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Old 11-15-2000, 09:04 PM
Posts: n/a
Hello all--

I haven't posted on this BB for over a year... ever since the untimely 'retirement' of our beloved 1988 300E "Autto" .

We are looking at buying an '86 300E with only 70k miles from a family friend (she's the original owner - all records in tact - not driven hard).

Anything I need to look for on this year model? We 're looking at it on Friday morning.


1986 300E 70k "Eva"
1988 300E 91k miles "Autto" R.I.P

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Old 11-16-2000, 12:41 AM
Nick Jamal
Posts: n/a
Hi Stephen,
An '86 from the original owner? WOW!
Well, with only 70k it probably hasn't needed the valve seals and guides replaced yet, a typical concern on the early 300Es. This was updated on later models ('89+), minimizing premature wear of these items. Check and see whether the radiator has been replaced, and whether it has a metal, reinforcing insert in the 'neck'. These always fail, and could lead to expensive repairs, etc....
Definitely check the horrendous AC system for proper operation! (I expect this is the FIRST thing you check in TX anyway!) The alternator was upgraded from a 70A to an 80A unit in the '88 models, I believe - might want to check and see how it's holding up. Check that the seat springs are firm - they tend to go a little soft in the earlier models, and it could get uncomfortable. Having owned a 300E in the past will definitely help you notice anything untoward in the car's habits as you test-drive it. And finally, check the electric convenience items - seats, windows, sunroof, pwr antenna. All of the above is what I can muster up from personal experience with our 2 W124s - I'm sure you'll get some pro advice soon! Great cars, these - as you know. Good luck!
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Old 11-16-2000, 02:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the reply Nick--

I do know that it needs a new sunroof motor. Those about $500-ish?!? I also know that the trim pieces(?) around the drivers side mirror are delaminating and are in need of repair or replacement.

What about fluids?? The car has been sitting in storage for 4-12 months only being driven occasionally. Any concerns there? The car probably needs an "Italian Tune-Up" for sure (once I know everything is in good working order that is).

Thanks again!

1986 300E 70k "Eva"
1988 300E 91k miles "Autto" R.I.P
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Old 11-16-2000, 05:53 AM
Ashman's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,749
Sounds like you have found what appears to be a gem of an early 300e.

Low Miles and service history. sounds like an excellent buy to me.

IF the car has been sitting for a while, My personal choice if the car has been sitting would be to change all the fluids and filters.

IT really can't hurt.

As far as the sunroof if you are positive the motor is broken, then it shouldn't be too bad of a fix. Have you actually tested to see if power is getting to the motor? a Good Multimeter and a friend to hit the switch while you test wires, should definitely determine if it is motor failure or switch failure.

If there is power at the motor and nothing happens it might be broken. if there is no power, you will want to test the switch itself. if there is power to the switch but none leaving it voila you have found the problem.

I picked up a 92 300ce a couple of months ago with 78k on the clock. I love the car tremendously. In fact my girlfriend is getting a bit jealous... I've been spending too much time with my car since I got it.

I'm not a tech, but thats my thoughts on the car.


'92 300CE
Metallic Black (Blue Flaked) on Parchment
Clear Corners
94-95 Tail-Lights
Black Grille Insert
78.5k Miles

Future Upgrades:
Sportline Suspension
17" AMG Monoblocks or EVO II's
Euro Headlights
Performance Chip
AMG Exhaust

Click here to Go To My 300CE Page
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Old 11-16-2000, 07:19 AM
Posts: n/a

If you know this person, make sure you quiz them about the oil consumption. Study the records and see if the valve seals have been upgraded. When upgrading, the valve GUIDES were not upgraded, only the valve seals. To replace the valve seals is not a real big deal, this is done with the head in place. If they were upgraded early on AND the owner reports no oil usage AND you believe her, then this is probably no problem.

The achilles heel on these cars is DEFINITELY the climate control system. The controls fail, flapper valves fail, evaporators(the worst nightmare of the a/c system on this car) fail and compressors fail. If in the records you find that it has already had an evaporator this is a plus. The evaporators are bimetallic and if it has been upgraded to an all copper evaporatr, the worst climate control nightmare is taken care of.

The MB Buyers Guide states that in spite of the climate control system that these cars are "your best buy in a used MB period, end of story" or something like that. This is a strong statement that I read before buying my 300E that I have now put about 100,000 miles on, bought it at 80,000 miles. I now know how true that statement is.

Best of luck,

Larry Bible
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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Old 11-16-2000, 10:23 AM
Nick Jamal
Posts: n/a
Regarding the valve guides being upgraded, this is M.B. DOC's response to my post, "Pecking order/ history for M103" of 11/04:

The M103 after April of 89 should have better camshaft, piston design, rocker arms, & valve guides! Of course the 1990 & later cars have a much nicer level of trim & sound system in the W124 chassis.
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Old 11-16-2000, 11:45 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: SW Colorado USA
Posts: 296
When changing fluids be sure and flush the often overlooked brake fluid.

90 M-B 300GE 5sp
98 BMW 750iL
86 Porsche 944 Turbo
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Old 11-16-2000, 01:53 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for all of your replies. I have generated a Check List in my Palm so when I go to look at the car I'll have all of this great info at my fingertips.

Thanks again and it's nice to be back at the MB Forums.

1986 300E 70k "Eva"
1988 300E 91k miles "Autto" R.I.P
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Old 11-16-2000, 03:40 PM
JCE's Avatar
JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
Last year I bought my father's 87 300E (He was the original owner) with 50k miles on it's clock. I took it and the records to a super tech, and what was needed was as follows:
Change thermostat cover from plastic to metal

flush coolant - hadn't been done, ever!

replace water pump, leaking from coolant neglect - pressure test system

Replace heater hose, radiator hose, bypass hose, and heater pipe and elbow fitting

replace bad plug boot

flush brake lines

replace injector seals

replace mono belt

replace 10 year old tires

replace rusted out center muffler/pipe.

Do 60k service as part of above.

Top off the freon, add dye, identify extremely small leak - fix when the rest of the AC needs work.

Check that 3 factory service bulletins had been done on: 1. replacing the throttle bushing on the accelerator control cable with a more heat resistant material. 2. front flex disk upgrade/replacement at 30k intervals. 3. check proper connection of plug between air bag and wheel. Air bag replacement upgraded by 5 years fom replacement date on glove box sticker.

Has not needed anything non-routine since, but I redid the suspension with Sportline and the headlights with Euros.
Hope this helps.

87 300E, 65k miles
Smoke Silver

[This message has been edited by JCE (edited 11-16-2000).]

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