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Mercedes E320 CDI S211, Shite or Shiteable?

Snake Charmer

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I summoned up enough energy to move the transport museum about, get my S211 in the garage and give the 5.5 glow plugs a good coat of looking at. 5 out and replaced in 5 minutes, the other broken one about 4 hours.
This cheap kit helped no end but l needed additional tools, taps and drill bits plus turning a couple of parts on the lathe, partly due to the glow plug design and to save dismantling the fuel rail and wiring.
I sectioned one of the old glow plugs to see how the central core was fitted as with the head sheared off there was a good 25mm sticking out and no amount of pulling was getting it free. Even this one was difficult to get out, I think the core is friction welded into the tip.
I had to use one of the sleeves in the kit to drill the 3mm core away down to the body then turn the outside of the sleeve to fit inside the glow plug body and continue.
It was a real ball ache, and if I had to do it again I would find a better solution!
The end of the extraction tool was a tight fit in the cylinder head counterbore and the fuel rail was in the way preventing a straight pull. I turned up this spacer to sit in the cylinder head effectively extending the tool. It was cut off an old steering control arm from the scrap box, perfect diameter, just needed boring out.

The offending items out in the open.

No more glow plug light after start up and no codes after resetting with the new toy, an iCarsoft CR Max. I fully expected to find the light to still be on due to a faulty controller.

One code recurring on the car, drivers heated door mirror open circuit. The door mirrors are a bit sluggish opening on automatic but seem to work fine once the engine is running and the voltage is up so they need looking at as they also squeak when moving.

Due to having Covid over Christmas I lacked the enthusiasm to look into the rear suspension/exhaust clonk over bumps, maybe next weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found a link to check the vin number and list the toys fitted, seems I have bi-zenon headlamps. I now have some super dooper H7 bulbs in the post for the inner halogen main beams that are probably snake oil in the hope of an improvement on the dark lanes. I just know they're going to be pants so I ordered matching  H11 for the foglights as I sussed out how to switch them on and they might as well be from my 1981 DT175MX and 6V. At least now I can look like a brighter than bright fog light wanker if I so desire.

The one outstanding fault code is the drivers door mirror open circuit. I bet that's expensive from Mercedes as it's also auto dimming.

Knocking from the rear is getting worse, starting to wonder if it's a diff mount or u/j as the car makes some odd noises when cold. So pleased the stereophonic wireless fitted has a quality depth of tone to exceed the frequencies of the odd noises.

Saw a very nice E55 S211 in Chertsey today, much understated on a set of alloys that looked pants and I can only assume they were winter wheels for proper grown ups.

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I stayed late at work Friday to jack the S211 rear end up and have a look for whatever is clonking over large bumps on the nearside. Nothing apparent suspension link wise and boy are there a lot of them! I know one of the exhaust hangers needs replacing, that is sat on my toolbox having rusted through but the clonk is not exhaust as it clears everything. A further coat of looking at will be required.
The propshaft heatshield was loose having rotted through at three of the mounting points so l fixed those in place with a couple of M5 penny washers. The left rear silencer heatshield has rotted through at the speed clip so I rearranged the edge and tucked it under the spare wheel well undertray. Quite why a spare wheel well needs an undertray I don't know but I do know it did not need the large stone that was wedged in between them.
I checked the spare wheel well and storage for anything that may be jumping around but elected to leave everything in place and see what difference the heatshields has made.
Before leaving, I checked the headlights against the workshop doors across the yard and blanked each one off to get a rough idea where the main beams with the new Billy Bolton Turbo Nutter Bastard bulbs are pointing. Looks like the left one is not pointing in a beneficial direction to support the right but does seem to light up the headlining of oncoming vehicles who fail the main beam dipping courtesy test.
The trip home was a little quieter over bumps but as I expected the clonk, is still there.

Today I cleared the load space, anything that moves such as the spare wheel and jack came out and I found a loose bolt on the gas strut for the spare wheel  hinged cover. Also, this cover was rattling on it's lock so I fitted some  closed cell rubber on the stops. A bit quieter on a drive out but not the knock.

