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Old 28-12-2007, 11:31 PM
Jacko918 Jacko918 is offline
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Default C Class buying advice for newbie.

Hello to everyone. I hope you all had a good Xmas.

My name's Jacko. I've only just signed on to this Forum and I was wondering if you more experienced hands could offer me some advice.

I'm Interested in a C Class Mercedes Saloon. Approx. 1999/2000 model. It needs to be a 1.8 or a 2 litre petrol with a manual gearbox. (I'd like a CDI but I don't think my budget would stretch it.) My dad once owned a 1995 C200 Elegance saloon and currently owns a 1998 C180 Elegance estate, so I know roughly what they drive like, but these were both Auto's and I'm after a later manual Saloon.

I have a good mechanical knowledge and background, so I know the usual "used car checks" but what I'm hoping you guys can guide me on is any advice specific to the type of C class I'm after. Any common faults, problems or checks I should be making?

Mileage. A lot of these cars seem to have High mileages 100,000+. I know,if looked after, Mercs are good for it (Apart from a new Lambda sensor, my dad's C180 as done 110,000 no problem), but what would you consider High Mileage?

And Finally. Economy. What are they like to run? What sort of MPG should I expect.

Many thanks for your advice and I hope you all have a happy new year.

Jacko.
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Old 29-12-2007, 12:31 AM
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Aussie Nick Aussie Nick is offline
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Hi Jacko . There are quite a few posts on th c class here at the moment . You may try a search.
The one you are looking at is the w203. Most of the w 203 s were built in South Africa, for some strange reason. I suspect it has something to do with money. Strangely the production of the new w204 has reverted back to Germany.
My view is that the w202 was the better built car and hence explains the longevity of your Dads. My 202 has done 240,000 ks and i have just started to have a few niggling problems with it .
I have looked at many 203s here . One problem is that the driver side door seal (different material to previous ) is often split , even on low k cars. The front suspension O rubbers were also found to need replacing with low k cars ( expensive ). The fuel consumption of the 200 k compressor car is probably a little worse than the 240 six cylinder and about the same as the 320 ( depending on how the cars are driven). The 240 v six motor is the smoothest of the bunch and I would suggest that you look at this one. consumption figures are about ten to eleven litres per 100 kms
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Old 29-12-2007, 12:45 AM
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whitenemesis whitenemesis is offline
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Check VIN - WDB = built in Germany WDC = built in South Africa
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CLS55 AMG
C270 CDI - Gone but not Forgotten
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Old 29-12-2007, 09:14 AM
M Paul Lloyd M Paul Lloyd is offline
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Hi Jacko, if it is any help W202's are your best bet, in my humble opinion that is. The W203's are (that pug ugly 'retro' headlight design aside) prone to corrosion and mechanical shortcomings that make them an embarrassing addition to an otherwise (almost) fautless line of motors.

A few pointers I found useful when I was searching for my W202.
The C180 is miserably underpowered.
The six cylinder engines are much smoother and give a far better driving experience.
Best compromise is a C220 petrol (don't worry about diesels they are not much better in the long run and very slow) depending on driving conditions the C220 should return 25mpg at least.
Manual boxes are 'pre-selector' type and need gentle handling, it's not a 'racing' box by any means.
The auto's are very good but a bit thirstier on fuel in my experience.
The odd foot/hand brake takes some getting used to.
Ten year old examples should be easy to find with under 100klicks on the clock at well under the 2,500 mark and in A1 nick too, any sign of blistering paint or major respray then walk away, it may be sign it has been repaired or worse!
Whatever you do don't be tempted to rush into buying the first one you see.
Mechanically the only bother I have had with mine is the steering track rod ends which needed changing at the 100k mark, otherwise it is 100% original (exhaust included) at 120k.
the big windscreen wiper can give problems if not regularly serviced (it usually gets missed) so check the wiper blades are full length as fitting smaller ones is a way of hiding any problems.
The rear differential vent can get blocked leading to condensation and premature failure, see if you can get this checked before you part with your money.
Check the engine for oil leaks as the gaskets can perish over time, a nice clean engine bay is usual but beware of steam cleaned examples.
Note that 'leather' upholstery is not always genuine leather, and interiors of low spec' models can be a bit spartan.
See if you can get hold of a P reg' C220 Elegance with full service history and a good level of trim but not too many 'gadgets' air-con is a nice luxury but far from essential as they are well ventilated cars.
Ideally I would like a C43 AMG but economics rule when you have a tight budget, but I can think of no other car that does it quite like a Mercedes.
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Old 29-12-2007, 09:16 AM
FIBAMAN FIBAMAN is offline
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Jacko, I have run both the 202 C180 (96) manual and a 203 (01) C180 (2.0ltr auto).

