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Old 02-11-2001, 05:27 PM
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I recently started driving my 1990 300e everyday,it has 64,000 miles,had its 60,000 service in july,i'm 2nd owner!
my question is what kind of problems should i expect to crop up and what should i figure on spending per year on repairs? my concern is that i might get nickel,dimed and dollard to death!i have owned the car since september,i bought it from original owner,who did all scheduled maint and service at MB dealer,i had all books & records verified at dealer!
the car drives great i'm planning to put 25,000 miles per year on it and am not looking for this to be a money pit or be stranded on the side of the road!
looking forward to your input!
thanks in advance

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Old 02-11-2001, 05:46 PM
Alain V.'s Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: KS.
Posts: 477
The 300e is a good, dependable car. Just keep doing the normal services at the required mileages, and you should have a great car.
I see a few of these with 200K miles or more almost everyday.
Usually the biggest expenses on these are when they need a valve guide/head gasket job done, or if the ac compressor or suction hose go bad.
independant MBZ tech since 1981
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Old 02-11-2001, 06:06 PM
Lebenz's Avatar
backwoods member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
Darn fine car!

In the next 30K miles, in addition to the normal service youíll need brakes, and eventually an exhaust system (stated to be good for about 100K +/- 20K miles), A/C maintenance, motor mounts (somewhere around 100-120K), and a few other odds and ends. If the car has been driven mostly hiway, itíll need a *lot* less maintenance than if itís been used mostly in town. As Iím sure you know, the 300e is one of the most enjoyable cars made! You can expect to pay between 1K and 4K per year for maintenance. If you are concerned you might look into a warranty for the car that will cover the big ticket items. Sooner or later everything needs to be fixed. With a MB most items come later. I bought one for my 400e from a company called Wynnís. It provides 4 years/48K miles of coverage on major items plus the electric systems.


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Old 02-12-2001, 08:01 AM
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I guess I am just lucky, living right, or something. My '88 300E has 182,000 miles and I have yet to replace any exhaust components, A/C components or motor mounts.

I am, however, nervous about the a/c. These are known for their problems. I cross my fingers every time I turn it on. But, if it breaks, I will fix it.

I believe that on the '90 model they had the valve guide problem corrected.

I have had mine for quite some time, but did not start driving it daily until about nine months ago. But, even with a head corrosion problem that I have experienced, (due to lack of keeping the antifreeze changed by the previous owner and, I guess, me too) I haven't exceeded $1K per year in repair costs.

These are fabulous driving, very reliable cars. My suggestion is to change oil often, stay up with the preventive maintenance and enjoy it. If something goes wrong, fix it.

It is totally beyond me how people can predict that a part or system will fail at a particular mileage. I guess they're crystal ball is MUCH clearer than mine.

Drive it and enjoy it,
Change oil hot and change oil often,
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Old 02-12-2001, 12:01 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189

I drive approximately 1200 miles per month in my '87, mixed city and freeway driving. I started with 51000 miles ~ 2 years ago, and now have 75,500 miles. Aside from routine maintenance items and elective items like the Sportline suspension and Euro lights, my repairs have been as follows:

Motor mounts, water pump (coolant never changed before), all hoses, monobelt, thermostat cover - $662

Injector seals and sleaves - $82

flex disks - $156

replace rear brake pads, flush lines, replace brake fluid and hoses (precautionary), check freon leak, top r12 freon and add dye - $304

replace front rotors and pads, brake wear sensors, brake fluid. replace AC drier and expansion valve, "O" rings, and convert system to r134 - $685

This averages out to $89.95 per month of ownership for repairs. Doesn't include 3k interval oil changes, tires, shocks, light bulbs, and other normal wear items. In fact I don't consider the brakes as belonging in the above list, but couldn't seperate them from the AC work done at the same time. I figure about $75 per month for "repairs" - MUCH less than our Acura Legend. Larry's estimate of less than $1k per year should be right on the money. Besides Larry's oil change advice, I suggest yearly coolant and hydraulic fluid changes. Hope this helps.

