New member, owner of a 2008 E320 CDI & occasional driver of a 1997 E300 TD

Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
Morning All,

Just joined up and thought I'd say hello And sorry in advance for the long post but hopefully it'll be of interest to y'all :)

My Mercedes story started in Spring 2015, with me being approached by our Sales Director at work asking if, as a 'car guy', I could source a car on behalf of the company for no more than £1000 for a charity rally we were entering. A drive from Northampton to Lake Como and back over the space of 5 days in aid of prostate cancer. Three people would be going so whatever I bought would need enough space for them, their luggage and camping gear. After browsing AutoTrader the only car that seemed to fit the bill was a late nineties Mercedes E class of some kind. I went to look at a V6 petrol version first, but as the poor thing was pouring engine oil out of itself as soon as it started I didn't even get as far as a test drive. Next was a 1997 E300 TD Avantgarde - a former company car she had covered 80k miles in the first two years of her life then just 18k miles in the next 16 years. On the test drive she was filthy dusty inside, smelt musty and took a while to start (nearly flat battery) but seemed solid enough so the deal was done at £995 to include an oil service and new front brake pads. Here she is, affectionately named 'the SS Mercedes', after a bit of a clean up inside and out at my house:

IMAG0004_zpshc1fwrlo.jpg


I was impressed that the air con, cruise control, etc, all worked perfectly, and after driving her around for a few weeks to prove her reliability I felt myself thinking more and more, "this is a great car for a mere 1k, I'd happily drive her as my own daily car..."

For the 2015 charity rally the theme was Musicals and we chose The Phantom of the Opera, so she was stickered-up accordingly:

IMAG0108_zpsvb5rulep.jpg


She performed without fault on the rally, garnering much admiration from the 3 participants who all thanked me for getting them such a nice car for the event (by contrast other entrants were crammed into classic Mini's, breaking down every half an hour in old Jag's, etc). The decision was made to keep her for future events :cool:

The 2016 rally had a theme of Hero's and Villains; we chose Austin Powers and Dr Evil and the car was re-stickered but looked dreadful in pink and purple so I have no photo's!! o_O Again she performed perfectly, all the way to St Tropez and back, although suffered a smashed rear quarter window after the donuts who were driving her locked the keys in the boot and thought they could get in there from inside the passenger cabin :mad: Took a while to source replacement glass with the correct tint but I fitted it easily enough once I did.

Last year the theme was Sci-fi and we chose Star Wars...her she is in her third livery:

20170622_200925_zps2vcroqve.jpg


The journey was to the Pyrenees and back. At one point in near torrential rain she did lose electrical power and cut out, but started again after 10 mins parked up on the hard shoulder and didn't miss a beat after that. I removed most of the stickers and gave her a proper clean up, with a paint decontamination, clay, polish, wax and seal earlier this year:

20171230_160639_zpsu3qsuacs.jpg


Unfortunately soon after she went into limp mode and will only drive in 2nd gear, so I'm currently investigating the issue as she'll be needed for the 2018 rally in June.

The positive experiences with the SS Mercedes lead me to consider buying my own E class should I ever need a new daily driver. That time came in January when I moved my daily driver Abarth Punto (aka 'the liability', but that's another story) on so I started having a look around what was for sale. Initially I thought a W211 E270 diesel might fit the bill, a good combination of power and fuel economy, but my attention was soon grabbed by the facelift E320 CDI model with 7G 'box. After a brief search I realised that I would have to travel if I wanted my colour of choice - Barollo Red - but found a very nice looking Sport example for sale privately near Glasgow. On a 58 plate, registered early 2009, and with just 68k miles on the clock. All previous MOT's passed without any advisories. None-the-less it was a risk on my part to travel so far on a one-way train ticket to view a car but she didn't disappoint and the deal was done after a very nice test drive and I had the pleasure of a 348 mile drive home. It was bliss the whole way, I never driven so far so comfortably and the torque from the V6 makes for effortless progress. To say I'm impressed with her is an understatement - every drive is a pleasure and I keep taking the long way to work! Here she is, named Kisbowe (due to the reg), on the day of purchase:

20180127_145406_zpszrm45cv5.jpg


Other than the broken wire for the boot lid earth issue, which took me 10 mins to fix, she's been perfect so far and I'm looking forward to many thousands of miles in her :)
 

John Laidlaw

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2013
Messages
26,377
Reaction score
9,035
Location
Wirral
Your Mercedes
BMW 530d X Drive Tourer M Sports
Welcome Jeremy
What a great story....congratulations on getting your own and quite rare colour- beauty that is!
 