Additional Turbo Nutter Bastard bulbs fitted to the fog lights so I can be a fog light wanker on side lights if the need arises.

The space saver was flat, l checked the valve and it has a split so that will need changing tomorrow. Quite likely it will require a specific valve.  The joys.

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I had no intention of spending today working on the Mercedes, only looking at the space saver valve and put everything back in the load area. Then I decided to look at the bidet as despite a new blade in July, the rear screen is not clearing the full swept area and the washer dribbles screen wash rather than spraying. Not that I would know exactly what the spray pattern should be like although l would expect full on German efficiency at emptying the screen wash tank.

A blast of compressed air in the jet direction made no difference so it had to come apart for a good coat of looking at. The jet is enclosed within the spoiler, presumably to stop people stealing it and improve aerodynamics so I set to adjusting the bidet blade to get a full swept area instead.


Off with the arm as the spring seems a little weedy, closing the spring ends up and shortening the wire clip added a few more pounds of pressure to the blade and improved the swept area but not completely. Much bending and tweaking of the Bosch blade has improved things further but the blade does not seem flexible enough to cope with the screen arc leaving a small area unswept at the top and bottom. Good enough from the driving seat but not good enough for me so a revisit is planned.



I could not leave the washer dribbling, I had to have a look. In my quest to find whatever is knocking at the rear I gave the spoiler a few thumps and there was a bit of a plastic rattle. Off with the hatch interior trim, associated wiring, plumbing, two plastic nuts, a few speed clips and the spoiler was off with the jet unclipped. Complicated little thing that jet with a heater too, I managed to get the internal gubbins out and into the ultrasonic cleaner.


I had a look at the spoiler rattle. All I could see that did not look right was the foam seal had seen better days and would allow the spoiler to rattle. I cut a strip of my trusty adhesive closed cell foam and made a new one. With the washer jet cleaned and reassembled I refitted the spoiler, the foam did the trick, much firmer with no rattle.


Buttoning everything up I noticed a small Mercedes oval grommet on the mobile phone antenna black box. I had previously found this unit floating about in the screen interior trim and fixed it in place with 3M double sided tape to stop it rattling. The car has a replacement hatch fitted due to accident damage and very poorly fitted too.


With the spoiler off there are two identical grommets in the hatch and a cut out shaped like the antenna. The aerial is now fixed under the spoiler outside the car instead of inside. I can now hopefully have better reception on the old Nokia whilst talking to the 3 people who have the number. The rear screen interior trim also fits better now too.

We have a warning on the dash now, go figure, low screen wash. Whilst the bonnet is open, I decide to have a look at the noisy air filter housing I heard yesterday. A couple of clips missing I will need to get so as we’re half way there ets have the top off and look at the air filter. Ping, dink, donk goes clip number two down to the undertray. Out with the jack and stands, undo the tray and retrieve the clip, refit the tray. Lower the car, jack and stands away fit the clip. I should know better. Retrieve the clip but leave the car up and tray undone. Retrieve the clip umpteen times. Take the engine cover off for better access, fit the clip. Take the inlet cover off to refit the engine cover correctly. Loose a bolt down the back that DOESN’T hit the undertray. Find a replacement M6 bolt and washer, refit undertray, put the jack and stands away. If I have a rear puncture this week and find an M6 Torx bolt I know who to blame.



Back to job for the day, break the bead on that space saver and remove the valve. Yes indeed, I require a TR438 valve and the ones I have plenty of are too big.

Out for a test drive, things seem a little quieter than before from the rear. Collected beer and V-Power whilst out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday I went for a drive with the iCarsoft CR Max connected and recorded some live data, I was surprised to see 2270mbar peak boost at 3391rpm. Then I realised the intake air pressure was 1002mbar without the engine running so about 18psi peak as opposed to 33psi. Hmmm..... Remap! I am starting to like the iCarsoft CR Max a little more as I delve a little deeper into the sub menus. 
I also wasted loads of fuel on idle going through the aircon flaps and diverters as the rear zones were blowing hot in the summer, looks like the duo valve I have read about is lazy. I will change the valve at the next service with the coolant, it does seem to work with exercising up and down the heat ranges but I have a weekend of driving with passengers when a cold blast will be required unlike when we first had the car with three passengers roasting. I did end up with hot or cold air coming out in each of the 4 zones individually and on full cold needed my wooly hat at 11°C so I seem to have a good aircon system just one faulty valve.
A few codes were stored from the battery getting low, all easily cleared except the drivers heated door mirror open circuit. I had to have a look and its definitely open circuit......


