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Old 05-23-2003, 08:38 PM
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Talking My First Benz ('97 E420)!!!

DUDE! I finally did it! I just drove home my first Benz!! After six months of religiously reading this forum and bugging my friends, I finally became the proud owner of a '97 E420 last Thursday. It is Black/Beige with 58,000 miles.

Can I just tell anyone who might be reading this forum wishing they had a benz or specifically a V-8 powered 210, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING. I happen to be an airline pilot and I think this car is the closest thing to flying a turbine-powered aircraft there is. It is smooth, quiet, responsive, and has a deceptive amount of power. Please, for the love of god, BUY ONE OF THESE if you can afford it. You'll thank me later.

So far these are the things I've done to polish up and customize my ride.

-Removed ugly pinstriping...$50 (Benzes shouldn't have chrome or extra pinstriping)
-Four-Wheel hand alignment and balancing...$160
-R/R Lower Control Arm Bushings and Camber adjust...$380
-Oil/filter Change w/Mobil 1 Synthetic...$70
-Transmission Fluid/filters change w/synthetic...$250
-Window tinting...$200

So I'm already into her a Grand and I haven't fixed the tapping noise yet. Oh yeah, the tapping noise. After the maiden voyage from Dallas to L.A., the top end started making a tapping noise like a lifter. Three different mechanics told me it's a lifter. Luckily for this forum, I believe it is a different problem having to do with an oil tube that feeds the lifter. Check out this link if you're interested. JimF and Donnie really seem to know what they're doing. Tick, tick fixed tnx to Donnie!

My mechanic didn't want to take the valve cover off to inspect the oil lines even after I showed him a printout of the above post. He told me that the change to synthetic should take care of it after a few hundred miles of driving, but if it doesn't, then we'll go further. Doesn't this seem like something I should fix regardless of whether the tapping goes away. Keep in mind, this model does not have an oil pressure guage, so I have no way of knowing if the pressure has dropped.

I guess I could dig into the valve cover myself, it's just intimidating to do even minor surgery on such a beautiful machine. So far the ticking has disappeared and then come back again a few times. The ticking doesn't seem to have any correlation to eng. temp or otherwise. It just has a mind of its own. Thanks in advance for the help. Pictures to come.
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Old 05-23-2003, 11:40 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 140

Congratulations on a great new car!!!
1984 MB 300D Turbo Diesel W123 Sedan 132K
1987 MB 300D Turbo W124 Sedan 295K
1983 Porsche 944 104K
1989 Audi 80 Quattro 180K
2002 Audi A6 3.0 Quattro Avant 49K (Wife's car with warranty )

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Old 05-23-2003, 11:58 PM
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Here's a pic from the original listing off ebay. Since then I have tinted the windows and removed that hideous pinstripe. When I get back to Cali I'll post some updated pics.

Thanks for the compliment, IZELJIC. I notice from your profile that you're just about my age. Aren't we supposed to be BMW fanatics?
Attached Thumbnails
My First Benz ('97 E420)!!!-674481-04212003131236-8_l.jpg  

Last edited by EMB145Driver; 05-24-2003 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 05-25-2003, 09:52 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Mountain Island Lake, Charlotte NC
Posts: 376
me too

NICE RIDE..I purchased one just like it(grey interior) in January. I love it! The ride, the power..the feel I get driving it.

What pinstripe did you remove?

Do you have any pics of it without the stripe?
Rob Armstrong, Charlotte, NC
Mountain Island Lake

2004 VW Passat GLS TDI-50k
2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L 7k
FOR SALE 1991 300TE 228k

2003 Subaru Outback 57k Silver/Black-SOLD
2005 C230K 18k Pewter/Grey-SOLD
1997 E420 108k Black/Grey-SOLD
1986 560sl 200k Black/Palimino-SOLD
1985 300sd 340k-SOLD
1979 240d 170k-SOLD
2000 Volvo V70XC-POS couldn't sell fast enough
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Old 05-25-2003, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
The tick is undoubtably the oil crossover pipe. The good news is that I have fixed a number of them that went through additive treatments for long stretches before repair (from previous bad advice). it doesn't seem to hurt anything.

As to whether you should be a BMW enthusiast or not I can't say, but if a 97 E420 turns you on you just haven't experienced an E39 540i. The power can be close to the same with either car. the sound and feeling of solidarity could be near the same, but the presence on the road is no comparison. R&T just found the E39 to be the best car they had ever tested.

Having owned one for near 2.5 years I can say that for most purposes I would rather have the MB (I have owned dozens of MBs, a number of Porsches and two BMWs). But for driving the comparison is between these two cars and everything else as they are a world apart from everything else.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-26-2003, 06:51 PM
moparmike's Avatar
You will rue this day...
Join Date: May 2003
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 732
You might try adding a quart of...

Marvel Mystery Oil, to free up any gunk and get it caught in your filter. I dont know how it acts with synthetic oil though, so you might want a second opinion.

You only want to do this if you arent reading full on your dipstick. You dont want to overfill your crankcase. Ask around, and ask how it does with synthetic, unless you plan to change that crossover pipe.

It should only be a few dollars at walmart or autozone. Depending on where you are reading on your dipstick, you can choose between the 16 oz and the 32 oz.

Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2003, 11:22 AM
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Thanks SteveBfl. I'm glad to hear a definitive answer. So you are saying that it is definitely the crossover pipe? I have no problem with that. I just don't want to dump a bunch of miraculous marvelous mystery anything into my oil if I'm not really fixing the problem.

The car has a one-year powertrain warranty that is supposed to cover all of the valvetrain components. The problem is, it is one of those used-car dealership warranties and I'm anticipating a big fight to have this done. They'll probably insist it's a 'normal noise' or something. Thanks for the help. I'll have it fixed right away.

As for the 540i, I must admit it was a very confusing day for me when I drove a '98 540. I thought I had my mind made up on the E420! Then I started reading the BMW forums. I started researching the 540 and found out about the Nikasil cylinder wall problems. That was enough for me. Other than timing chains breaking, you never hear about Benz engines puking at low mileage like that.

I know they fixed it, but I just don't trust BMW reliability after hearing those stories. What would it feel like to buy a 60,000 mi. 540 or 740 just out of warranty and then get slapped with an $8000 engine change? No thanks.

My friend has been harassing me about not getting a Beamer. I told him that the Beamer was tight, but the Benz was SOLID. That's the only way I can describe it, and frankly, I like SOLID. To each his own.

By the way Steve, should I replace all of the crossover tubes on that side while the cover is off?

Last edited by EMB145Driver; 05-27-2003 at 11:33 AM.
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