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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Long term ownership costs on these cars are indeed higher than average. The way I handle this is to set aside money on a monthly basis in a "reserve fund" that earns interest, and will be there to pay for what's needed. If it's never needed, I can apply it to the next car.

    [We use this same concept for house repairs, health costs, etc.]

    For a '98 C with a 4 cyl engine, you're talking about a relatively mature design across the board, and the least complex in the line. If you can afford to put aside $1800-$2000 a year to cover the big things that can happen down the road, you can enjoy this car. If not, not...
  • MB labor rates are extremely high and they have a "replace any questionable part" attitude about repairs....not a bad thing, but costly because MB parts from dealers are very expensive. You can buy MB replacement parts for 1/3 to 1/2 of dealer prices from the web and they are identical parts. Independent MB repair shops have lower rates and usually will explain the pros and cons of replacing certain parts. Also, independent shops will often fix a part at a fraction of the replacement cost or even install a used but serviceable part. Like anything else, shop wisely and you'll save. If you insist on MB service only be prepaired to spend a lot of money.
  • We just got our 2001 C320 back from the dealer's service dept. for the second time after three days of their tech trying to replicate a mystery rattle. No luck. Maybe someone here can help. The car has 22,000 miles. The noise sort of sound like a sound you would hear if there was a leaf caught in the fan blower. But it's not from there. It seems to come from the front center dash, BUT when we open the deep drawer of the console it is noticeably louder. It sounds therefore like it is coming from underneath the car. It is only noticeable when the car is moving and only (it appears) after it has been running awhile. The service tech took the car home two nights back and forth 35 miles each way and indicated that he could not replicate the sound. Any suggestions.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    I've often thought that it would be interesting to use a "spy" video camera to diagnose things like this.

    From the way you describe it, it has to be an aerodynamic noise. I would suspect some of the plastic cladding on the underbody - it might be missing a clip, catching some air and flapping in the wind. It could also be a missing grommet or damaged weather seal, again giving rise to a high frequency aerodynamic noise. For the underbody, you could have the undertray removed and drive the car - no noise, you've found the problem.
  • Try changing the position of the center console vent to see if it changes the sound any. If it decreases as you close the vent then you would think the noise originates in the cabin air delivery system.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    It is always refreshing to see the attitudes of Mercedes owners managing their maintainance costs unlike another German marque owners who are so nauseatingly frightened of owning their cars out of warrenty. In all fairness it probably is a statement about the relative reliability of the two makes. I can't wait to get back in the saddle so to speak.
  • So, which MB meets your fancy this time? The SL & CLK 500 both look great to me but $90+K is a tough nut. The Maserati Coupe is also intriguing but I can't find a forum on them.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    My price range is well below both of those cars. Which is why managing maintainance cost is such an issue with me. Though I'd obviously love either. Frankly not too much excites me much anymore but my nineteen year old and I got quite a thrill out seeing a silver 03 SL500 on the road. Simply to die for......

    I've been seesawing between a used W210 chassis and W203 preferably a C320. Having a hard time zeroing in on which one. I think that I would prefer to drive the C320 but the W210 chassis has such classic Mercedes beauty and presence.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I currently lease a C320 sport and can't wait for the lease to be over. I currently have a close associate sub-leasing it from me at a loss each month. I liked the car in the begininning but I lost interest after a year. The car is NOT as solid as the Mercedes of years ago. Heck my old C280 had a more solid feel. I recently went to a dealership to check out the new E. The window was down and the door/window rattled like hell when closed. I also have no idea where Mercedes thought they should incorporate a HUGE clock right next to the speedo.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Can you be more specific about your issues with your C320? Particularly as compared with your C280. Thanks
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Wow, you're condemning the E after a ride in one car? Give it a chance - I'm pretty confident that a window-down rattle is not a designed-in feature. Anyway, if it only occurs when slamming the door I would call it a minor inconvenience, at worst.

