RE: Shed of the Week: Mercedes-Benz E430 (W210)

RE: Shed of the Week: Mercedes-Benz E430 (W210)

Friday 26th October 2018

Shed of the Week: Mercedes-Benz E430 (W210)

It's a V8 Mercedes for £1,200! A rusty V8 Mercedes, but still...



What's in a Mercedes boot lid number? Once, it was a simple descriptor of the engine size: 320 meant 3.2 litres, 500 5 litres. Over at AMG, 43 meant 4.3 litres, 63 6.3 litres and so on. It was all so dreamily easy.

Now, thanks to the virtual demise of natural aspiration and the rise of the turbo, iconic power-Merc numbers no longer bear any relation to the size of the motor, or anything much at all really. The E43 is now a 3.0 V6. The E63 is a 4.0 V8.

Mercedes isn't the only offender, either. BMW's M850 has a 523hp 4.4 V8 and Audi has somehow stretched its 3.0-litre A8 into a '50'. You will have no difficulty finding plenty more examples of this overnaming syndrome if you have a spare two or three hours to fight your way through German manufacturer websites. It's like a badging arms race.


Anyway, from a time when numbers meant something, here is the 4.3-litre E430. With 275hp, it was the most powerful and fastest non-AMG W210 E-Class. The first two years of manufacture ('96-'98) took place in the Daimler-Benz era, the next five under the Uriah Heep stewardship of the disastrous DaimlerChrysler dynasty. Unfortunately, our 2000-vintage Shed falls into the latter category, so it's no surprise to see visible rust on the offside.

Mercedes covered themselves in shame in the 2000s by pretending that this kind of rust was actually perfectly normal. Warranty work wasn't always carried out in the way it perhaps should have been. Many long-term customers were lost for ever as a result of the company's penny-pinching attitude at that time.

As a result, it's a given that the first few posts under this story will be along the lines of not touching it with your disinfected barge pole etc. But let's just leave that aside for the moment and look at what else you're getting apart from iron oxide.


For a start you're getting six-second 0-60 performance, though it's also true that, despite V8-based expectations, the 16-plug M113-engined E430 was oddly light on character. Engine mounts are a slightly weak area, probably something to do with the balancing issues that also afflicted M-B's M112 V6s. The anti-vibration design involved a bimaterial disc on the end of the crank, which was fine until it broke up. Fixing it necessitates locking up the crank, and to do that you need to get at the back of the engine - not a DIY job. Engine mount replacements are cheap and easy to install, though.

The E430's 722.6 automatic transmission was also used in the C43 and has a good reputation, as long as your car had the later design with magnets in the oilpan to pick up any wandering swarf. Generally, the mechanical package is strong, but it would still be nice to see some paperwork for our Shed because servicing big Germans can be a demanding business.

What with the flimsy body metal and all, you might also want to have a quick glance at the suspension top mounts. Assuming they're sound, you can then consider the idea of channelling your inner Werner by setting yourself up in some kind of faux-deluxe hen/stag punter-carting business. The gangsta tints are in place, the AMG Monoblocs are on and the '0' has been chipped off the boot badge.


W210 interiors stand up well to the type of abuse a couple of WKD-ed up lassies might dish out. As you'll be working mainly at night, the brown bits won't really matter, but for your more discerning clientele you can sort out the lacy wings with a sheet of wet'n'dry and a small pot of Hammerite.

The only structural corrosion issue to be picked up as an advisory by the MOT tester in March was one jacking point, a classic W210 ailment. The vendor tells us that mending it is a half-hour job. That's a half-hour he didn't have, obviously, possibly because half an hour could easily turn into half a fortnight if you're the sort who can't stop themselves looking a bit more closely at the state of play underside.

But all this is why you can have a V8 Mercedes outside your house for only £1,200. Try to imagine what the buy price would have been if the Benz shareholders hadn't taken such a greedy and short-sighted decision on quality standards back in the late 1990s. Double that at least.

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Author
Discussion

EyeHeartSpellin

Original Poster:

54 posts

20 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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First

Master Bean

1,177 posts

57 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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The rust on the wheel arch scares me. On the plus side, if I want to look like a pimp cruising the streets of Swindon I think I've found my vehicle.

Mr Tidy

7,183 posts

64 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Good car - bad example!

only1ian

552 posts

131 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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That’s clearly had an accident and the owner wants shut. You don’t sell a with that obvious a defect unless you don’t love it and you don’t want to spend a penny on it. Doesn’t bode well

Raygun

2,259 posts

57 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Awful thing, at least it's not silver.
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Checkmate

444 posts

144 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Oh, good. Another shed that one would have to be utterly off their jugs to even contemplate viewing, let alone buying.
All of one full stop in the sellers spiel. The car looks properly knackered.
It would be nice if SOTW was at least a *little* bit realistic again. Or failing that, at least some humour. This article reads so drily and cynically, it feels as if the author themselves didn't even give a damn.

cookie1600

1,046 posts

98 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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E-bay the wheels and weigh the rest in - would you make a profit?

