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  #1  
Old 10-11-2002, 10:01 AM
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Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 373
'90 300 SE - good Mom's car?

Need some advice from some of you W126 fans: My mom is looking for a new car. I've been shrewdly steering her towards MB's, citing thier deceptively inexpensive maintenance costs (I'd be doing basic maint. and tune-ups), and extreme longevity.
She's interested in a '91 300E which is nice (svc. records, low miles, etc.), but when going to a local dealer yesterday to check out a W201 (which sold right before we got there), an immaculate, white '90 300SE loomed near. Very clean car, many service records, immaculate interior, and the body straight as an arrow.

She asked me about it and I said that, while nice, would likely be more expensive to maintain than the 300E since it's a bigger, more complex car, but I was really just guessing since I don't have any personal experience. So, tell me, is the W126 any more/less/equal in $$ to maintain than a W124? Would it prove to be bullet-proof transportation that wouldn't eat her pocketbook in imminent repairs? Anything particularly problematic about the '90 model year?

We will take for a good long drive and have my indie mech. look it over, I just wanted to get some input from our great board, thanks in advance.

Regards,
- Ryan
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2002, 12:00 PM
3 MB's and counting!
 
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its basically the same thing especially the engine. I would go for the w126.
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  #3  
Old 10-11-2002, 12:22 PM
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that was my thought too Benz, but I wondered if the S-class had the self-leveling suspension or other, more technical systems than the E. It is the M103 in there right?

Anyone else have offerings/suggestions?

Regards,
- Ryan
__________________
'95 E420 - 'Shadowfax' 138kmi.
'92 Volvo 740Turbo Bard 193kmi
'74 240D - 'Ol' Green' 4spd Manual 104kmi. (sold )
'77 300D - 'Red' 223kmi (sold)
'75 240D - 'Bianca the Blue Bomber' (sold)
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2002, 07:40 PM
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I think the W126 is a shade easier and less costly to maintain than a W124 because of the simpler suspension and easier-to-get-to AC components. I don't think any work on a W126 costs more.

I find the W126 to be noticeably bigger than the W124. Get 3 people and it back seat and see for yourself. The SEL gains you more legroom than the SE and in some cases a reclining rear bench (but not in the two 300SELs I've seen). The W124 trunk is easier to load because it opens almost as low as the bumper. the W126 sill is above the tail lights. The W126 rear headrests don't flop down with the push of a button as on the W124... maybe that's nitpicking.

Don't expect great mileage and decent 0-60 requires the stump pullingly harsh first gear. Hard to believe a 260SE was available in Europe.

Sixto
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2002, 11:19 PM
Benzman500
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Go wit the w126. The 300se will not have Hydropumatic (not spelled right I know) Only 500's and 560's came with them. By 91 they had everything worked out soild car a little slow but solid. There is not much to say because there were not that many problems with the w126. Not all that complex more of a step behind time by 91. Just check compression, the bottoms of the doors for rust, and that good old tranny. enjoy
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2002, 08:18 AM
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Diesel Dude,

I have owned a 90 300SEL and currently own a 90 300E. They are almost I dentical mechanical wise. The w126 doesn't have leveling suspension, but however drives and handles great. To be 100 percent honest if the 300SEL would have been in half the shape my 300E is in I would have kept it. The PO didn't take very good care of it. Your mom would probably love the size and comfort the w126 offers. And as we all know the M103 is a nearly bullet-proof motor. As some one else mentioned it maybe cheaper do to size of engine bay and accessabilty reasons. The only higher cost I can think of are : a few extra bucks in gas ( not much) because of weight and size, tires will wear faster.. If it is in good shape go for it. It's a great car..
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2002, 05:28 PM
mbz380se
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From several tjhreads I've read, 300Es can be little money pits compared to W126s. A/C repairs, the B2 piston (??) in the automatic transmission, etc, etc.

The 1990 SEL will be very well sorted. The Six won't have the torque of a V8, but it's a pretty good engine. Ask one of the 300E experts who reside around here about head gasket issues, etc.

-Sam
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2002, 07:49 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: England
Posts: 1,841
If you were in England, everyone would say (including me) - 190E is the way to go, or perhaps 300E if you need space.

Over here, handling counts - so a W126 doesn't cut it - but if you're *sure* the space is needed, a W126 is a great car, otherwise 190 or 300E would probably be the best choices
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2002, 10:24 PM
Benzman500
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what do you mean the w126 does not cut it for handaling? It's nimble for it's size
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2002, 11:37 PM
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Dan - it certainly doesn't handle badly, fairly well if you don't push it,

But.., it doesn't disguise its weight in the way some big cars can.. -> '88-ish-era 7-series or an Audi A8 (although these are much newer).. although it's about even with a Jag XJ

These are the only big cars we get in the UK to compare with, we get none of the domestic U.S. cars which probably handle dreadfully in comparison, Lexus is the only other.. I've never driven one

Only an A8 feels as solid as a W126, though


later!

P.S. it's 4.37 am here in England.. have hosted a (student) house party.. much clearing up to do in the morning........
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190E's:
2.5-16v 1990 90,000m Astral Silver
2.0E 8v 1986 107,000m Black 2nd owner
http://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall.jpghttp://www.maylane.demon.co.uk/190esmall2.jpg
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2002, 07:55 AM
Benzman500
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Hummm I always thought the 500 handeled pretty well got on it. I think other than the ability of my BMW to break the rear end lose it handeled better (and the body roll was a little more).
Never driven an Audi so I can't compare it to one so I will take your word on it
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