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Old 07-11-2003, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 320
I agree, overall the MB "Total Package" functions very well as long as the components keep functioning!! I believe that component failures like head haskets in the W124 and crankshaft balancer failures in the V-6's is a design issue.

As far as MB engineers cutting corners, I will give a few examples from the W124 model.

They went with the Strut front suspension instead of the more expensive multi-link. They did go with the multi-link in the rear but no limited-slip diff, which is very important for safety in a rear wheel drive car. The cooling system is adequate for the application but not overengineered to function properly for example in extreme conditions like in the death valley, same thing with the AC and the alternator. In snow, with headlights, seat heaters, front and rear fog lights, cell phone charger, windshield wipers, headlight wipers, and Slip Control etc. working, the instrument panel fuse blew. The electrical system could not handle the load. MB engineers choose the recirculating ball, instead of the Rack and Pinion setup. Although the former functions very well. Other minor things like tilt/telescope steering, keyless entry and a larger fuel tank (25 gallon) would have cost more but increased customer comfort and satisfaction.

The above could be forgiven in other vehicles but not in an MB!! MB has addressed most of the items listed above in the newer vehicles but they have made compromises in other area's like build quality and materials. Which is worse.
94 E320 58000 Miles

Last edited by zafarhayatkhan; 07-11-2003 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:22 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 22
There is a lot of talk about Japanese cars not going the distance that a Mercedes can. My 11 year old Toyota 4x4 truck has 150k on it and I have had it since new. Total upkeep cost to date is less that 1000.00 dollars. It's needed one clutch and one brake job.

My Mercedes I have had for 3 months and it has already cost me 480.00 dollars. It's only 4 years old. Mercedes makes a beautiful car, however I think the Japanese marks are vastly superior if comparing cost per mile.
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Old 07-11-2003, 02:29 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 12
I can't see myself ever in a LEXUS- no way, no how! So you see the dilemma. But I am NEVER going to buy another MB and I almost never say never about anything. Are there any Yugos out there?
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 158
Sounds like some of you may be unhappy with your decision to purchase a Mercedes Benz product and all I can say for you is to count your losses and move on to what you consider to be a better purchase decision. There are many of us who have owned more than one Mercedes product and have enjoyed driving them for many years/miles. We are very happy with our decisions and would not consider owning another brand.

For those of you who are looking at cost-of-ownership, it is not just the repair bills that make up the total cost of ownership. To truly compare cars total cost-of-ownership you must include depreciation costs, cost-of-money, and repair/maintainenance costs. gives you a good example of true cost per mile figures. If you want low cost per mile expenses, then I would suggest you buy a less expensive car since this will result in low cost per mile. You would not buy a Mercedes if all you cared about was cost-per-mile expenses.

This forum is to help others who take pride of ownership in their Mercedes Benz automobiles and to allow them to help each other in resolving questions/issues they have. It is not to complain about a vehicle that you wish you had not purchased and no longer care to own. I suggest you find another sounding board for your "sour grapes" and would hope you make better use of your time trying to find a car that meets your requirements.
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
Posts: 1,743
I think a few of you have really hit the nail on the head when comparing cost of ownership between a Mercedes and a Lexus (or other Japenese vehicle) Here's my take.

The problem is that most everyone on this board strives to maintain their cars to perfection. MOST of you feel the car is worth putting money into it to replace the motor mounts or door seals or other minor things. These items do not necessarily have to be replaced however in the interest of keeping the car looking and feeling new you do it! This is added into cost of ownership all the time.

Now most Japanese car owners me included (02 CRV, 00 V6 Honda) could care less if the car vibrates a little more or has increased sound at highway speeds after 75K miles. They just drive the car as a utility to get from point A to Point B and when the car dies.......SO move on and get another. I can say from experience that when my V6 Accord Coupe hit 65K it started rattling and wind noise increase substantially. I also noticed a rougher idle and deteriorating handling characteristics. Instead of trying to source the problems I traded the car in. It was the only car I ever purchased and didn't have some emotional attachment too. All other cars I've had were German and each had a place in my heart....even the crappy VW!

