I recieved an email from an individual named Mike Mullins today. Unfortunately the email he sent me did not have a valid reply address. However I would like to address his question here so that it may help him and others who may have had similar questions.
>As an owner of a 400e can you give me some pointers about what to look for
>in buying a user 400e?
>Have owned 114's and a 108 in the past. Prosche owner now, but looking to
>replace my Camry with a 124 series. Looked a a 300 3.2 last nite, rode
>wasn't even put away.
>Looking at a 93 400e tonight w/ 89 K .
>Looking for tips besides the check of records and such.
>Do you have a phone # I could talk to you?
Actually I'm selling mine! I'm in the Atlanta area if your interested.
It is the car featured in the 400E review and I have a bunch more pics if
you would like me to email you some. 93, silver/black, CD changer, 73K
miles, perfect shape.....It has all the MB books/recs and I have a personal
record right down to every tankful of gas that car has had since I've owned
it. If you have read my detailing articles on the website you can imagine
what it looks like. Assuming your looking at a used 400E here are some easy
things to look at......What you need to look for in a used 400E are good
records. The in-between services are not as important but the ones that
occur every 15K and especially the 30K ones are crucial. One simple and
very effective tip is open the hood and look at the valvetrain. (with engine
off of course) Open the hood, unscrew the oil-cap, and peek inside. A well
maintained engine will be shiny and bright. The more brownish discoloration
you see the worse it has been treated. Dont run from one with a little
color, but it is a barometer of how it has been kept. You can also do the
"dollar bill" test. Take a 1 or 5 dollar bill out of your wallet, open a
door, then close the door and try and move the bill around. A good car the
bill might move a little bit but definitly not slide easily. A bad hit will
leave areas where it will slip in and out easily. Do this will all the
doors. Hopefully the paint will be spotless so you can look deeply into it
to see if the orange peel of the paint matches on all panels. You can also
feel the doorjams...if you feel a ridge that wont rub off with a finger then
that panel has likely been repainted. That isn't 100% as some people don't
detail the jams well and you can get a buildup of crud, but it is a warning
sign. Driving tests: while going down a level road in a straight line let
go of the wheel. the car should track straight for a long time or until it
hits any crown or pavement irregularity. A further test of this "tightness"
is to hit the brakes while doing the above test. (not panic stop but
firmly) A car that is still very tight should track straight and not want
to veer left or right. Your ear is a good tool as well. A few small or
minor rattles are no big deal, but if the whole car shakes and buzzes like a
honda then its been hit or abused. If it is no big deal to you could you
post this same message on the public board on the site? There may be others
who have the same question. The tips I've outlined above apply to virtually
all models. Oh, one thing that IS 400E specific....try to make sure that
the coolant has been flushed and the cooling system maintained. The V8s run
a bit hotter than the 6's and the strain on the cooling system (if not
properly maintained) can cause overheating problems. With the alloy
valvetrain you can easily do megabuck damage to the engine quite easily with
heat problems. The radiator should ALWAYS be shiny and metallic. If you
have any doubts but are still very interested you can take it to a good
independent mechancic. Good luck tonight and if it doesn't work out I'd be
happy to show you my car. If you still have any questions email me back and
I'll give you my number.
Hope this helps....Lee