Operating Temperature for 1997 C280

I have a 1997 C280 with 156K miles on it.
Lately, it seems to be running hit: the temperature indicator is consistently in the upper third of the gauge. And when in heavy traffic in hot weather,
the temperature will climb towards the red line.
Any indication of the normal operating temperature or ideas of what to do about this.
Thanks in advance.
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Around 80-90 or so. Sounds like it may be time for a new thermostat (pretty inexpensive). Also, is your aux. fan kicking on?
Josh

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Does the electric fan run when the engine gets into the upper heat range?
Pull over, open the hood and look if it's running.
If not, why not.
It has a temperature sensor, a fuse, a relay and fan motor; any of these could be defective.
But if the fan is running and the engine is hot then the radiator may need to be cleaned, inside and outside. This will be especially so if the engine runs hot while at speed, not just in slow traffic.
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I just had this exact same problem with my '94 E320. The fuses for both of the auxiliary (electrical) fans had blown, a 30A and a 15A. (spade type, not the usual pointy cylinder type) When they started up again for the first time, there was a great cloud of dead bugs and bug parts flying out of the radiator. I am assuming that this surfeit of dead bugs was the reason both fuses blew in the first place.
Another symptom I had was that my AC, although it worked fine while driving down the road (good air flow) would stop cooling as I slowed down for a traffic light.
Hose out the bugs (not too much water pressure, it will bend your radiator vanes), make sure that the fans turn freely, and check the fuses.
John M. '94 E320 runnin' cool
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