    About the HUGE clock in the instrument panel, this is copied from.....Mercedes of old, check out the various 1980s and early 1990s models.

    So what exactly made you lose interest in your C 320? Could you be specific?
  • Dave - curious you mentioned comparison of "solidity" of C320 sport vs. C280...would be curious what your perception of that word means?

    Indeed my comparison between my own C280 for 39K and an afternoon with a C320/auto and C240/6 speed convince me exactly the opposite; that MB has put a lot of improvements in the new C that make it a completely different and better car:

    When I got back into my C280, I was struck by how "agricultural" feeling the car was compared with the newer model.

    Specifically, and to wit:

    o lost motion in the shift lever - in the C280 there is a distinct play in the lever action from P to N to D, in the new C the lever slides smoothly into the D-+ position
    o steering - in the C280, you turn the wheel first, then the car turns, in the new C the steering is much quicker and more responsive
    o handling - pretty much the same although I suspect the fatter tyres on new C (interesting they are exactly the same size as the "sport" size on the C280) would yield higher skidpad numbers
    o noise vibration harshness - felt much improved in new C compared with C280
    o throttle response - in the C280 there is a distinct lag in neutral from depressing the throttle to the RPM pickup - this is much quicker in the new C

    ...and of course the ever popular "door shut" test -- all three examples of New C I saw (two driving and one in showroom) all shut with a satisfying "clunk" -- no tinnyness, wobble, shake or vibration felt at all.

  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Your problem may be solved. Leaf in a fan noise, seems to be coming from different locations in the car, only when the car is moving, tech can't detect it. It's your keys. The C320 is built like a rock and it's quiet too. Obviously, you can hear a tiny little noise but I think there's some kind of parabolic effect at work too. Try just the C's key to see.
  • Low level oil fumes (either crankcase or transmission) are present in passenger compartment. The fumes are not combustion by-products. The sometimes-faint odor seems more like a crankcase vapor problem that is even more noticeable when the windows are down. Five trips to two dealers have resulted in minor repairs to valve cover gaskets, coolant seals, the Hall sensor gasket, pressure cleaning the engine, etc. to no avail.

    Any ideas from anyone before I sell the 2001 C320 and go back to BMW? The odor is not strong enough to attract much attention from the service managers, but enough to cause eye irritation and a funny taste in one mouth after 3-4 hours. A sad situation for a 40K automobile!
  • I've read where leaking A/C coolant can give you oily smells inside the cabin. Of the odors you are experiencing...can you smell them outside the car as well?
  • Have you had the oil changed recently? When I had the oil changed there was a definite "burning oil" smell for several days. But it sounds like your problem is bigger than that. My old Accord used to have a similar problem for a couple of weeks after getting the oil changed.

    The display on my car tells me it's time for the A Service in 30 days. I guess the system must be set to 10,000 miles or 2 years whichever comes first. :-) I think I'm up to about 8700 miles. I will have had the car 2 years at the beginning of February. I don't have the textbook handy, does anyone know off the top of their head what the A service entails?
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    I just came back from a B service from the dealship for my 2001 C320 with 22,200 miles. When I got the car, I found they did not rotate the wheels. When I ask them, they said they do it only when it is needed! I believe they just forgot to do it. The wheel rotation is in the schedule, and the car already has 22200 miles on it. If I do it later in next B service, it will be around 40K miles. Can any friends tell me if this dealer is honest? Is MB that good that doesn't need wheel rotation for so many miles?

    And, also, the free service seems include nothing, except inspections. I think the dealership is waiting us to pay big bucks after the 4yr/50000mile.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A journalist with a major newspaper wants to talk with consumers who've bought entry-lux cars (e.g. BMW 3, Mercedes c-coupe, Jag X-type, Audi a4, etc) in the last year, ideally buyers who were new to the luxury brands, to talk about how they like their cars and why they bought them. Please respond asap by Wednesday, December 4 to with the type of vehicle and approximate amount you paid for it. Thanks!
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    According to the attached post, can I assume the dealership did not rotate the wheels on purpose? And try to hide the reason to it?