Now I can't say I've had experience with the newer MB's but I sure am curious. My dad is considering the purchase of a 2000 E320 and I'm wondering if I should talk him out of it. What's your take, is my dad going to make a huge mistake buying a W210?

Sorry for the rant, but I think everything I've stated is important to me. BTW in 10K miles and 1.5 years of ownership my 500E has cost me $750 in maintenance, that includes the 60K service. Also note that those are not your typical drive to work and back miles, those are on the brakes/gas backroad miles.

02 C32 AMG

92 500E
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:55 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I have been monitoring this thread and viewed others that were initiated by owners of the late model E-class (and others).

It may be that those who have been happy with their purchase (and subsequent reliability issues) probably haven't posted any "feel good" threads lately. Kinda like the utility one gripes until there is a power outage.

Who knows? There may be scores of dissatisfied E-class owners who just don't happen to be forum members. I also surf the SL and ML threads, and see a mixed-bag reaction from members in those forums too.

I'm not sure what I would constitute an overabundance of service-related issues on a warranted vehicle, as I have owned other makes that have had to come in for issues as well when new.

I saw the website of one longtime owner of Mercedes-Benz vehicles who was pretty happy with the products until his purchase of an ML320. The "lemon" affixed to the vehicle points out his sentiment. I too, own an ML and have not experienced anything near his repair incidents!

I will contend as others have, that the introduction of complex integrated systems that have not run its course through other models or several model year spans is probably the main downfall of reliability issues with the marque. Their haste to satisfy the consumers insatiable desire for the newest gimmick, forces early introduction of "green" products.

As a software developer of new products, I get to see the results first hand as people scramble to be the first to put the product out on the market, only to have the customers complain about reliability issues.
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 07-11-2003, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Sonoran Desert, Arizona
Posts: 37
Adopting Chrysler's motto

It seems to me that every since MB acquired Chrysler, they have adopted Chrysler's motto: "PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE" as their unofficial mantra.

This is the reason I'm sticking to the Benzes of the past that had some enduring (no pun intended) qualities about them: my 90 560SEL and 92 500E.
2002 ML320 (thereby making my 560SEL my "spare).
1992 500E, pearl black, 27,000 original miles as of 7/2003.
1990 560 SEL, black pearl metallic, sweetness to drive. Fully outfitted with driving countermeasures (Beltronics radar/laser detector and Uniden BCT-12 Bear Tracker scanner).
1985 Porsche 911 meteor metalic gray, a rocket to drive.
1988 Chevy Silverado pick-up (gotta have something to drive to the rodeo!)
1978 Corvette Indy pace car for show
1971 Opel GT for sentimental reasons
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:31 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 320
Took my W124 out for a spin after a week. Fits me like a glove, pushes all the right emotional buttons. Really enjoyed the drive, infact I was having so much fun that I forgot to lower the antenna for the car wash, result, a bent antenna mast. Back to seaching the Forum and trying to find an antenna mast, also noticed the new brake calipers sticking, there goes another Friday afternoon, back to the dealership.

Check engine light is another item which comes up frequently in both 124 and 210, at very low miles.

Solution for the antenna, MB engineers should have used a windshield integrated antenna in a $45000 car.
94 E320 58000 Miles
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:33 PM
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Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Originally posted by zafarhayatkhan
Solution for the antenna, MB engineers should have used a windshield integrated antenna in a $45000 car.
People griped about having to pay for a new wire-embedded windscreen every few years. Also, reception wasn't great. Now they place it in the rear glass, and it seems to work better. My C230 has outstanding radio reception.

