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  #1  
Old 01-14-2001, 06:03 PM
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My Dad is looking to replace is 85 300sd model with 300 miles with a 300E. He is at least looking into this car. I have noticed many of these for sell in the local paper. Do you have any comments about these cars? Anything special to check or to be aware of while shopping for this car..or should we look for other models?
Thanks,
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2004 VW Passat GLS TDI-50k
2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L 7k
FOR SALE 1991 300TE 228k

2003 Subaru Outback 57k Silver/Black-SOLD
2005 C230K 18k Pewter/Grey-SOLD
1997 E420 108k Black/Grey-SOLD
1986 560sl 200k Black/Palimino-SOLD
1985 300sd 340k-SOLD
1979 240d 170k-SOLD
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2001, 09:00 PM
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You can do a search on 300E issues. I will take the liberty of summarizing by saying that you should pass if the climate control and AC do not work perfectly. This can be an endless money pit.

The ABS and traction control are also problem areas. Outside of that, look for good records and general mechanical condition.

They are great cars. I truly enjoy my '86.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2001, 09:30 PM
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thanks for your reply.
he is actually looking at an 86 300e with only 105k. AC and ABS are problems specifically with the 300e...or are you saying to generally stay away from cars with these problems.
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Rob Armstrong, Charlotte, NC
Mountain Island Lake
RobAinCLTNC@hotmail.com

2004 VW Passat GLS TDI-50k
2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L 7k
FOR SALE 1991 300TE 228k

2003 Subaru Outback 57k Silver/Black-SOLD
2005 C230K 18k Pewter/Grey-SOLD
1997 E420 108k Black/Grey-SOLD
1986 560sl 200k Black/Palimino-SOLD
1985 300sd 340k-SOLD
1979 240d 170k-SOLD
2000 Volvo V70XC-POS couldn't sell fast enough
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2001, 09:39 PM
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Never heard of problems with ABS and traction.
They are very reliable cars. I have a 88 300CE and I just sold my 90 300E. My CE has 125k miles, I never had any problems with the car.

However, I've done many AC jobs on other 124s. Most evaporator jobs on Mercedes models involve taking out the dash, a lot of labor involved $$$. Have the system checked by a professional. I did an evaporator job for someone that owned the car for less than a week. I guess the previous owner just added some freon before sale.

Another thing to look out for is head jobs: gasket, seals, guides, chain etc. Make sure that the car had some work on it done or else deduct from price.

Check for engine oil leaks and transmission seal leak. Check transmission fluid quality. Smell the fluid after a test drive.
Just make sure the car was maintained properly. A lot of times you can tell by the seller.

Another thing to check are the instrument panel fault lights. Make sure they all turn on when key is in ignition position. A lot of times people disconnect the bulbs.

Good luck,
Vin

[Edited by vinamg on 01-18-2001 at 12:13 AM]
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2001, 09:55 PM
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robaincltnc:
From what I have been able to read, the 300Es in the w124('86-95) seem to have adequate air conditioners, but that if something goes wrong with them they are labor intensive to get at, and if they are not well maintained, or have been run with low levels of refrigerant, or improperly converted from freon to the newer refrigerants, then expensive problems can occur. (correct me if I'm wrong on this, folks!)
I have an extremely minor leak in mine - the tech says it is not worth fixing until something major goes wrong and the system has to be evacuated and taken apart. He just checks it each time it is in for service for freon level. Certainly the prices I am seeing on the parts (compressor, evaporator core, etc.) are comparible or less expensive then the same type of parts on my '88 Acura Legend coupe.
If the car as low miles and excellent service records, looks like a well maintained cream puff, and has been OK'd by a good tech after a thorough inspection, I personally would go for it. All the positive features on these cars (w124 chassis) are described in the "cars" tab at the top of the page, where the solid construction, great handling, and high accident survivability by occupants have caused people to describe this model as the best used car choice of any make/model.
Good luck on the car search!
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2001, 10:56 PM
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I love my 300E. Its great its nimble, fast , comfortable and reliable. I love its handling, and appreciate it even more after I got my 1998 E class. The newer E class don't hanlde as well as the W124's. I never had problems with the ABS, however I once had to change the A/C system over to R134 from Freon 12. That was the only thing that went wrong. The nest car that I'm buying is the 500E/E500. Thats how much I LOVE the W124's.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2001, 01:49 AM
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Just to add my impressions...

The grins-per-moment I've gotten from my 300E far outweigh the cost of maintenance, which really isn't all that bad. I even grin when I walk up to it in the parking garage at work.

I have been too lazy to research this, but I have a very strong memory of the Car & Driver review of the early 300E. I seem to remember the phrase "best sedan in the world." When I decided to buy one, years later, I was treated to what the C&D editor was talking about.

I would second everything mentioned above to watch for and add the following:

I don't know how many miles is acceptable to you, but if you are looking at an early 124 with around 100K, you will almost certainly be looking at replacing the rear thrust arms (one of the rear suspension links) and perhaps the rear subframe mounts and differential mounts. You can find out more about the thrust arm thing by looking at the "Floating 300E" thread. When mine were done, I had all of the links replaced (not just the thrust arms), along with the subframe mounts and diff mounts for a total cost of $800, parts and labor. Totally different car afterwards. Because of the mileage on my car, shortly thereafter I also had the front and rear shocks replaced - Bilstein HD on all corners. I did the rears myself (easy and a great excuse to clean out the trunk of broken golf tees and dead golfballs and clear out the drain tubes) and had my tech do the fronts (time and tools). Even better handling afterwards. My tech told me that the original shocks would've given up the ghost at around 130K. Based on other German cars I've owned, including an Audi quattro and '76 300D, I think that sounds reasonable.

