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  #1  
Old 06-25-2005, 03:58 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
1996 - 1997 E320 questions

Howdy...About a year ago I sold my 1991 420SEL. Since then I have been driving my 1999 Cadillac Seville. Nice car, powerful engine, decent interiors. It is not,however, a Benz.

Last week I drove my daughter's (well, it is technically mine, since I pay for insurance and repairs) 1989 300TE for a few days and driving it reminded me why I love Benzes so much.

So now I got the itch to get another Benz. I love the new Benzes, but with two kids in private colleges and two on their way to (also) private colleges there is no way I can afford a new Benz. So I have to "settle"
for an older Benz.

I really like the 1996 - 1997 E series cars, with the inline 6 cylinder engine. I think they are great cars and I think the inline 6 are great engines. I also like the style, including the "bug eye" look.

I would like to hear from E series owners of 1996 - 1997 vintage. How do you like your cars? Would you buy another one? what are the problem areas? Cost of maintenace and repair?


Thank you in advance for your help.

__________________
Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

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  #2  
Old 06-25-2005, 04:29 PM
enochbell
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 60
tuition vs. benz, no contest

I empathize, we've got two in private college also (twins) but 20 years ago we learned what caused the problem and we stopped at two. That you decided to continue is your own damn fault.

I would strongly suggest you take a look at the V-6. Our '98 E320 has been bullet proof, with regular oil changes we have had no problems (well, one: the blower fan regulator went out at 50k, and required replacement of both the fan and the regulator, and I understand this is common). Otherwise at 126k miles, put on 2 miles at a time (it seemed...this is the errand and kid car) the car is darn near perfect. I understand the straight 6 had a tendancy to blow head gaskets, at least that is what a mechanic friend says.

My typical ownership is to buy a car withe 10k miles, saving some $10-15k in upfront depreciation. Sell after 5-7 years and the cost of ownership, at least with the E-Class, becomes very reasonable.

Just my 2 cents,

Best of luck,

g
__________________
64 230sl, my daily driver
94 E500, sold
98 E320, family and dog hauler
04 C240, safe machine for teen drivers, but a poc
08 audi a4, yes we have gone to the dark side
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2005, 05:43 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 222
The W210 E300 TurboDiesel looks like the car for you my friend. Don't buy a gas Benz, who do you think you are?!
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93 300D
210k - Sold, but not forgotten.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2005, 06:24 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
Quote:
Originally Posted by enochbell
I empathize, we've got two in private college also (twins) but 20 years ago we learned what caused the problem and we stopped at two. That you decided to continue is your own damn fault.

I would strongly suggest you take a look at the V-6. Our '98 E320 has been bullet proof, with regular oil changes we have had no problems (well, one: the blower fan regulator went out at 50k, and required replacement of both the fan and the regulator, and I understand this is common). Otherwise at 126k miles, put on 2 miles at a time (it seemed...this is the errand and kid car) the car is darn near perfect. I understand the straight 6 had a tendancy to blow head gaskets, at least that is what a mechanic friend says.

My typical ownership is to buy a car withe 10k miles, saving some $10-15k in upfront depreciation. Sell after 5-7 years and the cost of ownership, at least with the E-Class, becomes very reasonable.

Just my 2 cents,

Best of luck,

g
We would have stopped at two...but it was so much fun "making" the first two that we did not want to stop.

The engine in my daughter's 1989 300TE has been pretty much bullet-proof. Except for one issue with the wiring harness (which was fixed w/o having to replace the entire wiring harness--thank you Enrique @ Mr. M.B. Motors) the engine has been trouble-free. At 190K it still runs strong!

I'll look at the 1998 and newer models as well.

BTW, does your Benz have the pneumatic seats? How do those things work? Do they make the seats that much comfy or is it just a useless gadget (the Benz seats are already pretty comfy to start with.

Thanks for the input.

And, if I did not live in California, I would get another diesel. Getting a diesel here in the Left Coast is an iffy proposition. One never knows when the government will ban all diesels!
__________________
Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2005, 01:18 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
Bump!
__________________
Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2005, 02:20 PM
enochbell
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 60
pneumatic seats

are well worth it...allows you to shape the contour of the seat just right. A definate plus for smaller driver, and to vary the contour on a long trip. So far they are also working fine, just as new. The only thing I would have preferred is if they had memory just like the seat position. But I guess I can get over the "inconvecience". BTW, I thought the MB-tex would be inferior to leather...not so. They stay clean, look like new, and are just as comfortable as leather in the Atlanta heat.