Wighty

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
10,697
Reaction score
7,963
Location
Sunny Essex
Your Mercedes
W211/E320cdi/2009 and CLK200k 2009
Excellent story Jeremy . Live the pics of the old E class . I'm an owner of a car "almost the same" as your new one , had it for 7 of its 9 years and still love it . Keep an eye on the orange turbo inlet seal for leaks , and good practice to get a full gearbox ATF and filter change every 40k miles .
 

harrye500

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
156
Reaction score
90
Location
Cheshire
Your Mercedes
2010 E500 V8 M273 'Normally Aspirated'
What a super story Jeremy, long may the SS mercedes reign supreme! Your new E320 is a lovely colour. Good advice re the gearbox, I did mine myself, with the proper equipment it's not as daunting as you would think. Though be prepared for back and shoulder ache! Another story on the 2018 rally please very much!
 

AJD

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
14,992
Reaction score
6,185
Location
Suffolk by the Sea, UK.
Your Mercedes
2017 C200 2.0Ltr (P) ///AMG Line, Premium, 4dr. 9G. Brilliant Blue with Alpaca trim
Hi Jeremy and welcome to the forum. Nice story. :)
 
OP
Jeremy Nesbitt
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Thanks for the welcomes guys :)

Good news on the SS Mercedes this week - I replaced the infamous 13 pin socket on the gearbox and that seems to have sorted the gearbox issues/limp mode, and she passed her MOT on Tuesday with a mere 6 advisories...corrosion on all the rigid brake pipes and slight play on osf bottom ball joint. Not bad for an old girl. I also noticed only 4000 miles since last year's MOT.

This year's charity rally is to Monte Carlo and back, but that's all the details we have as yet.

Perhaps I could canvas opinion of any members who have experience of W210's and their brakes - I find them ok if a little wooden but others who've driven the car complain that they're rubbish. Most of these people drive much newer cars and seem to expect a 20 year old E class to have the same stop-on-a-dime performance. The pads and discs all have a good bit of life on them (especially the fronts), and I've stripped, cleaned & rebuilt them each year before the rally. Can anyone comment on how good a 1997 E300TD's brakes should be? And is it worth me replacing all four corners with grooved & dimpled discs + new pads to improve braking performance or should I stick with standard aftermarket (but good quality) version's?
 

LostKiwi

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
26,444
Reaction score
15,896
Location
Midlands / Charente-Maritime
Your Mercedes
'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
Hi and welcome from another Northampton (ish) owner. I have a 210 as well (currently in France) and they are great cars.
Brakes on mine are fine - not as sharp as either SL but then not much is!
I wouldn't bother with dimpled discs (I'm presuming you mean the EBC ones which I personally wouldn't touch with a barge pole). Grooves/holes/dimples won't affect brake feel much.
Perhaps new discs and genuine pads would help and check the vacuum pump is working as it should.
 

om613

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
1,436
Reaction score
309
Location
london
Your Mercedes
S202 C250TD, S123 240TD
I've had 3 210s. The brakes should be 'good' and they have BAS which kicks in hard.
They can be hard to bleed.
And the exposed brake pipes are prone to rusting badly.

Have you changed the brake fluid?
 
OP
Jeremy Nesbitt
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Hi and welcome from another Northampton (ish) owner. I have a 210 as well (currently in France) and they are great cars.
Brakes on mine are fine - not as sharp as either SL but then not much is!
I wouldn't bother with dimpled discs (I'm presuming you mean the EBC ones which I personally wouldn't touch with a barge pole). Grooves/holes/dimples won't affect brake feel much.
Perhaps new discs and genuine pads would help and check the vacuum pump is working as it should.

Hello :) Isn't Northampton where folk can't pronounce "Nene" properly ;) That aside I have many fond memories of Northampton :cool:

The discs I've been considering are Mintbitz jobbies, grooved and dimpled. With Mintex pads.

Vacuum pump as in the servo unit?
 
OP
Jeremy Nesbitt
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
I've had 3 210s. The brakes should be 'good' and they have BAS which kicks in hard.
They can be hard to bleed.
And the exposed brake pipes are prone to rusting badly.

Have you changed the brake fluid?

Yes, by the garage we use at work last year. It did improve pedal feel slightly so was probably overdue a change. The advisories for the MOT on Tuesday were corrosion on all brake pipes so I'll be having them replaced soon, and she'll be getting fresh brake fluid then too.