[Edited by JCE on 02-12-2001 at 11:04 AM]

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Old 02-12-2001, 03:17 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Santa Cruz, CA USA
Posts: 117
I drive my 1986 300e 90 miles a day. 6 or 7 days a week. I have 94,400 miles on the clock and my exaust system is starting to go out. Since 96% of my daily commute is on the freeway at speeds averaging 75 MPH, my only complaint is the mileage the car gets. I guess any car is going to drink gasoline with that kind of mileage. It's kind of a game to me to keep the consumption as low as possible and see if I can get 25 MPG out of the tank. Mostly I get about 22 MPG. Other than regular maintance, and the fact that I did that head job at 70k, I don't really have any unusual expenses that nickle dime me to death. My biggest problem now is finding the time to maintain the car with my hours what they are... As far as your concern goes, this car has NEVER let me down. Even when the valves got really bad before the head job, and it was only running on 4 cylandars, it still got me and my family where we needed to be. You'll be very happy. Remember the worst thing you can do to a Mercedes is not drive it.
Kyle De Priest
2007 e320 Bluetec
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Old 02-12-2001, 04:24 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
My 300E now has 114,000 miles on it. Nearly every one of them has been sweet.

When the clock ticked over to 110,000, I did the following:

Replaced rear subframe mounts, rear differential mounts, rear suspension links, rear shocks. Replaced front struts.

Also had to replace: fuel pump relay.

I'm going to replace:

The exhaust system (has some small leaks).

Headlight system. I'm much too vain to accept the facial creases that I'll develop by squinting in the dark. The real reason is that I often travel in the early evening or at night either in the Central Valley of California (breadbasket of the world) or in the Sierras (the Sacramento, Tahoe, Chico triangle), where it's REALLY dark at night and where the deer think they're playing chicken.

Speaker system. I replaced the Becker paperweight with a CD player/receiver and now the speakers simply can't hang.

The gas mileage isn't stellar, but when the car gets to stretch its legs, it becomes quite good (around 25 highway, only about 21-22 around town. Everything else about the car is stellar.

Do the maintenance religiously. In the end, compared across the board, annually it's cheaper for me to run my 300E than it is for my wife to run her Honda Civic Si and the insurance rate is only $10 a month higher.

I think Americans are programmed early in life to accept engineered obsolescence. I used to have a real emotional barrier about crossing the 100,000 mark in a car. I then owned a 300D which I parted with awhile ago, running as strong as the day I bought it and over 200K. With the 300E, it doesn't make any sense to think in terms that short. In reality, the car doesn't even LOOK old.

2003 Dodge Durango SLT
2002 BMW E39 530i Sport
1988 Mercedes 300TE
2003 Chevrolet Suburban
1999 E430
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Old 02-12-2001, 04:41 PM
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I don't think that I've ever gotten 22MPG, even from my worse stoplight to stoplight driven tank. Have you performed the lambda adjustment since the valve job?

Good luck,
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Old 02-12-2001, 05:39 PM
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA USA
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I don't know if they dealer adjusted that when they did the job. I'd have to look into it. Thanks (again) for the advice.
Kyle De Priest
2007 e320 Bluetec
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Old 02-12-2001, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Iowa
Posts: 277
One of the main reasons I like this board so much is that I know so little about cars, and find it endlessly interesting to read the advice of the guru's of this board.

I have an '87 260E with 280K+ miles and a '90 300E with about 103K miles. The one "big ticket" item I had was the a/c r134a(?) conversion, about $1000USD on the '87. It has about 150K on the first valve job, so it may need one soon, also about $1200USD. Doesn't use any oil yet, so we'll see how far it will go.

The 300E hasn't had anything "big" yet. It had the SRS light coming on, and cost less than $100 to fix. These are my daily drivers, about 30-35K per year combined. So if I were to figure the per mile cost for me, it would quite reasonable. Reasonable for even an American car, but simply a delight for a Mercedes.

I can't add anything that hasn't already been said. Drive it, enjoy it, be proactive on maintenance and the car will be very good to you. My experience has seen a reliable car that is a joy to drive.

