Looking at W203 estates

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Pontoneer, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Pontoneer

    Pontoneer MB Club Veteran

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    Following the demise of my W124 , I started thinking about a replacement .

    My first thought was another W124 estate , but I soon realised that good ones are thin on the ground , besides that I only need estate capability occasionally and I want something reasonably cheap to run , so a smaller car would do .

    Preferring not to go too modern ( for ease of DIY servicing ) I started looking at W202 estates - alas , the majority seem pretty tired as with the 124 ones ; I then realised that W203 models can be had for very reasonable prices .

    Since I still have the 500 , I don't need a rocket ship and am looking for something I can run daily on my 35 mile commute without spending a fortune on fuel . I started looking at C220 CDI estates , but there are a lot of high mileage run down examples ; I then noticed that for the same money the C180 petrol ones tend to be lower mileage and better condition .

    My theory is that business users who cover high mileages and don't particularly care about their cars probably buy diesel ones , and petrol ones are perhaps more likely to have belonged to private buyers ( wealthy elderly/retired people ) who look after them .

    Taking into account diesel vs petrol price differences against mpg for each type , I don't think there will be a huge gulf in running costs - time will tell .

    What I'm looking for here is any wisdom from people who have run these cars ( W203) and anything particular I ought to check for ? I haven't read of any shortcomings on the forum thus far ?

    The car I am going to look at this weekend is a 55 plate C180K SE Avantgarde estate with 90K and FMBSH and looks very tidy going by the photos in the advert . I guess at that age we are past the rust issues , and I will check whether or not it has a Valeo radiator .

    Any comments will be appreciated .
     
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  2. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn MB Club Veteran

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    Is it not the 1.8 and 2.0 that suffer from stretched timing chains. It think it has to be 2.3 before you get the double timing chain which does not stretch.
     
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  3. Palfrem

    Palfrem Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had a 2006 C280 saloon and over 12500 miles, a good mix of motorway and urban, it returned 27.4 mpg.

    I enjoyed it quite a lot.
     
  4. EdmundIJones

    EdmundIJones Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had an 02 plate W203 270cdi, it was a good car and I had it up to 180,000 miles with just minor stuff. I sold it for £700 recently to a chap I know.

    In total the only real items I had to pay for other than oil, brakes and tyres were:
    New injector
    New air con radiator
    New fuel sensor
    3 wishbones
    2 drop links

    That's about it. Look out for rust on the wheel arches, bottom corner of the doors and I had a bubble on the boot lid next to the wiper arm base.

    I routinely returned 40-45mpg on my daily drive of 30miles and was a lovely car to cruise on the motorways. I only got rid of it as I fancied a change to try and liven up the daily commute of 30 miles each way... on the same roads day-in-day out.
     
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  5. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The electrics on the early ones are a disaster. Check everything works - several times.
     
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  6. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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  7. whitenemesis

    whitenemesis MB Club Veteran

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    ..............................
     
  8. whitenemesis

    whitenemesis MB Club Veteran

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    Try and go for a post face-lift model (Q4/2004), they had sorted the electrics and improved the suspension no end.

    The C270CDI is possibly the best all rounder. Plenty of grunt and very frugal. I had mine for 120K with no major problems (glow plugs, intercooler pipe, diff seals).

    Oh, and NO rust, anywhere!!
     
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  9. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You could not be more wrong!

    My car was also a 55 plate, rear quarter panels and rear wings started showing rust at 4.5 years old. Mercedes had these repaired under goodwill at no cost to me. At 6 years old, front wings started to rust and rear of bootlid, fixed by MB with 20% contribution from me.

    All of these parts are galvanised, but still rust. Even more disturbing is the bootlid was rusting beneath the plastic trim at the rear, so no chance of stone chips or any other damage to paintwork that could be blamed for rust taking hold. I only found out as I had to remove the plastic trim to replace the number plate light unit.

    At 7 years old, the rust had returned to the rear arches, again Mercedes had this repaired at no cost to me as the original repair had failed.

