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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Maintenance and Repair



  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    By the way an LS400 or LS430 can be stiffened up to exceed MB [and meet BMW] with springs, shocks, larger sway bars and more aggressive performance tires. Plus an alignment setting the camber to more negative

    The one thing it lacks is a limited slip differential which can be added.
    We have a few customers who mod them for performance but the 4.0/4.3 engine is a little weak compared to the 5.0 MB.

    But I hear the new LS500 is just around the corner. Notice MB has already bumped up to 5.5.
  • dmac8dmac8 Posts: 54
    Mr. S, I think I must harbor the notion that the 123 bodied vehicles were very reliable, at least in their diesel iterations. When I acquired an 87 300d, I thought the quality had slipped, and, it seemed I visited the dealer more frequently for quality related issues.

    Never having owned one, I'd take your word for it that the larger gas powered cars are/ were more finicky, but if this continues to be true, it poses a problem for MB.

    The 3 pointed star is such a potent marque, that many people will overlook the foibles of the car just to gaze at it over the headlights, but, if MB doesn't make that symbol synonymous with quality and reliability, many more MB owners will become Lexus owners, than the reverse.

    I think the main reason Daimler bought Chrysler was to shake up the sclerotic nature of German management, and eliminate its shortcomings such as rigid hierarchical structures and a "how dare you question us mentality". I think though, they only succeeded in making Chrysler more like themselves.

    I still want an old 240 or 300D, because they do drive like 2 or 3 year old cars. Will their present versions hold up as well?
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    I started this thread and maybe this will finish it.

    First, I agree with SDDW that if Toyota can build reliability, than MB should be able to also. I don't think that drivability (fun to drive) and reliability must be mutually exclusive.

    As the battery in my E320 is buried under the back seat and thus inconvenient to check, it should be monitored by some light or message to warn of impending failure. I do not accept that this is not feasable. My battery suddenly died without warning - no slow starting or other indication. Getting towed to the dealer is a royal pain in the [non-permissible content removed].

    I received conflicting advise from the service dept. and our host here. Service dept said they check the battery on their "B" service and add water or whatever if needed. Host tells us that no need to check periodically but rather the battery is a throw away after 4 years.

    Bottom line: I had a 93 Lexus for 5 years with -0-problems. I mean nothing but oil changes and new tires and brakes. I've had 2 e-320s since then and have had several problems including a transmission replacement after about 25k miles. I [non-permissible content removed] and moan but will continue to stick with the E model, however my margin of tolerance is wearing thin.
  • Q45 ... yes, impedance is the electrical resistance to alternating current. You apply a regulated AC voltage to a DC lead-acid battery and measure the impedance .
    This method is commonly used for large arrays of uninterrupted powersupply batteries, as the impedance goes up even slightly before the voltage drops in a faulty battery, giving you a little bit more of a lead time until failure, rather than relying on voltage alone.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Yes, all very interesting comments, thank you, especially as they attempt to explore the various shades of meaning of the word "quality". Commendable effort everyone!

    I think any car with a battery in the back seat should have the battery rotated out on a periodic basis for that very reason, that it is so inaccessible to scrutiny...also, it's a long trip to the starter motor, don't forget that.

    I really don't know how feasible an onboard battery tester is. I would have thought this would have been implemented a long time ago. But we don't have differential temperature gauges either, although we could, easily. So maybe it is deemed simply off the radar screen for most consumers. Give 'em a red light and forget it. You give a consumer numbers and they'll misinterpret them. Look how the number 250 on a water temperature gauge quickly became "H" or "hot" when people looked at the needle going past 212 and they freaked. (Nobody told them that radiator pressure raises the boiling point).

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  • I think any car with a battery [...] that it is so inaccessible to scrutiny...

    On a side note. The battery in the E-Class is actually quite easy to get to. The rear seat bench in the W210 has a quick release on each side. I'd bet anybody a beer that I'd have clear look at the battery within 20-30 seconds from opening a rear door. (It doesn't take any tools, either.)

    As far as gauges are concerned: I'm also troubled by the dumbing down of gauges. The E-Class takes an interesting approach about 'dumbing down' the temperature gauge. Even in the US it's in degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit.
    Another little 'easter egg' is in the climate control: Press the 'Rest' button for more than 10 seconds with the engine running, and you'll get the indoor temperature in degrees Celsius. (Along with the self test return code of the climate control software.)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I am shoced at one posters comments about being angry that no one told him to replace his battery. I've never believed that a battery would last 4-5-6 years. Some do, I know, but I don't want to be on a family outing to Tibuktu when I find out I should have replaced it.

    There needs to be a wising up and a level of common sense that allows us to be responsible for ourselves and our actions. After 3-4 years, if you see a battery on sale, buy it and put it in.

    Sheesh. The next thing you know, people will be suing Mickey Ds because they didn't know that greasy cheeseburgers, fatty french fries and milkshakes could make you fat. What? They already have? Give me a break.

