1590 miles in a 176000 mile E-Class...

What do you think of the early w211s reliability?

  • This car is a deathtrap

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2

Alex22

New Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
6
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7
Your Mercedes
2003 E320 CDi Avantgarde (w211)
Some context
So in August last year I bought a 2003 E320cdi with 162000 miles on it with no service history, one category D insurance claim from 2013 and a dead battery. I went into it thinking it'd surely be a suicidal purchase, as I paid a grand total of 1600 pounds for it. I own 2 other cars, a 2013 Kuga and a 2011 6 series, however this was my first Merc.

And I planned to drive the hell out of it, use it as a daily beater till it falls apart. However, the only things I had to change on it was a brake rotor, front brake pads, tyres, one xenon bulb and one oil change. The car otherwise is in almost perfect shape cosmetically and mechanically (excluding an SRS light which has been identified as a software glitch).

The internet's opinion
However, last week, I decided that I'd fancy going on a nice, long drive across Europe... In my 2003 E Class. Of course, these cars (pre 2006) are treated like the bogeyman by the car community and some Merc fans. From simple software glitches, all the way to gearbox failures caused by fluid mixing with coolant. In theory, according to the internet at least, driving nearly 1600 miles would be suicide and I'd end up stranded on the Autobahn, waiting for roadside assistance to come get me.

The trip.
Fortunately though, I had no need for that. As I managed to successfully complete a 1590 mile journey in less than 1 1/2 days. Yes, I may have only slept one hour, but it was worth it.
To be hones though, the worst part about the trip was after I'd entered Romania, where I only had 100 miles of motorway. After that, it was all rural roads which looked (and felt) like they had never been repaired. I had to dodge potholes left and right for 40 miles. It was not great. Especially since I was extremely tired (again, one hour of sleep).
Let's get back to the e320 however. This car did not even require a windshield washer fluid top up throughout the entire trip. The only real 'problem' I had with it was the ESP defective warning popping up after I had hit a few potholes. It went away after a restart. Needless to say though, this car is the most reliable car I have ever owned, even besting my 2 other newer cars.
I am now going to be driving around Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary for the next 5 days before returning home.

Conclusion
My only real takeaway from this is that you should not trust what everyone else says about these cars, and I hope this proves that pre-2006 (especially the early 2003 with the leaking radiators, like in this case) E Classes are not the unreliable rust buckets they are made out to be by most.

*Cough*
- Radiator was not replaced, still hasn't leaked.
http://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/i...he-list-of-unreliability-of-2005-w211.118044/ - None of this has happened.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w211-e-class/1720223-sbc-hydraulic-unit-warranty-about-expire.html - Car still has the original SBC unit, never replaced.

Here's to another 176000 successful miles.
20180211_165253.jpg
 

mikestrivens

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2008
Messages
2,715
Reaction score
146
Location
Stockport
Your Mercedes
1995 W124 320TE, 1998 R129 SL500, 2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
Good for you. Hello and welcome by the way.
 

jp williams

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
301
Location
Wirral & Axarqia,Spain
Your Mercedes
2002 E class 2.2 cdi auto estate, Lexus GS 450h
Some context
So in August last year I bought a 2003 E320cdi with 162000 miles on it with no service history, one category D insurance claim from 2013 and a dead battery. I went into it thinking it'd surely be a suicidal purchase, as I paid a grand total of 1600 pounds for it. I own 2 other cars, a 2013 Kuga and a 2011 6 series, however this was my first Merc.

And I planned to drive the hell out of it, use it as a daily beater till it falls apart. However, the only things I had to change on it was a brake rotor, front brake pads, tyres, one xenon bulb and one oil change. The car otherwise is in almost perfect shape cosmetically and mechanically (excluding an SRS light which has been identified as a software glitch).

The internet's opinion
However, last week, I decided that I'd fancy going on a nice, long drive across Europe... In my 2003 E Class. Of course, these cars (pre 2006) are treated like the bogeyman by the car community and some Merc fans. From simple software glitches, all the way to gearbox failures caused by fluid mixing with coolant. In theory, according to the internet at least, driving nearly 1600 miles would be suicide and I'd end up stranded on the Autobahn, waiting for roadside assistance to come get me.

The trip.
Fortunately though, I had no need for that. As I managed to successfully complete a 1590 mile journey in less than 1 1/2 days. Yes, I may have only slept one hour, but it was worth it.
To be hones though, the worst part about the trip was after I'd entered Romania, where I only had 100 miles of motorway. After that, it was all rural roads which looked (and felt) like they had never been repaired. I had to dodge potholes left and right for 40 miles. It was not great. Especially since I was extremely tired (again, one hour of sleep).
Let's get back to the e320 however. This car did not even require a windshield washer fluid top up throughout the entire trip. The only real 'problem' I had with it was the ESP defective warning popping up after I had hit a few potholes. It went away after a restart. Needless to say though, this car is the most reliable car I have ever owned, even besting my 2 other newer cars.
I am now going to be driving around Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary for the next 5 days before returning home.

Conclusion
My only real takeaway from this is that you should not trust what everyone else says about these cars, and I hope this proves that pre-2006 (especially the early 2003 with the leaking radiators, like in this case) E Classes are not the unreliable rust buckets they are made out to be by most.

*Cough*
- Radiator was not replaced, still hasn't leaked.
http://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/i...he-list-of-unreliability-of-2005-w211.118044/ - None of this has happened.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w211-e-class/1720223-sbc-hydraulic-unit-warranty-about-expire.html - Car still has the original SBC unit, never replaced.

Here's to another 176000 successful miles.
View attachment 41436

I agree with your conclusion, having just completed 1600 miles from Andalucia in my 219,000 mile E class and achieving 45.6 mpg.!!
 

LostKiwi

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
26,428
Reaction score
15,879
Location
Midlands / Charente-Maritime
Your Mercedes
'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
We have an old w210 e240 that we bought for £600 with 112k on the clock. I fixed the dodgy pixels on the screen, fitted a new A/C compressor, a crank sensor and changed wheel bearing.
In the past year it's done 30k miles including 6 trips to France at over 1000 miles per time and never missed a beat.
What's not to like...
 

d215yq

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
2,639
Reaction score
680
Age
37
Location
Valencia, Spain
Your Mercedes
1987 W124 300D 280k miles
Have done the UK to Spain trip a fair few times in my 260k mile 30 yr old E class (not sure they even called it an e class then), also without problem. I used to do the 1hour sleeping in the car thing but now always stop off two or three nights to make it nice, planning to do it again this July and will have complete confidence it has equal chance as anything else to make it there and back.

I agree on ignoring what people say. Surely the key to a car's reliability is knowing there's no signs of anything wrong (like leaking fluids, noises, problems etc) and assuming all that's covered and checked then it's pure pot luck as to what breaks and when (actually with newer cars it's more pot luck because electrics are more likely to fail without warning than mechanicals?). I'd also imagine where you're driving if anything does go wrong they'll know how to fix an old merc too as that's what the locals tend to drive.
 

Craiglxviii

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
15,870
Reaction score
4,917
Location
Cambs UK
Your Mercedes
W215 CL500 Motorway Queen; W251 R320L Familybenz, S211 E320 Avg Designo Edition now sadly missed.
Hello and welcome. Great performance from the car, but I wouldn't be stating online that I'd just driven 1600 miles with one hour of sleep... and speaking as someone who lost two friends in the Hatton rail crash, it's also a really stupid thing to do.
 


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