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Mercedes-Benz E-Class (1995 - 2002)

reviewed by rgt1973 on 24 November 2017
reviewed by bigshineybike on 1 November 2017
reviewed by DavidChing on 10 May 2016

E320CDi Estate

reviewed by myname on 7 February 2014
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Overall reliability

Not quite a 124, but still pretty good

This era car is well known for rust problems, and mine was no different, however MB to their credit paid for 3 new panels and the full 8 layer of paint build up also on other vulnerable spots like the rear wheel arches, so 10/10 MB.

The car is now getting on a bit, 234000 miles on the clock, but doesn't look it, I bought it at 82000miles.

I've done servicing myself on the whole, but use an excellent independent MB garage for the bigger jobs, MB main dealers generally charge too much.

What's gone wrong?:

Gearbox needed rebuilding at 110,000miles thanks the MBs 'sealed for life' policy (£1000 bill, MB wanted £4k for a new box), but since then I've introduced 50,000mile ATF changes and so it's now done more miles since the rebuild than it did from factory, and so far hasn't missed a beat.

Anti-Rollbar drop links: it's eaten 3 sets and needs another.. they really last only 50k miles but are safe to push beyond 75k if you can put up with a bit of knocking.

Air con.. well it's broken due to the condenser having died.. but it did last 220kmiles.

Cabin Fan: limping along.. windings partially shorted killing the regulator now replaced, again lasted about 220kmiles, the 'luxury climate control' is still otherwise fully functional.

I do lots of motorway/A-road miles, so the servicing isn't as bad as it looks on paper, yes it takes 8 litres of high performance oil.. but I get 18,000 miles between services thanks to the variable service metering.. and it still doesn't drink any oil.

Due to our terrible roads, salting and difficult to clean areas, I've broken two complete sets of road springs, MB have now changed the spring design, so hopefully the latest lot will last a little longer.

Exhaust: It's still on the original exhaust from engine to tail pipe, the rear box has had to have it's support hook welded back on twice, but that's it.

It's got two glow plugs out at the moment, but you can live without them.. it still starts first time on a sub zero morning.. I'd only get them fixed if I was taking it to Scandinavia.

Injectors: so far only one has sprung a leak and threatened "black death" relatively simple fix, but you need to act fast.

Front suspension perches: they are just showing signs of corrosion, she's booked in to get them fixed.. worth keeping an eye on.

Front seat heaters: the drivers seat heater never worked, but the back heater still does, passenger seat heaters still working.

Otherwise: all the electric seat motors all work, all motors on the electric mirrors work, the tailgate auto close still works, she still accelerates like a sports car, and she still returns >40MPG on a run. The leather seats still feel nice and comfortable and the drivers seat is still intact, no splits or anything due to wear. Fundamentally it's eminently serviceable at home. Unlike so many modern cars you can replace most light bulbs at the road side with no tools (something I believe should be a fundamental DVLA requirement)

Considering I've put 150,000miles onto a second hand car, I've not done badly.

Total cost of repairs over and above maintenance is about £5k, it cost me £9k, so it means it's still cost me less than 10p/mile for purchase+repairs

Driving with 234kmiles on the clock: it's comfortable, fast, efficient, has enough torque to tow anything and enough capacity to carry a large family and all their stuff.. I just wish they'd made it a little quieter (road noise, my W124 was quieter)

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