While I myself am located in Canada, my parents in Hong Kong just bought a "13-year old Mercedes 300" (according to my mom) which I have deduced to be more likely than not a 1988 300E.
From what I have been told it is in great condition with only 60,000km on it. We paid HK$25,000, which seems to me like a pretty damned good deal.
Anyway, she did say there were a few issues with it, and this is the best she described it.
1) There is a small oil drip (very minor she says) from "the top" of something. She told me that a local mechanic quoted her "HK$200 in parts" (around US$26) and "HK$400 in labour down from the originally quoted HK$800" (HK$400 would be around US$52). From what I have read from the archives this sounds like a timing chain cover leak to me and involves a gasket replacement. Since she seems to have that part sorted out I won't worry much about it. I see that many people will simply ignore such smaller oil leaks - for this cost, should she simply go ahead with it anyway?
2) When the AC is on, the centre vents blow ice cold air, but the side vents blow warm air. Since they are currently sleeping right now I cannot tell them to try messing with the settings to see if any of the vacuum elements have failed, but again from the archives this seems to be a problem with the pushbutton controller.
Now comes the main point of this post. Somehow I don't think the Chinese speaking mechanic would know what the heck I was talking about if I told him to check the "pushbutton controller". Is there a more accurate term for it? What exactly IS this "pushbutton controller" thing? Perhaps a detailed description will allow me to relay to him what needs to be checked/replaced.
3) Are there any other common problems I should tell my parents to check with the car? Things to look out for?