E class expensive

parkman

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Hi, I was having a discussion with a couple of guys that I know in relation to owning used E class cars and I wonder are they really worth the difficulties and stress of ownership. I suspect that there is somewhat of a "trying to live a champagne lifestyle with beer pockets" element when buying used Mercedes cars. I have had all sorts of stuff in the past from Lotus Sunbeams to Isuzu Troopers, Peugot 106 GTI's, Escort Twin Cams - but I do think as a used purchase the Mercedes E class may be the biggest headache so far. I wonder if it is just too complicated for a normal day to day car. I do like the car but all the time I am aware that the next garage visit could cost £1500- 2000 and that it may be just around the corner. I have a Jag 3.2 Exec 2001 that I use as a commuter and in 5 years it has cost me about £1500 in servicing and replacement parts, it has been very good and it is very comfortable. The W211 cost me £1100 after 10 months when it needed new Airmatic shocks on the rear. I have a suspicion that I will not keep it too long if the bills start to come in. I am not sure whether as one gets older one doesn't quite keep up with the DIY technology in the way one did when young. I had a Lotus Cortina at one stage in my twenties and it was a normal thing to have to take out the gearbox and replace a clutch on a Saturday morning and then head off for the afternoon with the g/friend, two hours to do the clutch repair. I had a Lotus Sunbeam that had a works motor and that needed constant attention but again it was just a daily task and the job would be done. But now I am more likely to ring the dealers and ask them to check out a problem as I have not kept up with technology. I knew about Weber and D'ellorto carburettors and grinding camshafts, but now I probably would find it a problem to get the cover off the top of the Mercedes diesel that I have. Oh well, that progress versus old age :( I still am trying to decide whether buying a fault code reader will end up giving me more problems than not, given that if you plug it in and find fault codes and you don't know what they are referring to, one could become paranoid with the fear of something expensive constantly going wrong. Is this a case of "Ignorance is Bliss" - please put me out of my pain :shock:
Regards, parkman
 

mej

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S124 1994 OM606, ditto OM605, ditto M111, W126, S211, W169
I've gone the other way over my motoring career. I've always played with Land Rovers and (old ) tractors, but never with my or the family's daily drivers, which were all company cars. Now (early) retired I have begun to do all our maintenance except the most ugly jobs or those requiring Star. With the right kit even the 'underneath' work isn't too awkward and keeps me limber, but, most importantly, I refuse to buy into MB's hands and allow the main dealers to control everything. Even the W211s are largely self service/repairable, and my cheao code reader - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/U480-LCD-...iagnostic_Tools_Equipment&hash=item3f278c101b -
can pick up most engine faults. I don't do this to save money; I've never been more comfortable, but it does give me great satisafaction. You should dive in.
 

Troon

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parkman - paragraphs are your friends. Long blocks of text are very hard to read.

Once I'd sorted the assortment of ball joints, bushes and cracked plastic trim parts that my car needed as a result of apparently being treated like an appliance for the first 6 years / 72k miles of its life, my S211 has been virtually flawless and very cheap to run for the next nearly-2-years and 43k miles.

I do all my own routine servicing with exception of the big "ramps" jobs like ATF changes, and I get a garage to do the brake fluid. Filters are reasonably priced, oil is the same for all cars; brake parts are surprisingly inexpensive too.

You're in a worse position by having an SBC-equipped Airmatic car, which are two major expenses. You've sorted one of those (for a while at least); you'll need to decide what to do if/when the SBC pump tells you it's had enough. Do you cough up and enjoy a car where you know what's wrong, or chuck it in and get something unknown?
 

brandwooddixon

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I could say that they're not too bad on the whole, its just that there are cars that are a lot more reliable.

I recently had my car given a full check over and a B service at Wayne's in Perry Barr for £180.

Admittedly I had replaced the brake pads, front discs plus freed up and fixed a seized parking brake, but I didn't think that it was that bad as I'd asked them to check some items prior to my trip to Slovenia in it.
 

roop_the_loop

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Possibly a few different factors at play:

1) 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome, ie. you see all the problems of your own car because you're the one driving it, whereas whatever you're not currently driving seems carefree.

