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Hi, my name is***** gas odor can be caused by a fuel leak at the top of the fuel tank. The rear seat cushion should be removed and the top of the tank inspected for leakage. This is a common issue on the 2005 E class. Your hard start problem might be related to the fuel leak and loss of fuel pressure or it could be unrelated. A faulty crankshaft position sensor can sometimes cause a no start hot. A fuel pressure test and a test for ignition spark should be performed when the car won't start.
Let me know if you have any questions.