center. But this vibration exists from the first day. My wife drives this car and I drive a TOYOTA CAMRY. So, when I switch to this car, I can feel the big difference on the brakes. I remember in this forum, long time ago, people talked about warped rotors. Is this a special problem for MB? I also noticed that on MB, BMW and VOLVE, they all have very heavy brake dust on the front wheel. What's the problem?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    All of the EU brands favor a softer pad compound, in part to help keep the rotors from wearing out faster. The result is a lot of dust.

    No, MB has no special problems with rotors warping. In fact, it is the Japanese brands [Honda and Toyota] who often suffer from this syndrome more often than the EU cars.

    Warpage is usually caused [as noted above] by one of two things: improper torquing of the wheel bolts, or hitting the rotors with cold water when they are hot and not turning. This causes the area of the disc still under the pads to cool at a different rate than the rest of the disc. If you take it to a car wash, make sure the brakes have at at least a few minutes to cool down after a run on the freeway.
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    Thanks for the comments. I think probably the rotors were not mounted correctly at the begining. Because I felt it at the first day and I never brought the car to car wash, I always wash it myself when the car is cold.

    To tell the truth I don't like the brakes of MB at the very begining. It is hard to press, not sensitive and generate a lot of dust.
  • Hi all - Got a chance to drive the new W203 C class today. I was struck by a number of things that were different and some that were the same. My current car is Otto, a 99 C280 W202 with 39K.

    Interior/features - Generally better. I thought that both cars fit and finish the equal to the 202 C class. I saw no flaws or blems in the interior. I noticed small improvements like the detents on the air deflectors, the rear seat a/c outlets, the centre storage console being much better designed. I was not sure about the cup holder, the design seemed pretty cool with the flip over effect; not sure how that would hold up. Liked the bigger glove box, also that it was dual level. I personally thought the switch gear was at least as "solid" feeling as on my car; in particular, the light switch for me represents a good example: in my car there's a good solid "clunk" when turning on the lights, I found the same on the 203 C. Back seat was about the same, still pretty tight back there and in fact I thought it was a little harder to get out of actually. I like the two wipers, and the intermittent sweep. (The one wiper on Otto works ok (now) because I had to finally get a Bosch aftermarket "Micro Edge" blade to stop by the bloody thing chattering...highly recommended)

    Closing the door on the C320 and setting off I thought the ride and quiet was at least as solid as on the 202 C. I thought the shift gate was MUCH smoother to actuate from P to N to D than the mechanical gate in my car. I did not get a chance to operate the - and + buttons (but would be curious if any current 203 owners could post how well this works?)

    Steering and handling/braking equal to, actually better than 202 C. Steering in particular with the (speed sensitive?) rack and pinion was much better, gone was the slightly numb feeling with my 202 C. Lots of road feel, but never a feeling of roughness. Mind you it was not in the same class as my Mini Cooper S, but pretty good actually.

    (as an aside I thought the actual surface of the steering wheel was pretty nice to touch; just slightly rough enough to get a grip on (had left my stringbacks at home:). Don't know if this would wear off leaving a smoother surface in time...)

    Ok...time to boot it...way cool! This has much more "ooomph" than my C280, esp at overtaking speeds from 40-50 ish, kickdown seems "snappier" and throttle response much quicker. New algorithm perhaps? New software algorithm maybe? Or just 30 more horsepower (my money's on the ponies:)

    So, in sum: this car seems to me its every bit a Mercedes, build quality and ride top notch, has everything I would be looking for: smooth, powerful, quiet, fast....

    Ok, enough of that, jumped into the C240 "stripper" (if you can describe a 33K car as a stripper.) There was just the one on the dealer lot, buried back in the new car get ready area. Mentally look for power seat adjuster, discover the rather quaint knobs and levers to mandraulically adjust seat (just like the old days.) Dip clutch, engage first, discover the biting point is a bit higher off the floor than expected. Jerk a bit taking off. First gear seems like it has no torque after the car is under way, I was shifting into second very quickly. Pull out into traffic and merge. Downshift 4/3 and pull around Minivan, seems to pull strongly in the mid ranges (3/4/5). I was only going max of 50 throughout this (speed limit was 50 anyway) evolution so did not see if it ran out of puff at higher speed. Seemed like it was a tick off the 3.2L car, but hard to tell since I was running it through gears to check shifting. I could barely see the tacho but I shift on the engine sound anyway so this was not a big problem. Actually at the end of the test drive I was glancing at the tacho and saw it good enough to judge where the engine was (mind you I was nowwhere near the redline)

    Gearchange seemed solid enough; I had to realise to hold the gate spring going from 5 to 6 (just took one inadvertent downshift from 5 to 4 to realise (again) it was a six speed.) After 15 minutes I was shifting reasonably smoothly, but was still feeling near the top of the take-up some judder in the driveline (I suspect this was actually just exposing my weak left leg after 4 years of languishing with my panty-waist automatic:) I did not notice any particular notchiness, certainly it was not like the action of a bolt action rifle that's for sure. If anything it seemed to me the position of the shift lever was too far to the side and rear of the car for my taste. Another comment would be that the shift gate distance (i.e. from 2nd to 3rd) was larger than perhaps I would have expected.

