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Engineered like no other car. Not a single one like it. Thankfully.


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@83C me too re the taxi thing. Occasionally to be seen on e bay in that off beige colour, LHD, and on w124 models at least, the centre console and other bits of interior trim are specific to the taxi model. 

It shows what an important market it is to them that they put effort like that into those models and how it only seems in the uk that people scoff that they are traditionally used as taxis in various countries. To me that says (theoretically) a long service life and dependability.

Its a curious and unique brand, Mercedes. Despite rust and despite elks and despite for instance historic forced labour; it’s  cited in pop lyrics, has a certain cache worldwide etc.  Yet is “flexible” enough to have trucks and buses under the same brand and still have a strong identity.

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I adored my w203. It was a lovely thing to drive and mine amazingly had very little corrosion even though it was a pre-facelift when they started part galvanising them.

What killed it was the stupid built to a price timing chain. Snapped at 90k and trashed the engine.

I wish I'd bought a diesel one, I'd probably still have it

Sent from my SM-A202F using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, 83C said:

One of my older relatives has an S210, it’s done 41,000 miles in 21 years. It’s getting to the point where it’ll be fragged in the next 12-18 months

Depending on what specification that is, I know someone who would likely come and buy that rather than it simply being cubed.

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1 hour ago, HMC said:

To me that says (theoretically) a long service life and dependability.

We also have to remember that of the entire worldwide market for Mercedes Benz vehicles, the UK is just about the very worst environment for corrosion.  Damp for about 10 months a year, salt grit on the roads and very few vehicles garaged means that UK vehicles really do suffer.  We have the shortest average vehicle life in Europe.  Consequently cars devalue very quickly here, which means people don't look after older cars as "they're not worth it", and it becomes a self-fulfilling situation.

If MB (or indeed any manufacturer) tries to save a few quid by reducing the paint specification or skimping a bit on corrosion resistance it won't make much difference in a lot of their markets, but will be very obvious after about 10 years here in the UK.

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56 minutes ago, Talbot said:

Depending on what specification that is, I know someone who would likely come and buy that rather than it simply being cubed.

Its an E240 ‘Elegance’ - MB Tex interior and next to no optional extras. Unfortunately I think the owner has already promised it to the company that put it through an MoT each year.

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19 minutes ago, 83C said:

I think the owner has already promised it to the company that put it through an MoT each year

Fair enough.  The person who I know would have it would be breaking it for parts anyway, as 40k mile running gear would be ideal to swap into his tidy-ish car, but with shagged running gear.

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14 hours ago, Sausage5000 said:


I liked the little pads in between the seats and the centre console to stop things dropping down.


I didn't. Lost my house keys and had to call a locksmith, on a Sunday. Next day put my Mercedes coupe on the ramp at waist height . Only then did I see a glint of shiney key poking out below the seat runner. Luckily I have a flexible magnet stick which retreived the keys from their hiding place. Those pads don't stop everything dropping down but those that do are usually lost forever.

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I had a merc ML on a "W" 2000yr and it really hadn't rusted out that bad, same sort of places as an x5, by boot handles and a few blebs here and there. 


However I ran it for years on a shoe string which ruined it really. 

They suffer from a lot of issues due to poor design but if you got a v6 petrol one about 54 plate and changed a few bits you'd have a really good car. Ok fuel economy is a bit crap but they're not a bad bus. 

I was forever chasing suspension bushes, radial arms, track rod ends etc but I do live in the sticks a bit, usually every 2nd mot. 

It always had abs/bas/esp lights on in some combination or other which revolves around the water from your washer bottle leaking into the ABS module. I took my electronic bits apart sing some very small torx and it was full of corrosion. Dark was clear after that but about a year later it came back in and the brakes went wierd. Common cure is to remove the ABS relay which works great and doesn't affect the 4X4 system which is amazing on them,very capable off road, youtube ml vs x5 and see which one doesn't get stuck as much ???

The lights stay on but some soldering soon sorts that. 

I messed the key up in the end and had a few issues with the egr valve along with a desire to get a newer car so it went for scrap, still got £500 near enough from copart. 

Best move on any cdi engine is gut the cats, they run so much better after that and no EML light every came on mine. Wish I'd done it on day one. 

Would love another but can't justify it yet, either ml55 or ml350. 

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I remember you talking about the blue W210 at the Field of Dreams in what, 2018? It was bloody interesting then and still is now. 

