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2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate - Sold and last drive


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Back home now. While I haven't had a wafty barge for quite some time, I certainly have no regrets with this purchase. At least until the fuel bill comes through. 🫣

For those that don't fully know, it's @rantingYoof fathers runaround E320 Estate. He's now got a swanky Genesis that I was mightily impressed by. Especially the drive by camera thing. Thanks again to RY and his father in making a super easy transaction. 



Couple of things. First the xenon headlights don't do the down/up thing. They seem quite low so I'm wondering if they're in a fault mode. Code scanner hopefully will tell me.

Rear parking sensors don't. At least they don't make any noise when I nearly reversed into a car. Front seem to work. Again hopefully my code scanner will give some indication here.

Rear view mirror has gone weird where it looks like half the liquid has leaked out. I might just bung a second hand unit on. Don't seem that expensive on eBay. Hopefully easy job. 

SBC pump seems to be quite loud. As in I can hear it kicking in when braking. Normal?

Also kicks in every second or third brake application. I can feel the pump through the pedal. Again, normal?

I won't deny, the SBC gives me THE FEAR. But good to know if the above is normal.

Finally the coolant temperature seems to be sitting at 80c indicated on a run (pic below when it creped up a notch when stationary at the services). In traffic it crept up to just under 100c. Is 80c too low?

I don't expect fantastic fuel consumption but I averaged 29.2mpg in total on the way back which included getting stuck in heavy Northampton traffic. 30.9mpg after I reset the counter when I was on the open road. Just wondering if it's running cool and so causing the fuel economy to be higher than it should be. 



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

The rear parking sensors are not, as far as I know, audio-based. There are light bars on the roof and on the dash, and they light up green, amber, red etc as you get closer to the car or surface you are reversing or driving up to. You should be able to see the light bars easily in the rear view mirror.

I can't answer the SBC questions, other than to confirm that the car's done that since my dad picked it up and it hasn't been mentioned by any of the garages that have had the car in for MOT or servicing since.

I'm glad it's served you well on your trip back south-east. :)

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Yeah I suspected the SBC thing is probably normal and I'm just not used to it never had a car with it before. I know it'll be the first thing Mrs SiC asks and she knows me too well that she can hear if I say it's fine but not 100% convincingly. 😅

Interesting about no beeping. I presumed there was as there is that button to turn the sensors off. I didn't see the light bar when reversing, I'll have to look for it next time. 

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Quick Google says it beeps when it's in the red section. I must have stopped before then as I was doing it by eye and being careful. 

Not figured how to do automatic wipers. At least they didn't seem to want to automatically wipe in drizzle. I couldn't find a sensitivity control, so presumably whatever it does is what it gives. The windscreen looks to have been replaced previously so I wonder if they didn't repack the sensor with the correct gel (I've had this before on another car). Not that bothered apart from something to fiddle with. 

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3 hours ago, Pat Earrings said:

Re the SBC the one I had used to do it quite often and sometimes when I unlocked the car for first use, and the chap I bought it off who had it years said it did the same. I believe it’s fairly normal for this era, as you just have to put up with the strange noise every so often. 

Me too, its normal but quite disconcerting.

SBC hold is very useful, SBC stop is wierd 😁

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55 minutes ago, Marm Toastsmith said:

Well bought, I was incredibly tempted by this but having just acquired another German estate it didn’t quite make sense… glad it’s come closer to me though!

I wasn't intending it to be, but I think this may end up being a keeper!

Just needs to pass the Mrs SiC test for that. Basically will she drive it regularly happily.

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1 hour ago, Jazoli said:

SBC hold is very useful, SBC stop is wierd

I knew about SBC hold but not SBC stop. A quick Google says if you activate the cruise stalk when stationary, you basically can drive the car on the accelerator and not need the brake pedal. Is that correct?

I don't think I have an owners manual for the car. Might see if I can find one or at least a pdf of a pre facelift manual. 

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38 minutes ago, SiC said:

I knew about SBC hold but not SBC stop. A quick Google says if you activate the cruise stalk when stationary, you basically can drive the car on the accelerator and not need the brake pedal. Is that correct?

I don't think I have an owners manual for the car. Might see if I can find one or at least a pdf of a pre facelift manual. 

Yeah that's exactly what you do :)

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I think my head is having problems adjusting to the fact I've bought a car that I can go just drive. I'm too used to having  a whole list of things needing sorting first. 

Mrs SiC keeps going on why I have the TT as well. I think she sees me using this more than the TT. However the size of this isn't as convenient for a quick run to the shops like the TT is. Also the run out just now got 22mpg with gentle driving. That's verging on oof territory in fuel burn rate. 

Would be interested to hear what others experiences of the 3.2 m112 engine is with fuel consumption. On whether that is about right or a bit low. I.e. should I be doing plugs/etc and maybe MAF clean/replacement to help that up a bit. 

I didn't expect it to be fuel efficient but I'd hoped gentle driving would get 25-28mpg like I have before with 6cyl auto lumps. 

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54 minutes ago, Bren said:

My e60 had same issues. It was the controller that screws to the underside of the headlight - not sure if MB have a similar setup though.

Yeah possibly as I think I've read similar. No warning light but I might find the code reader says something as there is no warning light.


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It's a bit of an archaic engine to be fair (no bad thing). 3.2 18v, seems to be more thirsty than 24v six pot engines I've driven.

I did 200 miles on mostly NSL dual carriageways with traffic with no hypermiling, and achieved 30mpg.

But it was only used for town runs in the dead of winter and was on 15mpg.

The 3.0 24v Omega MV6 was a few mpg higher on comparable journeys. I think a straight six BMW would probably do even better.