At the moment I'm thinking stay with standard discs (i.e. not grooved and dimpled) and genuine Mercedes pads all round, if I can find someone who stocks them without needing to go to the stealer.

Aside from the pedal feel/perceived lack of brake power the charity rally usually involves mountain driving of some sort and those doing the driving aren't, ahem, wise enough to use engine braking when needed by knocking her into 4th or even 3rd gear manually, so after a few miles of almost continuous downhill braking on a fully loaded up car brake fade becomes the biggest issue :confused:
 

LostKiwi

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
26,444
Reaction score
15,896
Location
Midlands / Charente-Maritime
Your Mercedes
'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
Hello :) Isn't Northampton where folk can't pronounce "Nene" properly ;) That aside I have many fond memories of Northampton :cool:

The discs I've been considering are Mintbitz jobbies, grooved and dimpled. With Mintex pads.

Vacuum pump as in the servo unit?
Vacuum pump as in on the engine there is a pump to provide vacuum to the servo. This is because a diesel doesn't have manifold vacuum, unlike a petrol.
It may also be servo too.
 

ZZZZ

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
3,671
Reaction score
1,605
Your Mercedes
.
Hello and [somewhat belated] welcome from another Northampton member :)

Great story!
 

JBell

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
12,587
Reaction score
4,419
Location
Torquey
Your Mercedes
C350 CDi Estate (GAD Edition)
Great story, I do love a charity rally.

W210 seem reliable although I would polish the headlights
 
OP
Jeremy Nesbitt
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #18
Ok, so the SS Mercedes is giving me transmission/limp mode issues again :( She'd been running fine after changing the 13-pin connector socket a week or so ago but this morning started acting up, initially losing 5th gear and slipping a lot, then fully into limp mode 2nd gear only, giving exactly the same fault code in the TCU as before i.e. "speed sensor 3 is sporadically faulty". I decided to check the 13-pin connector again this evening, although only as far as removing the plug to see if there was any ATF on it...and indeed there was. I figured that I hadn't cleaned thoroughly enough when replacing the socket. I made darn sure I did this time, and didn't put the plug back in until it and the socket were bone dry. A fire up and test drive and she's still in 2nd gear limp mode, despite clearing the fault codes before I set off. Back at home I read the codes again, and now I'm getting "2-3 shift solenoid valve is faulty" :confused: In fact, maybe she's not in limp mode, just unable to shift up to 3rd as I get full power and revs in 2nd gear if I want?!

It did occur to me that in amongst the cleaning and reassembly process this evening I got distracted by my neighbour asking what I was doing and turned the ignition fully on ready to clear the codes before I'd plugged the 13-pin connector back in. Could this have screwed things up with regards the TCU and something now needs resetting/initialising/resynchronising??
 

LostKiwi

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
26,444
Reaction score
15,896
Location
Midlands / Charente-Maritime
Your Mercedes
'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
Sounds like the gearbox electroplate has failed. This controls gearbox operation and has a pair of speed sensors and some solenoids on it. Really it needs Star to diagnose it. If it helps I have Star and am not too far away.
 
OP
Jeremy Nesbitt
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
Your Mercedes
W211 E320 2009 CDI
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #20
Sounds like the gearbox electroplate has failed. This controls gearbox operation and has a pair of speed sensors and some solenoids on it. Really it needs Star to diagnose it. If it helps I have Star and am not too far away.

Wow so kind of you to offer :) Might well have to take you up on it if I can figure out a way to get the car to you!

I've been using an Autel Maxidiag unit to read and clear codes in the TCU but no doubt Star is many times more capable and sophisticated!

I am tempted to throw a new conductor plate at it but I'm reluctant to do so without knowing for certain it'll fix her as that means digging into the budget for the rally even further, which in turn means less money to donate to the charity at the end, plus it seems odd that one code (speed sensor 3) has gone only to be replaced by another even more debilitating one (shift solenoid) just because I removed and cleaned the 13-pin connector o_O
 
Last edited:

WE HAVE NOW MOVED: 8 Hazel Road, Woolston, SO19 7GB
Service, Repairs and remapping service
Any queries, please do not hesitate to contactEmail@mbsofsouthampton.co.ukor alternatively you can phone Colin or Dave on 02380 445820, out of hours numbers are 07787913313 or 07907631681.
Top Bottom