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Mercedes-Benz CLK (2005 and earlier)



  • jpnwdcjpnwdc Posts: 42
    I drove the new C230 last week. I need to replace my Saab 9-3SE which is coming off lease in a few months.

    I love the looks of the C230. When I saw the black on black leather coupe, I thought "I can definitely see myself in this!"

    However, after a test drive, I was disappointed. The acceleration, handling, and braking were fine. I liked the new engine and thought it had a pleasing sound. What left me cold was the level of Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) of this car. It even had a weird accoustical effect that was very displeasing to the ears. It's hard to describe, almost like the effect you might get on an older car with the sunroof open. However, the sunroof was closed in the C230.

    Anyone else notice this? Does Mercedes have a design flaw with this car?
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    Did it have the 17" wheels option?

    Reason I ask is that it seems that MB might have done a bit more than an "exhaust tip change" with this options package - - there's now four C230's where I work, and two have 16's and two have 17's. The exhaust note on both the 17's is a lot louder, rougher & raspier than on both the 16's.

    But the note is definitely exhaust, nothing at all like the popping you can get from an open sunroof.

  • I have that same experienced test driving the 2.3L engine. The noise level was loud and I was not impressed with it. But I went to another dealer and test drove the same 2.3L 230 kompressor and it was quieter than the one before. So my guess, there is something wrong with the first car that I test drove. I am still debating myself if I should get this 230 kompressor?
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    What tomcat is saying is that Realness is gender-independent. Whoa. There goes a whole section of gender studies right there. You just put hundreds of academics out of work. Maybe thousands!
  • My C230 that is 6 months old and has about 8300 miles on it died inexplicably while driving on I-80 near Fairfield CA on Sunday. I was in heavy, slow traffic, with my foot off the accelerator, going about 25mph. When I started to accelerate slowly with traffic, nothing happened, the engine had stopped running! I put on the emergency flasher, and tried to restart the engine, it turned over several times, but didn't start. I put on my turn signal and started to coast over to the right, got off the highway and onto the truck exit lane for the weigh station. I tried to restart the car again, this time it fired up and I was able to rejoin traffic. I had plenty of gasoline and no malfunction message came up on the dash readout. I estimate it was off for 20 to 30 seconds. I drove another 100 miles that day with no reoccurence of any engine problem. The dealer said to bring it in to see if a fault code can be found. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Mine is a white exterior grey interior 2002 Kompressor Coupe, 6 speed with no C7 option. The only options I have are the Bose stereo and the 6 CD changer in the glovebox. Thanks for any input.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...both in Edmunds and MBWorld, the discussion forums have lots of examples of this kind of failure. It seems to have something to do with the electronic throttle/drivetrain computer software. Even Autoweek has had this happen with their long-term C320 wagon [more than once, apparently].
  • It's not that common. Usually it's caused by a keychain that is too heavy. If this is the case, the key will lose contact with the driver authorisation system and it won't let you restart or will cause the car to shutdown. Don't put more than a couple of keys on it to be on the safe side.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...the sudden stalling, with inability to immediately restart, but restarting eventually, has absolutely nothing to do with the key not being seated properly in the hole. You can disagree if you wish, but I have been following these discussions on three separate websites, and there is a known problem with the engine management software that is causing these sudden power-loss symptoms.