    (On that note, you'll notice no one is suing Baskin-Robbins because ice cream made them fat!)
  • I heard that one. If they win, next I'm going to sue MB for not making the S500 affordable to me. -- talking about shameless pursuit of wealth.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I'm held to sub-$100,000 wages and I want two Hummers and an AMG SL500 - I'm suing.
  • ...around the car is too much to check the battery, why not lock the hood with a special tool, so that only the dealer can open it ? That way, the consumer is absolved from any responsibility. No matter what happens, it's always the dealer's or manufacturer's fault.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Don't laugh, Haspelbein, car technology is definitely heading toward the "sealed unit" idea, and Benz is as much behind it as anyone. Your car will one day be no more consumer servicable that your television or your home heating unit.

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  • Was a link in one of the other forums to a 11/21/02 press release showing the results of the latest JD Power Dependability Study which reports on the problems of 5 year old cars. Lexus, as usual, was on top. The release stated that a 5 year old 1998 Lexus has fewer problems than the average 1998 car had WHEN IT WAS NEW (159 problems/per 100 cars vs. 176 problems/per 100 cars). The three European makes with above average dependability were Porsche, BMW, and Jaguar. Mercedes was not in the above average group (don't exactly know where it was). Never thought I'd see the day when a Jaguar was more dependable than a Mercedes, but it's here.
  • I am looking at the discussion because my wife has a C320 and I'm considering the new E. A little concerned about reliability, but I noticed the post about the inability to fill the fuel tank. Just got the C320 back and the service slip (all warranty work) talked about replacing a faulty fuel gauge sensor. They indicated that the gauge didn't read "Full" after filling. The real problem was the car wouldn't hold enough gas, although maybe when it said it was nearly empty it really wasn't. Any thoughts. They also couldn't replicate an annoying ticking sound from under the car while driving and warm. Maybe the service dept. isn't good. Any thoughts.
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    Our '01E320 had the same problem. Dealer made a quick fix which helped about 90%. Still reads a tad below full after filling up.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Jaguar has improved to Ford dependability standards over the last several years.

    With as much critisim as I heap on MB, defining quality by battery life or problems with the fuel gauge doesn't seem fair to me. And there will always be some idiosyncrasies with cars ... even the Japanese cars. My Lexus is very prone to rotor warpage with the OEM ceramic brake pads. What are you gonna do? Doesn't mean the car is a bad car. It just means that that particular system could be better designed or that the engineers decided occasional warpage is acceptable in order to give most people 50K miles between brake jobs because the ceramic pads last longer and make less brake dust. I'm not willing to say the E class car is a bad car because of a few opportunities for improvement.

    My personal E-class experience was more along the lines of catastrophic failure of rather mundane but very critical systems. Still every manufacturer is going to have the occasional bad car and perfect car. And in my 3MB experience, the other two cars, while costing more to maintain than a Toyota, were within my personal tolerance. Too bad we can't get the numbers by specific failre or repair.

    On a sighlty different note: Perhaps the sealed unit concept is still somewhere off in the future, but auto manufacturers seem to have to be forced to reveal the diagnostic codes even today, making it very difficult for the independent operator. Thank goodness they are being forced to provide the codes after the car is out of warranty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Yeah, you see, nobody expects Jaguar to be perfect. They score average and everyone treats it like the Second Coming.

    If you are a drunk and you sober up and start working in a shoe store, everyone calls it a miracle. If you were a college professor or engineer and you quit to sell shoes they'd call it a tragedy.

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  • But Jaguar has actually surpassed MB in dependability so they're both not selling shoes. More like Jaguar is selling shoes and MB is working in the sewer.

    What Ford did for Jaguar was to simply implement modern manufacturing methods. I worked in England for 4 years and it was hard to believe how antiquated British industry really is. When Ford bought in the 80s, Jaguar was using a 1950s production line. Morgans are produced today using a wooden frame (ash). With the sale of Rover and Rolls to the Germans (which really irked the Brits), the largest British owned car manufacturer is Reliant. Their main product is a 3 wheeled plastic bodied car called the Robin. It has about 40 HP and requires only a motocycle license. Reliant is in and out of bankruptcy. I think the whole company is worth around $600k.
  • know how to:

    a) Replace the bulbs in the foglamps.
    b) Replace all exterior lights.
    c) Interpret the dreaded 'lamp defective' message, use a multimeter to find troublespots and remove oxydation from contacts.
    d) Replace a rear window regulator.
    e) Pull the instrument cluster and center console in search for defective lamps.
    f) Know what type of clutch holder it takes to remove your particular fan clutch.
    g) Can recite all locations in a 30-miles-radius from your home that will actually sell the recommended Mobil 1 0w40.
    h) Know how to fight back your tears while forking over $1000 for replacement Xenons, after the plexiglass of the old ones has dulled.
    i) Know where the wheel mounting tool is located and how to use it.

    Oh, the joy ...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595 '80 Benz does the same things. Always burning out bulbs and yep, I repalced a window regulator recently! Very funny. Some things don't change.