    #5782 of 5844 First Service by jrct9454 Nov 09, 2002 (06:48 pm)
    If you have waited 10,000 miles to have the tires rotated the first time, you've probably already gone too long. Now they have a "set" to the belts, and you run the risk of vibrations and noise. Could be OK, depending on which tires the car has [Michelins are less prone to these problems than Pirellis or Continentals], or not...

    Just be prepared: make sure the car feels right before driving too far from the dealership. This is also a discussion we've had before, most recently on one of the other C-Class boards. Tires that go much beyond 5k-7.5k miles are at risk for problems if you try to rotate them; this is one reason MB no longer wants to pay for it...BMW has dropped it from their service recommendations altogether, because they know that waiting for the first service is too long.

    I do all our tire rotations myself in the garage at 3000 mile intervals...many tire stores will do it for you for a minimal or even no charge, but make sure they use the correct bolt torque and use a real hand torque wrench, not a gun, to tighten the bolts.
  • I don't get the "it's too late to rotate tires". So what do you do? Wait for either the front or back to prematurely wear and replace all? Or just remount them if they do vibrate (this seems to be more cost efficient)? I rotate my own tires at 5K miles... it's amazing how many puncture wounds they get. Almost 40K mi. on my Continentals and they are about 50% worn. At first I was adverse to the Continentals but they have proven to meet my handling needs and are very quiet..
  • lxgmblxgmb Posts: 41
    I begin to think which is a good idea to spend $40K+: buy the cheapest car in famous brand? or, buy the top one in a not that famous brand?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...and it is if you have waited more than 10k miles, the only reasonable strategy is to let them wear out and replace.

    And yes, if you rotate at 5k miles, you aren't going to see the symptoms I've described. That's precisely the point.

    If you've gone a long time before the first rotation, it doesn't hurt to try a back-front rotation [keeping them rotating in the same direction], but any attempt to move them to the opposite side of the car will be doomed to failure [vibrations and general lumpiness]. Just be prepared for the fact that they may not feel right.

    I don't want to get into a long tutorial about radial tire construction and why it is disfunctional to go a long time between rotations. If you have successfully rotated tires to positions that reverse their direction of travel after, say, 15k miles and have had no problems, I'd like to hear about it. My experience is that you either do it early and often, or forget it. At 22000 miles, forgetting it seems like the best strategy.

    The dealer is not the only one responsible for making sensible decisions about the car's maintenance. I regard their responsibilities these days as mostly maximizing their revenue, and keeping MBUSA out of trouble - nobody is looking out for my interests but me.

    Incidentally, I too have been pleasantly surprised by the behavior of the Continental CH95s on our '02 C240. On previous MBs, I have had to ditch Contis in favor of Michelins early on, usually due to excessive flat-spotting and subsequent vibrations, but these seem much more resistant to that behavior and have been very satisfactory so far. Fingers crossed...
  • Here's a method for you to check your oil level to within .1 qt. I have read posts that say it is not accurate but mine has been consistently right on.

    Start with the FSS display on the current mileage/total
    mileage, Insert key and rotate to position 1.

    Push and hold the odometer reset/dash lighting level button
    (left side of cluster) for about 20-40 seconds. You will hear a

    The diagnostic screen will come on. You will see a
    bunch of numbers/engine type/etc...oil level will read -.- qts.