Should be a heated dipping Mercedes mirror not an aftermarket heated only. I will wire it up temporarily and see if funds allow the real thing, I have seen mention of £220!
The space saver is back together as the £4 valve arrived, I found my valve pulling tool and tyre soap, now all is good in the spare wheel well for the next 175k miles.  All the extra weight to lug about is restored to its former resting places. I went for a test drive late evening that ended up a hoon about, I need some better dampers, particularly on the rear as it skips over rough surfaces on our well worn Surrey roundabouts. Bilstein B6 perhaps?

I wonder what will fall off or go wrong this week? Ah, the overpriced insurance quote is in.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The thermostat seems to be stuck open so I'm using the Volvo until parts arrive. Suffering odd electrical faults on wet days, the parking sensors particularly and the wipers get stroppy on intermittent. The gearbox grumbles a bit in the cold weather until warm and the drivers door mirror stiffens up and only comes out to play once the engine is running when the voltage is up.

Service items on order with the thermostat and a wee windfall will allow me to send the 18" rims off for refurb this month in preparation for summer. I had planned to fit the 18" wheels then refurb the 16" wheels and get winter tyres once the budget tyres the car came fitted with are worn out but they seem to be wearing well despite the punishment l have given them.

I'm not keen on  budget tyres especially unknown odd ones but the previous owner is a friend and he had them fitted new in axle pairs so I will happily run them to end of life and they do perform reasonably well wet or dry.

I look forward to hooning about on 245 tyres and the worries of bending those 18" rims. I keep looking into new dampers but would like something a little more uprated.

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On 3/6/2022 at 7:45 PM, spike60 said:

For what it's worth on my S211 the rear wiper arc pattern has a flat spot at the top and the washer pattern is a fan shape. The wiper spindle seizes up about once a year needing the cap pulled up and a WD40 dousing. 

I might try an aero blade on there, it's clearing better at the moment and I do need to clear the screen daily as some of the roads are really filthy at the moment. What year and model S211 do you have?

I used the Mercedes the past couple of days for work as the Volvo noises were making me wonder how long it would keep going. Odd things happened with the temperature after start up, the rpm on idle stepped up in 3 stages in sync with the gauge going up a bar each time. Yesterday on cruise control the rpm was pulsing up and down slightly. Diagnostics show the gauge is reading correctly to the coolant temperature so I am hoping the ECU is being sent odd readings and altering the idle.

All the service parts are here with the duo valve and thermostat, that's today's job, I can hopefully finish fitting the Stebel Truck horn too and maybe LED sidelights to be down with the kids in the hood. New engine and gearbox mounts will arrive Monday and I will see if I can use the ramp at work for those. Rain is affecting the parking sensors and the intermittent wipe is intermittently not intermittent. I'm ignoring the gearbox not shifting properly when cold at the moment. 

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Mine is a 2007 320 cdi v6 7 speed Avantgarde, owned 3 years and coming up 170k.  It's been a good bus, little gone wrong on my watch. 1-2-3 on box bit crap at times, the others seamless, passenger mirror wiring coming unravelled and GPS controlled clock has lost it's marbles. Turbo acuator flutter if you drive like teenager. Way less of a pain than the BMW 530d Touring we sold last month.

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The plan for Saturday did survive first contact. The missus Golf filter service and thermostat saw paid to that then I went out for lunch and came home half cut. I made a start and carried on drinking so it was Sunday by the time I really managed to get back into it.

