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  #1  
Old 10-10-2004, 01:59 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 178
saw a lovely '95 E320 wagon

with approx. 106k miles for $8,950. ad states it is in excellent condition, and the pics seem to confirm it. but it is hard to say, as I have read and heard many sellers say their car is "immaculate" or "very clean" and it is not when I go see it. I'm in the southern california market and was wondering if this is a good deal or not. it seems the average price for this model year is a bit more, like around $9k - $12k (some with even higher mileage). I just finished doing a search and have read up some of the common ($$$) issues with this particular model, such as the gasket, wiring harness, and the infamous evaporator issue. some have said these issues pop up during the first 100k miles. I don't know if the car has records, but I understand it is from a car wholesaler. I also read that this car has a leveling suspension system. I was not aware of this, is it only on the wagon version of this model, and exactly what is its main purpose? is 106k pretty high mileage to be spending that kind of dough on a car?

I'm currently looking for a wagon, either a first-generation volvo V70 or a late-model 855 (preferable a turbo). I'm partial to m-b, but my heart is in a volvo. I'm not a big fan of the wagon body, I must say, but I really like volvo wagons in general. now, seeing this E320 wagon has shifted some interest back into owning another m-b, a wagon at that. so, now my decision is a bit more complicated with another choice of make and model. I would love to hear some insight from some volvo/m-b owners.

edit to add: I have a set of polished 7-spoke slk rims (factory-stock for the slk) that is itching to go on a m-b. it is staggered 7" front and 8.5" rear (I think) an was wondering is they are an easy fit on the '95 E320 wagon without requiring any particular expensive tires or fender flaring. thanks

Last edited by frosty; 10-10-2004 at 02:06 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2004, 06:08 PM
dtf dtf is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: South East CT
Posts: 838
I love my '94 wagon. Bought with 66,000 for ~$28,000 in '98 and now has 230,000 miles. Seems you've done reading about issues with this car. This car also has a lousy ASR traction system as MB was redesigning the 4Matic system, shouldn't be an issue in So Cal. Lots of known defects like the radiator neck, fan clutch at 200,000, OVP relay, head gasket, evaporator, leaky rear windows. The self leveling suspension system is pretty good I think - no problem with mine at 230,000 miles. The climate control is pretty noisy too (I think). Sweet ride though. Can't help you about your rim question though.
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dtf
1994 E320 Wagon (Died @ 308,669 miles)
1995 E300 Diesel (203,000)
1999 E300 Turbodiesel ( died @ 255,000)
2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 AC 4X4 (115,000 miles)
2011 Audi A4 Avant (165,000 miles) Seized engine - donated to Salvation Army
BMW 330 xi 6 speed manual (124,034 miles)
2014 E350 4Matic Wagon 48,000 miles
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2004, 07:22 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,905
I keep a Kelly Blue Book at my desk for just such an ocassion. I would say that price is a little more than what a dealer would offer for trade in. So that might be where they came up with the price. It falls between the "trade-in fair" and "trade-in good", 8475, 9700 respectively (slip control or sport package add a little more if it has either of those. Kelly considers that mileage above "acceptable" but their definition of acceptable is based on customer surveys and has nothing to do with "average miles per year". My 98 C230 I just got was priced the same way. It was 7800, 8925 in the book and I paid 8500. I am now approaching 750 in parts added in 2 months and I don't see the end in sight yet.

I know what you mean about those sellers with a strange idea of immaculate. I drove 50 miles to see a car a guy swore was great, clean etc after I emphasized that I only wanted a car in excellent condition and did not want to drive all that way if the car was not really excellent. I got there and had to ask if the drivers side of the car was painted with Weather Beater or Dutch Boy. He told me I could sit in the car, but I knew I would have to burn my clothes if I did, it was so pitted out. I had to assume he was blind, although he was walking around and not bumping into anything.

You really should look closely at the car before you buy it.

Mike.
__________________
1998 C230 330,000 miles (currently dead of second failed EIS, yours will fail too, turning you into the dealer's personal human cash machine)
1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
Previous stars: 1981 Brava 210,000 miles, 1978 128 150,000 miles, 1977 B200 Van 175,000 miles, 1972 Vega (great, if rusty, car), 1972 Celica, 1986.5 Supra
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  #4  
Old 10-11-2004, 10:56 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 165
We bought our green '95 wagon with 105k in 2001. Car now has 133k. We really like this car.

Official warranty records from dealer reveal a lot of annoying and scary repairs before 87000 miles.

However, it has required the following since:
differential mounts
rear axle seal
wire harness (did it myself)
rear main seal (starting leaking very soon after switching to synthetic...hmmm...)

suspect the following will fail within the next 30k miles (but not sure really):
radiator neck
water pump?
transmission (feels a little lazy these days)

A/C still blows very cold, and rear suspension accumulators work just fine.
MB-Tex upholstery still like brand new--whole interior like new condition.

Its not particularly quick, and rolls quite a lot on fast corners, but this is an awesome New England workhorse, very useful. We got rid of our Ram 4x4, as we just didn't need it anymore, just taking up space in the driveway. With proper snow tires, car has no trouble snow-wise. For speed and handling, we hop into the 328i (with M3 suspension).

The paint finish is 'old school': that is, it seems to be very tough and hard compared to the soft paint on newer german and japanese cars. The paint on the front has very little road rash for the mileage. The car looks like new when waxed, draws a lot of admiring looks and comments. It really is a handsome vehicle, with timeless styling. Also, they are quite rare, its hard to find the figure on the official MB site these days, but for each year 93-95, they only sold about 3700-4000 in the US, something like that.