    Rotate key to position 2 and you will see the level of the oil
    come on after it measures it.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...but a prime suspect would be a malfunctioning EGR valve or connection. Gasses that should be going back into the crankcase could be venting to the outside air instead. These would indeed "smell oily" and be as obnoxious as described. I would check everything that is supposed to seal the engine, but the first place to start is the Exhaust Gas Recirc system.
  • Also, since you have a C320, you have the charcoal filter after the dust filter. Does activating the filter change anything? I leave mine on all the time now because when it's off I notice a slight exhaust fume smell....normal smell while driving in my other car but evidently I get used to it. I think jrct 9454 is on the right track if your car is producing the smell.
  • On my C320 01'. I have the noise coming from the
    center also. Right under the radio the empty
    compartment that I guess would be used for a CD
    or cassette player. It buzzes. I thought it might
    be loose change in the ashtray but it's not. If I
    put my hand in the compartment and hold it down
    the buzzing stops. The drivers window buzzes also
    up near the top. Other annoying noises are the
    seat belt holders that rattle in the car.
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    I am considering the previous generation C-Class in AMG guise. Honestly, I feel a V8 is overkill and so am leaning to the C36. Other than that, any opinions on this generation of AMG rides? (now that's a loaded question!)
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    If you're looking for a good excuse to buy the newer auto, according to the specs, the standard '03 CLK500 has more hp and torque than the AMG version of the 430 in the older C43, so the C43 isn't really over the top. Plus, anything more than the standard 320 engine in the C-Class is an opulence.

    The C36 might be more of a collector's car as it has the old I6 design that MB's latest generation of V6s made obsolete. The standard 430 engine has been great in our ML and it still is used to power the S-Class for '03. The 430 is in a lot of older CLK's so you probably can get some good feedback about it on that group. The AMG version of it in the C43 apparently had taller cams and some work on the intake runners and exhaust system to boost the engine's power without having to raise the engine's compression
  • Listen, sorry to keep on about this automatic vs. manual thing, but could someone with a C320/Autobox humour me on a question please?

    I'm a ways away from another test drive, and am getting itchy about finding out exactly how the - and + selection controls works on the autobox. I've had a look for an online C Class owner's manual but haven't had any luck.

    Ok: I can understand if you're in Drive, the autobox will shift itself, no problem there obviously.

    Question comes up in a few different situations. So say if you're at rest, then the transmission must be pre-selected to 1st gear, right? How can I hold shifts in each gear in turn whilst accelerating? If you're stationary (say at a light), do you select '-' to engage "manual" mode, then each time you want to upshift do you select '+'? And will the gear hold in the selected slot irrespective of RPM?

    Next situation: in town traffic, going 35-45 or so, say in 4th gear, and want to overtake smartly. What happens if you select '-'? Will it downshift to 3rd, or just engage "manual" mode such that the NEXT time you select '-' it will downshift? Or does the downshift occur right away?

    Ok, last situation: approaching a bend in 5th, can you just tap '-' twice and will transmission downshift to 4th and to 3rd allowing you to engine brake, negotiate turn, and then can you then tap '+' twice on exit from the corner into 5th, delaying as long as you like in order to allow more RPM to build? When does the transmission "revert" back to automatic mode such that it shifts itself? When I pull up to a light and stop?

    I'm trying to make a case for which suits my driving style, the 6 speed or the auto. My current car (99 C280) can only shift via the J gate. I'm wondering if the '-' and '+' are in fact just the same thing via sw controls or something fundamentally different...

    thanks all, appreciate any info on how this thing
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271

    "I'm wondering if the '-' and '+' are in fact just the same thing via sw controls or something fundamentally different..."

    As the previous owner of a '95 C220 gate and now '00 C230 with +/-, I've found the +/- to be about the same thing, changing gears when you press the lever left (-) or right (+) respectively. The car will always start from a stop in 1st gear and hold it if you select 1, and otherwise change gears normally until it reaches the highest number you have selected (2, 3, 4 or D).

    There seems to be no "manual vs. automatic mode" to which you allude in your questions. If you leave the car in whatever gear is displayed, it seems to hold that gear until you press + or -.

    I am not as adventurous as some, so as to minimize wear on the transmission. As such, I hope others who have experimented more will post their findings following this message.

    - Paul
This discussion has been closed.