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Thread: S210 E-class wagons (out-of-warranty German luxury content!)

  1. #1

    S210 E-class wagons (out-of-warranty German luxury content!)

    This is the wagon (estate if you're Euro) version of the W210, sold from 1996-2003. I was recently offered one of these for about $5k and balked. I don't want to swap cars and/or take on something German (even if it's really good) until my career change is complete. It had 160,000 miles on it- not that that scared me. It looked just like this one, only gold paint- same wheels, good condition save a small crack in the front bumper cover and missing the star ornament:



    I wonder if anyone has experience with these? Mercedes typically offers bullet-proof long-term reliability, if you can stomach some electrical gremlins (though ones since 2006, I hear, are MUCH improved). I am aware of rust issues but... given how much time I spend (waste?) washing and waxing my cars, I doubt I'd have much issue. Especially since I'd be in love with a thick, glossy German paint job.

    I passed another one in white looking like this:



    while on a bike ride with dad, ironically. He knows I've been having a wagon fetish- especially MB wagons- for a while now. He wants a midsize CUV thing (yuck!). I told him why buy a new SUV/CUV (even if it's a Nissan or Infiniti) and spend more money to get the same utility and worse mpg, ride and handling when you can buy an out-of-warranty Benz estate with good service records for 10-15k? (or 5k if you want to live dangerously!). I think I got him thinking. Service we could diy or rely on a mechanic friend in a pinch. I love old cars!

    Apparently, this NYC metro area is the biggest market for these wagons and all the owners love them to bits. They are still very rare, though you will find them in Craigslist ads and dealer lots if you look hard enough. I may just end up waiting til the S211 is good and cheap before playing the game. The Consumer Reports graph for 2006 and newer on that thing looks like a damn Japanese car.

    ... some good stream of consciousness while I can't sleep.
    Last edited by JayG35; 07-04-2013 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Looks beautiful.

    i hear the ones to avoid are the late 90's(harnesses need replacing for 5-8k) to late 00's S class (bags of air suspensions always fail and need replacing for 11k) and the mid 90's thru late 90's E class all with significant multi thousand dollars problems programmed in.

    I am unsure about an early 00's e class.


    Still tempted to buy one anyway because i always loved the looks of them.
    But then I think for the money i could get a nic e newer used Infiniti
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

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  3. #3
    Always liked these myself & have thought about snagging one for a dog transporter as the G35 is just too small if I need to move several large dogs.

    The older ones could end up being a maintenence nightmare. I'd really, really research the model year before buying one. Also crutial would be finding a quality independant repair place, MB dealership prices are .

    Rather than go cheap (and old/high miles), I thing I'd spend a little more up front & get something like this if I were to pull the trigger:

    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...Index=19&Log=0

    .
    Last edited by MikeD; 07-04-2013 at 04:34 PM.
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

  4. #4
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    I like this exmaples of the last generations of MB built like a tank:
    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...gIndex=3&Log=0


    Also a classic 12 cylinder would be nice


    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...gIndex=1&Log=0
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    2x91,92,94 Q45s, 2x 350Z, 1x 240SX w/ SR20DET, 1x Sentra SER SPEC-V, 2k2 Maxima, 2x03 G35, 09 Maxima, 2k2 Maxima, 2015 XTerra, 2005 Xterra, 2012 Pathfinder,

  5. #5
    When I lived in Tampa I had a neighbor who owned a 560 SEL - what a beast !! It was even painted green like an army tank
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

  6. #6
    You guys are nuts to even think about an old M-B, especially one with 160k miles. M-B or not, there is a service life to all kinds of components, and "little" things like tie rod ends, bushings, alternators, power steering pumps and brake rotors can have heart-attack-level prices attached to them. And if the engine goes - even just rings and valves - mama mia.
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  7. #7
    I don't think it'll actually happen, at least not in the next couple of years. With regards to the cost of an old MB- I lurk in forums like Benzwolrd and some of the people experienced the things Mike touched on, while others have had experiences similar to our Nissans and Infiniti. Perhaps those with bad stories were the folks who had late 90s ones built at the height of the Daimler-Chrysler crapfest (though the wiring harnesses and evaporator cores on W124s and W140s for example were all MB's fault!). The W210/S210 came out during that time, but was engineered before the merger, so it's a tough one to judge. Again, consensus is that the pre-facelifts had more issues and very poor (!) crash test results. 2000-2003 were much better.

