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Matt, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 21998
Experience:  BEng hons Mech engineering, in auto industry 22 years
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I am considering purchasing an E Class estate 2004+ and it

Resolved Question:

I am considering purchasing an E Class estate 2004+ and it will be high mileage. I'm inclined to go with a 320 V6 diesel because its the most popular and this car has good reviews and no adverse comments as such. The alternatives are the 220 or the 270?? or later models the 280 [3L]....diesel of course

Am I correct in saying the 320 is the proven engine with a long history of reliability?

Any thoughts on the options above

JohnC
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mercedes
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello John C,

I'm Shantal and I'm a moderator for this topic.

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Shantal
Expert:  Matt replied 3 years ago.
Hello

the W211 model is generally a reasonable car but a 2004 example may not be the right model to get if you read the summary below you'd be well advised to get a post 06 model

Lots of problems ( usually electrical and corrosion related) with 2003 - 2006 cars that seem to have ended with the summer 2006 facelift (facelift car headlights have louvres at the tops).

Can suffer electrical problems, so make sure all electrics work before buying.

 

By August 2008 there was an epidemic of electrical failures with fresh reports every couple of days, dealers quoting £11k to fix and Mercedes usually refusing to pay which effectively writes off a 2003 E-Class as scrap. Also affects 2004 registered E-Class.

Two other well known faults which might cause expensive damage are failure of the oil seals to the wiring looms from the top of the cam cover and to the autobox which is electrically operated.

 

Reports of leaking high pressure diesel pumps on E320 CDIs. Fluid leaks onto cooling system pipes which then also need to be replaced. 'Straight 6' 3.2 litre CDI engine had a common problem with premature injector failure at as little as 60,000 miles

.

Replacement injectors are about £300-£400 each, plus fitting and calibrating to the ECU - an expensive repair if they all need replaced at about the same time.

Another common problem with the earlier engine is apparent failure of the injector 'fire seals', which allows soot and carbon to basically 'weld' the injector into the cylinder head. If a faulty injector cannot be removed then the cylinder head would have to be replaced.

Turbo ‘boost control regulator’ seems to fail on E320 CDI (pre-2005), putting the engine into limp-home mode and MB dealers diagnose the need for a entire new turbo at £1,600+.

Electronic throttle sensor failures on E320CDI/E280CDI V6. Further reports that this is due to Turbo swirl pot failures. The electronic throttle warning light coming on, closely followed by the engine management light and the engine goes into 'limp home' mode.

Tinkling sound which rises with revs on E320 CDI is from ceramic matrix of catalytic converter.

 

Also starting problems with E320 CDI. Can suffer battery drain down when left in airport carparks unless upgraded battery pack specified.

 

Cars fitted with self-levelling suspension are prone to running down their batteries after a long ferry trip or after being left parked for a prolonged period in windy conditions because the system attempts to compensate for movement of the ship or being blown by the wind.

The transmission oil cooler of automatics is sited in the radiator matrix, so failure can lead to coolant entering the transmission and destroying it, leaving the owner with a bill of £4k +. Apparently this fault occurred in cars manufactured between 2000 - 2003 and only when a Valeo radiator is fitted.

Two other well known faults which might cause expensive damage are failure of the oil seals to the wiring looms from the top of the cam cover and to the autobox which is electrically operated.

Another common fault of Mercedes diesels is failure of injector seals, allowing fuel/air mixture to be deposited as carbon on top of the engine. The problem can be identified by the smell of neat fuel (like paraffin) entering the passenger cabin, and a "chuffing" sound from the top of the affected cylinder as gas escapes on the compression stroke. Apparently it is so common it has been given the name "black death" within the Mercedes dealerships. Unless spotted early, and seals reground and replaced, the cost of fixing can be up to £500.

 

 

Seem to have been a couple of cases of front suspension collapsing on 03s and 04s. That's spring failure, common on all makes and models of European car, not the spring 'perch' failure that afflicted the rust-prone W210 E Class.

 

Corroded brake pipes are becoming a common problem on 2002 - 2006 W211s. Not a problem on facelift cars with the revised braking system from Summer 2006 on.


Problem of premature wear of timing chain sprocket for balancer shaft of M272 and M273 V6 petrol engines. Mercedes Star bulletin about this. Big job. Can cost £4,000.