2) Your particular individual may be a bit of a lemon - every manufacturer makes them! Perhaps too small a sample to generalise to say that the E-class as a whole is bad?

3) The MB quality did take a dip in the past decade or so; maybe you're seeing the effect of that, as yours is 2004?

4) The big Mercs are complicated cars with loads of fancy technology, so plenty to go wrong and expensive to put right. At the opposite end of the scale are things like 1970s Lada, absolutely bomb-proof because it has basically about three moving parts, all made of cast iron. But which would you rather drive, a Lada (of any vintage) or an E-class?

And no, I'm not saying the E-class or any MB model is perfect, but then again I've never yet driven a perfect car let alone owned one.
 
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parkman

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Hi, sorry Troon, you are quite correct, I should have paragraphed my post more regularly. I was on roll, I think :lol:
I think that it is interesting looking at bigger cars to own. For ages during the 2000 to 2010 years I made regular visit to look at all sorts of Mercedes but mainly things like the '70's 300's from the 3 litre to the 6.9 but at the end of the day I found that I felt more comfortable in the newer cars. I felt a bit like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout on some of the seating and I wasn't sure that I could live with that. I know that that is a very personal view and most enthusiasts would say that I am a bit of a philistine but I just didn't fancy sliding about in the seat of a 300 se when it was going quickly round a bend.
The other things that put me off the older cars were things like the fuel consumption of the 6.9, and even the 3500 engine, there are pretty awful if you try to use them on a daily basis. I looked at quite a lot of 300 se's and I tended to find that good clean models are very pricey to buy, maybe over £20K, and if you don't buy clean solid cars then you are just asking for big restoration bills. The 6.9's I looked at were either about £30K or else really did need work immediately.
Also I now live in Dublin and it is extremely difficult to find an independent garage who is any good, and if he is good then he is charging the same rate as the dealers. I have had the arguments over many years about getting work done on specialist cars in Dublin and it is just a real rarity to find anyone reliable without being very expensive. I used to have to take my Lotus Sunbeam from Dublin to Armagh because nobody, and I mean nobody, had any idea of the Lotus 2.2 engine in the South.
So I decided to go for an E class for the comfort and hopefully, longevity. I have just given my son my 1998 C180 manual which I have had from 2000, and is possibly one of the best cars that I have ever bought. I gave almost no trouble at all, just servicing, and is still in my sons' ownership as a very good reliable car.
Maybe the days of the Ford model T were the best as there was only a choice between a model T and a horse :shock:
Regards, parkman
 

Developer

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my S211 has been virtually flawless and very cheap to run for the next nearly-2-years and 43k miles.

Mine too, compared against the suspension issues that plagued my SAAB, which pushed the running costs up.

If you buy wisely in the first place, treat it with a bit of respect, and don't drive it like a knob they are great cars.
 
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parkman

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Hi, I see roop the loop's point. I am happy generally with the car and it hasn't done anything really bad but there is always that concern that when a problem appears it almost certainly won't be cheap. One could say that one should not buy an E class if one can't afford to run it, with which sentiment I would probably agree, but also I think that one is entitled to an expectation of reliability even on a car as complex as the E class.

I was talking to the very good guy who looks after two Jaguars that I have near Birkenhead [an independent garage - Northwest Jaguar] and we were discussing the pro's and con's of buying a Jag XJ 2.7TDVI, and I told him that I was thinking of buying one from Jag up in York and that it was very, very reasonably priced - I think about 4 years old with only 20K miles on the clock. He told me that he could get a customer of his to give me a car the same just to get rid of it :shock: It appears that compared to the E220 cdi the XJ 2.7 TDVI is an absolute nightmare.

The major issue with the Jag is the DPF [diesel particulate filter] system that when used on short journeys clogs the filter, which then caused the motor to go into restricted performance. This happens if you do two or three short [4 or 5 miles] journeys and the only way to clear the problem is to drive the car at a steady 40 mph for 40 miles [i.e. an hour on a clear road].

If you do not carry out this procedure pretty well exactly what happens is the fuel system starts to dump large amounts of excess diesel into the bores of the engine, and guess where it then goes - yes, into the sump, to join the other essential component, the oil. That's when the engine goes bang in a big way. Apparently it is very difficult to buy a used 2.7 engine now as some many have popped. This is only one of a couple of major issues on the XJ 2.7, I believe.

