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Old 12-28-2002, 09:54 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 43
E500/500E with over 100K miles

I've read many posts on some of the maintenance work on the E500/500E after the 100K mile mark. How many of you actually purchased your cars with 100K or more miles, and what were some of your experiences? I'm very interested in a 1994 E500 with about 100K miles on it, but before I invest anymore time learning more about the car, I would like to know what you guys think? Can I purchase warranty on a car with over 100K miles?


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Old 12-29-2002, 01:10 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 329
I purchased a 92 500E with 96,000 miles. I needed some of the things that are known to go in this car - power steering pump and rear nitro cells. Other than an alternator, it has been trouble-free. However, at this age, the consumables start going. - I've replaced the trunk lock, and a bulb just went out behind thee dash. Fortunately, I was able to find a warranty, but i purchased the car out-of-state. CA has recently passed legislation making it very difficult to obtain a warranty over the internet; you are restricted primarily to what used car dealers have to offer. However, research it. For cars this expensive, with that amount of miles, I think it is imperative, unless the former owner has done all the things that you will have to replace at some point. See the archives here for wehat goes wrong.

I'm glad I bought my car, but I may not keep it past the warranty period.

92 500E
108,000 miles
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Old 12-29-2002, 02:06 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 43
Thanks Tom for the word of advice.
I am contemplating whether I should sell my 1995 C36 to purchase a 1994 E500. I've always been a big fan of the E500/500E but I think that you are absolutely right about maintenance work on some of these cars. I have owned my car for less than 2 years and I don't put that much mileage on it, but I always feel fortunate that I purchased warranty for this car. I've recently had several things repaired (gaskets, MAF, OVP, etc) and it would have cost me thousands to repair these without warranty. Maybe I'll just keep my C36 since I've already spent the time and money replacing the parts on it.
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Old 12-29-2002, 02:48 PM
Posts: n/a
These will go for a very long time, 100k miles is really getting into the point where the car is getting "broken-in" IMHO.

I purchased my car with 160k miles on it 2 years ago, but only because the car had a service history that methodically covered a checkup ever 6 months. Overall I have had a very positive experience.

To date, I have had;
1. Belt Tensioner replaced
2. Rebuilt P/S pump to fix a leak, although it was uncalled for, it was really just the small hose between the reseviour and the pump.
3. Sunroof rebuilt - the aluminum brace interal to the sunroof broke. It started with the pop-up feature not closing all the way on a back corner, and then failed completely. Not allowing the roof to open more than 1/3 way. Not cheap. But uncommon on 500E's, although all W124's do eventually start having these problems with 150-250k mileage ranges unless you regularlly lube.
4. Motor mounts, they where toast after about 165k on mine. I am a lead foot when I am in the car and I think this is a big factor as far as life span on motor mounts.

Things I will be doing this year;
1. Rebuild all rubber in the both F/R suspension compontents.
2. Replace Nitro cells in the rear, on record of this being done in the car so far and the ride is starting to chage into a sort of bouncy ride in the rear.
3. Timing Chain and MORE importantly Chain Rails - a Oil Pressure gauge that changes its normal behavior may be a indicator of a oncomming issue.
4. Upgrade the stereo - stick rocks, but I need something more current with modern Technology, MP3/Nav.


Have you driven a 500E yet, before we had the 500E we had a C280 and most definately appriciated the upgrade in interior space. Definately more comfy, the only down side is you may miss some of the newer Tech that you may already be used to.

One of those things you have to weigh yourself.

My Vote goes to the E500 if it's in good shape.

One other thing, the V8 growl simply blows the C36's sound away, IMO.
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Old 12-29-2002, 06:45 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 43
Hey Ross,
I've never driven an E500 before. If you have driven a C36, how does it compare? I've always felt that the C36 was a "baby" version of the E500. Although not as fast on the highway as an E500, I think the C36 can hold it's own.
I am not too crazy about all the new tech stuff in the more modern cars. I think the more gadgets the more likely things are going to break.
If I buy the E500, it will definitely be a weekend car.
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Old 12-30-2002, 12:28 AM
Posts: n/a
I have driven the C36, but before having driven a 500E so comparing them wouldn't be fair. From what I remember the C36 was as fast at less than legal speeds.

