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  #1  
Old 01-15-2010, 01:04 AM
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Help for a new soon-to-be Mercedes owner

Hi guys,

I'm probably less sophisticated than most people who are on the forum about Mercedes but I'm in the market to buy a used Mercedes. My budget is $6500 so I'm looking for an older Mercedes but I'm so uneducated that I need help understanding:
1) Pre-2000 what Mercedes models are good and reliable? I'd like someone that's sporty and fun
2) What are key parameters that I should be aware of? e.g., what's the threshold in # of miles that I should work within if I want a reliable car? (I need to drive 30 miles a day) What's the oldest model that I should look at? etc.
3) This one is really elementary, but can someone break down the different classes of mercedes and explain the key differences between these models and how they rank relevant to each other? For example, E class vs. S class, which one is the better/more luxurious/etc class?

Thanks so much for your input and help!!!

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  #2  
Old 01-15-2010, 01:22 AM
Craig
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That is a very large question. Can you give us some parameters (sedan or roadster, gas or diesel, RWD or AWD, etc)? Do you have a general idea of what you want (the newest car you can afford, or a nice older car)? Do you want a larger or smaller car, 2 door or 4 door, etc.?

In general, there are three "classes" of sedans; C,E, and S from smallest to largest. There are specific models and years that are considered "better" in each class, but you have to narrow it down a little.

The MBUSA website gives and overview of current cars, that might help:

http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/#/vehiclesMenu/
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2010, 01:25 AM
TylerH860's Avatar
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With Mercedes, most people would say the newer, the crappier. The golden age of Mercedes for many people started in the 1970s and ended in the mid '90s. Each model of Mercedes is going to have its own common issues, pros, and cons.

If you are looking for a reliable car to take yourself reliably and relatively economically to work in back, with a sporty feel, your best bet in that price range would be a W124 or W126 with the M103-M104 inline 6 engine. If you don't mind a dip in fuel economy and arguably higher maintenance, a V8 version of the two. If you want extra economy, diesels are another option.

Which car floats your boat more? I gave links to two ads of the cars, one of which I'm selling. Don't hold it against me.

1991 300SEL

FS: 1991 300SEL "Ingrid" 129k Wichita, Ks $4750



or 1995 E320

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1995-Mercedes-Benz-E320_W0QQitemZ360214755355QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Cars_Trucks?hash=item53de78f81b

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  #4  
Old 01-15-2010, 07:42 AM
MS Fowler's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liltham View Post
Hi guys,

I'm probably less sophisticated than most people who are on the forum about Mercedes but I'm in the market to buy a used Mercedes. My budget is $6500 so I'm looking for an older Mercedes but I'm so uneducated that I need help understanding:
1) Pre-2000 what Mercedes models are good and reliable? I'd like someone that's sporty and fun
2) What are key parameters that I should be aware of? e.g., what's the threshold in # of miles that I should work within if I want a reliable car? (I need to drive 30 miles a day) What's the oldest model that I should look at? etc.
3) This one is really elementary, but can someone break down the different classes of mercedes and explain the key differences between these models and how they rank relevant to each other? For example, E class vs. S class, which one is the better/more luxurious/etc class?

Thanks so much for your input and help!!!
The only way to promote more controversy here would to include " Sarah Palin" in the title, or ask about motor oil.
Everyone here probably has their own answer for that question.
For me, the diesel models of the W123, and W126 chassis are the cars of interest.
The diesels appeal to me because they have no computer, nor their attendant sensors. On older vehicles, those sensors, and their wiring begin to fail, and you get the Check Engine light.
Diesels, OTOH, are much simpler--cleam fuel, functiong glow plugs, and they are happy. They return excellent fuel mileage.
OTOH, they ONLY make sense if you can, and are willing to do your own maintenance.
If Air Bags are important to you, then you are looking at the final years of the W126.

And because no one has yet said it, the MOST truthful statement about Mercedes ownership is, ...
"THERE IS NOTHING MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A CHEAP MERCEDES."

Documented service history is EXTREMLY important.
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2010, 10:01 AM
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Is this your only motor vehicle? Are you a DIYer (do it yourself)? Where do you live and how fasr is your search able to extend?

I'd say for starters, no older that mid 90's. Gas or Diesel, as MS asked?
Mid 90's W124 coupe (300CE/E320) might be a good place to start (and maybe finish). If you are really interested in sporty, consider a W124 convertible. I pretty much am saying what Tyler has posted. The M103 and M104 L6 engines are strong and durable. Like anything else they all have their quirks.

http://www.peachparts.com/300e.htm

I don't own a V6 or V8, but the bigger the engine, the greater the complexity and the broader the problems as a general rule. Some late 90's models had serious build (rust) and mechanical problems, with things like harmonic balancers

Buy nothing without a history check (Carfax) and an independent inspection at a dealer of your choosing.

Happy Motoring!
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2010, 03:15 PM
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Which ever one you choose please get a PPI from an independent Mercedes mechanic, you can find a good one in your area using this Forum. Welcome to the club....I didn't get a PPI on my first 1990 420 SEL and it cost me dearly...
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2010, 03:31 PM
Skid Row Joe's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liltham View Post
Hi guys,

I'm probably less sophisticated than most people who are on the forum about Mercedes but I'm in the market to buy a used Mercedes. My budget is $6500 so I'm looking for an older Mercedes but I'm so uneducated that I need help understanding:
1) Pre-2000 what Mercedes models are good and reliable? I'd like someone that's sporty and fun
2) What are key parameters that I should be aware of? e.g., what's the threshold in # of miles that I should work within if I want a reliable car? (I need to drive 30 miles a day) What's the oldest model that I should look at? etc.
3) This one is really elementary, but can someone break down the different classes of mercedes and explain the key differences between these models and how they rank relevant to each other? For example, E class vs. S class, which one is the better/more luxurious/etc class?

Thanks so much for your input and help!!!
For your budget? I'd find a cherry condition, W123 diesel.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2010, 04:59 PM
Yak Yak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liltham View Post
Hi guys,

I'd like someone that's sporty and fun

Thanks so much for your input and help!!!
Okay, so I edited a lot. I'd look at coupes or SLs, maybe an E-series convertible. Probably before '94 because I don't like the bug-eyed styling and it's been said that after '94 the bean counters took over the company.

Plug your parameters into ebay or autotrader and take a look at what interests you. I wouldn't necessarily buy from there, but it's great for window shopping.

30 miles a day isn't too bad, but then you'll probably want to stay away from the V-8s, so think about the 6 cylinders. You might want to consider an older SL, and there are a bunch here in Texas.

Wikipedia has some good info and links on the models and classes. Talking body styles (eg; 123, 124, 126) and classes (S, SL, E, C) gets confusing.

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