    I do urge people not to put a lot of junk on the master key; for our cars, I never USE the master key in the ignition, only the other one [assuming they still give you the other one - we got one with our '98 MB]. The master is kept separate and used only to open and close the car and secure the alarm. I got in this habit long before any problems like this were known...
  • My key has nothing attached to it. I have it seperated from my key ring because it is so bulky,
    so there is no possibility that's the problem. The key is very secure in the dash inlet.
    I don't have a master key that I'm aware of. We were given two keys with the car, and they are identical. They both have a mechanical key inserted into the body of the electronic key that has the eyelet for attaching to the ring. If you give your car to a valet, you detach the electronic key from the metal mechanical key, leaving the mehanical key on the ring. The mechanical key can be used to lock the glove box.
    JRCT9454, do you know how this engine going off problem can be diagnosed or repeated by the dealer? Does any fault code show up?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    No, I don't know any of the details, only the substance of the rumors and general scuttlebutt. I gather from the frustration level of those who have had your problem that it is NOT being captured by the on-board diagnostic trap, so naturally the "high-tech technicians" at the dealerships tend to throw up their hands. There are also a lot of negative vibes about the fuel systems in these cars [that ground has been covered here and at MBWorld], with fuel sending units, pumps, etc being replaced, but the symptoms there have more to do with wildly inaccurate gauge readings than fuel starvation per se. I don't know what to tell you - except that every time I get close to buying one of these cars, another problem crops up and I pull back.
  • My Camry engine shut down many times while on the freeway over a six month to 1 year period several years ago. It would last for a few seconds, then it would restart spontaneously. I didn't figure it out until one night coming home from work, I hit the threshold speed (about 110 - 120 mph) for the protective speed limiter to activate. That activation was identical to what was happening at normal highway speeds. After that intentional shut down, the problem disappeared and has not reoccured over the past few years. It was like I rebooted my computer at work to take care of a software or hardware glitch of some sort, and when I turn the computer back on the problem is gone.
  • shiphroshiphro Posts: 62
    The options listed at have changed. The C230 options list now contains a Lighting Package (C4) which includes the healamp washing system and Xenon headlamps.
  • ciracira Posts: 37
    I have a c230 with automatic and I notice that at highway speeds, the gear shift will vibrate, so much so that it is uncomfortable to rest my hand on it. You can't see it vibrating, but you certainly can feel it. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • jjpeterjjpeter Posts: 230
    that the rear wheel wells of the C230 are lined with some kind of coarse felt material? What happens to this stuff when one runs into muddy conditions? The front wheel wells have industry standard plastic linings, much easier to hose off and keep clean.

    Are the rear wells lined with the different material for sound deadening?

    Any thoughts?
  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    I didn't know the Coupé had that, but it looks to me that the described lining will help to reduce spray from the rear wheel wells significantly. Years ago, a German institute ran tests with such linings on 18-wheelers, and the (positive) effect in rainy conditions (obviously) was astounding. Dirt shouldn't be an issue, it will be washed off next time it's wet.

  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    Unless you are using the manumatic part of it (and I have no idea why anyone would), you shouldn't have it there anyway.

    HH is right about the C7 pkg - the exhaust setup is slightly different; it's not just the tip, as mbusa would have you believe.

    Xenons aren't available yet for the '03s; should be Nov/Dec.

    I do agree about the sound level - if you want a silent car, I'd pass on the ccoupe.
  • I am considering buying the C230 as my first car but I a bit concerned with the fact that it is a rear-wheel drive car. I know that rear-wheel drive cannot compare to a front-wheel drive car when driving in snow or sleet but what I really need to know is it acceptable or will I be spinning all over creation just trying to get to work? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated as this is the only thing that is holding me back from the MB.

    Thank you!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...means you won't be spinning anywhere. How much traction you'll have, and how much forward progress you can make safely, is determined strictly by tires - you need to plan on being ready to spend the money for a tire/wheel package with winter tires that you can swap every year. TireRack and others offer them at reasonable prices. For lookalike alloys and good winter tires, figure $800-$1000 for four ready to mount on the car, delivered to your house or a tire shop of your choice.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I am sure you also meant weight distribution also. That is why FWD is effective in the snow, because there is more weight on the drive wheels. I raced FWD cars for years and we would kill the higher HP RWD cars whenever it rained. The tires are also huge. I have had performance tires on FWD street cars that we horrible when it snowed.

    Snow tires mounted on extra rims are the way to go with any car. You very seldom ever have too much traction on winter roads.
  • Thank you both very much for responding to my post, however I am hearing two different things. One seems to be saying that the winter tires will ensure that I am going to be able to get up a slick hill without spinning and the other seems to be saying that no matter what tire I put on I will be in trouble in the rain since the weighting of the car is different. I have no problem paying for the extra tires, if they really will make winter driving possible. Any clarification would be greatly apprecitated!

    Thanks again!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...and you're getting contradictions, which is the nature of the beast.