Also, is it the Audi A6 that has plastic exhaust manifolds ? I seem to remember talking to some-one not too long ago who had bought an A6 and the performance was a bit down. When it went to the garage it appeared that both items required replacement at a cost of £2000 :shock: and that's what I would call expensive.

No. I am not complaining about the cost [so far :lol:] but I would like sometimes that the problem could £40 or £50 not £400 or £500. The car has a very good spec and I bought it mainly because of the panoramic sunroof and I did have a pretty good idea of what to expect in relation to servicing and repairs. I had just expected the repairs not to be required quite so soon.

Regards,parkman
 

tjamesbo

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You do have to spend some money to keep on top of them but not much scraps them (apart form main Dealer repair prices ) start looking at the alternatives on Honest John and mercs become the most attractive option nearly all the jags have gearbox / transmission problems that would scrap many a car It is possible to buy reliable stuff that wont need much doing but most reliable / newer alternatives are soooo boring, or unrefined, or classless, you wont get that feeling you get behind the wheel of any medium to large Benz.
No such thing as a free lunch:)
All cars are becoming technologically more complex and with that comes more to go wrong manufacturers now are only interested inselling new and keeping it cheap for the first three years after that ..... not interested other than spare parts revenue I was in The aircraft Industry Most planes were sold at cost the Money was made in support & Parts same now goes for cars
Merc Parts are verywidely available through ECP and GSF and we're talking OEM parts here at a substantial saving to dealer . There are also many Independent specialists working at an affordable rate
Boyd
 

S.Speed

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Mine too, compared against the suspension issues that plagued my SAAB, which pushed the running costs up.

If you buy wisely in the first place, treat it with a bit of respect, and don't drive it like a knob they are great cars.

100% spot on John..
As you know I am on my 2nd E class and I really cannot fault it.
I was nervous re Air suspension when I first bought it but I love the magic carpet ride it gives, that luxury cars are supposed to have!
I haven't had my car very long at all but I have done about 4000 miles already and it hasn't missed a beat.
Yes I have done some preventative work (inlet - Turbo Oil seal) but that's just plain common sense and its not difficult to do (for me).
Overall out of the 6 mercs I have owned the two 211's have been the best all round.:D
 
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The Pan Man

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Hi, I see roop the loop's point. I am happy generally with the car and it hasn't done anything really bad but there is always that concern that when a problem appears it almost certainly won't be cheap.

I usually chip in with this comment which you touched on in your OP:: "You can't run a Mercedes on Ford money."
 

Troon

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A big one
I usually chip in with this comment which you touched on in your OP:: "You can't run a Mercedes on Ford money."

You haven't tried to run a modern Ford then. I've run many of the things, and worked for them at Dunton for over a decade. My previous car was a much-loved and very reliable Mk3 Mondeo; my wife runs a 2004 C-MAX and I do all the routine servicing on all our cars. They've all been very reliable, and yet I still don't feel like I've taken on a financial liability with the S211.

When I bought my S211, I missed that one of the door mirror indicators was cracked, and very foolishly managed to break the other one in short order. I'm pretty sure Ford would want three figures for new mirror assemblies, but the MB parts were £25 a side and easy to fit.

Also, the passenger side sunvisor lamp wasn't working. I took the visor apart and bodged a repair to the broken microswitch with a generic part, assuming that this'd be a new sunvisor for ~£50+ - I later found that the microswitch is available as a service part for a couple of quid.

The tube that takes the drain water from the windscreen scuttle to the wing had been mysteriously cut during my car's previous ownership. As I didn't fancy the new routing whereby rain water exited onto the ECU, I replaced the pipe - £15 including a clip.

Regular service items: air filters, pollen filters: competitive at under £20 each; oil filters likewise at about £6.

I had a leaking diesel injector seal: the washer and bolt were pence, although the "special ceramic grease" was expensive at £15 for a small pot, but that'll last for ever.

