I am considering purchasing a 1991 190E 2.6. The car has all service records up to 64,000 miles that were maintained at a dealer. From the 64,000 miles the car has been serviced at an independent specializing in German Imports. All work such as water pump, minor trans line leak, brakes, muffler, etc have been performed in addition to regular oil changes. Aproximately 3000 miles ago (January) the owner was advised that the head gasket has developed a minor leak. The work has not been done and has been factored into the price. The car runs strong, exhaust is clean, and the engine runs and idles great. It appears that any oil that is leaking is coming from the valve cover gasket. The owner advises that the oil level between oil changes 3000-3500 miles is never low, but is down a bit. I plan on checking the spark plugs to see how they are burning tomorrow. The questions I have are:
(1) Is it normal for the head gasket to have to be changed out at 94,000 miles,
(2) How long can you safely drive the car without damaging the motor. The car currently is driven approx. 20 miles per day city driving.
(3) Am I correct in assuming that while in the process of changing out the head gasket, to change the valve cover, camshaft gaskets and the timing chain at this point & mileage.
(4) Any other advise you could provide and potential problems that result due to driving the car with a leaking head gasket, although minimal would be appreciated.