    I've driven both front and rear-drive cars, and owned a baker's dozen of MBs. Going uphill in snow will be just as easy in a C with the right tires and traction control as it will in a fwd car similarly equipped, maybe even easier. If you want absolute security in crappy weather, it's hard to imagine a better car than any modern Mercedes. OTOH, some people like the feel of fwd, especially in snow, and I wouldn't try to talk such a person out of such a car.

    Try the new Accord EX V6 when it comes out next month, or a TL. Then jump into a C or a BMW 3er, and see for yourself how things feel from behind the wheel. The kind of weather you get in New England is not a huge challenge for any of these cars, especially with the right tires, which I would want to have no matter which set of wheels is providing the power. I think a better question is what car you want to be driving all 12 months out of the year, not just the 3 worst.

    In most of continental Europe, the prime market for the Germans, conditions tend to average far worse in terms of both wet and snow than you will every see in New England, but rear drive cars still sell like mad. Are they better drivers? Yes, but that's another discussion...
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    asking for opinions ...and you're getting contradictions, which is the nature of the beast.

    Well stated.

    I've driven both front and rear-drive cars, and owned a baker's dozen of MBs.

    I've driven FWD winter cars for the past ~20 years or so; its been a long time since I've driven a RWD in the winter, but it was what I learned & grew up on (which I'll be applying to my C230K this winter).

    Generally speaking, the big factors are tires and the car's weight distribution. Its easy to change tires.

    [it seems that I'm being told] ...that no matter what tire I put on I will be in trouble in the rain since the weighting of the car is different.

    Sort of. If the car is RWD and has a nose-heavy weight distribution, you may still have poor winter traction performance, even with snow tires.

    Specific to the C230K, I've done some limited driving of it in the rain with the Traction Control (TC) turned off, and I've found that the TC does contribute more than I expected in keeping the rear end planted: I'd say that the car has some tendencies of being "light" in the rear end, which might mean trouble in winter snow (with or without snow tires).

    But... I do need to mention that the amount of power you're putting to the ground does influence things. You can have an otherwise "good" weight distribution, but because you have a ton of torque/power, it can act "badly". Its easier to keep a grossly underpowered car planted :-)

    In any event, one fix to this is simple and its why our parents put boxes of sand in the trunk: all you're doing is biasing the existing weight distribution by putting more weight on the drive wheels. The problem is that this "fix" is pretty limited - adding 200lbs to the trunk increases the total vehicle's weight (longer braking distances, etc), and may only have a a net effect of 5% on the weight distribution. But sometimes this is enough.

    The ancient VW Beetle was a good snow car because it had a rearward weight bias and it was RWD. Its Front-Rear weight distribution was probably somewhere around 35%-65%. Many FWD cars are biased 65%-35%, which again is putting weight on the drive wheels and thus, why they tend to be good in snow.

    The general challenge with RWD is because the engine is up front, figuring out what mass you can shift backwards (so as to achieve a good weight distribution) is a challenge. Many older US RWD cars were particularly bad at this, so RWD got a bad rap for winter driving. For example, I had an old 1968 Chevy Caprice, and it probably had a 65%-35% weight distribution similar to FWD cars, but because it was RWD, it was pretty bad in snow (at least, with an empty trunk). On the sports cars side of things, you'll sometimes see designs where the engine is in the front and the transmission is in the rear, just to improve weight distribution. IIRC, Porsche did this on the 928.

    I have no problem paying for the extra tires, if they really will make winter driving possible. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!

    I'm going to pick up a set of dedicated snows and see how I do.

    FWIW, the other things I generally always carry in the winter in any car I own is a (small) box of sand, a grain shovel, a blanket, a spare pair of gloves, a cellphone, and some power bars & water, but the one item that's the most important is a big dose of common sense & good judgement.

  • scscarsscscars Posts: 92
    I've come across a scratch in the black polycarbonate spoiler on my C230K. Can this be buffed out, or does the entire piece need to be replaced? Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, how was it handled? Thanks for any advice on this.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    My experience with a 1995 C220 was that it could crawl through any amount of snow, as long as you put it in drive and did not step on the accelerator to any degree - just let it crawl.

    It felt like it had a 50/50 weight distribution, and could even get through packed snow clilmbing a significant (though not steep) grade.