Has anyone thought to join a Lexus forum like ours? I've been to a few, and find that the mighty Lexus is not immune to problems, and sometimes their engineering is piss-poor compared to MB's. You can read about driveline problems, constant CE lights, huge bills for instrument clusters, radio failures, struts that can't make it close to 100K-miles, warped rotors every year at least and premature leather wear. You can read about slipping trannies and early engine mount failure. You can find out about sludge problems in the 3.0L V-6 that is costing owers big time, as it took Toyota YEARS to admit their mistake. It goes on and on.

A friend of mine has a 1997 ES300. It's a nice car. It's still pretty tight and runs great. Heck, if you set the odo back, no one could tell. However, that condition has not come without a cost. His cost, in terms of money. But, his expectations are so different than mine. At 103K-miles, he figures the car is good for another year or two at most. Then, he'll take some beating and trade it in on another Lexus. He likes the way the car looks and drives, and is willing to pay to belong to the Lexus "club."

I surfed into an LS forum. I found the same kinds of problems experienced by W140 owners. Tons of electrical woes, AC problems, etc. Also, there were worn suspensions at early mileages, brake rotor warpage like crazy and so on. The thing that I really noticed was that many of the posters had bought their cars used, and somehow expected that it would be "running-cost" free. I see the same thing with S-Class Mercedes' all the time. Someone finds a W140 for the same price as a new Accord, and figures they'll ride in style. What they didn't figure was that the W140 was the most complex car produced in it's day. It was NEVER designed to have the running costs of a Corolla, Accord, etc.

Now, people need to understand this, and there is a real information gap. If your budget is Corolla, buy a Corolla. I realize that my C230 costs a great deal more (depreciation alone is more than the MSRP on a Corolla) to operate than the budget-minded Toyota. But, I didn't want a Corolla. I made the concious decision to spend the extra money and go for the Benz. But, I bought the C-Class because I didn't want the long term costs of something higher up the product line.

Now, that all said, I do expect Mercedes to build a high quality car that is long lived and provides DECADES of enjoyment. THAT is one of the things I'm paying for.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 07-12-2003, 12:51 AM
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Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Our W210 had leaking main seals, defective Air Mass Meter, defective ball joints, cracking dash, defective glow plugs, ACC problems, power window problems, defective EIS/Key problems, blower motors and some stalling problems that we thought was glow plugs but was never solved. The new owner has not experienced it, which means it might be gone?

The car was in the dealer constantly. Now, it was an amazing car when it was running properly. Smooth and torquey, it could easily run 1000km's on a tank of fuel and outrun most gasoline sedans.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 07-12-2003, 01:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503
I was just wondering what the quality problems that were reported by owners of the W210 E-class in the survey.

We all know that the chronic / systemic problems in the 1993-1995 M104 powered 300E (3.2 or 2.8) / E320 cars are: leaking head gaskets, leaking front cam seals, and disintegrating insulation on engine wiring harnesses. Early 300E's appear to have a relatively high numbers of a/c evaporators that leak.

What do people complain about in their W210's?

Other than the harmonic balancer failures, I can't think of another item that the majority of the owners seem to complain about.

I recall reading a handfull of posts on the W210's: dashes that crack and loose front seat rails, but nothing seems to be as systemic as the aforementioned wiring harness and head gasket issues in the W124.
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".

Last edited by suginami; 07-12-2003 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 07-12-2003, 02:21 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,476
I know of a couple common 210 problems - cracking dashboards, clicking seat rails, window regulators failing, short lived front suspension bushings. The m104 powered variants of course had the customary head gasket issues.

The V6 has the self destructing harmonic balancer issue.

Now the diesel - that's a whole 'nother thing. Like John, I too had so many issues I finally sold mine. It took me five years to learn - guess I'm not as smart as he. Common problems on the diesel include: failing transmission control module (all these are certainly fixed by now), short glowplug life, glowplugs sticking/snapping in the head, leaking o-rings on the fuel lines, mass air sensors, engine mounts. I had all of these problems.

That said, the 210 is an absolutely fabulous car. Just the right size, drives beautifully, comfortable, low NVH, reasonably nice to look at. If it weren't for that dang diesel engine, I'd certainly still have mine...

