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  #1  
Old 11-28-2006, 09:34 AM
08 C300 4matic, 93 190e
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Merrimack NH
Posts: 28
Is my 190e experience typical?

So I bought a '93 190e for my son to get back and fourth to school a year and a half ago with 84K miles on it. It's now got 104K miles and I've had to replace all the rotors, ball joints, tie rods, idler arm rebuild, A/C condensor & Drier, and now the head gasket. Had I not done the work myself he'd be bankrupt!

The car was a single owner car that was maintained by a Mercedes dealer, so I don't think it was abused at all.

So is this a typical list of repairs when a 190e goes over 100K?

To be honest I had been seriously considering a 2002-2004 C230 Coupe as car for commuting, but I'm getting a little gun shy here!

-Steve
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2006, 10:00 AM
tvpierce's Avatar
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Location: Portland, ME
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While that may seem like a lot all at once, I don't think it's any worse than any other car -- with the exception of the A/C: that is a known weak point in this vintage of MB.

Brake rotors: These are a regular wear item on any car. They should be replaced every 2nd or 3rd pad change regardless of vehicle make.

Ball joints and tie-rod ends: I would expect a livespan of about 100K on any vehicle (for instance a Camry or Accord). Same with the idler arm -- assuming you're talking about the idler arm for the steering system.

Try buying a domestic car with about 100K miles. Your list would be much longer.

Jeff Pierce
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Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2006, 10:53 AM
yal's Avatar
yal yal is offline
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, Long Island
Posts: 2,705
The car is 14 years old. If it was maintained by a mercedes dealer its a good bet that the previous owner didn't want to pay to have certain things fixed because of the cost to car age ratio You on the other hand are a little more thorough because its your son.
Right now on my car I need an abs sensor, front rotors and I need to replace the steering shock, I haven't gotten round to it yet. But if my daughter was old enough to drive it (she's 11 months old right now ) I would fix that stuff immediately.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2006, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 310
I've done everything on that list except the tie rods and idler arm on my 1994 C280, plus a water pump and lower control arm bushings, over the last three years. While not the same chassis (yours is the last year W201 and mine the first year W202), my car is 13 years old (September '93 build date). None of this is out of the ordinary for a 13-15 year old car, regardless of where it was maintained.

You wont experience these things with a 2002-03 C class until it gets on in years to a similar age.
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2011 Mazda2
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2006, 12:37 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Baton Rouge La
Posts: 2,621
it's a shame you had to do the head gasket.... other than that..it all looks pretty normal to me.... I just bought a 260e (with 206k on the clock)...and expect to be going through many of the suspension and steering issues...

...the evaporator issue is always lurking...but you know that going in...

i wonder how many of these cars you can do those functions yourself? That's the beauty of this series.
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1989 300ce 129k
( facelifted front,updated tail lights, lowered suspension,bilstein sports, lorinser front spoiler, MOMO steering wheel, remus exhaust,stainless steel brake lines). (Gone)

1997 s320 154k (what a ride)

1994 e320 Cabriolet 98k (finally)



1972 280se 4.5 153k Owned for 12 yrs, sorry I sold it


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  #6  
Old 11-28-2006, 12:46 PM
08 C300 4matic, 93 190e
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Merrimack NH
Posts: 28
True...

...yea, I must admit I probably wouldn't feel so bad had it not been for the head gasket. Even then perhaps not so bad had I not had those silly pins holding the chain guide welded in place!! I had a heck of a job drilling them out.

Okay, so I'm not feeling quite so bad, might have to do with the feeling coming back in my hands (whacking that slide puller to get the pins out killed them!).

So what are peoples opinions on the 230 Coupe? It's getting near time to replace my commuter (a Porsche 944 with 175K miles). Are the supercharged engines as dependable? Any serious issues with the Coupe to be on the watch for? I found a 2002 with 48K miles on it for $15K locally...

-Steve
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2006, 03:32 PM
tvpierce's Avatar
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Location: Portland, ME
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I have no interest in Mercedes products built after '95. They seem needlessly complex, and under-engineered.

Here's an interesting statistic: in '92, my 190E/2.3 was MB's bottom-of-the-line offering. The sticker was $29,000. A bottom-of-the-line 2007 C Class lists for $29,000. Adjust for inflation, and it kinda makes you wonder how MB can 1) sell a car for effectively two-thirds the cost of what their cars sold for 15 years ago, 2) yield a profit and 3) still maintain quality.

The answer:
1) We know what the price is... that's a constant.
2) They have shareholders, so they MUST maintain an acceptable profit.
3) This is the only place to make adjustments to make the numbers work.

