Body quality

Chandlerslad

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Just a comparison here. My 2004 w211 E240 bodywork is streets ahead in comparison to that of my 2003 w203 c class as it was when I owned it 3 years ago.
Has anybody else noticed this on similar year cars?
I spent a small fortune remedying the rust problems on the w203 door bottoms and rear wheel arches in particular.
The E240 has only one small bubble on one of the rear wheel arches and nothing anywhere else btw.
 

Petrol Pete

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How about my £50K+ (when new) 2006 C55 S203 AMG showing signs of rust on the front wheel arches and lower rear wheel arches while my wife's 2004 Vauxhaull Zafira along with our 2006 Toyota Yaris' run around' showing zero sign of rust anywhere despite pretty much only ever being washed at local garage 'drive -thrus' ?? Or the yr 2000 Astra that had been our family from new that left left us just 3 years ago with zero rust ?

Mercedes Benz of a certain recent vintage are putting Alfa Romeo of yore to shame with the way their so called 'prestige' models are rusting away.
 

grober

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Mercedes paint and body quality started to take a dive during the Schrempp era from 95-2005 and their ill-fated partnership with Chrysler. Towards the end of this period starting around 2003 distinct steps were taken to rectify this but better rust protection was introduced gradually in different models in different manufacturing plants. This might explain the difference? Lots of stuff on this topic online
Jürgen E. Schrempp - Wikipedia

VAUXHALL have always majored on rust protection ever since their 57 VICTOR F series model [made allegedly from imported Belgian rolled steel ] suffered catastrophic rust [ we are talking LANCIA order of degradation here!] and a terrible drop in UK model sales thereafter
Vauxhall Victor - Wikipedia
 
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Teego

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Two things:
Mercedes had a problem with their accountants for a few years when build quality could be compared with the Alfasud, Lancia Beta, Morris Marina.
The other thing: people don't clean wheel arches properly. There's usually a lip just inside which collects crud and nobody cleans it. Of course it's bad if the crud contains salt. One of my favourite showroom wind-ups is to scrape my finger round the arch and see the crud fall onto the glossy floor. Freaks the sales people.
 

Petrol Pete

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..Unless it is a C55 that is built with CLK front wings that have been top rolled closed to clear the wider tyres on a wider track with lowered suspension. All stock on a C55 AMG. Jimmy Saville couldn't get his fingers in there and I doubt many owners of such a car when new would think about getting on their knees and scraping dirt from their wheel arch lip. My guess is that having spent that kind of money on a car they would have expected the manufacturers to have sorted that bit out with corrosion protection.

I do agree with you on the dirt traps present in wheel arches that are rarely cleaned...but I have never cleaned the wheel arches on our old Zafira and I did not see it done on the family yr 2000 Astra either....they have no rust.

P.S My Top of the range AMG was built (and presumably painted) at the Bremen plant in the Fatherland where one would expect top quality control in 2006.
 

clk208

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My Dec 2007 CLS has no sign of rust anywhere which has exceeded expectations massively coming from a 2000 CLK which started to go around 8 years old.

Haven’t noticed any W219 or W211 with major visible rust issues out on the roads.
 

grober

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Some evidence of Rear subframe corrosion failure on early W204 W212 models seems to be emerging? Depending on vehicle history some owners have had them replaced FOC by Mercedes.
 

markjay

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Just a comparison here. My 2004 w211 E240 bodywork is streets ahead in comparison to that of my 2003 w203 c class as it was when I owned it 3 years ago.
Has anybody else noticed this on similar year cars?
I spent a small fortune remedying the rust problems on the w203 door bottoms and rear wheel arches in particular.
The E240 has only one small bubble on one of the rear wheel arches and nothing anywhere else btw.

MB started galvanising their cars at some point during 2003.

Your W203 may have been one of the last pre-galvanised cars.