I can say the extra torgue that comes with the M119 engine at highway speeds is very welcome though, nothing like instant trust versus waiting a second or two in the C36.

If you do go shopping, I'm sure you will follow the often given advise that is given here at MercedesShop.

1. Have the car given a top notch PPI.
2. Make sure the car has complete and unaltered service records.
3. Depending on your price range, a low mileage car will sometime qualify for a warranty, the best of coarse being a Starmark, so spending the extra dough is a no brainer.
4. Pick your year, mileage, and color and enjoy the Perma-Grin you will surely receive, as this car is relatively exclusive and still very quick.
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Old 12-30-2002, 09:02 AM
Jim's500E's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Manchester, Connecticut
Posts: 1,325
I got my 500E at 120,000 miles...I've spent thousands fixing and upgrading stuff when needed. I knew exactly what I was getting into also so I had some cash set aside for such stuff. Don't be put off by mileage ....any car with 100K on the clock will need something.

Get yourself an Accel Aftermarket Warranty...$1400 for 2 years of coverage (for my car) and covers almost everything that goes bad on these t-chain, radiator, A/C blower and evaporator, tranny etc, ball joints, self-levelling system. I'm guessing by 150,000 miles the car will need nothing for another 150,000 miles...except the oil changes and regular tune-ups....knock on burl.

1992 500E
2007 CLK63
2003 Audi RS6
2001 Audi allroad
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:16 AM
Alain V.'s Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: KS.
Posts: 477
I bought my 500e with approx 125k on it, and I now have right at 150 on it. I have known the car for many years, and it has been involved in alot of PCA track events, & even raced in the one lap a few times.
I knew that the car had been driven fast, & hard,,,and had no hesitation at all when I found out it was available.
I've had no surprises, (but I work on these everyday so I know what to expect)

Since buying the car I've had to replace the belt tensioner, (which is common if you like to mash the throttle alot )

...and I replaced the timing chain, tensioner, upper rails & all associated gaskets/hoses as a preventative service.
I spent about 1k in parts when I did this, and did the job myself at my shop of course,,,,and it is money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

Preventative maintenaince is always cheaper than repairing a broken car!

here is the advice I give my customers when they are looking for pre-owned Mercedes. (it is also what I look for when buying personal cars for myself).

OK, now here's my 2 cents on mileage:

Mileage is NOT a critical factor to me when buying a used Mercedes. Although it does affect the value of the car this is not at the top of the "important issue" list for me.

The most important factors to me are:

the sinlge most important item to check is the service history of the car! If the owner is an organized individual, and he kept a file, or has a detailed list somewhere of all the service & repair work done to the car, this makes it much more appealing to me.

It let's you know what has been done, what hasn't ,,,and how often the car was serviced.
I see cars in my shop that are serviced religously at every 3k miles and it shows in the longrun.
The well maintained car with 100k miles is a better buy than an abused one with 60. If you've ever looked at a motor with the valve covers off that has been neglected, it is obvious why.

(who would you bet money on in a 100 meter race?
someone who eats a proper diet, excersises regularly and is in tip top health,,,,,,,or some overwieght guy who eats ho-hos every morning for breakfast before smoking a pack of cigs on his way to the buffet?)

The previous owner of my 500e is a customer of mine, and he keeps EXCELLENT records of all of his vehicles. He keeps a file with all of his receipts, and everything has been noted in his maintenaince book. EVEN the dates of when the car was freshly waxed with a coat of Zymol!

This is the type of person you want to buy a car from. It doesn't matter how many miles he put on it. What matters is that he has taken excellent care of the vehicle, which minimizes the chances of a major failure in the future.

#2 how many owners has the car had?
this is another biggie for me. In my years in this biz, almost ALWAYS the high mile one onwer car is in better condition than the three owner 50k mile car. Why, you ask.

You want to know the "charactar" of the owner/driver.
If it is one person, it is easy to get a feel for the type of person he/she is.
How well they took care of the car, and why they are getting rid of it.
If the car has michelin tires on it, and you make a comment like, "oh, I see you have michelins on the car",,,,,then the owner answers something to the tune of "Yes, I know they cost a little more than other brands,,,but I wanted the best."

This is the type of person you want to buy a car from.