The old 202 was bought with 24,000 miles on clock at 2 years old, I ran it till last year and sold to my brother in law at 203,000 miles. During this time the only work, apart from oil, filters and brakes, was as follows - catalytic converter collapsed at 173,000 miles, new battery at approx. 196,000 miles, nothing else.
My brother in law fitted a new water pump about a month ago, he does not work the car as I did so it is now only on about 210,000 miles. The manual was always criticised for being notchy but I would describe it as positive. The biggest advantage for me was no cambelt changes, the car is still on original chain and suprisingly still on on the original clutch.

We bought the 203 new and it was used mainly by my wife, and upto date has done only 37,000 miles. in this time we have had a lot of probs. including broken springs, faulty main processor (merc paid half so we ONLY had to pay 630), corroded body, exhaust, and brake pipes. We also were told recently that the steering rack was gone the list goes on .... we just sold it. It had all the toys, but the build quality was just not there, really a big disappointment my wife has gone back to VW.
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Old 29-12-2007, 10:33 AM
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type49 type49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacko918 View Post


I'm Interested in a C Class Mercedes Saloon. Approx. 1999/2000 model. It needs to be a 1.8 or a 2 litre petrol with a manual gearbox.



Jacko.
This narrows it down to the fact he wants a late 202, not a 203.
The main question is, why a manual - they're horrible. The gearchange is notchy & lifeless & the handbrake is operated by your foot
For this reason, the manuals are rare because salesmen want an easy life & no wailing customers. At least they're cheap as chips but you will struggle to sell it on again afterwards.
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Old 29-12-2007, 10:53 AM
M Paul Lloyd M Paul Lloyd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by type49 View Post
This narrows it down to the fact he wants a late 202, not a 203.
At least they're cheap as chips but you will struggle to sell it on again afterwards.
Unless the next buyer wants a manual or you intend to keep it 'for ever'?
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Old 29-12-2007, 06:27 PM
Jacko918 Jacko918 is offline
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WOW! Thanks for all the great replies guys! really appreciated.

I am a little confused over whether I am looking at a 203 or a 202? The one I'm looking at in the Autotrader (purely as an example, no intention to buy just yet) is a 1999 C200 Elegance, it looks just like my Dads old 95 C200 except it has clear indictor & repeater lamp lenses instead of amber ones.

Like I've said it's a 1999 C200 Manual saloon 75,000miles, Silver, ABS, A/C, Alarm, Merc Alloys, Drivers Airbag, Electric Windows and mirrors, Main dealer service records with all previous MOT's. looks very clean to me, 2,900 ono. Does that sound like a good deal to you? Would an Auto be more expensive? Would a 1999 be a 202 or a 203?

The reason I wanted a manual is I have had a few auto's (5 series BMW, etc) and I like them, they are great in traffic, on long journey's or when your just too tired and want the car to drive you home! However, I found them to be quite heavy on fuel and a slightly detached driving experience. So I fancied a manual. I've never owned a big Sallon Manual before!

However, Type 49's made a good point about the Foot operated parking brake that I hadn't thought of. (both of my Dad's were automatic.) That set up must make it a bit tricky to do hill starts?! Whilst I think I could adapt to it, I'm not sure my wife could! I can see me putting a new clutch in it once a fortnight!

So how good are the Auto's then? Are they reliable? My Dad used to have 190E's before he got the C Classes (He's on his 4th Merc and loves them!). Both were Auto Saloons, the first one was a mint 1.8 and the second was a 2.0 that had had a slightly hard life. I found the 1.8 to be quite spritely (especially when kicked down) the only noticable difference was the 2.0 performed better when loaded up with people. Are the C classes similar? As M Paul Lloyd says he feels the C180 is underpowered. I know my dad's C180feels slow, but then it's an estate, perhaps a saloon wouldn't be as bad?

Your input would be great. Thanks again.
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  #9  
Old 29-12-2007, 07:01 PM
Dec Dec is offline
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This will explain type verses years...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templat...-Benz_vehicles

Dec
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Old 29-12-2007, 07:50 PM
Jacko918 Jacko918 is offline
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Thanks Dec. It would appear to be a W202 then according to that chart.
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