See also:

GALVANISING of MERCEDES CARS
 

markjay

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I sold my 2006 W203 back in 2017 when the car 11 years old. Not a spot of rust to be found anywhere at the time :thumb:
 

Petrol Pete

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I am not convinced MB galvanised all their cars after 2003,or if they did the cocked up the process on quite a few of them. I have heard this story before and just a quick look around on any road in the UK and you will see more than a few post 2003 MB's (mine included) with rust issues - and, admittedly many without - not all could possibly be subjects of previous repair.
 

grober

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Remember the galvanising was introduced on a plant by plant basis. Most 4 cylinder W203 RHD UK Saloons were manufactured in South Africa [ from local steel?] whereas the 6 cylinder and estate versions were made in Germany at Bremen iirc
 

saff

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When I got my 2006 S211 there was very slight bubbling under the paint on both rear wheel arch flanges. Expecting the worst I took off both wheel arch liners and found no corrosion on the inside face whatsoever. I sanded the affected metal to clean and used a Dinitrol rust converter for good measure then undersealed the inside and painted the visible. 4 years later and no further issues. There is absolutely no visible rust elsewhere on the car body so I'm pretty sure the body is galvanised and the isolated issues where due to stone chips. I have seen 211s with more advanced wheel arch rust but could that be due to untreated stone chips? Sorry for the long post.
 

Petrol Pete

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Remember the galvanising was introduced on a plant by plant basis. Most 4 cylinder W203 RHD UK Saloons were manufactured in South Africa [ from local steel?] whereas the 6 cylinder and estate versions were made in Germany at Bremen iirc
My C55 was built in Bremen in 2006...it has rust. But I did hear a tale that when MB decided they had to build C55's in Bremen to stave off the BMW threat they sourced the body from their South African plant ??? I have no idea if this is true :dk: as mine is a S203 estate.
 

rf065

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I am not convinced MB galvanised all their cars after 2003,or if they did the cocked up the process on quite a few of them. I have heard this story before and just a quick look around on any road in the UK and you will see more than a few post 2003 MB's (mine included) with rust issues - and, admittedly many without - not all could possibly be subjects of previous repair.
I'm with you on this one. My own CLK had rust on the panels at 4 years old, I've seen 4 to 5 year old ML's with rust along the bottom of the rear doors. Many reports on the forums of 4 to 5 year old A & B classes suffering from rust. The only thing all these cars have in common? They were all galvanised by Mercedes, (badly).
 

SPX

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I am not convinced MB galvanised all their cars after 2003,or if they did the cocked up the process on quite a few of them. I have heard this story before and just a quick look around on any road in the UK and you will see more than a few post 2003 MB's (mine included) with rust issues - and, admittedly many without - not all could possibly be subjects of previous repair.
I’ve seen plenty of rusty Sprinters, the newest being a 2013 62 plate...
 

markjay

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My C55 was built in Bremen in 2006...it has rust. But I did hear a tale that when MB decided they had to build C55's in Bremen to stave off the BMW threat they sourced the body from their South African plant ??? I have no idea if this is true :dk: as mine is a S203 estate.
Even if it was true... I am not sure this would have a detrimental effect. My rust-free 2006 W203 was made in the East London plant in South Africa. The car was absolutely fine also in every other respect, so based on my experience I wouldn't hesitate to buy another South African made car.
 

markjay

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I am not convinced MB galvanised all their cars after 2003,or if they did the cocked up the process on quite a few of them. I have heard this story before and just a quick look around on any road in the UK and you will see more than a few post 2003 MB's (mine included) with rust issues - and, admittedly many without - not all could possibly be subjects of previous repair.
Firstly, galvanized cars do rust, just not as badly as the non-glavanized ones....

Then, it is very difficult to know why a car rusted, especially when you are not the first owner.

Shoddy repairs, stone chips, exposure to corrosive materials (road gritting, or seaside parking, etc), can all play a part.
 

rf065

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Firstly, galvanized cars do rust, just not as badly as the non-glavanized ones....

Then, it is very difficult to know why a car rusted, especially when you are not the first owner.

Shoddy repairs, stone chips, exposure to corrosive materials (road gritting, or seaside parking, etc), can all play a part.

You missed one, bad preparation before paint when sprayed in the factory.
My CLK had paint blisters that eventually burst open, apparently caused by moisture on the panels when paint was first applied.
 

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