    Sum up on C240 with 6 speed: Need more time to get used to clutch, more fun (but more work in stop and go) than autobox; seems powerful enough (yet, could any real enthusiast say "no" to a C320 with a 6 speed)

    So, having read any of these ramblings, could anyone comment on the following:

    o How closely does the W203 automatic match a manual gearbox with the "-" and the "+" controls? Do they allow you to down/up shift and hold gears at will? Or do they just delay upshift or what? Can you approach a bend and tap once, twice to downshift and, having put the car into the right gear, then accelerate through and out of the corner? (i.e. like the saying goes, slow in, fast out)

    o Anyone who drives a 6 speed: does your clutch take up/bite near the floor, mid-travel, or upper end of the travel? Has this changed over the period that you've driven it? Do you find it difficult/normal to have a slight judder in take up near the top of the engagement? (And a quick related question is this a hydraulicly connected clutch i.e. does the clutch pedal connect to the clutch master cylinder to clutch slave cylinder via hydraulics or cables?)

    Thanks all, in advance, for any thoughts. I was mighty impressed with both cars, each in their own ways. I'm hoping my portfolio recovers at some point in '03 to be able to get one of these!

    take care...rj
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Nice review.

    Well we have a 2002 C 230 Kompressor with the 6 speed. The car has the regular 16 inch wheels, hence does not have the so-called "short-shift" kit fitted to the Evolution (C7 in USA) Sportcoupés. Our car's shifter is VERY nice, precise, clean movements. The clutch takes up near the middle of the travel and is beautifully weighted. We never feel the slightest bit of driveline judder during engagements. The W 203 clutch actuation is hydraulic.

    I have driven some automatic C Classes and I do not like the tip-shift function at all. It's counter-intuitive. Every other tip-shift automatic I've seen/driven has a sequential gearbox-type shift protocol, i.e. lever forward to gear up and lever rearwards to gear down. The side-to-side movement of the M-B automatics in tip-shift mode is plain silly. In fact, steering wheel paddles would be the way to go. However, 99% of people buying an automatic Benz let the gearbox do the shifting for them. If you enjoy shifting, get the manual.

    The old 2.3 L 192 HP engine is extremely torquey and has way more grunt than the C 240. It's also very economical when driven gently in 6th. The 1.8 L 2003 model is very nearly as powerful and 7% more economical than its predecessor. But if you don't like the hatch body then you're forced into the less economical V-6 engines.

    And watch for that 6th to 3rd downshift ;-)
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    I'd say its pretty intuitive. If you shift down, the car cannot go above what you've selected. If you merge onto a freeway and don't want to "manually" select 3rd by mashing on the accelerator to see what happens, you can simply tap the shift twice to the left, assuming you're in Drive. The car will stay in 3rd unless you tap once to the right for 4th, or simply hold to the right from anywhere and it will go all the way to Drive. Whatever speed you're going, if you hold the shifter to the left, it automatically goes to the gear you are in. Using the shifter to shift down so as to use the engine for braking when going down hills works pretty well. You're not supposed to be able to manually put the car into a gear that would be too many revolutions for the speed, but you can if you insist on it enough, however, when the car ultimately does make the inappropriate shift, it will be accompanied by the engine automatically cutting off power (and therefore slowing violently) to save the engine from overreving-- this also can be a bit heart stopping so it's good to know what gear you're in. The gear number on the instrument panel is a bit too small, especially compared to the ML, so I'd expect that to be changed in the future. That's my experience with it, which is good. As far as left/right vs. forward/back, BMW had forward for upshifing and back for downshifting and I think changed it after 2000 because acceleration caused persons to sink back into the seat and unintentionally downshift, so all approaches have the pluses and minuses.
  • My 2002 C230K with 1900 miles has creaking noises coming from the windshield's bottom/far-edge of dashboard. It starts out quietly and gets quite loud as you drive on. Has anyone experienced this problem?
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Good review. I always enjoy other peoples perspectives on cars that I am interested in. Particularly current owners of the marque.
  • Thanks for the info re: the "+" and "-" shifter on your C320. I'll have to schedule another test drive of both auto and 6 speed cars when more time frees up...
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    One more thing about what I called the counter-intuitive tiptronic mode on the M-B auto...which I still think it is.

    It is worth noting that Mercedes-Benz itself uses the forward/aft lever movement for up/downshifts in its cars equipped with the Sequentronic 6 speed sequential manual.

    Some other D-C products are similar - like the smart car, whose 6-speed sequential manual -again- uses the same forward-aft shifter movement.
  • I am looking at a 98 C230 with 51k miles. I have always dreamed of owning a MB and have loved the looks of this car since day 1. I know I can afford the car... I am concerned about maintenance and repair. My friends "none of which has ever owned a MB" caution me daily on how much it will cost, even to change the wiper blades. I am willing to make the commitment, but what does it really cost to own a MB???

    Don't be gentle. Give it to me straight!

This discussion has been closed.