Mike335i

2,112 posts

39 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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cookie1600 said:
E-bay the wheels and weigh the rest in - would you make a profit?
No, can't imagine that it would. Wheel can't be worth that much, about £500-700 if perfect and genuine? Scrap value can't be much more than £200, so still short.

Nigel_O

1,523 posts

156 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Looks like it has been polished with a Brillo pad

Last week’s Fiat was probably a better Shed - at least it’s ailments were fixable for less than the GDP of a small country....

SWTH

3,735 posts

161 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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A rusty W210 thats been on the receiving end of a light tap with the Barry Hammer?

Ahm oot.

J4CKO

26,089 posts

137 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Maybe at £500, get the V8 Merc thing out of your system, but its a bit too scabby to pay much more.

Turbobanana

1,211 posts

138 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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Always amuses me how seriously some people take Shed of the Week.

Do the maths: it's a huge, high spec example of what was, when new, one of the most refined cars in the world. Yes, it's been mucked about with and the rising damp has started, but it will appeal to those who want the maximum bang for their buck, so to speak. The very opposite to last week's Fiat.

For the money, I'd consider it as a sort of upmarket station car (if I needed one): surely a lovely old thing to flop into after a hard day at the office, no?

Shed is not implying you should buy it - merely bringing it to your attention. If offended, please avoid. Just because you could, doesn't mean you should.

DrSteveBrule

1,664 posts

68 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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FIL had the balance issue on the V6 Merc he brought recently (2008 model I think). Was warned trouble starts at 60k miles and this proved accurate. £4k bill at main dealers to fix.

HorneyMX5

4,312 posts

87 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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I do love the front end treatment of this era of E series, a good shed as a luxo station car as mentioned above.

g7jhp

5,850 posts

175 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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A really nice looking car with a great engine.

Look past the obvious rust and it's worth more than £1,200 for the parts alone.


Hub

4,031 posts

135 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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275bhp doesn't sound like a lot these days.

Scabby but not a lot of cash really. If it breaks or has a catastrophic MOT failure then you could probably get a few quid for the wheels.

Richard-390a0

580 posts

28 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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It's a thumbs up from me as I do love playing shed roulette!

Motorrad

6,680 posts

124 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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No.

If the body is that bad imagine what the chassis is like, the thought of a spring perch failure which these are notorious for is enough to put me off.

If they didn't rust so badly they'd be a perfect shed with the 'little' V8 engine. Some colours seem to do better than others with silver always seeming to be the worst.

rtz62

1,577 posts

92 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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".. it was the most powerful and fastest non-AMG W210 E-Class."
Which is why some dolt has stuck an AMG badge on it's boot lid...

My godfather had one of these, elderly retired bank manager, had it fully sped'd from new, and adhered to the servicing (in fact, had it serviced more often than necessary) and corrosion inspection without fail at the supplying MB dealer.

Surprise surprise, the tin worm appeared and MB gave him the bums rush. He pointed out that they had inspected it every year for corrosion and they just weren't interested (despite it corroding from the inside out, or outside in, whichever was supposed to be covered.

Bless him, he went to the nearby Toyota dealer and bought an Avensis D4D auto, as it is to be his last car before giving up driving (and he was prepared to spend serious wedge on his last MB).

Whilst waiting for the Toyota to be built he drove around were he lives in North London with a big home-made sign in his Merc telling people to avoid the marque.

stty attitude and they lost a £50k+ sale (and yes, its a big difference between a Toybota and a Merc...)

There's a silver E55 AMG i see in my local Tesco on a weekly basis and there's no evidence of rust at all; do or did owners keep these better or is it because an increasing number seem to be being imported from the salt-free roads of Japan?

BFleming

815 posts

80 months

Friday 26th October 2018
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It's better than a Fiat Seicento, isn't it?!

I lived in Germany back in the early 1990's, and in/around Stuttgart I used to see these driving around with all the disguise stickers on - it was more gaffer tape than camo wraps in those days. The W124 had (and still has) a lot of love in Germany, so the W210 had big boots to fill. A couple of colleagues had the W124, and they just didn't like the looks of the W210. The drive/package was very much secondary, as the assumption was it would be the exact same as their old cars! They all kept their W124s longer than they normally would have.
Anyhow, fast forward 25 years (Christ, where did that go?) and I think they're as unappealing as they were new. The E430 would be a straight line hoot I'm sure, but it needs a towbar for that fuel bowser you would constantly require. The facelift (2000ish) improved the W210 looks slightly, but they still looked like... well... a German taxi.
Also I'm not sure about the flimsy metal comment. These - like the W124 before them - had certain areas which were poorly designed where massive amounts of muck & road grime / salt would build up, the front wings being the first to go. It was less about the thickness / quality of the metal, but what they were subjected to.

Edited by BFleming on Friday 26th October 09:59