M272 Balance Shaft Issues – E350

I went to look at an 2006 E350 W211 Estate today and had learned on the Topklasse forum that the M272 engine manufactured from 2005-2007 suffers from a potential defect.    From what I understand as this engine is a 90 degree V6, there were additional components required to make it run smoothly and these and the timing gear can suffer from premature wear.     More information can be found here.   The part is called the Balance Shaft.  The ideal angle for a V6 is 60 degrees.   The M272 is 90 degrees so it can be built alongside a V8.  90 degrees is the ideal angle for a V8.

This was enough to put me off buying a car I would have otherwise bought.   Most likely I’ll be looking for an ’04 or ’08 model instead. Late 2007 models are also generally fine.  Its a shame as it was a nice car.  From what I read, repairing the M272 balance shaft means a partial disassembly of the engine and at least $7,000.  The dealer was also unwilling to let me have a mechanic check to see if the job had been done.   That was a showstopper for me.

The link to the Topklasse forum above also contains the factory documentation to look up the engine numbers of affected cars with this M272 balance shaft problem.  It also outlines the scope of the work required if such a car is to be repaired.  The early build M273 V8 engines also have problems, although not as severe as the V6.  There was a class action lawsuit in the USA that provided relief to those owners.

Update January 2017: I later purchased a 2007 model E350 Wagon that falls outside the affected engine numbers.   The Wagons can be hard to find as they were more expensive than the equivalent SUV.   They are a much better car though.

Update December 2021:  Turns out you can have Balance shaft issues outside the published range.   My car is now affected by this issue and is well outside the engine numbers listed.

4 comments to M272 Balance Shaft Issues – E350

  • Macky

    I own a 2005 e350 and barely drove my car other than taking my kids to school and around town and it at 105,000 miles but the light of 1208 and 1200 is now now and its due to balance shaft its going to be a total of $7,947.33, does anyone know if there is still a good will on this issue for the year that I have? I was rejected yesterday from mercedez but I was wondering if there is anything that I can do at this point. Thank you in advance for your time.

    • admin

      I doubt you would get much good will unless you were a regular customer of a particular dealer and bought a lot of new cars there.

      If you do the job, I would find a good independent Mercedes mechanic if you have not already. My wife’s car is being done now and the quote was around AUD$6500.

  • […] temporarily fixed the problem.    If the car didn’t sit outside the engine numbers with the soft balancer shaft, I would have probably assumed that this was my […]

  • […] failure of the Balance shaft on the Mercedes M272 engine is a known problem.   Apparently the balance shafts were too soft and so they wear out quickly.   This was the […]

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