    I have also seen a 2008 ML with rust along the bottom edge of the rear doors so anyone who thinks the rust issue was finished by 2005 could be in for a surprise. :mad:

    Russ
     
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  10. Buffers

    Buffers Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have a w203 270cdi with 160000 on the clock. No major issues, but have done inlet manifold flaps removal mod. Electric door locks can fail also indicator stork can wear. No rust what so ever on my wagon. I don't treat it with much love but interior is fine, no rips or scratches on the leather. Very good return on fuel. Been one of the best Mercedes l have owned.
     
  11. horatio

    horatio Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would just get a V6, I doubt the real world MPG would be a whole lot different and the M112 is a good solid engine.

    I'm getting mid 30's from my E320 with ease (a-road runs with a few miles of traffic jam).
     
  12. Stratman

    Stratman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I may have got the wrong end of the stick, but I recall reading somewhere that all C Class estates were made in Germany and tend not to suffer the rust problems of the saloons.

    My own experience of my W202 and W203 estates would seem to bear that out. Neither had any rust whatsoever.
     
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  13. ALNoteman

    ALNoteman Member

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    Hi,
    I have the C270 CDI Estate and am very happy with the consumption, far better than my Nissan Terrano that had the same engine size but only managed 23 to 25-mpg. I have seen 39.5-mpg from the C270. However, I was chatting to the owner of the MB Automotive website at http://mbautomotive.co.uk/ who drives a petrol Merc. and told me why. He said that unless you drive at least 25000-miles a year it is cheaper to buy a petrol Merc than a diesel. He said its the cost of the repairs on a diesel that costs the money whereas the petrol parts are less expensive to replace and there are fewer of them. He quoted that of 50 cars that that come in his garage for repair 48 of these will be diesels? This sort of shocked me a lot but it did make sense. Had I known this before, I may have gone for the petrol version which was cheaper to buy as everyone seems to want a diesel these days.
    Maybe its worth doing some research on the subject?

    Al.
     
  14. WG M-B

    WG M-B Auhorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    I must admit I really don't think the M271 engine is that bad. I have quite a few running over 150k sweet as a nut. Yes they have timing chain issues, and yes some early ones had dodgy valve guides.
    Forums will always pick up the worst in cars. At 90k I would say change the chain and tensioner, and make sure the history is good. Check she doesn't tick/ hunt on start up, and have a looky in the oil cap for gunk.
    A good 200k will return 27mpg running around!
     
  15. gbjeppm

    gbjeppm Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    My dad has the V6 320 Petrol Estate. It gets 30+ on a run, and averages about 26.

    Nice car, smooth ride. But its a 2001 plate, and is rusting on the arches, and has had a few electrical issues, OVP relay, memory seat control module etc, to stop a severe battery drain.

    There are some old threads from me on the subject. They are cheap though.
     
  16. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    My 51 plate C220cdi has had some rust on the arches, was sorted out, but definitely rusted.
    Got a couple of bubbles as well.

    I was more than happy to have a petrol or diesel when I was looking for mine, just the C220cdi turned up first, and have to say that it is returning 44-62mpg depending on what I am doing, and that is damned nice.
    Fill up 3 times a month now instead of 5 times, makes a noticable difference.
     
  17. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    Oh, forgot to say, mine has done 110k miles and it has needed the front bushes and arms replacing along with drop links.
     
  18. clivemercedes

    clivemercedes Banned

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    mercedes clk 55 BRABUS
    C220 cdi not good DPF problems
     
  19. WG M-B

    WG M-B Auhorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Only if it has a dpf
     
  20. kit17

    kit17 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Car:
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    I had a 2001 W203 C320 V6 petrol, engine was a beauty, I used to get 31 mpg on my commute to work. After 11 years and 80k all the common w203 problems did eventually show up:

    Torque Arms
    Snapping Springs
    ARB Bushes
    Stepper Motor clicking noise
    Rust - front arches, Rear arches, boot lid and behind windscreen (found by windscreen fitter)
    Alternator

    I thought it was a great car though and there were some bits which I preferred over my W204.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
    1 person likes this.
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