Neither of those have the wodge of torque that arrives with the Mercedes though.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

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I've been using it all day today just running around. Getting an indicated 24mpg. Now while this is out of town traffic, we have a shit tonne of roadworks around here (fark you North Somerset Council organising them all together). So it's spent a good while sat idling. No doubt not helping that consumption figure. 

I think I'm just used to small, light cars and their accompanying low fuel use. My Boxster 2.7 is the largest engine I've owned for a while and that could easily get 28-33mpg. However of course that's a crap load lighter than an E-class and no slush box. Been trying to remember what my Laguna II 3.2 V6 was like. Pretty sure that got 22-25mpg around town and 32-35mpg on a run. But that was a mostly plastic car and pretty light. Also a modern 24v engine too. 

So it's probably fine and I just need to recalibrate myself to big older barge life. Tbh in the few thousand miles I'll end up doing in this, it won't make much difference in cost. At least it's happy on regular unleaded too. 

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Some good news and some bad news from today.

Good news first. Did a code scan. Loads of codes related to low voltage. I know the battery has been changed. So makes sense that before it was changed, it got upset with a failing battery. But codes not cleared so still there.

After I cleared them, there was two codes left. One in the CAN gateway that Googling says is normal and often one that comes up with aftermarket scantools like this. Second is simply that the drivers side heated mirror glass isn't working.

So basically no real issues especially given it's a 20yr old German luxury barge. Given all the possible faults, I certainly can live with a heated door mirror glass not working!



As usual with running scan tools, you get warnings popup while it's scanning. Basically these modules spend all their effort to operate normally without a scan tool connected. When a tool is connected to that module, they can't guarantee that the operation of the module is fully there. So it flags up the warning light.

Anyway while scanning the SBC module, that triggered it's warnings. You certainly can't ignore the SBC warnings. Big red warning and a lot of screaming beeping. Certainly one that you can't ignore or miss. 



Now for the bad news. Mrs SiC didn't mind the car as a passenger and was quite comfortable sat there. 

So we swapped sides and I let her drive it. Bit of a mistake.

She's a very good driver and doesn't mind jumping in anything to pilot. However it's flipped her view and cemented her dislike for it. Found it was a pain to park and manoeuvre around. Basically thinks it's too big, bulky and pointless owning another big car. FFS 🤨

"I thought you was going to get a Z4 coupé" was the questioning and subsequently "it doesn't matter as you'll get bored of this and sell it on". (She really likes the Z4 Coupé...) I'll still get a Z4 Coupé but they're £6k+ for a nice one, so was waiting.

So perhaps this won't be a keeper after all. While in some cases I don't care, a useful wagon like this helps to have buy-in from the other half. 

I do fancy another Merc though as I really do like this one. Perhaps a smaller but similar aged C-class/CLK/similar. Right now though I'll carry on using it while ignoring the moaning. 😆

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7 minutes ago, Jazoli said:

@SiC does this have the hidden CD player behind the minor controls above the ashtray?

They are a big old bus, my missus thought mine was a tank.

That was the first button I pushed when I got in!

I knew it would be a big old beast and why it justifies keeping the TT. In her mind we've got the Civic estate when we need to load lug and we don't need another. In my mind ...I don't really like driving it as I prefer something with more poke. 

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7 minutes ago, purplebargeken said:

Change the thermostat. Its a Merc, just do it. Seriously.

I'll have a read on diagnostics when up to temperature. I believe this is the right temp range from what is said on here and elsewhere though. 

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Merc temperature gauges quite often cause a panic, some of them should sit above halfway, around 90 where you'd expect, others do sit at 80. 

As long as it's staying put on a run, and it's not going above 80 when sitting in traffic then it's normal. 

If it's going up in traffic then that's normal, and it's sitting a bit low if it's 80 on a run. 

I think they do vary and there's no concrete answer other than if it's always 80 it's fine, but if it's fluctuating it's not fine

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This sits at an indicated 80c on a run and creeps up around 90c to 95c odd in traffic. 

I haven't looked but I presume the thermostat is easy to get on these. Looked loads of room on the front of the engine where the belts are. 

Tbh I haven't even really looked into the engine bay since buying it. 

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6 minutes ago, Nyphur said:

@SiC how much was that scan tool - and what MY does it cover? I'm getting a bit pissed off now with my hooky old Delphi. Got Vagcom for the Skoda but its handy to have something plug and go for helping mates or just keeping in the car.

This thread has got me looking at C/E classes. Hmmmm.

Foxwell NT680 PRO. 

I bought mine from Amazon a few years ago for £320. Looks like you can get it from Halfords for £380 with a 10% off that too right now. 


Coverage is quite good. Noticed no adaptation for Merc though for headlights or gearbox. 

Interface is okay. Buttons means you can use it wearing gloves. But not as intuitive as the tablet (e.g. Autel/Launch/etc) based diagnostics systems. Also can be a bit slow (tablet ones I think can too). However it's powered entirely off the car OBD so you don't need to charge it. 

Tbh at £380 it's not far off the Autel and I'd be tempted with that instead. But for code scanning/live data and some service options it's pretty decent. 

Definitely a much better upgrade over a knock off DS150e. Tbh they're getting a bit long in the tooth and don't have much coverage for post 2010+

The newest I've done on this is my wife's 2015 Civic 1.8, a 2015 Ford Focus ST3 (sorted adaptive Xenon headlights), 2021 Honda Civic 1.5t and a 2019 Merc C220d. 

Updates are free for the lifetime of the device. I.e. a few years before they then release a new model. 

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