If the car has garbage no name rubber on it from the local amoco gas station. (don't laugh- I see it more often than you think) then run! This guy is a cheapskate and a shmuck, who only drove the car for the "image" & he doesn't have a clue as to what it takes to properly care for a high end automobile.

I feel the same about folks who go to their local muffler shop for brakes,shocks etc. Usually this is the sign of the schmuck.
If a guy owns a 500sl and he has a host of aftermarket (read: "inferior") parts on it, RUN! All this guy cared about was saving twenty bucks on a set of shocks. He is either too stupid or doesn't care about the quality between a set of bilsteins and a pair of "made in china specials"

You need to get a "feel" about the owners attitude toward proper care. You can usually get an idea just by talking with someone for a few minutes, as to how well they cared for the car.

#3 body/frame/paintwok history
Ok, now onto the body.
obviously you want to make sure the car has a "clean" title
you also want to know the history of the chassis of the car.
A car that has been in a fender bender & had maybe a front bumper/fender replaced is no big deal,,,,provided it was properly repaired.

The biggie here is FRAME DAMAGE, which is very common in a good hit since Mercedes are unibody cars. If the car has had frame damage, you have to find out how bad, where, and how was it repaired. This is where is is worth spending a few bucks to pay the car checked out by a pro. You're better off losing a hundred bucks checking out a car & passing because it doesn't meet you requirements, than you are buy it and being out of thousands.

This is much more critical than mechanical work to me,,,because frame damage affects the actual "structure" of the car.
Even a major problem mechanically, like a blown transmission, is easy enough to fix,,,,,,,,,,
but something like a wrinkled up floorpan & alginment issues are far more difficult to deal with.

ALSO, a word of advice on windshields.
many older mercedes will have had the original windshield replaced, which in itself is not a big deal.
Make sure the car has an OEM mercedes widshield!!!!
Alot of times these are replaced during an insurance claim.
Of course insurance companies usually try and save 15 bucks & put an aftermarket screen in the car. Contrary to what they will tell you, there is a difference! 9 out of 10 atermarket windshields will have "flaws" in them which usually is in the sides where they curve. This can drive you nuts! If the windshield is original it will have the star on it in the corner.

;NOTE; on SLs the side glass is also critical. About 8 times out of 10 when a customer complains of wind noise from sideglass on an SL,,,,, it is because it has a cheapie replacement window in it. These are usually not as thick as the oem glass ,and are a huge pain to get adjusted properly.
I have shown this many times to people by just measuring the thickness of the oem side glass on the opposite side then comparing it to the thin cheapie one they just had installed by the "cheapie glass" shop their ins company sent them to.

The cost difference at replacemennt time is minimal, but you usually have to TELL the insurance company that you will only accept an OEM replacement or they stick in the cheapie.

#4 mileage
hey how about that, mileage is #4 on my list.
This is becuase having miles is not near as bad a factor as having a blak mark due to one of the above mentioned items.

Mileage to me, helps set the "actual value" of the car. No not the book value, especially right now that the economy is in the toilet.

example: 99 slk 320, super nice, that book value is right at 30k, I have for sale at my place for 22 (no, I'm not trying to advertise this car here, so I won't go into any more details about it)

Well, there's my opinion on the subject.

While there are some low mile very nice cars out there, they will cost much more than a similar well maitained model. Just don't let the mileage alone be your deciding factor.
And do, talk to your local tech about what you are looking for.
He may even know of a car he services which will meet you needs.
Be sure to pay him to check out any potential purchase, as his experience and unbiased opinion is very valuable.

Sorry this got to be so long. I usually never drink coffee, and my wife talked me into a cup this morning!
independant MBZ tech since 1981
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Old 12-30-2002, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 43
These are all really great advice. One of the reasons why I'm attracted to the ownership of an E500/500E is the type of passion that owners have for these cars and the type of knowledge available here at Mercedesshop.
Thanks again.
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Old 12-30-2002, 03:46 PM
Jim's500E's Avatar
Large Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Manchester, Connecticut
Posts: 1,325've found your Mecca then !!

Enjoy the search and don't be afraid to envoke the ABS and ASR on your test drives.


1992 500E
2007 CLK63
2003 Audi RS6
2001 Audi allroad
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