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Old 09-24-2002, 05:24 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: the Sonoran Desert
Posts: 10
500e questions

Hi. I recently discovered the forum (A great forum! I knew there had to be 500e fanatics congregated on the web somewhere ). I've been thinking about buying a 500e (actually I'm planning on it, the question is whether or not it will be my next car). The overheating talk scares me, though. Right now, I live in Yuma, Arizona, where temperatures like 116F aren't at all rare in the summer and running the AC is necessary for much of the year. I've read about most of the cooling mods, but I would be leery of a car I'd have to modify just to get by here. Does anyone have or know someone with 500E experience in the desert? Palm Springs and the Phoenix area would be similar (but slightly cooler) operating environments. Does the C36 present similar problems? I am thinking about that one, too, but I think I'd rather have the 500e.

Another question. I notice Edmunds and even KBB prices are way lower than 500e prices on Autotrader and in newspapers (even considering the difference between asking price and the selling price). According to Edmunds, a 92 in outstanding condition with 40k mi. should go for under $21K. Are they just making these numbers up, or are they more for real than the asking prices would suggest?

Finally, has anyone noticed a nice 500e for sale in San Diego, Palm Springs, Phoenix or Tucson?

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Old 09-24-2002, 05:33 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 329
There are so few 500Es in the US that the KBB prices are not really an accurate indicator. A 92 w/ 40,000 miles is going to cost quite a bit more than $21,000. Autotrader is the largest single source for used 500Es, and the price of these cars, like everything else, it is a question of supply and demand.
sorry I can't help you with the desert question. I live in the SF Bay Area, where it is rather temperate.
92 500E, 104,000 miles.
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Old 09-24-2002, 07:06 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
....have a '94 E500 w/ 42k miles:
In June of this year I did an enthusiastic CannonBall Run/ Ralley from N Cal to S Cal where ambient temps were consistently a tad over 100 degrees (Ca Central Valley dry heat). Result: a stimulating troublefree 1400 miles over 3 days w/ triple digit speeds the norm.

Later that June (this year) I did another trouble-free trip to Sacramento,CA where ambient temps were 110+ degrees in stop and go traffic/ a/c on- - again no problemo. ...again dry heat condition

Seems like the 500e/e500 owners are a 'best of all worlds' type of group- that would like the engine temps to ride in the 90 degree range +/- a few degrees for all the right reasons...

although not as desireable- - on the other side of the coin, I've not heard of the higher overall operating temps of a 500e/e500 be the demise or proverbial nail in the coffin (longevity/ operating shortcome) for such a vehicle ...and have not heard of any 500e/e500 overheating due to an inadequately designed/ inadequately engineered cooling system (as yet- ...knock on wood)

As a matter of good habit though, being an enthusiast, I regularly pop the hood on the E500 to allow as much engine compartment heat (which is significant) to escape as quickly as possible (vs. linger). My feeling is that if the car is operating according to way the Porsche and MB engineers intended....higher external ambient temps (100-110 degrees) w/ not be a significant hardship in its ownership (we have Texas 500e/e500 owners and owners that regularly track their cars that will probably offer their valued opinions and experience as well).

RE: pricing: I think KBB/ Edmunds continue to apply a general depreciation & wear and tear math formula to their figures and generally that appears to be OK. At times, the true market of a specialized vehicle will not follow the canned formula and start to break out on its own- - I imagine, in time, KBB/ Edmunds/ CPI/ Insurance Tables w/ follow to become more accurate to actual market sales pricing to estimate value.

If you can acquire a nice example 500e/e500 at or below book- - you've can congrat yourself on a steal....there apepars to be more well used 500e's available for sale out there (vs. not). I've observed real (USA-wide) selling prices for low-mileage examples landing consistently in this range:
>92-93's: $26-$35k
>94's: $32k-$48K

Also market values appear to be stabilizing for the 500e (vs. significantly falling further) for the creme of the crop vehicles. Naturally one can purchase a 500e for as low as $15k-16k and an E500 in the $20k's....depends on what standard/condition vehicle you desire to own.

