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E-Class (W211) 2003-2009

A good buy or a problem waiting to happen?

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Old 07-15-2017, 11:04 AM
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A good buy or a problem waiting to happen?

Looking at a 2008 E 550 and E 350. Both happen to be available in my area and I need a car as I have an expiring lease end of month. I realize there are differences between a 6 and 8 cylinder engine but more curious about the reliability of this year in general. E350 has a 4matic trans, both have a little over 80K miles. Any experiences or thoughts to share?
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Old 07-15-2017, 12:34 PM
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E350 gets better fuel mileage. E550 has more power. 4Matic adds to complexity on the front end but gives you drive to all four tires. Steel suspension is less problematic and less expensive to repair than Airmatic. Personally, I'd call it a toss-up.

I'm biased towards the E550 but I own and drive a pair of E55s....
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Old 07-15-2017, 12:57 PM
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80k and if the milage is real , should be a good buy
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:03 PM
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I previously owned two W210 V6s and loved them both (1998 and 2002 E320s). Now I drive a W211 V8 (2003 E500) and the added torque and horsepower puts a smile on my face every day. The car obviously drinks a little more gas than the other two but the extra driving pleasure is well worth it to me.
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for the replies! Very helpful. I was really looking for a "are you crazy?" sort of answer so looks like I'm off to the dealer. Please keep your comments coming and I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:27 PM
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I have a RWD E550 my first V8 and I love it.

It's more thirsty than a V6 but not that much more.

Power and torque is much more.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:35 PM
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Hey man- not crazy at all! That is pretty good mileage on a year/model that, while it is overall more expensive to upkeep than a general vehicle, is WELL worth the TLC it needs. It is not majorly problematic. I LOVE the airmatic suspension- literally feels like floating on a cloud down the road. Either way, you should be set with a nice car, as long as the carfax is clean and the previous maintenance was carefully followed. Definitely have an independent mechanic check it over in detail before buying!
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Old 07-15-2017, 03:23 PM
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If you're not afraid of the costs of the airmatic, then go ahead and get the E550. I'd just be careful if it's going to be a daily driver as when the airmatic fails, you just come out to find the suspension sitting on the ground and you can't drive it. At least with the E350, the regular suspension just wears out over time so it doesn't need to be fixed right away. The nice thing with the E550 though is that it has cooled seats and real leather as standard features and they normally came much more loaded than an E350. It took me a long while to find an E350 with most of the major options like P2 (bixenons/keyless go), pano, real leather, folding seats and power trunk closer. Those were much easier to find on an E550 but there's also a bunch out there that just have the P1 package, same as the E350.
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Old 07-15-2017, 03:38 PM
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You didn't mention where you live, but if you're somewhere that gets a reasonable amount of snow, one thing to consider is that the E550 is RWD and sends a lot of power to the rear wheels. It's usable in the snow as long as you adjust your driving accordingly and use a good set of winter tires, but it won't perform as well as the E350 with 4Matic. My 4Matic with a set of Blizzak's was virtually unstoppable in the snow last winter.

Aside from the difference in the suspension setup and two extra cylinders, maintenance on both is going to be similar. Both follow the same maintenance schedule and with the exception of the transmission use the same fluids. The 550 (and RWD 350's) use the newer 7-speed automatic, but the 4Matic 350 uses the older 5 speed. Some say that the older 5-speed transmission is more reliable.
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:18 PM
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I love a passionate forum. Thanks for the thoughtful input. Still figuring out option packages. I do I know I like the dual (pano?) sun roof and wood steering wheel. Also, I thought all 550 came with the sport package but I have also read there are some exceptions. When buying from a dealer (and they mostly know nothing about these or any other car) how can I dtermine which options package a car has? Headlights? Rear sun shade?

Here's what I'm looking at. Hoping links work on this platform:

https://carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/32563552#

[URL="https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?sourc eContext=&formSourceTag=112&newSearchFromOverviewP age=true&inventorySearchWidgetType=AUTO&entitySele ctingHelper.selectedEntity=c10410&entitySelectingH elper.selectedEntity2=c10410&zip=94606&distance=10 0&searchChanged=true&trimNames=E+550+4MATIC&trimNa mes=E+550+Sport&maxMileage=89000&modelChanged=fals e&filtersModified=true#listing=179696623_isFeature d"[/URL]
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:01 PM
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The sports package will have a white dash cluster, the luxury will just be black. You can also tell from the rear, the sport has a visible dual exhaust tips, the luxury one is covered up by the bumper. Normally you just punch it into a vin decoder site like these:

https://www.vindecoderz.com/EN/Mercedes-Benz

https://mb.ilcats.ru/

The pano roof is the dual sunroof. That E550 mentioned has the push button start, that's probably the P2 package which is both bixenons and keyless go. Sometimes you can also tell from the picture of the engine, there's stickers near the bumper that warn of high voltage, you only get that with bixenons. The vin decoder will also mention the bixenons. Rear sunshade was normally part of the P1 package which most cars had, pretty much if it has heated seats, it probably has the rear sunshade as it's one of the buttons next to the left seat heater. If it's blank, it doesn't have it. It's very rare to find one that doesn't have it. Also they made the E550 in 4matic also.