Water based paint induced rust was a massive issue on early W202s as well, it was enough to put my dad off Mercs after he went to view a C250D Elegance and it had scabs coming out of nowhere on every single panel. The dealer selling it had overdescribed it and the chap was baffled by my dad's reluctance to even consider it at it any further (he's a picky bugger). 

Some absurdist handyman round here somehow has managed to keep a flippin' N-reg Sprinter on the road, that I see every so often. Over half of it is painted in underseal. 

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  • 7 months later...

Despite Mercedes' reputation for their 90s cars rusting badly, mine doesn't look too bad:  The rust is all hidden.

As mine is coming up for needing an MOT test, I thought it wise* to address the sill end corrosion that it has had since the day I bought it.  It's a common spot to go on these and is within the prescribed area for corrosion on the MOT, not only for the rear subframe mounts, but also for the rear seatbelts.  My Saloon was gone here and had some truly awful patching over it to just barely scrape through another MOT, so I've seen it can be a bit of a pig to do properly.

This looks like 3 layers of steel.  It's not.  It's two layers of steel and some structural seam sealant:


The cheeky bonus is that the two holes in the picture above are for a piece of rubber trim that clips on, so if I can keep the repair to below that, I can lose it in the black sill and not have to worry about repainting any cosmetic bits.  Bonus.

The rear wheel was still on at that point, but I realised I needed to get it off to have any chance of getting access to the areas I needed to get to.  So this happened:


Completely safe* and sensible*.  Actually, it's got three methods of holding it up, so I'm fairly confident it's fine, just looks awful.  The offside front wheel is suspended about 6" off the ground.

Anyway.  As anyone who has looked at a bit of corrosion and thought "that doesn't look too bad" knows, the golden rule of corrosion is:  There's more than you think.  Especially when you start cutting:


Didn't have to go much further back than this, but that's still a fairly complicated bit of fabrication needed to replicate the return of the wheelarch, get the curvature of the inner sheet correct, and align the repair section with the outer sill (which is also double curvature).  Not helped by the fact that I could only get hold of 1.5mm thick sheet steel and have no access to any steelworking tools at the moment.  Pliers, hammers, grinder and welder only.  Oh good.

As a side-note, I had the sill protectors off and the wheelarch liner out.  My word they hold some mud and crap.  Doesn't look like much, but that was two dustpans full:


Anyway.  First thing to do is the repair to the outer sill.  This is the bit that needs to look right, so was made first.  Will be welded in last though:


Didn't get that many photos of the process, as I was absolutely bastard freezing, but using that as a guide, the inner arch was repaired with a couple of sections:


and the welds ground back where needed.  I also slapped some zinc-based primer over as much of this as I could before putting the outer section in:


Not perfect, but close enough.  Again, if this were visible cosmetic bodywork (and it was warmer weather) I would have taken a bit more time and care over it.  But it's neither of the above, so buggerit.


Fully welded and ground back flat.  I was beginning to lose the light, so this isn't as perfectly neat as it could have been.  It was also only done with a grinding wheel.  With additional time/warmth I might have used a flap disc on it to feather the repair in to the existing bodywork properly.  It's a smooth-to-the-touch join, so good enough for a sill.

I could have sworn I took a couple more pictures of it being zinc-primer painted too, but they appear to have gone walkies.  Whether that's me or the phone that is at fault isn't clear.  I'm erring on the side of the phone though, as it's a Chinese cheapie and is utter utter crap.  5MP it might be, but the clarity of the lens is dire.  I had a Nokia phone in 2008 that took better pictures than this.  I may have to buy a cheap actual camera rather than relying on this heap for anything other than out-of-focus, over-saturated smears of colour.

So the last photo is of it in both Zinc primer and Bitumen topcoat:


Very difficult to get a picture of gloss black bitumen paint in low light, even with an LED floodlamp available.

Anyway.  Hopefully that should be enough to mean that area isn't an MOT test fail.  Just need to put it back together.  But not tonight.

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I went to drive off one evening to somewhere in my green ZX and found the exhaust lying on the floor, the backbox joint had rotted out it seems... 15 minutes later I had this


Which lasted 2 months until I'd bought a new exhaust for it, being after the 1st silencer it wasn't any louder than before either, and didnt get hot enough to melt anything even with 25 mile trips to work twice a day.

The same car had a throttle cable made of 2 joined with a choc block. It was fitted pre (when the cable snapped at a fray) and post (when the shit new cable wasnt long enough) fix and outlasted the car!


