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Hi guys and girls, am new here and I have few question about the reliablity of a 2000 E320. I hear a lot of horror stories about the E320 falling a part after 100K miles: Tranny, ECU, etc... The car that I am planning to get is a 2000 E320 that has 100K miles on it. The car is well maintain by the owner, and lots beautiful. The only is I don't want to be charged an arm and a leg to maintain it. Guys/Girls please help me, because I want to get this car before Chrismas. :?
 

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At that mileage it will be expensive to maintain. They don't "fall apart" persay, but it will have its issues. If the price is right, I'd go for it.
 

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I don't know how much it will cost you now as I don't know if there is anything wrong with the car. Get a pre-purchase inspection at your dealer and see if it needs anything right away. Mass airflow senosrs are common failures. The front spring perches can rust and break. The transmission will need the fluid drained and replaced. It needs a specific MB fluid that is big money and must be done with a STAR tester hooked up to moniter temperature levels. You will likely spend 3-7K per year maintaining a high mileage example like that. The plugs will need to be replaced if they haven't been yet. The coolant and brake fluid should be flushed. Really, let the tech that looks it over tell you the whole story. And don't cheap out on the inspection by going to a less than qualified independent. You need some one who knows the issues these cars face. Cracker928 was looking for a 210 and I wrote him a small novel on all the issues they have. If he's still got it on his box he might post some or all of it for you. There is also some good info if you browse these pages here.
 

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Yep, I still have it (thanks again). I will forward it...
 

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From Phaedrus242:

The 210's are really pretty good cars. Obviously you will have issues with the airmass meter (as you would with any MB). The steering rack is positioned too close to the exhaust, so the upper radial seal tends to swell and rupture. This cause some internal seepage which makes itself known as a squeak/hum/vibration from begind the wheel when it is turned. It almost sounds like the steering boot is loose but that is not the case. The rack normally requires replacement ($1500 part) to fix. Aside from the noise, nothing else really comes from it, so most people live with a bit of noise (it's really not that bad). The 104 engines from the '96-'97 320 models are venerable4 motors, but have issues with external head gasket leaks from the rr of the engine. It's one of the simplest head jobs I've ever seen though and is not really a big deal. Anyone with decent DIY experience should be able to pull it off without a hitch. The 104's also have biodegradable wiring harnesses that should be inspected very closely for any signs of wear. They can caus ea whole host of random issues that can be difficult to diagnose. As it's a post '90 MB, you will need to reseal the diff every 30-50K as they do get some seepage. The ball joints and lower control arm bushings are good for about 60k. The 119 motors in the earlier 420's are incredible engines. Nearly bulletproof (the DTM cars of those years used an off the shelf 119 with head work and turbos, no lower half modifications!) and they pull very well in those cars. You do have to look out for the early model 722.6 transmission in these. Most grenaded early on and were updated under warranty to a much more reliable version. Check VMI history for that. Typical MB A/C woes can be an annoyance, but nothing on the scope of what the 140's went through. Always check the condition of the harmonic balancer anytime the hood is open (this has been well documented) on 112/113 series motors. Also, see that the blower motor has been updated, as when it goes, a new, much more expensive blower and housing need to be installed as the old version is no longer available. The newer models will likely be in better shape just due to age. I see no reason why a 210 car, properly maintained shouldn't easily go 200,000 miles (with trans fluid changes! this sealed unit crap is exactly that). The 112/113 motors are really pretty good. There are a few freaks that just don't hold up, but it is very rare to see one grenade. Also, be aware that the front upper spring perches are quite suseptable to corrosion and can actually break off nd send your spring into orbit. Check that closely as well. My best advice is to get a thorough pre purchase inspection at the dealer by one of their old timers. Then buy the most car you can justify and get an extended warranty. You will get your money's worth. They, like all things MB do need a bit more work than the japanese "competitors". I have a couple friends who drive 210's and would never drive anyhting else. They are incredibley satisfying to drive, comfortable and have a rock solid chassis. Good luck with the search, I'm a little rushed right now so if you have any more specific questions, drop me a line and we shal continue.


Got a couple more minutes here. Starmark. Great idea. Probably the best way to purchase. I really like the '00-'02 models. I'd stay away from 4matic models. Extra expense, extra stuff to break and it really kind of messes up the balance of the car. Plus if I remember right, you're out in Cali where it wouldn't really be a benefit anyways. I would definately not buy anything over 60K miles if you plan on keeping it for a while. Mileage isn't a huge concern but there are a lot of wearing parts on the suspension that will need to be addressed pretty soon after that. I would personally drive one if I was in the market for something like that. Are you looking more towards the 6 or the 8 cylinder model, and what kind of price are you willing to pay? I will be out of my office all weekend, but if this is something you're looking to do this weekend, you can reach me on my mobile phone at [edited out].


As for the engines; the old 104 in the early six cylinder models is a tried and true inline six. It has some leaking issues, and the wiring harnesses are pretty weak, but the engine itself is more than capable of turning the kind of mileage MB's used to get before giving up. This would probably be the engine of choice for the thrifty shopper with some DIY knowledge. The problem is most cars with that age have gotten on in the years and the chances of finding the proverbial "creampuff" are pretty slim. I would not hold my breath. The same basic logic holds true for the 119 powered 420's. The 119 is one of my favorite Benz motors in history. They really just did everything right with that engine. By the time the 210's came out, it had been perfected and is a shining example of one of the last great MB sedans. 210 with this motor are likely to be pretty tired by now as well. The motor wil still run strong, but all the various suspension refreshments, etc that will be needed would likely offset the lessor initial purchase price.
The newer cars need to be watched pretty closely. As long as you always check out the condition of your harmonic balancer, there aren't a lot of catastrophic problems with 112/113 motors (6 and 8 cyl respectively). I would do this every 1000 miles at least. Once they start to let go, they degrade pretty quickly. Fuel economy will definately be better and these engine have some pretty long legs. The 722.6 trans also had it's gremlins worked out by 2000, so that would probably be the year to start looking. I really believe in my heart of hearts that the Starmark is a good deal, regardless of the premium. I'm the guy that calls these extended warranty companies and has to fight with them to get poorly reman'd/junkyard replacement parts to unsuccessful attempt to repair my client's cars. Some are better than others, but none can guarantee you that your car will always be repaired with nothing but new MB parts. No waiting for inspectors, no fighting with adjusters, just diagnose and fix, no need to ask permission from anyone. Anytime the car does not drive perfectly, bring it to the dealer and away you go. Nice MB loaner, coffe and pastries and some one who will most likely return your phonecalls within a reasonable amount of time. That's built in value. Always helps to buy from the dealer you will be visiting for service, as there are always some perks for that.
While I'm thinking of it, make sure that all the scheduled maintenence stuff has been done. Brake fluid bled, coolant renewed, fuel filter and those notorious spark plugs (not hard but time consuming-and big bucks at the dealer if they do them for you). Small things that will definately add up. As I think of more, you'll get it. I've been absolutely swamped as of late, but will try and give you more information as it comes to me.
 
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