I talked to my tech before I bought the 300E from my father's estate. (my first MB) He felt that the following were weak or expensive areas:
AC if leaking refrigerant in a spot that requires work behind dash!
Valve guides/seals on the m103, head gaskets on the m104
Cooling and brake systems if not religiously maintained/flushed.
Steering box if not checked for tight bolts/fit at service intervals
Trans if fluid changes/ flex disks neglected.
Radiator needs frequent inspection if it hasn't been replaced.
Cruise control if you don't try the DIY repair or buy the rebuilt
Driver air bag on the 87 expires next year - expensive.
He said the m103 was his favorite MB 6, and the w124 his favorite body to work on. He personally favors the 94 400E because he said it had all the advantages of the 6 cyl w124s, almost as good of gas mileage as the later m103s, more power, R134a AC system, and minimal head gasket problems. Otherwise, he said if a m103 was well maintained, 87-89 300Es were his favorite MB 6 cyl 4 door sedans.
His caveat was that any car over 6 or 7 years old was going to have deterioration of rubber and metal from smog in the air, corrosion from the elements, and aging components failing just from solder joints oxidizing, electrolysis, dust build up on foam surfaces, sag in springs, UV and sunlight, etc.
PS: I know what the blue book is on my 87, but I would not take $15,000 cash for it, and would have to think real hard about $20k. I can't think of anything else that handles and brakes as well, has as safe and solid a body structure, or has as wonderful a ride for even $20,000. The only reason I would consider $20 is because that would put me close to the price of a private party 400E with air bags that didn't need replacing! Buy what you like best, and know that ANY car is going to have a surprise for you if you keep it long enough. Good luck on your search!
2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
2015 Palladium Silver/black mbtex GLK 350
1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)
Click to see 87 300E
Last edited by JCE; 10-31-2001 at 11:16 PM.