M103 or M104 Long Term Ownership Experiences?
I am looking for a 300TE/E320 wagon for my wife to drive. We'll probably keep the car for at least six years. I'd like to hear folks' long-term ownership experiences with these engines, please.
I owned (a few years back) a '91 300TE 4-matic, which had impeccable service history from the previous owner. At Around 140k, I had to replace the camshaft due to wear on the #2 lobe. Once that was fixed, I began to experience oil consumption. I sold the car at 155k, not because of the oil consumption (guides/seals, I presume) but over concern about the long-term robustness of the 4-matic system (the car had 2 rebuilt transfer cases prior to my ownership). I was tired of putting money into the car, and have owned a '85 300D and and '84 300SD since then. The '84 SD is still my daily driver.
So, I haven't soured on the M103 because of my previous experience - I know they can go to 300k miles. I do pretty much all of my own work on my SD (except for A/C stuff) and intend to work on whatever wagon we end up with.
I am aware of the M104's head gasket issues, and assume that if I can find one that has already had the gasket replaced that I should be in good shape for some time. Is that a reasonable assumption?
I'd kinda prefer the M104 in that it does have a good bit more HP than the M103, and I understand that the fuel economy is a bit better as well.
So, please, anyone who's put a lot of mileage on either of these engines please share your experiences with me. I'd also like to hear about difficulty of DIY on either of these engines (I didn't do much work other than oil changes on the M103 that I owned).
Thanks in advance,
1991 300TE 4-matic 155k (sold)
1985 300D 185k (sold)
1984 300SD 162k (daily driver)