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  #1  
Old 08-11-2005, 11:25 AM
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Buying 1998 C280

Hey everyone,

Im buying a 1998 C280 with all records up to date (service A-B done many times) up until its current mileage which is 140 000kms!

The car is in great shape and Im getting it for a good price. I am having my MB mechanic inspecting it tonite but what should I look out for? Doing on search on the C280 and didnt find any horror stories. Just MAF and harmonic balancer....head gasket was improved in this year I was told.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2005, 11:32 AM
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You're right about the head gasket because the '98 has an entirely different engine, a V6 (I want to say M112, but I'm not 100%) as opposed to the inline 6 (M104). I have a '94 C280, and it does have a small leak on the head gasket which my mechanic is advising me to just live and monitor closely.

You mentioned the harmonic balancer already. The only other big problem I can remember reading about late 97-98 W202s is the transmission problem for the first year or year and a half for the 5 speed auto transmission (722.6). You might want to do some checking into this to be certain. Another area to pay attention to in general with the W202 is the lower control arm bushings, which seem to wear out prematurely. I don't believe this is specific to any model year, but I've had mine done two years ago, when the car only had 130,000 kms on it.

Jonathan
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Old 08-11-2005, 12:05 PM
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I recently bought a 2000 C280 and I love the car. From my notes, the 98 is second year for the 722 transmission so hopefully it is sorted out. The fixes seem to be well known. The 98 is the first keyless and the better antenna so that is good. Check the harmonic balancer and if it is part # A112 035 00 00 or A112 035 06 00, or looks worn (not spinning smoothly) it needs to be replaced.

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Old 08-11-2005, 01:34 PM
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How big of a deal is this harmonic balancer? Aswell whats the BIGGEST issue to go wrong with these cars? Just like the evaporator goes on the W140s.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:26 PM
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I bought a '98 C280 about 6-7 months ago with 57K. I had to replace the conductor plate after having the transmission thrown into limp home mode several times. I think conductor plate failure is pretty common on that tranny. Other than that it has been great. Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2005, 03:27 PM
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Other than the harmonic balancer, I can't recall any other issue at all with these M112 / M113 V6 and V8 engines.

W202's and W210's appear to have almost no a/c problems to speak of.
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:00 PM
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whats the symptoms on a bad conductor plate?
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenzOnline
How big of a deal is this harmonic balancer? Aswell whats the BIGGEST issue to go wrong with these cars? Just like the evaporator goes on the W140s.
From past threads, it can be a huge deal, with lots of damage done. But at least MB will now cover the exchange and even cover past damage that you've already paid for. The 722.6 transmission, new in 97 appears to be excellent by 1999-2000. Most reports coming in indicate a solid, long lived, relatively trouble free car. Knock on wood.

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Old 08-11-2005, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami
W202's and W210's appear to have almost no a/c problems to speak of.
The best thing I can say about my C280 AC is that it is pretty much Japanese like, IOW, excellent, ice cold, little apparent drag on the motor vs. my 300CE turning into a Yugo when the AC is engaged.

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  #10  
Old 08-11-2005, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenzOnline
whats the symptoms on a bad conductor plate?
Car was randomly hanging up in gears..until I would shift to park and put the car back in drive. It eventually would go into limp home mode.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:19 PM
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Hey, I forgot to ask.

Does this mean that you finally sold your 380SEL?
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami
Other than the harmonic balancer, I can't recall any other issue at all with these M112 / M113 V6 and V8 engines.

W202's and W210's appear to have almost no a/c problems to speak of.

Tell that to my friend, his W210 must be special. The po put about $1k (if I remember correctly) into the AC before he sold it. Early this year he found he had an AC leak and guess what? The evap is leaking. While his dads W140 has had almost zero AC work and is on the original evap. Go figure.

I can't think of any M112 problems off the top of my head. Check the harmonic balancer and keep the maintaince up that seems to be about it.
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:35 PM
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I'm not saying that a/c problems in W210's are unheard of, I just think they are rare, based upon what I've read on this forum and from feedback from both of my MB mechanics.

Heck, my friend bought my mother's 1999 E430, and within a few months the a/c compressor went out, and it cost almost $1,000, just for the compressor, excluding labor.

I really like the W202 cars, especially the C280's. My wife would be driving one right now instead of the Volvo S70. The problem was the tandem stroller for the twins wouldn't fit in the trunk.
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  #14  
Old 08-11-2005, 10:50 PM
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Well I got some bad news (I guess).

I drove the car to the mechanic....its so refined, smooth, quiet and just purrs. I had good expectations.

I dont know if he is being "extreme" but he noted quite a few things it needs and would just like people here to chime in if these are common things to go wrong on this car.

*belt tensioner needs tightening
*starter needs regreasing as sometimes it doesnt catch
*lower right balljoint needs replacment
*its time for new pads/rotors (used car dealer said they would do )
*sunroof makes a slight jump on one track when closing and doesnt look aligned when shut from outside
*catylitic converter is broken inside (he banged on it) says aftermarket wouldnt work and I need to buy whole new $3000 system from MB
*found 2 outside door panels repainted (under the florecent light) but no accident record.
*found a touch of green fluid on ac compressor

I love the car...its in great shape but he found all this?!

My mechanic works for MB if that means anything in this case.

Im more sad than anything else. My deposit was under "mechanics condition" so I do get it back...the car comes with 3 yr warranty and will investigate furthur on this tmrw before I let it totally go.



Me and my father are DIYers but stilll.
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  #15  
Old 08-11-2005, 11:22 PM
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The belt tensioner can't be tightened. It's tension is automatic. Get a new belt.

The starter can't be 'regreased'. The Bendix is going, and rebuilding it is easy.

Ball joints are $55 from the dealer and go every 75000km. Do the left as well. It's a simple DIY.

Pads and rotors are dirt cheap for the C280 from the dealer and doing the install yourself is simple. Don't even think of going to an independent for the brakes. The performance of aftermarket pads is pathetic by comparison to OEM. Trust me on that. I've done tests and the only brand that comes close in real-world situations is Mintex, which nobody in Toronto has ever heard of.

As for the exhaust - he's full of it. See Mitas (NoizeBoyz) down on Danforth Rd. just south of St. Clair.

Doors get repainted for any number of reasons. Most of which are not accident related. Usually it's fretting of the trim on the paint caused by vibration every time you open and close the door, resulting in small amounts of rust starting.

The sunroof can get expensive if things start to break. They are also a devil to align. Speak to Sheik Muhummad at a2zcollision in Pickering. He used to work for AMG Canada and knows bodywork on Mercedes inside and out. He can give you some idea of what can commonly be the problem. More importantly, he can fix it right.

Green fluid on the compressor could possibly be leak detection fluid. If so, it means that someone has had reason to check for leaks. More importantly, it could mean that the dealer has put some 'leak fix' crap into the system prior to putting it onto his lot. It will last just long enough for him to sell it and then the problem becomes one for the warranty company he sold the policy for. (think about spending the few hundred dollars for one. It may not be wasted money on a Benz). Make sure any warranty will cover AC. I bought my C280 many years ago and everything worked just fine. A month later, the AC went, lock, stock & barrel. $3200.00 later it worked again and has worked ever since. That 'leak fix' garbage took out everything - compressor, expansion valve, drier, etc.
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