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  #1  
Old 04-12-2001, 01:24 AM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
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O.K., I know I'm obsessing over this, but it's a big decision for me. I'm going back out on the road, travelling Texas,driving 30-35K per year.

I was ready to buy an '86 420 SEL,then several tech's told me, "for high miles, a diesel is the best way to go".

My search has narrowed to the following: Condition rated on a scale of 1-5. 1=poor, 5=excellent

'86 420 SEL rating 4.5, 120K records, everything replaced $6500

'87 300D rating 4.0 170K records, solid $5500

'85 380SE rating 4.0 120K no records, nice $4500

'85 300SD rating 3.5 150K some records, everything works, techs own car $4000

'93 300E rating 4.8 120K records, Really nice $9000

The 420 is a limo. The 380 is too but not as nice as the 420. The 300D is a solid car, but I'm used to an "S" Class.

The 300SD is a good example of a 16 year old car, but still a "Tank". The '93 is a stretch financially, I;d have to sell my '85 300D.

My comfort zone is around $5K. The prolem is, my '90 300SE is REALLY nice and only the 420 & 300E comes close. But the 300SE has over 240K on it. I'm planning on giving it to my wife for short range duty and giving my 16 year old the '85 300D.

I'd really appreciate some input.





[Edited by Mr. BILL on 04-12-2001 at 12:33 AM]
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91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2001, 01:30 AM
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Simple...

Logic dictates that, based upon your criteria and data outlined in your posting, that the 300SD is the best car for your needs, based upon style, comfort, longevity, reliability, fuel mileage, condition and price.

(Thank You Science Officer Spock......)
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2001, 01:33 AM
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Personally, and based on what you gave, I would go for the 86 420 SEL first, hands down.
Second, I would go for the 300E.

But Longston proves a very good point. And he is true. Especially if you are going to be doing really high miles and need the absolute most out of your car.
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Previous:
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2001, 01:58 AM
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If our lives are forever to eternity, then pick what is sensible.

At my stage of life, I live like everyday is a blessing.

Thus, if you think you'd like the 420SEL but it would cost maybe a few dollars more on fuel over a diesel .. well, economically if you don't mind forking out that little more for a lot more of enjoyment, you'd know what to do.

Life is too short to be encumbered in choosing between a petrol or a diesel.

As long as you are happy.
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2001, 11:41 AM
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Thanks to the above! Wise words from all. Please keep them coming so I can get a concensus.
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91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2001, 12:24 PM
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The 85 300SD
Put $2000 of extra improvements into it
(Stereo, tune-up, preventitive maintenence, new tires, new shocks, motor mounts, brakes, etc)
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2001, 04:10 PM
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Location: the Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. BILL
The 300SD is a good example of a 16 year old car, but still a "Tank". The '93 is a stretch financially, I;d have to sell my '85 300D.
BILL,

I know that I am biased, but I would definitely go for the diesel (since high mileage with a petrol in the Netherlands will obligate me to sell the cars that I do not use to be able to buy the needed gasoline).
The diesel engines of mercedes run a lot smoother and constant as the petrol engines and service costs of a diesel are (generally) lower.

Why would you consider to sell the 1985 300D, you can do the high mileage road trips with that car as well (I presume).

greetingz,
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2001, 05:38 PM
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Are you to be reimbursed for mileage? or is all of this driving on you with a tax writeoff? Frankly, I'd go for the 300SD. I have one and it is a fantastic trip car, but if I were to be faced with many hours in the saddle, I'd put some $ into making sure that the seat fits you perfectly. On mine, I have a good sheepskin and some extra foam under it in the right places. Another point is that with a diesel, if it runs at all, it will probably get you home. $4K for an 85 in good shape is a very good price. You can drive it for a year and sell it for that. Be aware though that I get only 21 mpg on mine with mostly high speed freeway driving.
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2001, 05:52 PM
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Thanks again! The 300SD has all the improvements as listed above by Machnumber2. I don't get reimbursed for expenses. I can however, write miles off on my taxes.

