W211 vs S211 - which is most susceptible to rainwater leaks?

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by MrGreedy, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. MrGreedy

    MrGreedy Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hiya,

    As titled, does anyone have any opinions on which between the saloon and estate is least likely to suffer rainwater leaks?

    A bit more detail/background for the interested:

    As part of my search for an E320, I went to look at an 09 plate W211 this weekend (saloon).
    110k miles. Heated seats. Later ntg 2.5 Comand.
    Price was good at £3,850, but a few niggles and problems. Possibly the worst of which was the amount of humidity in the car.

    It was frosty, and there was a lot of ice on the INSIDE of the windscreen.
    The boot had a mouldy carpet/tray, but no obvious signs of water in the actual wheel well near the battery.
    I'm wondering if I should focus on the least likely to leak car as my car of choice in my search. I'm also thinking if I come across a very damp interior, it's a 'walk away' job.

    Trawling the internet and forums, I've discovered the following common culprits on the 211 E Class:

    - Leaks from windscreen, replaced windscreen (especially if water is found in ceiling light).
    - The sealing boot rubber due to age or damage, and also due to crud building up between the rubber and the metal lip it pushed on to (crud acts as a wick for water, so remove, clean and refit).
    - Poor alignment of the saloon boot lid, which should be inspected from inside the boot with torch or watering can test, and boot adjusted.
    - Leaves and debris in the front drains/scuttle panels, so remove, clean and refit.
    - poor seal on tail-lights, and third brake light on estate, so remove/replace/clean/seal with clear silicon.
    - Poor seal or rust around number place fixings.

    Opinions appreciated.
     
  2. MikeInWimbledon

    MikeInWimbledon Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm on my fourth W211/S211 and haven't had any damp intrusion issues - at all. (One nearly new E55 and three ten year olds)

    In general, just buying cars, I'm amazed at how much people let leaf mound build up in the windscreen drains. it's such a common fault that creates all kinds of dampness and electrical issues.

    There are so many good "ancient" ten year old cars around, why not just buy a decent one?

    The other cause of internal damp, of course, is the owner putting damp "stuff" in the boot. My son, a rower, used to do this regularly (rowers get very wet when they row in the rain), and my Brother-in-law was shocked when his, very nice, Range Rover had electrical problems after he'd been keeping grass cuttings (in bags) in his boot for a couple of weeks - daft basket)

    Enjoy your search. Great cars, capable of rocket ship mileages.
     
  3. 24 VRT

    24 VRT Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I don't think you could pick either saloon or estate as being the worst for rainwater leaks - much comes down to maintenance of rubber seals etc., and if an owner chooses not to do this, then leaks can happen irrespective of body style. A damp/humid interior would, however, demand a cautious approach to a prospective purchase - it could also indicate the a/c is not working. Finding leaks can seem to be difficult at times, based on forum threads etc., so if one is suspected I'd agree its perhaps best to walk away.
    Non-original windscreens are another warning flag - there are the sensors which may or may not have been refitted correctly. A replacement screen should therefore mean a check on function of the intermittent wiper setting on auto (turn on and pour water over the screen in the sensor area in front of the rear view mirror) and other functions also rely on the sensor I believe (e.g. auto lights function?). I looked for a full set of original glass when I was looking for my 211 - replacement glass could indicate accident damage.
    Keep looking.
    Cheers.
     
  4. MercedesDriver

    MercedesDriver Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Never heard of damp problems with S/W 211. I had W211 and never had such a problem with it. It can be that during the prep for sale they just used the excessive amount of water or have washed the mats and haven't dried them.
     
  5. E55BOF

    E55BOF MB Club Veteran

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    I've had five S211s, and never had a damp problem with any of them. If the boot carpet is mouldy, that suggests a fairly long-term problem, not over-enthusiastic washing preparing it for sale, unless of course it had been standing for a while. Any car standing unused for a while can develop mould inside.

    What are the other niggles and problems?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  6. OP
    OP
    MrGreedy

    MrGreedy Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I won't be buying the car I saw, as there are others issues I have no intention of taking a gamble on.
    I'm looking for a clean, nearly fault-free example.

    I don't think in this instance it's caused by aircon not working, although the aircon is in need of attention due to noticeable hissing behind centre of dash; probably low gas caused by system leak.

    Having done a search of the forums and found a lot of posts about leaks in the 211, I thought I would ask on that specific issue so when I look at other cars I know what to look out for.

    If, for example, the saloon was more susceptible to leaks, I might change my preference to an estate. But it might be the case that in reality it's a small number of leaks and just keep away from potentially wet cars with mushrooms growing in the boot :eek:
     
  7. 24 VRT

    24 VRT Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    '99 S210 E320CDI A/garde - gone to a better place.. Now '09 S211 E320CDI Sport.
    Don't forget that in relation to the numbers of 211s on the road, the number of posts about leaks represent a small percentage. Body-wise my experience when searching for mine was that they are good solid cars with few showing any real corrosion a view supported by my indie.
     
    E55BOF likes this.

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