This site will give you an idea of what options came with the car, just change to the type you like and click on features to see the option packages:

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/merce.../e-class/2008/

You can also change the 2008 date and check out the differences that happened from year to year.

This site has the full brochure.

http://www.auto-brochures.com/mercedes_benz.html
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:39 PM
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Black car in hot weather, so I am not the only crazy
6 cylinders of 2008 have better performance than Porsche from 1990's, so unless you are power freak, owning V8 is snobbery IMHO. But yes, I do own SL500 for fun.
Recently I am driving 4-banger Bluetec and surprisingly I can spin good tires on dry asphalt.
The 4-banger will beat every V8 on long cruising simply by avoiding several gas stations.
Have fun shopping

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Old 07-15-2017, 05:48 PM
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See if you can pony up a couple $ for a 2009 of either car.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:53 PM
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From the photos that car appears to be in very good shape cosmetically, especially the interior - leather seats, dash, wood trim and instrument panel. Looks almost showroom.

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Old 07-15-2017, 06:25 PM
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I just ruled out the 350. Curious why you say '09. Something changed that production year?
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Old 07-15-2017, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by a100steaksauce View Post
See if you can pony up a couple $ for a 2009 of either car.
While the 2009 is considered the best year, they did update the Comand and I think you need the original disk to update it while the 2007-2008 had the older one and it's floating around out there. I think early 2007 had problems with the engines in both the E550 and E350, you'd have to check the serial number to see if it's safe.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:42 PM
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Thanks cetialpha5 for the link to brochures. I'm shocked to see that the brochure states a normal service interval of of 13,000 miles! WTF? I just spoke with my mechanic/friend. I put this guys kids through college with work performed on my BMW 740i and my other cars over the 30 years we've done business. He knows his stuff and is telling me that because oil chnges were performed so infrequently, he is seeing a ton of work come in on these cars. He just had one with 78K original miles in need of a camshaft and tensioner and an assortment of engine work totalling $7,000. He's the one that pointed out that MB was telling customers to only service every 13k miles and this is the result. These aren't issues you would see by inspecting a vehicle pre purchase. It's neglect. Anybody run into this or feel it's become an issue? I'm in shock.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:48 PM
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Well they've revised it to about every 10k instead of every 13k. Now they just do service A and service B and service B is a bit more involved than a standard service A which is basically a glorified oil change. Use Mobil 1 0w40 or Castrol 0w40 synthetic oil and it will have no problem lasting up to 10k. Not sure what year your mechanic is talking about, but those engine problems might involve earlier models like the 2006/2007 which had their share of problems. The 2008 and 2009 were better. That didn't have anything to do with a longer service interval.
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:25 PM
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Our original ML spend some of its life running on dino oils with 13,000 average intervals.
That with heavy SUV quite often pulling 5000lb trailers.
13 year in the family/130,000 miles and all the parts that failed cost us $350 or 26 bucks a year.
If dino oil and long intervals do that, I will be happy to repeat.
But beside some warranty work, no mechanic touched the hood.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mcafe96695 View Post
Thanks cetialpha5 for the link to brochures. I'm shocked to see that the brochure states a normal service interval of of 13,000 miles! WTF? I just spoke with my mechanic/friend. I put this guys kids through college with work performed on my BMW 740i and my other cars over the 30 years we've done business. He knows his stuff and is telling me that because oil chnges were performed so infrequently, he is seeing a ton of work come in on these cars. He just had one with 78K original miles in need of a camshaft and tensioner and an assortment of engine work totalling $7,000. He's the one that pointed out that MB was telling customers to only service every 13k miles and this is the result. These aren't issues you would see by inspecting a vehicle pre purchase. It's neglect. Anybody run into this or feel it's become an issue? I'm in shock.
That sounds like the infamous balance shaft (350) or idler gear (550) issue that affected 06-late 07 engines. MB altered the design of the engine to eliminate the problem and the stock of defective engines should have been depleted by the end of 2007. 550 engines with a serial number above 30 08861 (found this number in another thread, can anyone confirm accuracy?) are the updated design and not affected.

As mentioned the service interval was changed to 1 year/10,000 miles. It's possible to do that kind of interval without harm using good synthetic oil meeting MB spec, and a fleece oil filter. These cars have an 8.5 quart sump which is part of the reason a longer service interval works. For peace of mind some people choose to replace the filter halfway through an oil change cycle. If you're worried about running that long between services, you can send a sample of the used oil to Blackstone Labs for analysis and they'll be able to tell you if you should run shorter oil changes, keep doing what you're doing, or if you can go longer.
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