NY535iManual Reader
Jan. 22, 2016 2:01 p.m.

I've come across a 2003 E320, around 115k miles, supposedly with all dealer service records, asking $5k. This seems like it would make a very comfy dd/commuter, even if MPG isn't great. I'm a BMW/SAAB/Miata guy, ZERO Benz experience. Would this be a disaster in the making, a home run, or something in between?

mtn MegaDork
Jan. 22, 2016 2:03 p.m.

I'd run. That was probably the worst era of Mercedes that you could buy.

chandlerGTi UltraDork
Jan. 22, 2016 6:02 p.m.

The 210 is cheap to work on though and pretty DIY. Forums are decent and the FSM is available. They make really good cruisers.

Clarty Reader
Jan. 22, 2016 6:52 p.m.

Some people find Kent Bergsma from Mercedessource a little goofy, but I like him. He really knows old Mercedes Benzes.
I watched a lot of his videos before and since getting my 1988 300SE. He's done an entire series on the very cars you're looking at.

Here's a video series on whether/who should and should not buy a 10 to 15 year-old Benz.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
Jan. 22, 2016 9:53 p.m.

That generation E-Class has a reputation for hidden structural rust, at least in the UK. I don't think they shipped special rusty ones only to the UK, so I'd be very wary of ones that have lived in the rust belt.

pointofdeparture PowerDork
Jan. 23, 2016 6:42 a.m.

Here in Wisconsin all of those W210 E-class cars rust like absolutely crazy. I don't know how Mercedes made them rust so bad but they are always worse than anything else, foreign or domestic, of the same era. That's all I really know about them, just enough for me not to be interested.

This was a strut tower once.

chandlerGTi UltraDork
Jan. 23, 2016 7:55 a.m.

The perch rusts off also, Mercedes sells a panel for $20 to repair it. They do make great beaters though.

ccrelan Reader
Jan. 23, 2016 9:25 a.m.

I don't think 2003 is a w210

chandlerGTi UltraDork
Jan. 23, 2016 10:28 a.m.

The 211 is 03+, good call!

oldtin UberDork
Jan. 23, 2016 11:15 a.m.

Seems about fair market. Just helped my mom sell her old w211 with 75k. They tend to eat ball joints and control arm bushings. I'm not sure of the years, but the days of the biodegradable wiring is around there somewhere. It did nothing for me

Mr_Clutch42 SuperDork
Jan. 23, 2016 6:51 p.m.

In reply to NY535iManual: You definitely have to drive one to know if you at least like it better than other cars you are looking at. If it's equal to something more reliable or cheaper to maintain, you will probably prefer the other option. Also, be prepared for older car breakdowns even though the mileage is relatively low.

admc58 Reader
Jan. 23, 2016 7:28 p.m.

I had a 2003 wagon and it was a fabulous driver...The biggest problem was electrical where the CAN bus would get water in it "somewhere" and all sorts of weird failures would happen until it dried out. wipers, lights, radio, heater/ac...Sold for a loss and it depreciated amazingly fast!

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