CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
3/8/22 12:45 p.m.

Hey Gang,

A couple weeks ago, I paid for my entry to the $2022 Challenge, but I didn't yet have a car. I thought entering would be a good "commitment device" to keep me on track, with a hard goal/date.

I haven't had a W211 E class before, but the wagon is a car that I was interested in owning, challenge or not, and ended up buying it sight-unseen, as it seemed like it would get bought before I could get there to look at it. So I rolled the dice and hoped for the best.

Here's the AD:

    

 

Getting Home:

So I drove up, completed the deal, total Price ended up being $2,600, as there was a dealer fee. 

My initial thought was that I could sell the HRE wheels (which are genuine, I was skeptical they might be cheap wheels with HRE center caps) and recover a lot of budget, but after looking at the rules (today), I guess not, the car is over budget either way, which is ok, because 1) it would only be so competitive unless I totally cut the car down into a Kart, and 2) I think I'd much prefer to own something I want, instead of something that's only a challenge car.

Back to the drive home- I hopped in, started it up, tried to read OBD2 codes, but the code reader wouldn't power up, so I couldn't read the codes. It was getting dark, so I just hit the road. Car made some odd noises, but I figure usually when the engine is really mad at you, the CEL flashes, and that wasn't happening.. 

The Seat heater button was unresponsive, but the heater was on full blast and was roasting my ass the whole drive. I'll have to unplug that for now... 

When I stopped to fill-up, the CEL went out & stayed-out the rest of the drive, so I thought maybe it was just a gas cap, that would be nice....  

Next step will be to take a full inventory of the car, doing some heavy cleaning/detailing, since the interior, in particular, is disgustingly filthy & decide what the path-forward is... Maybe fab a low pressure turbo? ...OR should I just cut it all up into an extreme challenge Kart?!...  

 

 

 

 

 

  

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
3/8/22 12:55 p.m.

The wheels alone are worth more than what you paid for the car, assuming they aren't all curbed up or bent. Overall, I'd say that looks like a nice score. As much as I'd want to clean it up and make it a work beater, it would look pretty amazing as a ute. That's a tough choice. I think it's too big for a kart, but it'd make a great truck. IMO, of course. 

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
3/8/22 12:59 p.m.

Looks like a score!

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
3/8/22 1:36 p.m.

Man, that seems like a steal! Cool car.

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
3/10/22 7:56 p.m.

Had a bit more time to look at the car.

Issues:

7.5 Amp fuse was found in the coin tray. Coincidentally, 7.5 amp fuse was missing from the panel which Powers the OBD port. Super sketchy / suspicious. Anyways, put the fuse back in& pulled the old codes that were still in there, it was just a bunch of cylinder misfires & a "coolant temp below thermostat regulating temp", probably related to:

There was a surprisingly low amount of coolant in the cooling system. No leaks were found. No coolant in the oil. Maybe a head gasket?.. more to investigate. Reservoir was dry, but there was no signal on the dash warning me of coolant low. I thought when those sensors go bad, they will cause the system to State you have low coolant... At least that has been my past experience.

Other motor issues: rear main seal leaking (engine-out repair), valve cover gaskets super leaky.

One wheel was going flat, looked into that. I have learned that 3 piece wheels require re-building/ re-siliconing, seems like a pain:

 

 

brad131a4 (Forum Supporter)
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) Reader
3/10/22 9:29 p.m.

Hell I'd just remove the tire and clean the old silicone off and just redo the rim section. Not worth breaking them down unless you do all four.  

 

autocomman
autocomman Reader
3/10/22 9:56 p.m.

Well it's not bad really....biggest issue is some pil leaks, which are easy, valve covers usually.  Vacuum lines, and the brake system.  I don't remember what they call it but it's brake by wire.  There is a hydropump that is what activates the brakes.  My Gpas 03 E500 sedan has had 3 of them.  They are now under crazy warranty coverage due to class action lawsuits.  Regardless of owner.  Air suspension can be problematic if old, but can be bypassed with regular springs etc.  Wonderful cars really.  300hp, the 5 speed auto is bulletproof, much better than the later 7 speed.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
3/11/22 9:07 a.m.
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) said:

Hell I'd just remove the tire and clean the old silicone off and just redo the rim section. Not worth breaking them down unless you do all four.  

 

This is correct, you will find that that wheel has been poorly resealed or a section has come loose. Like this

Use a wire brush to clean all the sealant from the area around the entire wheel then use any high temp silicone in ONE continuous bead around the seam. Then use your finger to smooth it in one continuous motion all the way around and it'll be good. Let cure, remount tire and check. There are sealers that are more popular but I've used GE clear silicone in a pinch and it held up fine over a few years. I was more diligent with that wheel watching for issues. Let me know if you have any questions I've built hundreds of sets.

Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter)
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
3/11/22 9:27 a.m.

Nice find! I'm not a huge Mercedes guy knowledge-wise but have always loved the W211, and my smarter friends say they're generally pretty reliable.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
3/27/22 5:32 p.m.

I bet the coolant reservoir has a crack. The coolant level sensor should be directly below it. 

I see that you're very local. I sent you a message.

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
4/4/22 1:27 a.m.
yupididit said:

I bet the coolant reservoir has a crack. The coolant level sensor should be directly below it. 

I see that you're very local. I sent you a message.

I don't see a message, but maybe I'm not looking in the correct place? Don't see anywhere to receive/send messages within my profile...

Chandler, thanks for the clarification on the wheels. I'll just clean them up and run a new bead... I know it's going to be a pain with tire shops around here, I'm sure they'll dismount it, but... in the past it's always a whole thing to get them to mount a balance a tire that isn't brand/new & that they haven't sold you. It's the old liability line...

 

Anyhow, a few minor updates. While I was poking around, I did a leakdown, it was basically perfect. Every cylinder was like this or better:  

I noticed the car has it's original rad, which is the dreaded Valeo Radiator, built in the "Scary" time period, according to the Mercedes guys, where there's a real risk of the trans cooler, located in a radiator end tank, developing a leak wherein the coolant finds it's way into the transmission. So I'll go ahead and plan to change that radiator. Also, the trans fluid is black, so it's possible that already happened and coolant has been in there wrecking the trans. I cut the end tank open to have a look at it, out of curiosity, It looks fine visually, but I'll try pressurizing it with air and see if there's any leaks: 

Also, funny enough, when I'm googling to find a price on Trans cooler lines (the existing lines are rusted to hell/ were fixed in a questionable fashion with a bunch of hose clamps by some previous owner (along with a bunch of other "Repairs" I've noticed that I probably wouldn't have done myself), I come across this post, which given the location, and described repair, is almost definitely the previous owner of this car...   https://mbworld.org/forums/e-class-w211/682323-w211-transmission-cooler-lines-rusted-leak-fix.html

... pretty funny that now I have someone, an actual person from the internet, to be mad at for such fixes.

My favorite "fix" is that, I assume, the seat module had some issue, and instead of replacing it, it was somehow bypassed, and there are little toggle switches drilled into the bottom-front corners of the seats, which I now know, control the seat heaters...

Ultimately, how a lot of this stuff gets fixed, or doesn't, is still kind of up in the air on whether I end up kind of just putting this car right, or going in a more extreme direction with it...Still on the fence as I'm peeling back the layers.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
4/4/22 12:30 p.m.

In reply to CoolUserName :

Check your email (the email you used for this forum)

autocomman
autocomman Reader
4/6/22 2:53 a.m.

Coolant in the transmission fluid makes it look like strawberry milkshake. If the fluids black, it's probably never been changed or hasn't been changed in a very very long time. But it's definitely not contaminated with coolant.

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
4/30/22 9:55 p.m.
autocomman said:

Coolant in the transmission fluid makes it look like strawberry milkshake. If the fluids black, it's probably never been changed or hasn't been changed in a very very long time. But it's definitely not contaminated with coolant.

Thanks for the info, makes sense. Have done a trans/filter service, I suspect it was never changed. Also, I did find the Coolant leak (or leaks) there was a crack in both an endtank AND the reservoir.

 

Also started to pull the airmatic stuff out, there's nothing wrong with it (I mean, In principle, though it is actually leaking/the rear airbag is), I'm basically just going to try to de-complicate and make the car more sporty for now, I ordered some BC coilovers, unfortunately they're the only 1 option and I'll have to wait 3-5 weeks for them to be delivered (although it looks like it wouldn't be too hard to Faabricate some parts to make other stuff work... we'll see if I can make this car sport...ish, in any way...

Found some rust. This seems to be the only rust of-concern I would say, seems like a really horrible design by Mercedes, to basically have a cup in this area on the frame rail that will hold road salt/water... guess they only need it to last through warranty period. Anyhow, to be expected I guess for an 18 y/o car, I'll have to cut it out and weld in some fresh metal while I'm waiting for coilovers...

 

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
6/4/22 11:56 p.m.

Air suspension removed, not sure where is best to try and sell this stuff, eBay maybe? I guess even the bad airbag is rebuildable for someone? Do people normally just throw stuff onto ebay at a fixed price and wait, sometimes months, for a taker, rather than something worth $25 selling for $3? 