Check the records to see if the fuel pump relay and/or fuel pump have been replaced (again, on a higher mileage example). Maybe someone with more experience can amplify this, but the relay is bound to fail sometime and failure is a pain in the rear because it always happens at the wrong time. When mine failed (I think they're about $125) my tech told me that the relay might fail if the pump is faulty - drawing too much amperage - so replacing the relay may only be a short-term solution.

300Es, I'm told, may also suffer from "intermittent stall," the causes of which can be diagnosed out the ying-yang and never identified. Mine has never stalled (other than when the fuel pump relay died), but I've driven an 87 and a 90, both of which, oddly enough, the ONE time I drove each of those cars, stalled at stop lights. Started right back up, though.

Finally, I've mentioned this a couple of times on this forum and no one has disputed it, so maybe it's true... I was also told by my guy that MB has changed the injectors from the original design. The original injectors apparently don't work well with the gasoline additives now in fuels that weren't there 15 years ago. This can be the cause of a minor rough idle. Use Techron.

I can't get my outside temperature gauge to work consistently, but that's a minor annoyance. On the positive side, this is also the only Benz I've ever been around with an antenna that has telescoped and retracted fully for an entire year. I read a post about using "White Lightning," a lubricant that I use on the other vehicle mentioned in my signature below. Works like a charm.

I agree with Alex - I love my 124 so much that I'm going to try to pry the 500E with less than 40K languishing in my friend's garage away from the owner. His continued possession of that work of art is a constant friendly tug of war with us, especially since he's currently smitten with a BMW 8-Series.

Sorry for the lack of brevity.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2001, 02:22 AM
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David:
If you can get the 500E, and are willing to drive it to Atlanta, I'll pay for all the gas just to ride in it!!! If your friend would seriously trade a 500E towards an 850, then I submit he is so dense that light waves bend as they pass him. My friends white 850 without doubt has the sexiest physical presence I have seen on a car in a long time, but also coined the phrases "tempermental" and "quixotic"! It spends as much time running on 6 cylinders on the way to the bimmer docs as it does on 12!

Maybe you ought not tell him my opinion - instead, tell him that the shop forums say that 500Es need complete steering rebuilds and suspension overhalls by 50k miles, and the timing chains were originally made by shimano for coaster brake bicycles! Then offer him $25k and a ride to the BMW shop.
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2001, 12:55 PM
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JCE:

My friend thinks he's saving me from myself by not selling me the 500E. He's one to talk. In addition to the 500E and the 850, he owns a 300D, a 300TD, a 300TE, a C43, an ML 430, two Mazdas (a Miata and an RX-7), a 540i and a 4x4 Toyota pickup.

I would love to take you up on your offer if I had the car. You'd be subjected to a lot of classical music at speed, though.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2001, 01:27 PM
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Well, the triumphal chorus from Aida would work well in the 70's, and the Prokofiev's Lt. Kije suite (at least through the Troika) should get us through the 80's, and maybe the Brandenburg Concerti through the 90's, but if we go much faster than that, and I'm at the wheel, Mozart's Requiem might wind up being appropriate.
I am at that awkward stage between childhood and senility where my brain says "SCCA", and my reflexes say "AARP". It is just as well my Sportlined 300E doesn't have more power. If it did, I wouldn't be able to follow my MB techs advice to "keep it shiny side up".
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2001, 03:08 PM
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That's odd

JCE-

Yesterday afternoon, as I was bombing my way eastward after a meeting in Oakland, I was listening to the very Requiem to which you refer (Sir Neville Marriner, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and guests on Philips). I wasn't quite at the requisite speed, however. Too windy up here. I have long harbored a secret desire (not so secret now) to be flying along in triple digits accompanied by a J. Strauss waltz. An imprint from Kubrick's "2001," I assume.

If you would, please, would you send me an email regarding your Sportline suspension? Your impressions, who down there installed it, costs, things to watch out for, etc.? Thanks in advance.
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2001, 03:29 PM
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David:
Consider it done - all the info on the Sportline is under the tab "cars" at the top of the page! Look under the Sportline article; that is my car in the middle of the page, with before and after photos, work in progress pics, driving impressions, comments from the tech who did the work at Camino Capistrano Imports. The only changes are that by the time the car had been run on the new suspension bits for 6 months, it "settled in" about another 1/4 - 1/2". All told the car is 3/4 to 1" lower than stock - a very subtle effect. People tell me it looks different, but they don't know why. Handling improvements are truly amazing, with very little loss of ride quality. I still feel it is more comfortable on freeways now than before.

Cost for all the parts is specific to each car VIN#, about $1400 if I recall (and well worth every penny!!!) I think the labor was something over 8 or 9 hours. Very straightforward installation, actually much of it was replacing things like bushings and shocks that fatigue over time anyway.

I won't be up north until summer, but if your come to SoCal, You can drive mine and get a feel for how it transformed the car, maybe we can meet up with Mike Tangas and some other SoCal forum members for dinner!

Regards,

John
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2001, 03:44 PM
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John-

Thanks - I travel to SoCal fairly often on business and to see my son, who lives in Irvine. I'll let you know the next time I'm down there, which should be within the next two months.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2001, 03:51 PM
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And having driven JCE's 300E Sportline, I can tell you that the suspension really soaks up the roadway, to the point that you'd better watch the speedo, or you'll find yourself toolin along at 70+ on Trabuco Canyon Rd and not even realize it .
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2001, 06:23 PM
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Thanks John and Mike

Definitely something to consider. I've been on both Trabuco Canyon and Ortega Highway (from John's impressions under the Cars tab) from my days living down there. From what I understand, Laguna Canyon isn't what I remember it was a decade or so ago...but maybe my memory is bad. Anyway, I'll have to think about this. Maybe I'll buy the parts and schedule a trip down and have your guy do the install.
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