On 280 and 320 CDIs the double skinned exhaust manifolds can fragment internally, sending shards of metal into the turbo. Replacement cost is £4,000 + , though MB has acknowledged and offered goodwill of up to half of the cost of replacing the manifolds and the turbo.

Turbo failure on E220CDIs after 6 years or so not unknown. Vital to keep turbo oilway clear and to change engine oil at least once a year.

 

Sensotronic Brake Control unit on 2002 to 2006 W211s increasingly prone to failure and costs £900+ to replace. Corroded brake pipes are becoming a common problem on 2002 - 2006 W211s. Neither a problem on facelift cars with the revised braking system from Summer 2006 on.

 

On 200K valves may not seat properly and require modified valve springs, a job costing £1,900 at an MB dealer.

Rust reported as appearing at the base/corner of the rear doors on 2006 facelift W211s. Apparently MW will not pay for the repaint, but will but will amend the lip in the wheel arches under warranty. Apparently dirt and water can collect there, which eventually could cause rusting.

Where fitted, 'Airmatic' damper failures on 2003 - 2006 W211 E Class seem to be quite common.

Notified of more turbo failures on 280 and 320CDIs at age around 6 years and as little as 48,000 miles caused by shards of metal from the exhaust manifold damaging the vanes of the variable vane turbocharger. Can also suffer hiccups due to wastegate/inlet manifold pressure servo motor developing a leak in the oil seal. MB does not routinely change the air filters on these engines before 45,000 miles.

 

More of the well known failures of Airmatic suspension cylinders reported on 2003 - 2006 W211s.

 

Report of routine replacements of ABS sensor and front wheel bearing on 65k mile post facelift E220CDI.


 

 

 

 

 

Recalls

May 2004: 35,000 UK car recall of cars built from March 2002 over fault with electronic SBC brakes which can fail without warning and revert to the hydraulic front brakes back-up.

05/07/2004 R/2004/094 MERCEDES BENZ E Class and SL possibility of reduced braking efficiency build dates 01/06/2002 to 01/06/2003

27/07/2005 R/2005/134 MERCEDES BENZ E CLASS AND SL CLASS brake pedal may require more effort than expected

27/07/2005 R/2005/056 MERCEDES BENZ E Class, SL, CLS brake pedal may require more effort than expected build dates 01/01/2001 to 31/12/2005

March 2005: Worldwide Recall on vehicles with six and eight-cylinder petrol engines built between June 2001 and November 2004. The voltage regulator in the alternator is being checked and if necessary replaced. On E-Class and CLS-Class models made from January 2002 to January 2005, new battery control unit software is to enhance the on-board power supply. In addition, the braking systems on E-Class, SL-Class and CLS-Class models from the production period June 2001 to March 2005 are also to be updated. Customers are being informed in writing.

9/01/2006 R/2006/046MERCEDES BENZ C, E AND S CLASS engine may revert to limp home mode

10/11/2008 R/2008/147 MERCEDES BENZ M-CLASS, SLK-CLASS, CLK-CLASS, E-CLASS, C-CLASS, R-CLASS & A-CLASS.engine emergency shut off, on board diagnosis or tank/speedo signal may be affected build dates 01/01/2004 to 08/10/2008

17/11/2008 R/2008/149 MERCEDES BENZ M, C, CLK, E, CLS, S, R & G- CLASSES.engine could lose power build dates 01/01/2006 to 31/12/2007

 

1-3-2012. Alerted to Urgent Safety Recall for Mercedes Benz diesels. This relates to a possible diesel fuel leak which may develop at the fuel filter assembly. The dealer will replace the fuel filter.

07/01/2011 R/2010/205 MERCEDES BENZ ML, C, E, S and R class: Fuel may leak. VIN from WDC1641211A626833 to WDD2183232A000277

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class: Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2210261A374759 to WDD2210262A395344

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class: Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2040011A512447 to WDD2043032F646730

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class: Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2073022F076765 to WDD2074232F130985

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class: Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2210262A395344 to WDD2211262A395416

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class. Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2183232A000277 to WDD2183232A007825

26/01/2012 R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class. Fuel may leak. VIN from WDB4633361X187454 to XXXXX dates 1/01/2009 to 15/12/2011

26/01/2012R/2011/172 MERCEDES BENZ C Class , CLS Class, E Class, S Class, R Class, G Class, GLK Class and GL class. Fuel may leak. VIN from WDD2120021A328914 to WDD2122242A378084

Matt, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 21998
Experience: BEng hons Mech engineering, in auto industry 22 years
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