Good luck and let us know what turns out. You may need to search USA wide and be willing to travel to get a primo example....
Auto trader has a '94 E500 with like 45k miles Starmark warranty w/ 18's and Pilot Sports @ $48k + tax + lisc (addl 2 yr Starmark @ $1500) I've referred no fewer than 6 people to that dealership and they will not sell it for less than full pop $48k + incidentials!

Tom- maybe on to something re: a lack of volume in determining accurate KBB/ Edmundsm, etc. market values there are only about 1500 NA version 500e/e500's in the US. In either case, there will always be a significant range in vehicle values based upon condition, history, maintence, and mileage- specialty vehicle or not.

RE: C36/C42:
different animals vs. the W124 5.0L, but generally High Perf vehicles share the same trade-offs (perf model v. standard model).

good luck and let us know what turns out for ya
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Old 09-24-2002, 08:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Go for it man....Theres' noting better then the w124 E500
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Old 09-25-2002, 11:55 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: AZ then, IL now
Posts: 84
Yes, but Fad you live in the Bay Area!

Not to take anything away both Tom and Fad have said regarding the use of the 500E/E500 in warmer climates but they both live in the SF Bay Area! I'm from there, visit quite often and know it gets hot (no warm) but it's nowhere in comparison to living in Phx/Scottsdale area.

I've had my 92 500E now a year this Oct and have put on close to 7000 miles since I bought it at 113k miles. I have the pigtail installed (search archives, JimF and Italian Benz usernames) and it still gets past 110c when sitting at a traffic light. Perhaps there's something wrong with my pigtail. And you know how hot it gets here in AZ.

All the precautions in addition to the pigtail have been taken, Redline Water Wetter, lots more water than coolant, etc.

I had the same experience with the 92 400E I used to have.

Drop me an email offline if you want to discuss further.
'92 500E Black Pearl
'86 Porsche 911 Track Car

Car Pics
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Old 09-25-2002, 12:05 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
Hi Willie- thanks for pointing the SF Bay Area climate piece of the equasion.... totally true....also, my car hasn't been regularly used in 100+ degree weather conditions- - so, my experience travelling to and from higher temp areas may not be too representative of living with one in such areas

fwiw- I may have one of the cooler running E500's

This weekend in Marin (80-90 degree ambient temps), I observed a bit higher operating temps (w/ ac on- two people in car) steady in the 90-95 degree range....also observed a trickle of coolant seeping around/from the overflow bottle cap

I r/r'd the cap yesterday and Happy Happy! She's back to running steady at 85 degrees on the gauge (75-80 degree South Bay ambient temps, a/c on, stop and go city traffic blasts)

Best regards
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Old 09-25-2002, 12:46 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
Posts: 1,743
Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

I've been driving my car in higher temperature (100 - 110F) high and low humidity lately and can say that the car has never exceeded about 105C. It will generally sit at that temperature in stop and go traffic, once the car has started to move it cools down to about 95C. In cooler temperatures, anything below 80F the car sits right at 90C unless your coming down from a high speed run and then it can climb to 105C.

I have also noticed a slight decrease in power on hot days, seems the car almost retards itself to keep from getting to hot. It may be an adjustment on air/fuel mixture to keep the car cooler.

As far as pricing goes when I was looking 6 months ago I found that KBB pricing was off about $10K on these cars. I good condition car is hard to come by and I can guarantee you that the owner will demand a premium. You might want to check with a few of the forum members, I believe a couple were up for sale recently and were priced very reasonable.

02 C32 AMG

92 500E
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd
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Old 09-25-2002, 02:59 PM
Randall Grubbs
Posts: n/a
I live in Dallas and travel all over Texas which can occasionally get warm in the Summer. This car is no different than any other. Get in, crank the A/C and drive! The temp stays at the horizontal mark when driving (100?) and when sitting in traffic it cycles up and down a bit as the fans kick on and off. I installed the pigtail and it does the same thing but the max temp is lower at the horizontal mark. Don't worry about it - cars not overheating was designed this way. Runs great no matter the temp.

'94 E500
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Old 09-26-2002, 11:22 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
True- runns great no matter what the temp

..also my wish to PM Adlemon- he has both 400e and 500e and lives in Texas (I believe)

best regards
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:24 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: the Sonoran Desert
Posts: 10
Belated thanks to all who posted.
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