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Old 07-22-2004, 04:46 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: fort worth
Posts: 363
reliability of mid 90s C220?

I am considering a car for my daughter and this was recommended. What is the build quality/reliability like? I have found nothing using the search re buying advice on this model.

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Old 07-22-2004, 07:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
I guess the biggest problem is wiring harness issues on these mid nineties Benz
you need documentation showing harness has been replaced.( do a search to find out which years wiring harness is an issue ). Problems window regulators, fuel gauge readings, lower front ball joints, accessory belt tensioner. Many of these things were warranty issues that had occured early on in the cars life

MAA sensor in the intake seems to need replacement as the miles accumulate, part cost is about $325

Engines are strong - need proof of frequent oil changes - as the miles get near triiple digits as on all cars automatic transmissions become an issue. Mercedes is good at offering rebuilt units but is thousands of dollars.

If you dont work on the cars yourself, dealership repairs can be pricey, good independent repair shops are necessary do you know of any.

by 1998 side airbags are standard, build quality is good,

need to go through service documents, and see about taking vin to Mercedes dealer for warranty repair log. like all german brands some C's are psssessed with electrical gremlins.

If a particular car has not seen any extensive body damage, the extensive source of parts for these cars, mercedes road side service, make these cars a psssibilty for an eight nine or ten year old car.

But there are always Toyotas
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:27 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 310
The C220, and other 4 cylinder W202 cars, are supposed to be some of the most bulletproof and reliable cars MB has made in a while. The wiring harness is not an issue for 4 cylinder cars. It is an issue you get on the M104-equipped 6 cylinder cars, so you're safe there. The only thing you really need to watch out for are the 5 speed automatic transmissions (722.6) in the first year or year and a half they were released. There is a lot of information on this board about transmission failures. I think it is 1997/1998 that has the transmission issue, but use the search function to confirm.

The one thing you will have to accept is that these cars require more maintenance than your average Honda or Toyota. If you do the maintenance they'll last a good long time. If you think your daughter will be good about doing the maintenance, then I think it would be a good choice of car.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:36 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
We have 87K on a '95 C220 that we bought as a Starmark car in 1999 with 39K. Other than normal service and wear items, we have replaced the hazard switch, air mass sensor, water pump. fan clutch, and drive belt shock and tensioner.

At its 82.5K service it was pronounced to be in good shape by a shop with a that has always had an eye for needed work.
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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Old 07-22-2004, 09:34 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Rio Rancho, NM. USA
Posts: 229
Consumer Reports listed (in 2002) that the 1996 model C220 to be one of the most reliable used cars one could buy! That says a lot. My personal experience has to amplify that. These cars are now 8 years old and mine is, literally, like brand new with 107K on the clock. They seem to be bulletproof, but who knows what the future holds. I'm betting on continued reliability. As an added benefit the car gets 35-36 mpg on the highway which is not too shabby!
If I would recommend a MB for your daughter it would be this one!
1996 SL320 97K miles
1996 C220 130k miles
1992 500SEL 170k miles <---sold
1986 300E 216k miles <---sold
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:10 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: fort worth
Posts: 363
Thanks for the info so far.
I checked as many old Consumer Reports and Consumer Guide books tonight. They seemed to like 96 and 97-a little more towards 96.
I guess I will look out for the 722.6 trans(jloman advicce.)
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Old 07-25-2004, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 48
I've got a 95 C220 with just over 101K miles, and it is great. I haven't had any wiring harness or head gasket problems, nor have I had to replace the MAF (while this may be based on pure urban legend, I have been replacing the air filter ever 10K miles to try to hold off the MAF replacement). Great gas mileage, substantial Mercedes feel, even for a compact car.

98 e430, 55K
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