Piston Slap: Get Ready to Lose Much More!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap get ready to lose much more

TTAC Commentator LordMurdoc writes:


I’m finally ready to lose my BORING 2002 Geo Prizm.

Checking eBay for older Lexus LS or a Mercedes C-class(about 2004-2006) . If I went with the Merc with the gasoline V6, what type of Gremlins might I expect to attack me when my wallet is most vulnerable? The Prizm is turning my brain to mush and my right foot is in despair!

Thanks for your excellent advice.

Sajeev answers:

That’s a good question, insofar that I’m answering the question I heard you to ask…not your actual question.

“Why yes, the 2003+ Lincoln Town Car with an SCT tune, a cop car air box/rear sway bar, late model Mustang GT mufflers and a quicker axle ratio is PERFECT for you! Considering otherwise is foolish, and thank goodness you are no such fool.”

But somewhat more seriously, these questions are fun: the OP knows he’s about to do something stupid.

Like buying a neglected Lexus LS with an explodey timing belt. Or the litany of little things to drive you nuts on most W203 C-class Benzes. Or big things, like certain V6s with balance shaft issues. But, on the plus side, the C240 looks more robust, perhaps even having less body mounted electric gizmos to fail as it’s a lower level model. Maybe even with super durable MB-Tex coverings!

I’d go with the C240, for the stout motor. The rest of it? Off to you, Best and Brightest.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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5 of 84 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 10, 2014

    The most expensive car you will ever own , will be a ' cheap ' used Mercedes . So says the mechanic who owns three old Mercedes Diesels , two with well over 300,000 miles on them . Beware ! . Many Brothers down at work bought one owner lexus' (? Lexi ?) and love them , take care of them and don't spend much $ or time on repairs . -Nate

  • Jjf Jjf on Nov 11, 2014

    If you go for the W203 benz I'd recommend getting the latest build 2007 model you can. I bought a 2007 C280 4 years ago am happy with it. It has had a few minor repairs but nothing big, and I would buy it again. That said I wouldn't turn down a well sorted Lexus of the same vintage either. My main complaint about the benz is the gas mileage. It drops to as low as 15 in the city, but gets around 28-30 on the highway. That is pretty poor for a little car these days.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 11, 2014

    Well, I went from a '95 Altima to a 2005 LeSabre just last year, and I'm happy, despite the size difference (2 feet longer, six inches wider). You'll be making a similar size swap, so think about it, HARD. I just happened to luck out with a classic little old lady car with low mileage, and I traded up ten years to one of the few reliable drive trains GM made at the time. You're moving up 2-4 years from an old canoe to an old tuna boat that may have seen rough seas.

  • Nick Nick on Nov 11, 2014

    'Mercedes C-class(about 2004-2006)' I don't mean to give offense but ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!! The C-Class, no matter what generation, is piece of crap cost cut to death so they can sell a cheap Benz to people in the thrall of the three-pointed star. NEVER.

    • Glwillia Glwillia on Nov 12, 2014

      Not true of the original, the W201 190E/190D. Overbuilt and overengineered. I'd still love to have one today. Also, the W204 isn't terrible. The W202 (1994-2000) is crap, the W203 is even worse.