    Wipers: -- Doesn't it make you want to scream with all these useless gadgets?

    British Auto Industry -- more than one cynic has said that it might have been better if the Germans had destroyed all of Britain's and America's auto plants to the same extent that the British and Americans destroyed all of Germany's. That way, the Brits could have started from scratch again like the Germans had to, with more modern plants and machinery.

    Of course this is a rather simplistic view of a tragic situation, but the point is well made nonetheless.

    There is a funny story which may be true and may not, that after the Brits won Lemans with the Bentley (ah, my mind is fading...was it 1931?), that the Germans hired some spies to find out the secret. Somehow they managed to buy, through an intermediary, one of the old race cars (a common practice, to sell or junk last year's models and build new ones for the new season), and when they took it apart, they were amazed to see nothing new whatsoever in the way of technology. All it was was the clever use of old technology.

    I think the Americans inherited this clever use of old tech from the 50s through the 80s, while the Germans and Japanese went merrily into super high tech.

    Hearing all these stories of mysterious electronic failures makes me wonder if they aren't going further than they need to.

    Just because we CAN build rain-sensing windshield wipers, do we really need to have them?

    Benz used to be known (like Packard was) for solid sensible engineering. I'd hate to see these cars become show-boats for high tech drivel.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I think the compasses are now incorporated into the on-board trip computers on many cars, and show up as only a graphic display. The "normal" mechanical compasses don't seem to work very well in cars.

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  • I don't know if you ever have been in an E-Class taxi in Europe. It uses the rear-view mirror to directionally project the fare. The driver only sees traffic, but the guest on the rear bench can see the current fare status. All wireless communications are integrated into the dashboard. One of the most tidy taxi interiors I've ever seen.

    A simple compass should clearly be within reach.
  • Considering buying a 1990 E300 4 Matic, what is the reliability like? Frequency of visits for repair, cost of repair, additional problem because of 4Matic, is the 4Matic effective in ice and snow? pick up seems slow...
  • Regarding the issue of weighing different problem types (e.g. a light bulb vs. transmission failure), the most relevant statement I found on the website is "The study monitors the number and type of problems owners have with their four- to five-year-old vehicles and covers 137 specific problem areas in nine categories."-2002 Vehicle Dependability Index (VDI) Study Summary

    In my opinion, the manufacturers' commissioning of J.D. Power for these studies demonstrates their validity.
  • so it's true, not just my brother's 2yr-old E320 is having nagging problems. His MB has been to the shop more times then my 9yr-old Miata + 5yr-old Accord + 2yr-old MDX COMBINED! Nothing I mean not a single thing broke in those 3 cars. The Miata and Accord each has been to the dealer once to have the 60K miles checkup done, that's it. My wife really likes the new MB C class, she thinks it's the cutest thing. I don't disagree but just don't want to spend all that time at MB dealer to have things fixed; so I'm working real hard to pursuade her not to get one. I have an idea....let's MB build the car body but use Acura/Lexus's components and engineering know-how.
  • vin4vin4 Posts: 1
    Does anyone have the step by step procedure for replacing the heater/ac blower fan "motor" on my 1987 300E? Where can I acquire printed info without purchasing an entire MB repair manual?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Why don't you want the manual? It's really good to have. Mine has paid for itself many times over. There's nothing out there nearly as good as the factory manual if you are a do it yourselfer.

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  • Got the dreaded 'lamp defective' message again, and sure enough, a parking light/high beam combination light was out. I drove to the MB dealership to buy a new light. As soon as I entered the lot, the light came back on. Hmmm...

    I think will probably replace the light and clean the contacts anyhow. Makes me wonder if it may be more effective to replace all lights as part of the regular maintenance and spare me this aggravation. It would be a kind of pricey, though.

  • I have a E320 (Year 2000) with 38K miles. In the past three years, the dealer had to fix BAS/ESP malfunction THREE times. I also had to repair SRS malfunction THREE times. The warranty will run out in 12 months. Occasionally, the 'light out' message will show up and then, disappear. I would like to write to someone in MB. The dealer gave me the 800 number...couldn't give me a name and address. What is the best way to deal with this situation? Anyone with similar experiences?
  • kmoscakmosca Posts: 1
    I purchased a new 2003 E500 in October, and have been in for service five times for a total of eleven days. The check engine light came on about ten days after purchase. Since then the
    SRS system failure light has come on twice, and the TelAid defective light came on last week, sending me back to the dealer for the sixth time today. The CD player was replaced as defective, and the fancy electronic keys don't always work, even after being replaced. The audio system wouldn't come on for one entire day, and appeared to be a system boot problem (garbled dash). It seems this car has computer or software related problems. At least one of the service visits included "flashing" the computer module. It has also had the throttle actuator and central gateway replaced due to an acceleration problem. This car is over-gadgetized, and I'd hate to be the owner a few years from now when things really start going wrong.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    It's a bummer.
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