Best of luck.

g
__________________
64 230sl, my daily driver
94 E500, sold
98 E320, family and dog hauler
04 C240, safe machine for teen drivers, but a poc
08 audi a4, yes we have gone to the dark side
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2005, 03:11 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
You might know the following, but I thought I'd like to point out:

1. 1996 E320's have the same 4 speed automatic transmission as 1993-1995 E320's.

2. the 1997 E320 is the first year to get the new 5 speed automatic transmission.

There were a lot of updates to this automatic transmission in the following several years.

The 4 speed auto is relatively inexpensive to rebuild, i.e. Enrique charges $1,500 to install a rebuilt unit.

The newer 5 speed auto is about $3,500 to rebuild.
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2005, 06:06 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami
You might know the following, but I thought I'd like to point out:

1. 1996 E320's have the same 4 speed automatic transmission as 1993-1995 E320's.

2. the 1997 E320 is the first year to get the new 5 speed automatic transmission.

There were a lot of updates to this automatic transmission in the following several years.

The 4 speed auto is relatively inexpensive to rebuild, i.e. Enrique charges $1,500 to install a rebuilt unit.

The newer 5 speed auto is about $3,500 to rebuild.
Paul: thanks for the info. I knew that the 1997 - current MY E series had the 5 speed auto tranny. I did not know, however, that the differential in repair costs was so big.

What are we ever going to do when Enrique retires???
__________________
Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-26-2005, 06:31 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Quote:
Originally Posted by BENZ-LGB
What are we ever going to do when Enrique retires???
Man, that's a good question.

I was in there a few weeks ago, and he took me out to lunch. We chatted about his daughter who has come down with breast cancer (caught early, luckily), and his wife who is busy traveling to Spain remodeling the house they bought there.

I suspect we have at least 5 years left with him, possibly 7 years, but I can't imagine as many as 10 years.

BTW, both those prices, $1,500 and $3,500, are what Enrique charges, installed, for each transmission.
__________________
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2005, 07:36 PM
Ocean View's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 169
My 96 W210 runs great.
Currently with 166K miles this car has been pretty good.
I still enjoy driving it. There has only been some minor problems with the ignition coils which were replaced.
This car does not have the wire harness problems like the previous M124 models but it does have the same head gasket problem.
Mine has started to leak recently so I will have to get it fixed.
The 4 speed transmission is fine. I run it to 85 - 90 on my long trips and the engine rpms are around 3-3.3K. I get about 20 - 21MPG combined city/highway (30/70) driving.

I am planing on keeping mine as long as its financially feasibly.

One thing about the 96-97 models are they are really inexpensive to purchase compared to the later years.

Good luck in your hunt.
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2005, 08:34 PM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
Zero
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,306
I wouldn't rule out a 1997 E420. They were only built one year and a W210 with an M119 is one sweet combo.

Drive one and run it up to redline with the windows down. Bring your checkbook!
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  #12  
Old 06-28-2005, 08:38 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami
Man, that's a good question.

I was in there a few weeks ago, and he took me out to lunch. We chatted about his daughter who has come down with breast cancer (caught early, luckily), and his wife who is busy traveling to Spain remodeling the house they bought there.

I suspect we have at least 5 years left with him, possibly 7 years, but I can't imagine as many as 10 years.

BTW, both those prices, $1,500 and $3,500, are what Enrique charges, installed, for each transmission.
Paul, I was at Enrique's shop yesterday. He is taking the news of his daughter's cancer rather hard. Being a Mediterranean male he does not like to show emotion (I know the feeling) but the news was pretty tough. She is still undergoing chemo.

I told him that everyone here is pulling for her (and him).
__________________
Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!
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  #13  
Old 06-29-2005, 01:54 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 5,010
W210

I own an E420, beautiful car, excellent ride, very fast and comfortable. Watch out for rust.

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With best regards

Al

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