    On the other hand, my 1991 Ford Ranger pickup could not climb hills in the snow. On a similar grade even with 200 lbs. of sand in the bed, that made little difference. It could literally "not make the grade" in the snow. I remember having to take a 5 mile detour to get home once because I could not climb the 1/4 mile hill in front of my house.

    - Paul
  • jjpeterjjpeter Posts: 230
    I know this comment was posted on the 14th, but just to respond, I have no vibration through my gear shifter (auto) at >70mph, under acceleration or at any other time. I'd have the dealer check it out.

    How are you all doing with your gas milage? I seem to be averaging about 21-25 with mixed driving, mostly city.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 12,594
    I picked up a caop of eurotuner magazine this afternoon at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport (BTW, I now know why they call it HOTLANTA). There's an article in it about a RENNTech C230 K Coupe. They gave it a widebody kit which I don't particularly care for, but the quad exhausts are a nice touch in the rear (If it were dual with the stock tips it would be nicer). They did some suspension tuning and put some big (18"?) wheels on the car. The major upgrade to the engine was some ecu upgrades that increased the boost to the SC and the HP total was increased by 50 I think.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    The renntech pulley upgrade is what's mostly responsible for the increase in hp (in conjunction with the chip that works with it).

    Their wheels are light for the size that they are (I think they might have been 19's, but not sure). But, at over $800 each, they should be.

    The pulley debate has been ongoing at mbworld, if you're interested in learning more.
  • I read with interest the discussion about the philosophy of which end of a vehicle to drive. I have not raced any vehicle, but find the average driver BELIEVES that a fwd will do better in the snow/slick conditions. This may contribute to the sense of well being in this type vehicle, but IMHO fwd can be dangerous during wet/ponding conditions on a high speed interstates. If a fwd hydroplanes the added impetus of the drive system can prevent the wheels from regaining traction and/or allow them to gain it when not pointed in the correct direction. This leads to UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES. I have experienced this condition myself a couple of times and know of another in my extended family.

    FWD with minimum HP (typical econo cars) are ok and that is what FWD is best suited for, but any vehicle with more than adequate power can be a hand full if you're not careful. It's funny that the world got along real well with RWD cars for a looong time in all types of weather.....
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    I read with interest ...[and] the average driver BELIEVES that a fwd will do better in the snow/slick conditions.

    And how much of this is because many RWD vehicles were designed so poorly? I can recall driving some very poorly balanced American Iron; those big motors up front made them very nose-heavy (and thus, tail-light).

    ...fwd can be dangerous during wet/ponding conditions on a high speed interstates. If a fwd hydroplanes the added impetus of the drive system can prevent the wheels from regaining traction and/or allow them to gain it when not pointed in the correct direction. This leads to UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES.

    True. The limitation of FWD (particularly with respect to racing, etc) is that you're asking one axle to do two functions: apply power and turn/steer. Since the amount of friction is finite, the sum of the work performed by these two tasks can never exceed 100%, something has to give.

    FWD with minimum HP (typical econo cars) are ok and that is what FWD is best suited for, but any vehicle with more than adequate power can be a hand full if you're not careful.

    Precisely. If for example you're using 75% of your tire's friction potential in acceleration, this only leaves 25% for turning. Or vice versa.

    In any event, I do like driving a FWD in winter conditions, because its very easy to do "thrust vectoring" with it in really slippery conditions. But this does take driver skill.

    It's funny that the world got along real well with RWD cars for a looong time in all types of weather.....

    Or 4WD/AWD. I laugh at this one too. Of course, our parents had several advantages that most people today lack:

    #1: dedicated snow tires
    #2: actual driving skills
    #3: a box of sand in the trunk & other self-help tools
    #4: a set of chains, if it got really bad
    #5: the ability to plan ahead

    and most importantly:

    #6: the common sense to not even go out when its bad

  • Hi Hunt, Long time no write. My fault actually, the new wore off the C230K (still love it) and summer time was calling me (line from an old beach song - NOT beach boys). Good points all but you left one out: (7) tire width. The old 5.60X15's on my old bug cut thru the crust and snow to get the best traction it could (aided by the rear weight). Even econoboxes have at least 70 series tires now that act like snow shoes to keep the car on the slickest part of the snow.

    Talk again later....
This discussion has been closed.