This bit of tape fixed the silver laguna's vacuum leaf forever


Same on the Zafira, this was more violent as the entire ecu fucked up when it split and it barely got home. Never had to touch it after (can see the white tape at the back of the engine)


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13 hours ago, Minimad5 said:

Must try a Derv one.

Once you're over about 1200rpm, there's really very little difference in the noise level or indeed the refinement.  At idle the Diesels do grumble and growl somewhat, but being 6 cylinders, it's a much more purposeful growl compared to a 4-cylinder clatter.

The OM606 (300 TD) is an oddity as it is a 4-valve-per-cylinder design, but before swirl flaps were a thing, meaning it's power is further up the rev range than you might expect for a big grumbly old Diesel.  It revs very happily between 2k and 4k rpm, and will even blat round to 4.5k before it feels like it's running out of puff.  The later OM613 (320CDI) models are also a 4-valve-per-cylinder design, and are even more flexible in their rev range, mainly due to being common rail.

I just wish they had been available with a manual gearbox.  There are a very limited number of 320CDI models with a manual box (I've seen just one) but AFAIK the 300 TD models were only ever available with the 5G-tronic automatic.  A good automatic gearbox, possibly the best one I've ever driven, but it's still a slushbox.

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3 minutes ago, Dirk Diggler said:

There definitely were manual 300tds; I knew two used as taxis near here 15 or so years ago, both Classic spec with cloth. Both got butchered, one engine and box lives in an 80s G and the other in a late 60s / early 70s Merc saloon.

Were they definitely turbo models?  The 300D and taxi-spec 250D were both available with a manual, but I've never heard of a 300TD with a manual.  If I could find one, I'd have it in an instant.

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On 5/9/2020 at 12:19 AM, Talbot said:

The "rest" function on the heater only works when the key is either out, or in the accessory position.  If you prod rest, it turns the climate control system back on at a fixed (quite low) fan speed, and basic thermostatic control.  It also starts up a small 12V pump under the bonnet that pumps hot coolant from the engine block around the heater matrix.  This will run for about 20/30 minutes at a time, and can be activated about 4 times before the engine block gets too cold to dump any meaningful heat into the passenger compartment.  It's exceptionally useful if you're waiting for someone in cold weather, if you've only been away from the car for a bit and you get back and aren't leaving immediately, or if you're only going to be out of the car for 10/15 mins and you want to keep the interior warm for when you get back.

In winter I use it all the time.  Even if you're going shopping and are going to be out of the car for 30/40 mins, if you run rest mode as you leave, the car is noticeably warmer when you get back in than if you don't.

The very very early W210s didn't have it, but just about all later models do.  I think W211 cars had it, but the feature seems to have been lost these days.  A real shame as it's a genuinely useful feature.

I never knew about the rest function, 

Would it hurt it running all the time (ie when driving) ? My missus tends to leave it on constantly 



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3 hours ago, goosey said:

Would it hurt it running all the time (ie when driving) 

You can't use in when driving, mainly because the heater is working anyway.  REST only works when the engine (and "ignition") is off, essentially allowing you to keep the heater going for a bit longer.   On most Mercs the electric circulation pump runs with the engine anyway, so REST is essentially impossible at that point.

1 hour ago, beko1987 said:

Dang, that's a modern feature I want... Are these cars £350 yet? 

You might find a tatty E320 V6 petrol saloon with a few minutes of MOT left for £350.  Unfortunately the insurance and fuel running costs (think 25mpg at best, 15mpg around town) will make the purchase price completely irrelevant.

There are noticeably more E320 diesels available at the moment for quite cheap prices (under £1k for a saloon, maybe £1200 for an estate) and they are significantly more economic.  40+mpg is possible from them (assuming you don't use all 200hp all the time.)

