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2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate - Gearbag issues?


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5 minutes ago, Matty said:

Will bear it in mind. Very much at the daydream stage in fairness. What I want is the v8 in the model which @NorfolkNWeigh has a diesel estate. But apparently only 3 were ever sold. Of which 1 was a saloon 😅

There were a fair few of these V8s (with a big supercharger) sold...


(Rip the broken radio out and stick a W211 fitment Chinese Android unit in it. Then you get Carplay, handsfree, etc)

Yes many of the W211 are slow but 469 bhp and 0-60s in 4.5s is quite quick even today. 

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I would have to double check my old wheels to be precise but I was impressed with the 16" Cheapanese tyres the car came with. They had been replaced in axle pairs by the friend I bought the car from and all were in good condition having plenty of tread and not old. It was the Landsails that impressed me the most in rain as I deliberately pushed them to find the limits so I knew where I stood and they really held their own, quite confidence inspiring and good dry performance. That was with knackered rear dampers, (one was completely shot) and soft fronts.

I tried the same in the wet with V2.0 on  the purchase trip home, that has a mixed batch of cheap knackered shite fitted and the ESP took over backing off for me! 😄

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I wrote this on TDK but probably fits the above and my current thoughts:


I'm a big Michelin fan but at £165 each that's a firm no.

Avon I CBA to wait till next year for them to be fitted. I would like to use this over the Xmas period and do longer distance travelling in it.

I've spent a bit much this month so I'm waiting for my credit card statement to come through before I order. But it'll likely be Kumho. The cheap ditchfinders are E to G rated while at least the Kumho (and Nankang) are C for economy and A for wet weather.

Given the softly sprung suspension, soft wide seats that we both tend to slide on and barge like cornering, I certainly don't chuck it about like my other cars. So I think the midrange tyres are more than enough for what I need rather than premiums.

Also, while at the moment it's a keeper, I'll probably only have it for a year at most before I get bored and find something else..

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New boot time! I went for the Kumho's. Had them before and so better the devil you know. Rears have a lot of tread still so feels a bit wasteful changing them but they've gone hard and quite easily to light them up in the lower gears in sports mode. 

I'm now off to have lunch while I wait for them to be done. 


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New Tyres have been round and black. So little feeling through the wheel that it's hard to know if they're grabbing well. Mrs SiC was taking corners a bit faster than I'd be prepared to (she's used to chuckable cars) and we didn't end up in the scenery so must be alright. They are definitely a bit noisier than the old Michelins. 

Looking at the mileage when the photos of @rantingYoof when selling the car, it had 146437. It's now done 147465 right now. So 1k miles in nearly two month. 

Fuel consumption is a bit on the thirsty side. 


This was an motorway run today along the M4 with plenty of slowdowns/stops. 


Tbh it's not terrible considering it's an old fashioned auto tuned for comfort rather than performance or economy with an older design port injection V6. I think I didn't get too far off this with my Laguna II V6? Maybe a bit lower but then the Laguna was a good half tonne lighter. 

In some ways I don't really care. It's comfortable, quick enough (when moving), smooth and incredibly vast inside making it very practical. Just had 5 adults in it quite comfortably a minute ago - despite three of which are very much on the larger/enormous side.

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1 hour ago, Noel Tidybeard said:

deffo a car to be filling at Costco!

Nearest costco is 16 miles away. My local garage is about half a mile away and is 136.9 - same price as that Asda. I don't think it'd be worth any savings to go to Costco as I won't be passing it. 

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3 hours ago, 95 quid Peugeot said:

blimey, i'm doing better than expected then...41mpg over 2400 miles at a pretty spritely pace  in Ex Rocket E320cdi


I6 or V6? 

The 7G box is much more fuel efficient than the 5G box from it's more liberal use of the torque converter lockup. 

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17 minutes ago, SiC said:

I6 or V6? 

The 7G box is much more fuel efficient than the 5G box from its more liberal use of the torque converter lockup. 

Being a 2003, I would say it will be the L6 3.2 engine.
Although it appears that I am wrong here, as it has been mentioned that it’s the V6. Doh!

As for the auto box, if it’s the 5 speed 722.6 it is pretty much bombproof. The only real issue with these as they get older is the conductor plate fucking up.

this is obvious because it feels like the gears are slipping & it usually doesn’t change into anything above 3rd gear.

Relatively easy to replace (plenty guides on the Tube of you) but I will say, if replacing the conductor plate, use only genuine Mercedes transmission fluid, as the box is fussy with cheap shite.

Once replaced though, the box will be like new & shift seamlessly.

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4 hours ago, 95 quid Peugeot said:

blimey, i'm doing better than expected then...41mpg over 2400 miles at a pretty spritely pace  in Ex Rocket E320cdi


Mpg on the same commute is better in the summer months as I use the a/c constantly in the winter, the PTC heater draws quite a load on cold mornings. Motorway mpg is easily 45 and eeeked it up to 50 at giffer pace once. I do hoof it quite a bit as the torque surge is addictive.

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  • 1 month later...

Merc in for trans fluid change, engine mounts, brake pipes, oil change and a inspection service with a trusted mechanic (Panhard65). Once this is done, there will be nothing really wrong with the car at all and fully sorted. (For now!)

I shouldn't like the Merc as lardy, wobbly boring barge but it is such a pleasant and relaxing drive. Nothing to report otherwise, it's just been doing it's job (and burning a fair bit of fuel - she's a thirsty beast on short journeys) faultlessly.


