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  #1  
Old 08-03-2004, 08:55 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: California
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Buying C280

I'm looking at a 1995 C280, with 79,9XX miles. The car is in beautiful condition, the owner wants to sell only because her warranty has expired (she bought it as certified used w/ 3 year warranty).

I'm unfamiliar with this car other than what I've read on this forum, and what I've noticed is that this model/year had a couple of problems: 1) wiring harness 2) blown head gasket.

Current owner showed me all of her receipts. Wiring harness was replaced under warranty. The head gasket blew a few months before warranty expired, car overheated, and all of this was also fixed under warranty.

Since these problems have been fixed, do I need to worry about either of these problems again? In other words, has Mercedes corrected the cause of the problem by re-designing the wiring harness and head gasket(or bolts or whatever caused head gasket failure) or can I expect this to happen to me somewhere down the line?

And is there anything else I should look for? The car drives very well, shifts crisply etc.

Thanks in advance.

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Dave
1995 C280
1999 Triumph Daytona 955I - my speed fix.
1982 300TD - Gone, but not forgotten.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:13 PM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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It's all a matter of price.
As far as repeat problems goes, why worry about things that may, or may not happen?
You like the car, the price is right, major items have been replaced.......buy it.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:26 PM
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I'm really tempted. Manny.
I'm not however, picking something out of thin air to worry about. It sounds as if this is a known problem on this car and I'd like to know that the cause of the problem was addressed when the head gasket was replaced. If not, it seems logical that this will happen again.
So, I repeat my question...
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Dave
1995 C280
1999 Triumph Daytona 955I - my speed fix.
1982 300TD - Gone, but not forgotten.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2004, 11:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
The new wiring harnesses are fine, i.e., the insulation no longer flackes off.

My Mercedes mechanic tells me that he has never had a new gasket fail that he has replaced. He showed me the new gasket - it has metal inserts that keep it indexed in the block, preventing it from sliding around.

I'd have no problem buying this car.
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2004, 12:07 AM
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The replacement wiring harnesses seem to be bulletproof. I have a 1994 104 motor that has had two head gaskets - one at 35k and another at 70k. But only the 70k got the latest gasket and it has held up. I think the answer on the head gasket is that the new gasket is much improved - but it is still a long engine with two different metals sort of fighting with each other. I'd have no problem buying the car. I've come to believe that a 104 motor with these two problems out of the way is a very good motor - valves, timing chain, etc. and of course a bottom end that is nearly indestructible.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2004, 10:28 AM
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Thanks for the info.
Looks like I'll buy it then.
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Dave
1995 C280
1999 Triumph Daytona 955I - my speed fix.
1982 300TD - Gone, but not forgotten.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2004, 11:47 AM
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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The only other thing I'd suggest you have a look at is the condition of the lower control arm bushings. These cars chew them up. When I replaced them on my '94 C280 the job cost me $700 Cdn including the alignment, plus taxes. That was with the dealer, but the dealer was the best price option I could find. The cars also seem to go through ball joints, but they aren't as expensive as the big stuff.

Jonathan
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2005, 01:56 AM
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Thought I'd post an update to this original query.

I made the purchase on Aug. 5, 2004. As of Feb 1, 2005 the car crossed the 100,000 mile mark. That's 20K miles in just under 6 months.

Here's the extent of the work so far:

Radiator reservoir tank replaced by me - Original had broken overflow nipple(this is the overflow that directs fluid to the ground). I noticed the replacement tank no longer has the curved nipple, so the overflow hose is prone to kinking. Not a serious problem, just a stupid design. I think the tank (dealer part) was about $90 - ouch!

Car was running hot shortly after I bought it. My indy mechanic thought it was just the low speed fan fuse, but he also said the fan clutch was not 100% and he recommended replacing the thermostat. I had him replace thermo, fan clutch and fuse, as well as replace tranny fluid/filter and oil fluid/filter - cost about $550.

One more oil/filter change + tire rotation. Approx $100.

Oh yeah, the 6 disc cd changer (Alpine) crapped out. $125 to repair.

Tire chains - $90.

I'm a real estate appraiser and this car is my daily work car. Lots of stop and go, neighborhood driving. Lots of turn arounds, shifting car from forward to reverse and back. Constant up and down of driver's window. I also own property 550 miles from my primary residence, so I do a round-trip there about every 3 weeks. Car seems to be holding up very well. The only down side is that although the car looked new when I bought it, I don't have a garage and since it sits outside year round, I know the sun will take its toll on the finish. I've also had it on gravel/dirt roads several times, and had tire chains on it for a weekend in the No. California snow over New Year's weekend. This car gets driven hard!

And I love it!

Granted, it's no Diesel station wagon, but still a great car.

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Dave
1995 C280
1999 Triumph Daytona 955I - my speed fix.
1982 300TD - Gone, but not forgotten.
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