Last post on Nov 10, 2009 at 6:48 PM
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Car Safety, Sedan
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#6697 of 7297 Harmonic Balancer
Nov 27, 2003 (8:55 am)
Is the pulley at the end of the crankshaft. The V-6 engine is not balanced, and they often use the harmonic balancer in conjuction with balance shafts to quell vibrations.
The M112 V-6 and M113 V-8 engines use a new balancer design with a rubber interior that can degrade, come loose, and then get "flung" around in the engine bay. I have met owners that had the balancer parts tear into their engines, including damaging oil pans, blocks, rads, etc. In many cases the total bill was several thousand dollars. Mercedes-Benz refuses to acknowledge the problem, and if it happens outsode the warranty period, you're on your own.
The only way to tell if you're in danger is to visit the dealer. They can check the part # on the balancer and tell you where it is in the "sequence." Have them run a Vehicle Master Inquiry (VMI) on the car to see if has been done under warranty.
Before driving the car anymore, get under the hood and visually inspect the balancer. If the rubber interior "doughnut" looks cracked in the slightest, get thee to thy dealer, asap.
This problem effects ALL M112 cars including the 2.8L C280 W202, the CLK cars, ML and E-Class cars from 1998. The M113 is effected as well, but I haven't heard the horror stories that M112 woners have relayed.
Here's link that might help with info...
Nov 28, 2003 (6:24 am)
A couple of notes ago you talked about the C280 and C220 engines as having head gasket problems. I have an 96 E320 that just needed a head gasket and am wondering if you have an estimated repair cost for the same work on the C-class engines. I realize that the 220 is a four and the 280 is a V6, where my 320 is a straight 6, but I'm just looking for a ballpark number so I can determine if I got hosed or got a reasonable deal..
#6699 of 7297 The head gasket problems....
Nov 28, 2003 (6:52 am)
...were not with the new V6 engines, but with the last generation of the inline six - both 2.8 and 3.2. The problem was a machined hole in the back of the head that could develop a leak around the surrounding gasket material and cause a failure. To my knowledge, this is the only significant issue with the last-gen of the straight sixes [in our market, everything prior to 1998], but it is a significant one...lots of cars develop this problem at mid-high mileages.
Your '96 E is indeed a prime candidate for this kind of failure. How much? Well, whatever it cost on your E...but it has nothing to do with the C vs the E - it's about the older inline 6 vs the newer V6. As noted above, the issues with the new-gen modular V family ['98 on for us] are different.
Nov 28, 2003 (8:59 am)
Thanks for the great info on W202. Would you know the new 2003 model C230K engine? Is it reliable?
Nov 28, 2003 (1:06 pm)
Thanks for the extensive details on the W202 models. Did not know I had an Eaton brand supercharger, nor that the engine designation was M111.975. Good info for a Google search too.
#6702 of 7297 Re: Harmonic Balancer by johngenx
Nov 28, 2003 (3:04 pm)
Thanks for your time and response on V6 harmonic
balancers. I will check this out soon even tho
I have a certified car. So far, I have been very
pleased with the performance of the v6 2.8 liter
engine and want to stay that way. Vern
#6703 of 7297 Head Gaskets and the "Evo" Engine...
Nov 28, 2003 (3:58 pm)
Head gasket problems with MB inline engines are common on the M104 engine in 2.8 and 3.2L forms.
This includes the W124 1993 300E with the DOHC 3.2L engine, the W124 1994-1995 E320, the W210 1996-1997 E320, the W202 1994-1997 C280 and the W140 1992-1999 300SE/S320 cars.
Anyone thinking of those cars as a used buy should examine the car's history carefully. As to the cost of a headgasket replacement, usually any M104 will eat about $1200-1500USD for the job, and more for a full top end job. Depending on mileage, you should think strongly about doing the top end when doing the head gasket.
The "new" Evo 1.8 engine in the CL230 (should be CL180...?) is a new engine in many respects (designation M111.981) and is not a proven quantity here.
However, since it's cousins, the M111.961/M111.974/M111.975 are very durable, it's not a stretch to think it will be as well. Mercedes has lots of experience in building alloy engines. That is one main difference between the 111.981 and the previous versions. The .961/.974/.975 engines were all iron block mills.
It is funny that the M104 head gasket problems seem to evaded the M111 as the M111 is, in many ways, a sawed off M104. Oh well, since we don't have an M104 in the family, I don't dwell on it...
#6704 of 7297 jrct9454 & johngenx;
Nov 29, 2003 (8:20 am)
Thanks for the info.. I thought the 2.8 was a small V6 and stand corrected.. Sounds like the cost for either head gasket should be within a few dollars.
I'm glad to hear my cost was in the range quoted by johngenx; $1340. I was quoted $1640 by another dealer but went with the lower quote at my selling dealer and am very happy with the repair. And now satisfied that it was cost competitive as well. Since I bought the car from them I was entitled to a loaner and they gave me a fairly new C230K which was a blast to drive. If that engine were available in a C wagon, I would be very tempted to trade my wife's Matrix for it.. Anyone aware of plans to stuff that engine into the sedan/wagon anytime soon?
#6705 of 7297 Engines and the C-Class
Nov 29, 2003 (8:25 pm)
I think that MB has missed the boat a little lately. They should drop the 168hp 2.6L M112 from the C-Class line, and make the C320 it's direct replacement. That means the C320 at the current C240 price points.
Then, the C230 four bangers would be the entry level cars, with the 320 the step into the six.
Here's the line I would want to see in Canada:
1. C270CDI diesel wagon and sedan, available in RWD and 4-matic. Should be the least expensive C-Class in the line, with a Classic trim available with manual HVAC, no traction control, no COMAND, etc.
2. C230-K sedan (not sure about trim level or wagon availability) But I do know the C230 Sports sedan should continue (dropped in Canada) with standard 17" wheels, special trim, sports suspension, black-out grille and leather at a price that is WAY less than the options individually.
3. C320 sedan and wagon, available in RWD and 4-matic.
4. C55-K sedan, a fire breathing M3/M5 killer compact sedan with the 469hp V-8 from the E55-K. If it doesn't fit, make it. They did it with the M117 into the original "Hammer." If not, then ensure the V-8 fits into the W204 iteration.
A C270 Classic wagon with 4-matic and the old-style heavy MB-Tex, manual tranmission, manual HVAC, manual seats, a radio with nice big knobs, and no traction control or drive-by-wire would have me trading tomorrow. (No traction control means no throttle actuators, a constant expensive problem with ASR/ESP equipped cars)
Nov 30, 2003 (6:51 am)
My wish-list for the US market is similar, but I don't plan on seeing it fulfilled anytime soon. To me, the best engine in the line is the new diesel, but the crap that substitutes for diesel fuel in North America has made everyone but VW hesitant about giving us the latest diesels [yes, I know about MB's plans for the E next year, but that doesn't help anyone with no more than $30k-$35k US to spend].
Your "ideal" would work for me, as well, except I would prefer an automatic - I too wish we could deselect many of the things that make the car more expensive [and prone to failure]...choices most other markets in the world get to make, but we don't.