- JimY
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Old 07-12-2003, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 699
Here are some data for the number of MB cars sold in the US so far (Thanks Haasman).

2001 - 206,638
2000 - 205,614
1999 - 189,437
1998 - 170,245
1997 - 122,265
1996 - 90,844
1995 - 76,752
1994 - 73,002
1993 - 61,899
1992 - 63,312

It's easy to understand. The more DBAG sells their cars in the US, the more complaints they will get and the lower rating they will have. I believe the Japanese car makes sells 1 to 2 million cars per year in the US, and most of these cars are made in the USA. American car makers produce much more cars.

Most of us here are males,and we love to work on our MB cars to fix problems. However, please do not forget that probably 1/2 or even more car buyers are females (and countless other males who can't tell the simple color difference between engine oil and auto transmission fluid). Virtually most of them only want a car to drive to work or shopping without having to constantly checking up on their cars or taking them to repair shops or stealerships. For an example, people like us want to fix a blower motor for $6 (new brushes) while the other people have to take it to a shop/stealership to get fleeced with $1000 repair bill. The same can be said for plenty of other fixes (voltage regulator, power steering seals etc...)

I love driving in a MB car between it feels very solidly built, very safe and comfortable. However, if I were just like the other people, I would have spent enough money in shops/stealership for repairs (enough to buy some used cars).

Wake up my friends. The J.D. Powers and other car surveys do have their actual merits. They summarized the opinions of the majority while we are just a tiny minority. In a modern and civilized society, the majority is always the winner and the rule for EVERYONE to follow. We have to accept that principle.

If a Civic or Corolla can run basically without any problem up to 150 Kmiles, we should expect a MB car that cost 3x to 10x to have at least the same reliability in the same mileage range (Hey forget about the sophisticated electronic gadgetry. It's just about common stuff such as A/C evaporator, power antenna, head gasket, wiring harness, fan clutch etc...)

The great thing is that GM is rated above average. GM is the largest car maker, it means it produces the biggest number of cars and still manages to beat the odds. If DBAG were able to sell as many cars as GM does, the class-action lawsuits would bury it in debt.

My family came to the US from Vietnam 10 years ago, and I'm very grateful for American people for giving us freedom and the right to be ourselves. Karl Max (a German) and Frederick Engels (a Brit) created the communist utopia that has caused so much pain for millions of people around the world. Germany caused so many terrible wars in the past and killed unbelievably huge number of people in Europe and Russia. Japan killed even much more people in Asian countries during the WW II. And it was America which helped the world get rid of these abominable scourges, created the United Nations to maintain the global stability, and even helped Germany and Japan to restore their economy (Germany is the richest country in Europe, Japan is the richest country in Asia). Without America, this world would have been a complete mess. That's something that is dearly special about America's greatness.

Most of us here are Americans. First, let's be proud oI just being American citizens first. Don't be proud of our cars because a car is just a means of transportation. Instead, be proud of all the all work we've put on our cars to save money for our family, and of the knowledge we've learnt from doing that.

I just hope American car makers will someday beat the hell out of German and Japanese car makers.

Best regards,

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Old 07-12-2003, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 12
You're the most articulate and intelligent person I have read in last year

Leave it to someone who has only been in this country a relatively short time to make the critical and pertinent points. I congratulate and admire your understanding of the way things are. It is a moral disgrace that the once great auto companies like GM and Chrysler- Ford always sucked just like now- have taken a back seat to anyone-especially the Germans or Japanese in anything automotive. That's the real shame of it all! Today they launch the latest and best aircraft carrier-The Ronald Reagan, which I heard on the news if stood on end would be almost as tall as the Empire State Bldg(1100 ft.). We can build the fabulous stealth fighters and bombers but the Germans can run circles around us with their cars. Give me a break!! Who has sold out to whom for this to occur? I applaud you young man- you are wise beyond your years. Very refreshing on this forum.
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