I think it's down to the '85 300SD or the '86 420SEL. The refinements of the 420 are tempting because of the long hours between stops travelling Texas. It's not unusual to go 3-4 hours between stops. The smoother quieter ride is a big plus.

The 420 looks and runs like new. The 300SD is pretty nice, there are a couple of dings in the body and the paint is pretty good. I'll sleep on it.

Thanks!
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91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2001, 09:14 PM
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If you can write miles off you taxes, go for the 420. More power and comfort from what you're describing in terms of refinement.

I know what it is like to be travelling long hauls and stepping out straight into a meeting feeling as if the trip was too short. The advantages are invaluable, and I'm sure the 420 will provide you this extra edge.
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2001, 09:25 PM
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Good Point! It really is important to be able to step out of the car after a 3 hour drive and be sharp.

In my early years, I drove Chevy's and I'd get out of the car and my back would hurt, my head was numb and my kidneys felt like they needed a transplant.
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Mr. BILL

91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2001, 10:13 PM
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Go for the 85 300SD. I owned a 1987 300SDL, which is the diesel version of the 420 sel. At 150kmiles, I started to have lots of failures (a/c, front end, drive line problems, etc). The engine was strong and smooth, but the chassis and driveline was going away.

I believe the earlier years are more reliable. My 240 has 224kmiles and has never had the failures I had at 150kmiles on the 300 sdl. I don't know why, but my guess is that MB started to cheapen (is that a word?) their product in the mid 80's to compete with the top line Japanese cars.

Of course, this is only a single data point, and might not be true overall. However, I know what I would pick given your choice...the 85.

Joe

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  #13  
Old 04-12-2001, 10:41 PM
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Thanks Joe,

How many miles did your 240 have on it when you bought it? My theory is that between 125K and 175K alot of the things you mentioned need to be replaced.

I bought a really nice '85 300D that only had 125K on it three years ago. I've had to replace all the things you mentioned and a few more. I have also owned a '84 300SD and have a '90 300SE. Both had over 215K on them at time of purchase. They have been very trouble free. But all the stuff you mentioned had been replaced prior to my purchase.

That's why I'm so concerned about this purchase. If and when a car broke, my tech was here in town. Breaking in a distant city could be a hassle and expensive.

At this point I simply can't afford to put out alot for a car. So I know I'll have to take my chances. I do agree that Mercedes prior to the "luxo rice burners"seemed to e better.

I don't think they had the worry of price competition prior to 1990. I remember that a Lexus LS 400 was about $10K less than an E Class that had a six banger, and a V8 was $20K more.
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Mr. BILL

91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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  #14  
Old 04-12-2001, 11:05 PM
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My 240D had 153000 on the clock when I bought it. The records showed very few problems (an a/c problem was repaired, steering box was adjusted, belts/hoses, motor mounts, flex disks and shocks changed).

I got a good deal on it because it needed injectors, and I think the previous owner thought the pump was failing so he was open to an offer.

My 87 sdl needed all of the above at 165kmiles plus....tranny front seal (ouch...that one left a mark on my wallet), left side half shaft, a/c repaired several times, and lots of front end parts. When I sold her, I think it might have needed value seals (puff of blue smoke on startup).

I admit the 300sdl would eat road like no other car I've owned...the turbo would kick in about 72 mph, and at 80 mph, it just hummed.

Oh, yeah...remember that the 420 is a real gas hog...I believe it will get about 15 to 17 mpg...my sdl got about 24.

HTH

Joe
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  #15  
Old 04-13-2001, 12:00 AM
Mr. BILL's Avatar
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I know what you mean about the 420 being a gas hog. I drove an '87 300SDL today and I thought it was pretty loud. I took it up to about 75 MPH and it really sounded like a truck. It was louder than my old 300SD.

Smooth and quiet is real important to me. I figured out that at 30K miles a year, I'd still come out pretty well with the tax deductions I'd get.
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Mr. BILL

91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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