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I think this one has been a bit of a 'mare for Panhard65. He did the engine oil first which was easy peasy of course. Then phoned me to ask what next. Brake pipes were hanging. Mounts didn't look too bad and quite a long job. Transmission fluid was an easy job. However there wasn't time for the lot. 

So focused on the brakes. This is the offside front. Looks like it's started to leak.


This is the same pipe in December for the MOT. 


I knew they were bad. My MOT tester said they were. He couldn't fail them as they weren't leaking but warned me they really did need doing. Hence why Panhard65 is doing them.

He's managed to do almost all of them - 50 foot of brake pipe so far!

The last one is nearside front. Very irritatingly someone has been there first and snapped off the caliper bleed screw. These are massive 4 pot calipers with a snazzy Mercedes Benz logo etched and printed on them. Unfortunately they are Mercedes only and 2 to 3 days delivery - exchange only. £280 Inc vat which is a lot but palatable. 

Anyway it's now stuck outside his place until that arrives. Glad I didn't attempt to do it myself! A job that I'm sure is many times easier with it up on a ramp. 

Transmission fluid and mounts will have to wait. Not as urgent as non safety related. I found a receipt for trans service at a specialist only 15k miles ago. Of course won't hurt to do it again. Mounts I reckon are not great as rocking the engine by hand causes the car to rock. However the rear mount looks nearly new. That's an easy one though. Main engine mounts are a good 4hr job. But times runout for that and I'll have to book it in again. 

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This is being a right little shit. 

Brake lines have now changed and bled. They work great and were urgently needing to be done. 👍

Big snag where one of the calipers had a snapped bleed screw from someone else touching it previously. Calipers are only available as exchange from Merc and that set me back nearly £300 extra. Massive things too - proper fixed 4 pot calipers. 

I also had an engine oil change done while up on the ramp. However the brake lines took up all the time that there wasn't any time available to do the transmission fluid/filter change or plug. Likewise no time for the mounts. 

Less great is that it's now decided to nearly stall the engine when pulling up to lights. Happened twice today. Probably because I've lavished too much attention on the git. Noticed it did it when you're doing quite a hard stop to zero mph. So far it's at the early point of a journey where it's not warmed up. I don't think it's the crank sensor as I'd expect that to be an issue when hot and rough running during cruise. 

I'm pretty sure it's the torque converter lockup sticking. Likely solenoid or electrically.

I've just done a bit of driving with the scantool connected on live data to see what's going on.

When cruising along, it's in a "slipping" state - this is normal for this box. They only lockup at motorway and faster cruise speeds. Newer boxes lockup fully for best economy but these slip in most scenarios as it reduces engine vibration through the car. Fuel was cheaper back then....

At idle or coming to idle it transitions back to open as expected. However I've heard it before where it's made a weird vibration noise at slow speeds when accelerating and turning. I heard it again earlier and it was in the transitioning intermediate stage going from open to slipping.

My strong suspicion is that if I come to a halt quickly, the gearbox isn't always quick enough (mechanically) to open the lockup solenoid due to it being sticky or a electrical fault.

Shifts generally seem flawless but it does sometimes noticeably clunk into gears a tad harder occasionally. I originally put this all down to potentially the engine mounts transmitting more shock into the chassis.

Perhaps it's the connector on the gearbox or maybe a fluid change and that connector will sort/help it? I have that in the kit of bits already. Need to find time to jack it up and do that job though. Especially haven't when I have the GTI in bits currently.

Oil level at 80c (well 79c on the scantool to be exact, but 1c isn't going to make any difference) is bob on max on the dipstick in that 80c section. The ATF smells fine and not burnt.



Googling suggests that Torque Converter Lockup sticking is an issue with these boxes. Fixes vary from fluid to solenoid to torque converter (including integrated TCC clutch packs) changes.

Bastard cars. It must have noticed I've sold my TT and the Golf is broken. 

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  • SiC changed the title to 2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate - Gearbag issues?

Went down for a walk in Brean today and took this. 

These boots are incredibly handy to sit on while putting your walking boots on 


Started out clear but it got more misty/foggy as we progressed, so didn't see much!







Anyway it drove absolutely fine with no hint of stalling. One big difference is that I took it easy, put the box in comfort and didn't boot it everywhere. MPG figures show that story 🙃


Could well be that it's an elderly 148k gearbox and just doesn't appreciate being rushed - mostly when coming to a stop. My current plan of action will be to change the fluid+filter+connector plus stuff a new lockup solenoid and maybe even a conductor plate on it (I think that's fine though). Basically full parts darts as I have most of that already. If it gets worse and plays up more often then I'll have to throw the towel in. I hope/suspect it may solve the problem if the solenoid is a bit sticky. Then can go like that if the fluid isn't changed often enough.

There is a receipt in the paperwork from a few years ago now and about 12k miles of a gearbox service. So likely fluid change. Makes me wonder why that might have been done now?

Extremely frustrating that it's played up as it's the first car in a long while that I really like and enjoy driving. It may well be completely fine from now on and a brief blip. But I think it makes sense to throw those parts on it to be fully sure. Especially that connector as they're prone to filling with oil and causing shift issues. 

I mean all I can do now is keep driving it as it's basically be unsellable now on here. 🫣

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