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Discussion Starter #1
Gentlemen;
Though this is my first posting on this forum. I have, though, spent a few hours reviewing earlier posts regarding my question and I thought it best just to ask:

First, I presently own an '89 560 SEL; 200k miles; typical maintenance costs that I have come to accept and I have a good independent mechanic with MB-trained techs.
Now, I am evaluating the purchase of a '99-'01 E; lots of low mileage examples on the market now.

QUERY:

1. Does the 430 (or 430 Sport) have any particular maintenance issues with which I should be concerned (like the evaporator on the mid-'90s S class)?

2. Are there any engine/drivetrain reliability issues with the 430 vs. the 320? I, of course, want the larger engine unless there is a good reason not to buy it and that is the more particualr point of my question assuming the E class is good choice initially.

3. Are any of the model years better or worse than others, generally?

I have owned 6 series BMWs, Corvettes and the like but never an E. I would really appreciate your informed opinions.
 

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There pretty much isn't any reliability differences between a 320 and a 430. Both are pretty much identical. The engines are practically the same, except for the amount of cylinders. I have however noticed that the 430's are more susceptible to develop a carbon knock because I believe it has a slightly higher compression ratio, and a smaller quench zone in the combustion chambers. 55's are even worse. But if you drive the thing hard, you won't have to worry about it. I'm not sure exactly what year the 210's got a facelift, but with the newer front end I think the car looks two times better! Your probably looking at one of the most reliable MB's you can buy. 2000 and up, they came with touch-shifting, which I would prefer over the older shifters.

Common problems would include, squeaky steering (repaired by rebuilding or replacing the rack), bad harmonic balancers (recall may apply), catalytic converter materials breaking loose, causing a rattle (covered under factory 8 year/80k mile emission warranty, very expensive if your out of that warranty), transmission leaking at plug connector (new campaign out for it, may or may not apply), lower front control arm bushings usually start cracking at about 70-80k miles. I've seen a couple evaporators leak on them, but nowhere nearly as much as a 140 S-class (prob. something you won't have to worry about), MAF sensors go bad, spark plug connectors go bad, crankshaft position sensors go bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
E 320s and 430s

Many thanks for the reply. If I can handle the maintenance on an S class. I think the E-series will be a breeze. I also like the idea of the 430 being a bit of a stealth performer; understated yet full of power and handling.
I think my mind is made up; just the small matter of paying up...
 
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