    The S211s are getting cheap already (some 04s can be had for 10 grand!) and some day, the S212 (my personal fav- back to a really, really tank-like build with all the modern stuff) will be down there. It's all about how much of a roll of the dice do you want to take with these, or any out-of-warranty car. I can say this, new car prices are insane, and I'm not so sure that even current Nissans (*cough* $500 CVT fluid flush, over 3 grand for the part if it fails) let alone Infinitis will be any cheaper to keep long term. I'll look into these more at a later date. ONE BIG FLAG though- S211s and newer have Airmatic in the rear. Fred was talking about the 10-11k repair cost for an S-class with the air suspension on all four corners. At half that, it's still a huge repair when it goes. Better make sure I have a 5-figure savings account for repairs before buying one.

    MikeD, thanks for the independent shop advice. I located a few of those around here when I was bored last summer. They are a must if you're crazy enough to buy these old tanks. I've felt that the R-class is the best-looking minivan-thingie ever made, and thought it a crime that they didn't sell well. However, they are a reliability nightmare in the big surveys (along with the first-gen GL, perhaps the last of the unreliable Benzes), so an E-class wagon would be closer to a Japanese experience in terms of stuff not breaking. I think.

    I think my dad at least will more likely go with a new or CPO Infiniti. He's got much deeper pockets. :P And I'll always have at least one Infiniti. I suppose if I get the wagon in the mid 20-teens, the Altima will probably end up with a family member. No one here doubts the durability and cheap maintenance costs of Nissan, particularly with the old Jatco 4-speed automatic. Inexpensive and indestructable.
    Last edited by JayG35; 07-05-2013 at 03:26 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by palmerwmd View Post
    I like this exmaples of the last generations of MB built like a tank:
    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...gIndex=3&Log=0


    Also a classic 12 cylinder would be nice


    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...gIndex=1&Log=0
    Sweet links Fred! I subscribed to a guy on Youtube who sells tons of old S-classes. Mainly W126 and W140 models- his personal favs. He also posts DIY videos and links to suppliers of replacement parts to undercut the MB dealer BS. His videos make it very, very tempting to give one of these a try when I've got more pennies saved. And once in a while, he does get one of the wagons- usually an S124 though. The wiring harness, evaporator core, head gasket on the I-6 that likes to explode at 100k... all make me want to avoid that model. Thier back seats are also shockingly tiny compared to the 210-212, like G37 sedan small! But it is so... oh my GOD IT'S A TANK in it's build quality. I have to admire.

  9. #9
    Here's an awesome video series about the very thing that I'm thinking of doing in about 5 or 6 years: buying a decade-old, ~ 100,000 mile MB that has experienced most of its depreciation, but still has years of useful life. He even goes into detail about his personal S210 wagon.



    Wow, a lot of the things that I have on my own mental checklist- much of the strategy that I've developed for future use- perfectly match his advice! It's good to know that my intuition is on track.
    Last edited by JayG35; 11-29-2013 at 12:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Nice vid!

    Tempting
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    2x91,92,94 Q45s, 2x 350Z, 1x 240SX w/ SR20DET, 1x Sentra SER SPEC-V, 2k2 Maxima, 2x03 G35, 09 Maxima, 2k2 Maxima, 2015 XTerra, 2005 Xterra, 2012 Pathfinder,

  11. #11

    Cool Wagon Hotness !!

    Check out this wagon hotness ......................
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

  12. #12
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Wait.. my head is about to explode a.. Mustang.. Wagon.. Diesel????
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    2x91,92,94 Q45s, 2x 350Z, 1x 240SX w/ SR20DET, 1x Sentra SER SPEC-V, 2k2 Maxima, 2x03 G35, 09 Maxima, 2k2 Maxima, 2015 XTerra, 2005 Xterra, 2012 Pathfinder,

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by palmerwmd View Post
    Wait.. my head is about to explode a.. Mustang.. Wagon.. Diesel????
    LOL, it's just a styling exercise, not something they are giving serious attention. If they made a GT version, I'd be all over it !!!
    Doubt it will ever get past the drawing stage
    2016 Challenger Hellcat, Max Steel/Blk - A8 trans, Navi, C Fiber Stripes
    2018 Durango R/T, Vice White/Blk, Tow, Blacktop pkg, Perf Tires
    2017 Honda Accord Touring V6, Basque Red Pearl/Ivory

    GONE:
    2003.5 G35s Caribbean Blue - Prem, Wood, Spoiler
    2009 G37 Vert Athens Blue/Bone - Prem, Sport, Nav
    2016 Mustang GT Prem, Guard/Ebony - Roush SC +++ ** Lmn Law 1200 mi
    2009 M45s Obsidian/Graphite - Sport, Tech, Adv Tech, Wood, Spoiler
    2007 Titan LE Crew Deep Water Blue
    2002 Q45s Desert Platinum

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