But the rust is getting quite bad.  There are numerous known rot areas on 210s, so unless you're fairly good fabricator, I wouldn't really recommend it.  That said, if you really wanted one, here are the rot points to look for on a 210:

  • Front spring perches.  See earlier in this thread for details
  • Radiator crossmember.  Not the worst area, but access requires a lot of dismantling.
  • Front lower track control arms.  See earlier for details.  Common issue, needs to be checked (or just put two new arms on for peace of mind)
  • Front wings.  Rot out spectacularly ahead of the wheelarch.  Replacements are bolt on.
  • Front floors.  Often need addressing when drain bungs block up and take out the ends of the "box sections" that come down from the engine bay.  Needs a 2-post lift to repair.
  • Rear doors, especially estates will rot along the top.  Check under the rubber seals.
  • Trailing end of sills.  Rot out when the drain blocks up.  Again, see above for details.
  • Spare wheel well in estates.  All have a fist-sized hole in them, but this isn't an MOT prescribed area.  You might lose a few tools and bits onto the road though
  • Estate tailgates.  Absolutely terrible for bubbling rust around the window.  Repair requires removal of the glass.  My old blue one the glass was almost falling out due to corrosion under the bonding goop.

Almost everything else isn't a worry.  The engines are ALL really good.  Everything from the 2.0-4 to the V8 are all very reliable, and parts aren't even that expensive in general.  5G-tronic gearboxes do sometimes suffer from cracked conductor plates, but this can be fixed with the gearbox in the car, parts are still available.

The only other thing that all my 210s have suffered from is worn rear suspension bushes.  The rear suspension is multi-link (5 links / 9 bushes per side) and wear in the upper front link bushes can generate some absolutely spectacular power-on/off rear steering.  I've ended up changing lanes before now without really meaning to.  Again, parts are cheap enough and easy to fit.

But it's a superb old boat, absolutely huge amounts of area inside (if not so much with the height) with some lovely detail to the design.  I plan on keeping mine, for no other reason than I like it.

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  • 5 months later...

Why oh why have I never invested in a pela-type pump before now?  Having just used a cheapo one that came from Lidl to do an oil change on the E300, that was the easiest thing ever, and far more sensible than scrabbling about on the ground trying to get the undertrays off, get the sump plug undone, use a drain pan, have to pour waste oil etc. etc.  Oil changes are messy, but this just makes it easy.  Straight from the sump into the waste oil tank:


Powered from a handy location.  The battery is under the back seat in these, but there's a jumping terminal under the bonnet.  That combined with an adjacent grounding stud and nut was very handy indeed:


The flow on the pump is really not bad for a 12V unit.  It's not super-fast, but I recon it's easily a litre a minute.  The only bind is the sump on the OM606 is fecking massive.

as you can hear in the background, it's not overly quiet, but that does mean you can hear the note change when it's finished.  Quick spray-through with a bit of brake cleaner and it's ready for next time.  Best £12.99 (or whatever it was) I've spent in a fair while.

There's also a lovely bit of design in this series of engines whereby the filter (which is a cartridge-type rather than a spin-on) is up at the top of the engine, and when you undo the cover, it drops the contents of the filter housing down into the sump, meaning there's only one location you need to drain from, rather than having the oil from the filter pissing all over the place.

Refilling with some 9 litres of oil to get the sump level correct again.  It really is a thirsty bitch this car, but it's a big engine, a big sump and quite old-fashioned.  A lot of oil is no surprise.

Also.  Dear modern car manufacturers.  THIS is how you do a timing chain:


Duplex, massive and very well oiled.  That's the original chain from new on 230k miles and it still looks like it was fitted last week.  I recon the engine has hundreds of thousands of miles of life left in it.  Just hope the body does too.


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What does OM in OM606 signify? Does it have anything to do with the Italian OM truck maker that disappeared into Iveco circa 1980? 

I know of VM Diesel engines but not OM. 

VM had a great advert in the early 90s, usually found on the back cover of ‘Car’ for some reason, featuring all of the amazingly successful* diesel cars they had supplied engines for.  

The Rover SDI 2400 and Alfa 6 stand out in my memory😀!

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My W203 Depressors still going fine , theres something about a Merc that feels right but in fact theres lots that isnt , W203s are mainly odd shaped bits of black plastic , water traps with  impossible  to keep clean nooks and cranies and very clever but dodgy electrics .

Still great to drive though , this ones on 132,000 miles and probably not worth a bean 



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On 5/8/2020 at 9:42 PM, Talbot said:

I have to say, it's probably the best engineered and best built car I've ever owned.  Granted, with my chod history the bar isn't that high, but the level of engineering detail in the car is superb.  Even things like the headlamp switch are well designed so they're comfortable in use.

The "rest" function on the heater is an absolute stroke of genius.  Quite why other manufacturers haven't done similarly is a genuine mystery.

Thanks for pointing this out, something I did not know existed and I was pleased to find my newly acquired W211 has it. 😀

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