 

Since I was converting from air suspension, I had to change rear lower control arms to ones with a spring perch, hit them with some POR 15 first. they were Junk yard parts, $30:

 

 

cut out all the rust, New Metal installed, ignore the ugly mig welds, I hadn't welded since, uhm...building a locost for, I think, the $2004? $2005? Challenge... Anyways, It's the same $250 MIG welder from then, but it was NOT feeding wire with any consistency, but eventually I remembered kinda how to weld, and the machine knocked the rust off, I guess, it's feed wheel thingies and wasn't slipping so much (Obligatory: car caught fire/burned seam sealer/undercoat, etc) 

 

 

Also noticed...stress fractures? cracks from rust? at the top of the strut tower, so I tried to put a stop to that getting worse: 

 

I think if I was cool and had a TIG, I'd probably attempt to weld the inside of that.

 

Anyhow, now it's sitting on Steel, not air. Need to lower the front a little, but you get the idea:

 

Also got the rim leak sealed up, wish I had grabbed a photo, but it was a bloodbath in there. It looked like someone had used an entire tube of clear bathroom silicone, AND covered it in duct tape... spent a while cleaning out all the debris & re-sealing.

Now I need to re-code the car, so it thinks it has regular suspension and not Airmatic. This entails either me getting STAR diagnostic, which means- a $300-$400 doohickey + ~$200 laptop, but not crazy if I think I may own another Mercedes or I find someone local that has one, or I go to the dealer (probably never happening). Anyways, on the fence on this one... 

Also, now I need to think about adding some power I guess...

 

 

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/5/22 6:15 a.m.

In reply to CoolUserName :

I always use fixed price for my eBay listings. Too worried about stuff selling for a dollar or something. 
 

The wagon is looking great!

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
6/5/22 6:37 a.m.

Car is looking great, if you don't want to buy the software find an Indy or jump on pelican Mercedes forum and see if anyone local has one. 

SpeedAddict502
SpeedAddict502 New Reader
6/6/22 11:53 a.m.

Arnott might buy your cores to skip the hassle as well.  Depending on the model they could buy the air struts and the compressor.

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
7/3/22 2:36 a.m.

Not much to update lately, I drove the car a bit, at some point the Alternator stopped charging (That, according to the no-name-brand sticker on it, was less than a year-old, not a Great sign). So I replaced that. The car will drain the battery after sitting for about a week, so I figure this, along with the Alternator being a, probably not great replacement, is certainly a recipe to burn out alternators...  

After BSing with Benz mechanics, some of who love W211s, they affirm that you'll constantly be chasing some kind of new current draw on a semi-annual basis. I thought I'd put in a battery disconnect, since this isn't a car I plan to drive a ton. Since I no longer have a current idea of what's going on in the Automotive world, figured I'd Google if maybe now there existed some kind of electronic remote-controlled battery disconnect.... low and behold, someone made the product I'd assumed someone should have made by now (Not a promo, for all I know, this product is trash and will make my car combust, but it does exist, and I'll try it):

  I connected this up @ the Primary Battery (W211s have 2 batteries, the second one is under-hood and is tiny), So basically, according to the poorly-written instructions, I connect this box between positive battery terminal , run a thin wire from this box to the Neg battery terminal to keep the box ("Brain") powered, and it's supposed to sever the connection whenever it gets to 11.8V. Then you run an Ignition-on source to the box, so that is doesn't disconnect whenever the engine is running (which I found to be challenging, because this is a semi-modern car, and all these things (like fuel pump) were 12V-powered even with the car off and the key removed. Eventually, I figured out the rear 12V Trunk power socket was ignition switched, so that worked. Anyhow, this is all very dumb, because it basically just band-aids the current draw. BUT, I would argue that I have future-proofed the car from ALL current draws...  Anyhow, so here's the dumpy remote that comes with the battery disconnect, that I'll now embarrassingly keep with the key. 

 

 

Lastly....I'm not sure how to say this.... but, uhhh.... After driving the car a bit now, even on coilovers... it's, uhhh... well, it's uninteresting. I mean, if it were a 2006 Toyota Corolla, it would be fine, but the steering is sad, the transmission is sad, it's all just very sad and uninteresting. It does accelerate ok, IF it's in the right gear...so I guess I'll try to focus on that for now...

 

 

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
7/3/22 6:30 p.m.

Oh I left my MB Star with a friend in Texas since I don't have any modern Mercedes. Let me see if he's done with it and will ship it back to me.

CoolUserName
CoolUserName New Reader
7/4/22 12:47 p.m.
yupididit said:

Oh I left my MB Star with a friend in Texas since I don't have any modern Mercedes. Let me see if he's done with it and will ship it back to me.

Nice, I didn't buy the STAR yet, so I'll pay for your shipping if he's not using it. I think you have my email, just shoot me a message. It sounds like a super versatile tool I really need to figure out how to use...

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