I have had failed thermostats on the S211 (£48, 20 mins DIY work) and the Mondeo (£90 with employee discount plus 1½ hours garage labour as too difficult). The S211's front discs needed replacing: under £40 a side. I decided to change the poly V-belt ("fan" belt) as it was looking a little tired: under £15.

The only time the MB is significantly more seems to be when something "premium" goes, like Airmatic or SBC — and, of course, dealer hourly labour prices are higher on the whole. The whole layout and architecture of the S211 is simple and in some ways primitive: it's very easy to work on and there's little "clever" (awkward) packaging (like the C-MAX pollen filter that is behind the centre console and takes 40 min+ to change). For DIY, it's great having a little I4 engine in a bay that takes a V8 and I6.
 
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R W

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"If you buy wisely in the first place, treat it with a bit of respect, and don't drive it like a knob they are great cars.[/QUOTE]|

I agree with the above quote entirely.

I think we, & I include myself spend far too much time reading horror stories on forums & worrying about” what could happen”. We never hear about the thousands of cars that cause little or no trouble. I bought my 211 almost 9 months ago now & its been faultless. I worried about this & worried about that & in hindsight it was pointless becoming paranoid. Things may go wrong, but there is a very good chance they wont go wrong, if they do go wrong you fix it.

A friend of mine just buys a car that he likes; currently he has a 221 S class. He doesn’t read up on them or worries what “could” happen, he just enjoys the car.
 
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television

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A friend of mine just buys a car that he likes; currently he has a 221 S class. He doesn’t read up on them or worries what “could” happen, he just enjoys the car.
Me too, I enjoy my CL216 if it goes wrong then too bad and I will just fix it :D
 

st4

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I drive a 204 and you hear of few issues with them. It makes me have confidence in the car but if there were a lot of horror stories Id always think "what if"

I chose a tried and tested engine/gearbox combo and I've not been let down
 

Jodel

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Me too, I enjoy my CL216 if it goes wrong then too bad and I will just fix it

I love the 211's cabin and general atmosphere of serenity. I know I'm running a luxury vehicle and am quite prepared to spend money on maintenance accordingly. IF you can get someone to fix it, they're great! (I'll bring mine down to you Malc :))

I've posted before about my 7G software update - I loved the 'box before the dealer carried out an update, now the lumpy and unpredictable changes hack me off every time I drive it. It is so frustrating to have a lovely smooth car with what used to be a lovely smooth gearbox.

Personally, I'll be thinking long and hard before I'd buy another MB as they appear to be virtually un-repairable by the average dealer. If you get a good one, then cherish it as they really are lovely cars (and don't let the dealer near it).
 
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parkman

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Hi, I agree totally with the sentiments regarding "buy it and enjoy it". I have had a tendency to let the heart rule the head almost every time that I have bought a car. In all honesty this is the case with the E class, I liked my old C class but as it was a manual and I wanted an auto, after ten years I just went and bought the E class.

I have found it very good, and I suspect that for a while I have fallen into the trap of reading about the horror stories and wondering if I will have the same. But as st4 quite rightly says, there are more stories and issues on pretty well any forum of the bad things that happen, rather than the good things. If one does read different forums, whether it is about cars, or hi-fi or anything else, then one will find that about 80% of posts are negative in one form or another. I think this makes it easy to become a bit worrisome when one goes to look into a problem because it is quite possible that there will 300 posts all decrying the quality of the object one is researching.

As I said in another post I have a 2001 XJ8 3.2 which I bought because I liked the look of it, and I drive it from Manchester to Liverpool every other wekend, run around in it for the next 4 days and then back to Manchester where it sits for a fortnight before doing the same things all over again. It has been very good and hasn't missed a beat in 5 years of doing this.

So, yes, I would agree, you can be too forensic. A colleague of mine used to drive me nuts when discussing cars because he would analyze every damned details of a car and then not buy it. He had every VW model on test at some time or another, he had Landrovers and Honda's, and each time there would be some issue for not buying it, resale value or repair cost or service cost, you name it - I really don't know how he managed to buy a car. He could never understand how I would buy a really nice second hand car and have no problems and yet not do weeks of investigation before buying it. I told him that life is just too short for that nonsense :lol:

Regards, parkman
 


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