> what milage did you replace the mentioned
> items at?
> If you have under 120k miles what made you
> replace them?
It had over 120,000 miles when replaced. I intended to replace only the belt and tensioner because of a sqeal when starting, shifting from P or N to D or R, and also from 1st to 2nd. The tensioner was set properly; it was plain tired.
I replaced the fan pulley and the idler beside it because they were loose and noisy when hand spun with the belt off. The fan pulley was particularly bad. I didn't notice abnormal noise with the belt on.
With regards to the Mitsubishi comment, a fuel injected Mitsubishi has its fuel pump in the tank. A pain in its own right, but replacing it hardly requires removing the intake manifold. What's worse is that the described procedure is about what you have to go through to replace the fuel filter.
My acid test of the situation is this: I'd expect to see more older MBs on the road than similar vintage Japanese cars if the cost of maintenance were similar. The average age of MBs I see is lower than the average age of Japanese cars. So, either MBs move away when they age, or they're not as desireable when they age. For example, I don't see 84-85 190s on a daily basis, but I still see Camrys of that vintage. I have to discount the initial volume sold disparity because 190s used to be a dime a dozen in my commute. If it's any consolation, E36s are starting to dry up, too.
I do all my own work. My 91 Mitsubishi cost nowhere near as much as my 91 300SE to keep in decent shape. I believe a lot of the difference is made up for in the resale value of the 300SE. I hope the difference remains latent for a long time