As I understand it, Volvos are VERY expensive and somewhat difficult to work on, and parts are just as, if not more expensive than equivalent MB parts. So I would ask around about that. We had also shopped against an older but very nice V70 AWD, but decided against it for that reason.. also because the 124 chassis is actually a pretty easy car to work on oneself, if you are handy enough, with the right tools.
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1995 MB E320 Wagon
2001 BMW 530i
2007 MINI Cooper S (!)
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2004, 05:31 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 67
Volvo wagon vs E320 wagon

I currently own a 1994 E320 wagon with 118K. I bought it recently, the body and interior are good.

The previous owner had replaced the evaporator (he paid over $3000) and some minor things like the OVP relay, starter and brakes. The car had been maintained from new by a Mercedes dealer.

The car needed tires, a head gasket and a wiring harness. Although I do many of my own repairs, I had it fixed at the dealer and at the same time I also had the water pump, hoses, belt tensioner, fan clutch, one valve guide, timing chain and tensioner, front crank seal and valve seals replaced. I spent $3300 for the repair. The Mercedes rep paid 50 percent of the parts and labor for the harness. The cars runs and drives well now.

I paid $2250 for the car. Yes, that was low. The owner was asking $6500, but he didn't realize it needed a head gasket/wiring harness. With the repairs and a new set of Bridgestone Turanza's, I have about $6000 total into it. To me, that is about what it's worth. It is a very nice car, and nice looking. It handles well and has enough power. It is safe. However, I know that down the road when I need a new throttle actuator, or some other $1000-2000 part, I won't resent the car and will be able to fix it.

I have owned many different Volvos. All of them were RWD. I don't think you can compare a V70 with an E320. You CAN compare a 1993 240 wagon (the last year) with an E320. You can even compare a 1994-5 940 or 960 with the E320. The 240 wagon is simpler, is just as safe, is much slower (114 hp vs 217 for E320), handles worse, (but not bad) is terrible in the snow, and has fewer built-in defects. The 240 will be much cheaper to run. You will have a very hard time finding one with low mileage. 240s require regular timing belt changes, U-joints, rear main and front crank seals, steering racks, and A/C compressors. The top ends need work at 150,000 miles or sooner. The bottom ends are good for 250,000. The manual trans is also good to 250,000.

The 940 is similar to the 240 but with a different body. Also a good car, but uglier than the 240. The 960 has the body of a 940 but uses a VW sourced, inline 6. It is a okay engine, but not great. This car could have many of the same problems as the E320: wiring harness, evaporator, possible head gasket. For that reason, they can be bought cheap. I think parts are high-priced on the 960.

The 850s and V70s are FWD and are very different cars. I personally don't like the way they drive. They also suffer from a much more cramped engine bay and various electrical demons. They require a lot of maintenace and some of it is hard to do.

The bottom line: If you can find a nice E320 with all the updates and a good service history, that is a good car to buy for about 6-8K. If you can find a nice E320 without all of the service updates, buy it, but deduct the cost of the repairs.

If you want a Volvo wagon, you can expect to look for a long time before you find one with low miles. When you do, expect to pay about the same as the E320.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frosty
with approx. 106k miles for $8,950. ad states it is in excellent condition, and the pics seem to confirm it. but it is hard to say, as I have read and heard many sellers say their car is "immaculate" or "very clean" and it is not when I go see it. I'm in the southern california market and was wondering if this is a good deal or not. it seems the average price for this model year is a bit more, like around $9k - $12k (some with even higher mileage). I just finished doing a search and have read up some of the common ($$$) issues with this particular model, such as the gasket, wiring harness, and the infamous evaporator issue. some have said these issues pop up during the first 100k miles. I don't know if the car has records, but I understand it is from a car wholesaler. I also read that this car has a leveling suspension system. I was not aware of this, is it only on the wagon version of this model, and exactly what is its main purpose? is 106k pretty high mileage to be spending that kind of dough on a car?

I'm currently looking for a wagon, either a first-generation volvo V70 or a late-model 855 (preferable a turbo). I'm partial to m-b, but my heart is in a volvo. I'm not a big fan of the wagon body, I must say, but I really like volvo wagons in general. now, seeing this E320 wagon has shifted some interest back into owning another m-b, a wagon at that. so, now my decision is a bit more complicated with another choice of make and model. I would love to hear some insight from some volvo/m-b owners.

edit to add: I have a set of polished 7-spoke slk rims (factory-stock for the slk) that is itching to go on a m-b. it is staggered 7" front and 8.5" rear (I think) an was wondering is they are an easy fit on the '95 E320 wagon without requiring any particular expensive tires or fender flaring. thanks
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2004, 06:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 178
thanks guys for all the info. well, I called the seller (company) and learned the car comes with NO records. should I forget about the car then? Is there any way I can tell if the car had its gasget changed or wiring harness updated? seller said car looks clean inside and out, but I don't want to drive all the way there if the census is to forget about a car with no records. thanks y'all!
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2004, 07:07 PM
dtf dtf is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: South East CT
Posts: 838
That decision is yours but I, personally, would look for one with all the records and have it looked at by a MB pro. Everything happens for a reason -Before I bought the '94 I was looking at a '92 (I think it was a '92) 4Matic wagon with no knowledge of MB and missed the purchase of the car by 1/2 hour, turns out the first generation 4Matic transmissions were very, very expensive to fix and very problematic (no pun). This car could cost you lots and lots of money (evaporator ~$3,000 alone I've heard). Good luck.
__________________
dtf
1994 E320 Wagon (Died @ 308,669 miles)
1995 E300 Diesel (203,000)
1999 E300 Turbodiesel ( died @ 255,000)
2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 AC 4X4 (115,000 miles)
2011 Audi A4 Avant (165,000 miles) Seized engine - donated to Salvation Army
BMW 330 xi 6 speed manual (124,034 miles)
2014 E350 4Matic Wagon 48,000 miles
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