Draining the coolant was relatively easy, the thermostat was a doddle so I cracked on with the duo valve. Looks easy online until you realise most of the videos are for lhd cars. The seanuts hid the bastid thing under the master cylinder next to the fuse box in the valley of death created by the bulkhead and curved firewall. The valley has four hoses in it attached to the duo valve. Add the wiper motor on top and a brittle scuttle panel, you get the scenario as to why a £36 deliverered OE valve is faulty.

Four hours, many turdycurses uttered and skin missing off my head from the bonnet internals and it was fitted. Then the wipers would not work and of course everything was fitted as they were working beforehand. I missed a corroded terminal I had no need to look for. Hopefully that may be why the intermittent wipe intermittently isn't intermittent. 

Oil filter, air filter, pollen filter and oil done I finally went for a drive around 22:30. Engine temperature 90° at 70mph on the motorway, all four zones in the car can now be set at different temperatures from maximum to minimum.

On tonights trip home the fuel economy seems to have improved. I did the activitated charcoal filters under the dash, well past their sell by date.


This fell out of the under dash panel, looks like the Blue Oyster Bar in Police Academy.



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On 1/10/2022 at 12:06 AM, Snake Charmer said:
Glowplug Stuff.

I may have to come and talk very nicely to you about that.  I have to do similarly with my OM606 soon, as I think I am now two glowplugs down, which is making for smokey starts.  Where did your kit come from?

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22 hours ago, Talbot said:

I may have to come and talk very nicely to you about that.  I have to do similarly with my OM606 soon, as I think I am now two glowplugs down, which is making for smokey starts.  Where did your kit come from?

It was an Ebay cheapie. I had to use plenty of other tools and bits above those supplied as mine was a deep rooted bastard to get out! Kit was £28.50 when I bought it.


16 hours ago, Darling said:

Half Cut, sounds very self inflicted to me , or easily led astray.

It was nothing to do with the ashtray.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I popped the lid on the old duo valve to see if the £36, 4 hours of my life and skin off my head cost was justified.


We had a trip to Bracknell and back on Sunday and I was in the passenger seat, 22° of coziness my side and 14° for her frostiness driving. Just because I could, the rear seats I set to 14° behind me and 22° for the ice queen. I'm quite pleased with the repair now the scab has gone off my head.

I have fitted an extra horn, a single tone Stebel Nautilus Truck as the originals don't seem up to snuff. More of that later when I finalise the install and paint the bracket. 

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  • 1 month later...

Eek, 18" rims off to Lepsons tomorrow with our Golf IV wheels so a big bill coming then I need tyres.

Currently trialing a blend of two stroke oil, Cetane and Redex injector cleaner with standard Shell Diesel. Definitely smells better if you stand behind it now unlike when it arrived last year with a nauseous bouquet.

Dampers and a couple of suspension arms next on the list. Or an E63 estate. 😎

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On 14/05/2022 at 06:06, Wgl2019 said:

Maybe looks a smidge high suspension wise, is there a OEM sport option without going all OMG SLAMMED M8?

I agree, they are very close diameter wise to the 16" that came off. I am looking into the suspension specs, it is an Avantgarde which is supposed to be a little lower than Elegance and there are Sport models. The rear dampers are pretty shot so I have priced up B6 spec Bilstein and will see what code the front springs are when it's apart. There is some height adjustment on the front spring platform and the rear is self levelling air.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I ordered B4 Bilstein dampers, Sods Law nobody has them in stock and Bilstein are looking at 8/9 weeks. I'm not wanting to go the B6 or B8 route for the amount of hooning about driving I do in this car but might have to as the rears are hopping quite badly over rough tarmac. :tired:

Mot this month, hard to believe I have had this car 12 months already. Emissions will be interesting to compare with last year after all the thrashing and injector cleaner plus the Cetane and two stroke oil currently in the tank.

Gave it a bucket of water with a shot of Fairey Liquid for Saturdays trip to FOD with @bobdisk.  Seems I need some wheel cleaning brushes now or the wheels will have to come off regularly and I'm no car detailer!