Tell your son to hold on to that '93... it's one of the good ones.

Just my 2 cents... arguably worth that.

Jeff Pierce
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Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2006, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvpierce View Post
Here's an interesting statistic: in '92, my 190E/2.3 was MB's bottom-of-the-line offering. The sticker was $29,000. A bottom-of-the-line 2007 C Class lists for $29,000. Adjust for inflation, and it kinda makes you wonder how MB can 1) sell a car for effectively two-thirds the cost of what their cars sold for 15 years ago, 2) yield a profit and 3) still maintain quality.
That's an interesting question. It is an often-discussed fact her at MS that the beancounters took over from the engineers sometime in the early/mid 90's, resulting in cars with lesser quality and lower engineering standards. But there is one thing you forgot to include in your equation: the demon that is known as vehicle leasing.

The model for who buys a new MB has changed a little. When your 92 was sold, leasing was still a relatively newer phenomenon, and more directed towards people who were payment sensitive. MB advertising of the day never mentioned price, let alone something as crass as monthly payments. They made their money on the car. Nowadays all the money is in financing. GM, Ford, Chrysler...they don't make a penny on new car sales. The cars become loss-leaders in order to sell a finance contract, which is the real profit-driver right now. And there is no easier way to make money with a payment-oriented buyer than with a lease, because almost nobody can work backwards to the capitalized cost of the lease in order to know what they actually paid for it.

Your $29K car in 1992 would have had a substantial profit margin in it, both for the manufacturer and the dealer. Today's $29K car (with lesser quality, of course) has a much narrower profit margin, but facilitates the sale of a profitable finance contract. Economies of scale also contribute. I would imagine that MB sells substantially more cars of all classes right now, since they can make them so much more affordable to drive with a lease payment.
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2011 Mazda2
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2006, 05:24 PM
08 C300 4matic, 93 190e
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Merrimack NH
Posts: 28
Will certainly keep the 190e!

My kid LOVES his 190. It's a "Special Edition" 2.3 with full leather, full electric front seats (headrests too) and the rear headrests. No badges on the back save for the "star". Sitting inside you really think you're in a full boat 300e. After rebuilding all the suspension bits and a new set of Bilsteins she rides great.

Just have to get all those little connections back after I put the new head gasket on...that's all. 8^)

It does seem they ratcheted up the complexity in the last decade...which makes it harder and harder to even do the routine maintenance.

Well I'll debate what to replace the Porsche with for a while...at 175K miles I still have factory oil pressure, and that's with no engine work outside of oil changes and timing belts...

-Steve
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2006, 05:40 PM
d.delano's Avatar
Dönerkebap
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: DC
Posts: 1,466
I just got a '91, the old man heated up the spindles to get the old ball joints out (he refused to get/rent the tool). Will this weaken the metal?
Also I am kinda surprised about the head gasket. Happens on the 4cyl as well as the 6? Mine has under 100k. Will it need a new chain?
I have to fit it with another cat, otherwise should be good to go. Pretty much rebuilt the front end, new shocks/struts all around, tie rods, drag link, ball joints. Is it true that one doesn't need to take it to an MB specialist for a special alignment due to the McPherson design front end?
Had it repainted too. Very modern looking little car for its age. Inside door panels are a bit cheesy though. They make noise. Still like the diesel better.
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2006, 05:46 PM
tvpierce's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, ME
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srhorn View Post
Well I'll debate what to replace the Porsche with for a while...at 175K miles I still have factory oil pressure, and that's with no engine work outside of oil changes and timing belts...

-Steve
I'm at 197K miles on my 190E, and still at factory spec oil pressure too -- amazing.

I hate to say it, but a reasonable replacement for the Porsche might be a BMW. I haven't researched them fully, so don't know which years are better/worse... but the late 90's 5 series 6 cylinder looks very attractive both asthetically and mechanically. Add that they are plentiful with manual trannies -- and get nearly 30 mpg... attractive indeed. But I'll hold on to my 201 as long as I can -- I love this car.

jp
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Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2006, 06:09 PM
Hirnbeiss's Avatar
ich fahre, also bin ich
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: South Florida
Posts: 1,595
M103 and headgasket

After I replaced mine, it started leaking oil from a corner again about 6 months later. Since the cylinders and cooling channels were sealing OK I just let it keep leaking after that.
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2006, 06:18 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 1,193
In the early 90s, Mercedes Benz Canada was selling 1,200 cars a year in the whole country. Today they do that volume in a month. For those of you in the USA, we have 1/10th your population.
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