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Old 11-16-2000, 05:47 PM
Ron D. Harriman
Posts: n/a

< crossposted to Tech and Hot-Rods since it
kinda overlaps the two categories -- Ron >

Got that 500E bug and have been looking.
I understand it can be an expensive bug, tho.
And there don't seem to be any perfectly
kept 50K mile examples around. Wonder why :-)

Called a local dealer to price a PPI. They
said about $400 to check brakes, timing
chain and compression, plus general exam.

I've got my own list of stuff to check.
Some of it I can do myself. That would
help if I can disqualify a car ^before^
it goes off for PPI. If anyone cares to
comment on these points, I'm all ears.

--> Signs of overheating

I dug all through the archives; found
someone saying that Lee posted on how to
spot a previously overheated 500E. Can't
find the post for love or money. I do know
that every single 500E I've ever seen has
heat discolored firewall insulation. Any
other clues?

--> Wiring harness

I know that this can be expensively killed
by underhood heat, but don't know how to
spot the symptoms. MBZ dealer testable?

--> Timing chain, chain guides

Measure chain stretch, pull cam cover(s)
to verify guides. The archives say timing
chain should be done in the young hundreds.
No idea what that will cost, though. Given
the clearances I assume it's expensive.

--> Power steering pump

Per the archives, I'm expecting this to
die around 100K. I am competent enough to
put in a new OEM unit. Hope it's not some
weird goldplated 500E only thing for $1K.

--> Hoses, belts, etc.

Aware of the weak hose to the steering pump.
Aware of the unibelt tensioner needing
to be checked. (And replaced? $$$?)

--> Brakes

Verify happy calipers all round, find out
if the fronts are aluminum units or not.
FYI dealer service adviser said that 500E
brakes are "very expensive" items.

--> Motor/transmission mounts

Verify and estimate remaining life. Assumed
expensive to replace.

--> Flex disk

Pretty normal check on a German sedan.

--> Shocks

Told it's critical to estimate remaining
life on the expensive adaptive rear shocks.
A friend with an M5 got socked for $1200
EACH on these. I assume I can stick on a
set of performance Bilsteins instead when
the OE set die.

--> Front suspension

Probably the thing about which I'm the
most clueless. I do know enough to have
the PPI guy verify that it hasn't been
curbed hard. Don't know what wears out
in the 100K range or what it costs.

--> Fenders and body

Verify VINs on each panel to ensure not
crashed. I have seen cars with some sag
in the rear bumper cladding. I don't know
if that part is 500E specific or if it's
E-class generic. Geez, what do you do for
new front fenders if they get bashed? I
imagine the factory replacements are gold.

--> Transmission

Called an MBZ slushbox shop. They said it's basically a 722.X unit, cheap to rebuild.
A surprise!

--> Engine

Haven't priced a rebuild yet. Assuming it
will cost about as much as a 500SL do-over,
probably $6500 bare minimum.

I'm sure I'm missing something here. Again,
those of you (lucky SOBs!) who already have
500Es in the family and who can clue me in
are due for a round of drinks once I get a
good specimen diagnosed and purchased.



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Old 11-16-2000, 08:52 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
The low down:

I would check for a history of service with the books that come with the car first. IF not there, call the dealer. IF you do have history, still call the dealer and confirm!

Check in the valve cover (under the oil cap) for dark brown or black residue. In a Mercedes Engine with less than 100k miles, it should be a light silver if the oil was changed regularly.

Drive the car and see what you think.

If there are any problems like the wirring harness, the dealer should do this under a "good will warranty repair" Our local dealer RBM of Atlanta has done at least 100 or more for us. They say it has to be under 120k miles.

Donnie Drummonds
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