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  #16  
Old 06-29-2010, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Craig View Post
I agree, you can probably make a car run for $500; however, I doubt we agree on the definition of "daily driver spec." At 275k miles, we are probably talking about a car that's due for a transmission rebuild, timing chain, injectors, radiator, AC compressor, climate control, cruise control, radiator, front suspension, rear suspension, vacuum pump, master cylinder, oil cooler and lines, half-shafts, etc. I have replace all those parts at least once, not to mention replacing the engine once. For $500, you can probably limp along for a few 1000 more miles. If you want to have a reliable car (equivalent to the average 5 year old car), $5000 is a conservative estimate.
Gosh, I hesitate to contradict people with so much more experience than I (or at least much greater posting histories), but I just don't quite agree on the $5,000 number. I agree that one COULD spend $5,000 on a car of that vintage in poor condition in order to bring it up to excellent condition, and it is only fair to point out that that could indeed be a "worst case scenario" in a car without a maintenance history.

But based on the original post it sounds like the car might be in fine working order, or at least he didn't mention that anything doesn't work. Perhaps many of the items in your laundry list of "due repairs" have already been done. Perhaps not. Who knows without a history. I will say that a "good" interior and exterior (which the OP claims the car has) is usually indicative of a car that has been well cared for and well maintained.

I guess my point is that until a mechanic gives it a once over, or the OP lists some specific issues that he's identified (i.e. cruise control doesn't work, temp gauge reads high, etc.), all of this speculation about $5,000 is really nothing more than an outside guess of what it MIGHT cost to fix the car up IF there are a lot of things wrong with it. Again, I think it's important to give a worst-case estimate, but it's also important to make clear that that's the kind of estimate you're giving.
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  #17  
Old 06-29-2010, 10:48 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig View Post
I agree, you can probably make a car run for $500; however, I doubt we agree on the definition of "daily driver spec." At 275k miles, we are probably talking about a car that's due for a transmission rebuild, timing chain, injectors, radiator, AC compressor, climate control, cruise control, radiator, front suspension, rear suspension, vacuum pump, master cylinder, oil cooler and lines, half-shafts, etc. I have replace all those parts at least once, not to mention replacing the engine once. For $500, you can probably limp along for a few 1000 more miles. If you want to have a reliable car (equivalent to the average 5 year old car), $5000 is a conservative estimate.
My experience with my 300D supports this viewpoint. And mine is a Euro model, with manual everything -- much simpler mechanically than a U.S. model. I'll admit, I acquired it with lots of deferred maintenance. But if you're looking at an antique car with no service history, you should assume you're doing the same. Usually, if an old car has had a lot of recent attention, the seller is keen to make that known.
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  #18  
Old 06-29-2010, 11:38 PM
Craig
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Originally Posted by jdh122 View Post
Gosh, I hesitate to contradict people with so much more experience than I (or at least much greater posting histories), but I just don't quite agree on the $5,000 number. I agree that one COULD spend $5,000 on a car of that vintage in poor condition in order to bring it up to excellent condition, and it is only fair to point out that that could indeed be a "worst case scenario" in a car without a maintenance history.
Well, I know I've spent 2 or 3 times that amount on my 300D over about 3-400K miles (and it was in pretty decent shape when I bought it 10 years ago). My car is currently due for a paint job, that will certainly cost more than $5K. I've probably spent over $5K on just my AC system over the years ($1-2K per system failure). Replacing my front and rear suspension probably cost about $3K altogether. I think my replacement transmission was around $3K (at about 250K miles). I spent around $3K fixing an engine after a vacuum pump failure failed the timing chain (in addition to about $500 in towing charges). I later spent about $4K to replace the engine (at about 380K miles), including replacement of the oil cooler, hoses, and motor mounts. About $1000 to replace half-shafts (twice). About $7-800 to replace all the cruise control components. I don't even try to keep track of the small things (brake components, climate control units, ignition switched, combo switches, etc.) that cost a few $100. I drive about 40-50k miles per year and probably average about $3K per year in repairs/maintenance to keep the car reliable. We are not talking about a show car, we are talking about a daily driver that needs to be as reliable as a late model car.
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  #19  
Old 06-30-2010, 11:58 AM
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Personally, I think the $5,000 figure is utterly meaningless because none of us have ever seen the car you're looking at. Throw that number out the window and spend a hundred bucks to get an accurate figure by getting a good wrench to look the thing over. Iron that old can have all sorts of things wrong with it, but these cars aren't THAT complicated. Get compression numbers, have the driveline looked at, make sure there's no metal filings in the tranny pan and confirm there's no body rust to worry about, and decide if you're OK with whatever electric doodads don't work (or with paying whatever it takes to fix them). If it checks out mechanically and isn't too rusty, I don't think $1,900 is out of line, although I'd try to get it for less.

If it's rusty, plan on being able to use it for a few years until it gets really bad and then part it out or junk it, and make your offer accordingly. If it's got extra fuel filters on it or any other evidence of use with vegetable oil as fuel, be very careful -- lots of people who don't know what they're doing have screwed engines up with sloppy handling of veggie systems.

Good luck! Sounds interesting.
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  #20  
Old 06-30-2010, 12:46 PM
Craig
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I agree, a pre-purchase inspection is a good idea. Take it to a good Benz shop an get an estimate to fix whatever it needs.
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