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Old 02-12-2001, 08:26 PM
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Driver, Mercedes-Benz
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,645
I changed the factory-fitted headlight bulbs to a halaogen - one which said was good for night racing. However, fast as I may be, I don't race but found the lights excellent for night driving as its pure bluish-white. The only setback I found was that the headlights cannot penetrate through when driving under the usual orange-lights along the highways.

Do check it out. In pitch darkness, you'd see lots more than you actually want to see .

... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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Old 02-15-2001, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,774
My '89 300E recently hit 240K kilometres and is going strong. I drive it daily (city driving) but make up for it by highway driving each weekend (approx. 300 KM). The car is going as strong as ever and still brings a smile to my face each time I cruise along at speeds over 150 kph.

Only major repair I had to do in the past year was the water pump. The pump didn't actually fail, but it began to leak. The part was not expensive ($200 CDN) but the labor was expensive. Total cost about $750 CDN.

I don\t have much advice to offer other than what has been said already about maintenance (especially oil changes! Larry is right on there), but as far as a dependable car goes, it would be hard to top a 300E!

Have fun!
2007 E550 4Matic - 61,000 Km - Iridium Silver, black leather, Sport package, Premium 2 package
2007 GL450 4Matic - 62,000 Km - Obsidian Black Metallic, black leather, all options
1998 E430 - sold
1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
1977 280E - sold
1971 250 - retired

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Old 02-16-2001, 08:07 AM
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Since we're now talking repair history.

I've had to do the head because it corroded through due to lack of cooling system maintenance of previous owner(after all I can't take all the blame) This cost about $600 for headwork and gasket set. I also replaced the drive belt at the time.

I replaced the pushbutton control unit, a little over $200.

When I got the car (at about 80,000 miles) it had a warped rotor. I replaced the two front rotors, I consider this repair rather than normal maintenance.

I did not go out and look in the log book before writing this, but I'm pretty sure this is the only corrective maintenance that I've done on the car, it now has 183,000 miles. Everything else has been normal maintenance such as oil changes, filter changes, brake pads, tires, shocks, etc.

I hesitated to write this, because I'm afraid my luck will change and the air conditioner will give up this spring. I have been very lucky with the a/c, I have read all the 124 a/c horror stories on this board, and worry every time I turn it on.

Have a great day,
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Old 02-16-2001, 09:33 AM
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I purchased my TE with 131k on it December 31 today I will probably hit 140 I am a driving fool. Oil Consumption is moderate so I am having the Valve Seals, Timing Chain, Cam Cover Gasket all for $908 by a reputable Mercedes mech up here in the great white north. I plan, or hope to put 300k on it at least. I travel everyday and the TE is perfect for me and my tools. I have already put an Eclipse sound system in it. It is a smooth runner and like all I pray for no A/C problems. The previous owner was average on upkeep but they did replace the fuel tank, exaust, and a few other biggies. some of the switch's are gettin spongy so I plan on replacing them maybe this weekend. Oh yea I replaced my tailgate shocks last week.

[Edited by rsbiomedical on 02-16-2001 at 08:49 AM]
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Old 02-16-2001, 02:42 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Santa Cruz, CA USA
Posts: 117
As far as little problems go,
My alternator went out at about 85,000. My head had to be rebuilt due to the bad stem seals. My steering box started to come apart, but was rebuildable. My outside tempature gauge is still giving me problems. The front tires can't seem to keep in balance. So far the AC is fine. The heater and cooling system are fine. I keep up with the belts and hoses and the maintance. (although I am far from religious about it, 'cause I'm a dummy) With all this said, the car is 15 years old and has sat for most of it's life in a garage. The prevous owner (I'm #2) never drove it! In 13 years, she only put 62k on the clock. The seals aren't designed to sit dry. I understood that it would need some work when I got it. It may be a Mercedes Benz, and it may look better and drive better than most cars half it's age, but it is still 15 years old and has to be treated accordingly.

Kyle De Priest
2007 e320 Bluetec
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