On the way home, exiting one of Milton Keynes many roundabouts, an Audi saloon decided to get so close all I could see in my mirror was his steering wheel, dashboard and whites of his eyes so I moved over and left him sitting in lane two. Did it again at the next roundabout. Still has that torque oomph at 178k. :dog:

Cruising with the trucks at 56mph on the M25, we checked the speedo against a phone App that read 55mph so the 18" rims in place of the 16" have not created an error. A reset of the trip computer at 56mph on cruise control over the final 20 motorway miles showed 49.6mpg, nearly hit the magic 50mpg. I blame Bob forcing me to eat a large breakfast on the way up for the added weight and 0.4mpg loss.

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I checked up on the Bilstein dampers and no guarantee of getting them in July so I cancelled both orders and went for B6 rears from the UK and B8 fronts from Autodoc in Germany. The rears are here, and the fronts are with the courier.  I would have fitted the rears tonight but as I ordered a tool for the oddball top nut plate Mercedes decided to fit they will have to wait until Monday. 😔


One of last year's Mot advisories was ARB ball joint gaitirs split so I bought a pair of joints instead of arms and decided to fit them this evening. It went horribly wrong.

I have a whole host of Epco hydraulic bodywork tools so I set about replacement with this, effectively a 10 ton G clamp. 




Despite the rust, the old joint came out easily so I thought I was on a winner but unfortunately the replacement put up a fight mainly due to the clamp flexing and not pushing squarely. I swapped hand pumps as I remember one gives slightly more pressure. It did, then blew the hose. All over the car. I think the hoses are older than me so new ones are well overdue. 


With a bit of jiggling the joint is now seated, the other side has a good gaitor so can wait and I have another attachment that will do the job in situ and apply even pressure.


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Cracking work on the old bus,

Completely unrelated to this model but worth getting it out there......a  neighbour has a 2011 E class saloon and knocked for advice a few weeks back as it had failed it's MOT on rear subframe corrosion, I did a bit of research and it's a known issue so I guided him back to Mercedes who are now fitting a brand new subframe completely free for him  instead of a cost of near 2k, he's a happy bunny ! 

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On 6/11/2022 at 12:56 PM, omegod said:

Cracking work on the old bus,

Completely unrelated to this model but worth getting it out there......a  neighbour has a 2011 E class saloon and knocked for advice a few weeks back as it had failed it's MOT on rear subframe corrosion, I did a bit of research and it's a known issue so I guided him back to Mercedes who are now fitting a brand new subframe completely free for him  instead of a cost of near 2k, he's a happy bunny ! 

Thanks, I am enjoying this car more and more  even repairing it. 😁

I have seen the subframe problem talked about  on a Mercedes forum, mine is not great but at least it is 18 years old. Good on you for helping him. 😎

I am a seriously happy bunny as I fitted the rear B6 Bilstein dampers this evening, they have transformed the car and I cannot wait to see what the front B8's do. The ride is very composed and not crashy, the knocking from the rear has gone and the handling is now very confidence inspiring. The left damper had little to no gas left and both were very soft, the left must have been the knocking noise.


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A wee package on the step when I arrived home, clips for the rattly airbox and a replacement radiator top mount as one was broken.


After investigating a whiff of hot diesel recently, I found a leaky injector, the start of black death. I decided a squirt of Plus Gas on the injectors and bolts over the next few days would be prudent before the leaky injector gets any worse as the bolt feels tight like it wants break. Fitted the clips and radiator mount then started it up to see if the airbox is any quieter. God's teeth, Plus Gas everywhere, that injector is chuffing chuffing! :tired:


Target for tonight: injector seals, leak off O rings, bolts and perhaps clamps but don't see the need to replace those unless anyone knows better. I did look at long Torx 3/8" drive sets and injector pullers on Ebay, then the damned Snap-On man had them laid out ready for me! Passed on the puller, I have a lathe and mill but he raped me for the Torx bits. 🙈

Need to order some stainless button head bolts for the additional Steibel Truck horn I fitted a while back, turn up some proper spacers then give it a shotblast and lick of blick.


Loving the Bilstein B6 rears more each day, the trip to work is so much nicer. Come on Autodoc, where are my front shocks?!!


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