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  #1  
Old 05-13-2001, 12:01 AM
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Location: Falls Church, VA
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With the 86 300E looking more and more like an ideal car for my son, I am now looking for a replacement. Tomorrow I will look at a 92 500E with 120K. Claimed to be second owner, new trans, "rebuilt suspension" and every record from new. Showed at recent local concours and "scored well." Owned previously by a doctor in Ithica NY. Asking price $26.7K.

Questions -

Any opinions as to who in the DC area knows these cars?

Is the 120K mileage anything to be concerned about given good service records?

What replacements/upgrades should I look for in the records?

Based on limited research, price seems OK - any comments?

TIA for info.



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Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2001, 01:08 AM
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I would be very, very, very suspecious of the new trans and the rebuilt suspension. It definitely denotes a hard driven car, as any rightminded owner of a 500E would treat his/her car.

The problem is that hard driven cars, especially big special edition V8s tend to be extremely expensive to mantain once they reach certain high mileage.

If you don't mind the huge repair bills, go for it. If you do, may a 400E or even an S420, softly driven by a suburban inhabitant would be a better choice.

A. Rosich
S 320, 1998
E 320 T, 1995
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2001, 01:37 AM
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While I also would be a little put off by the claim of a "rebuilt suspension and trans", I have been following the 500E threads for about 2 years on this forum. From what I understand, the engine is pretty much a stock MB 500 v8, with lots of stock parts, unlike some of the later AMG cars. I believe several previous posts indicated that they weren't really more expensive to maintain than other MB v8s, with the plus of having a w124 body essentially hand assembled for sporting intent.

If I recall, the main thing people said to avoid was a car that had front end damage involving the sub frame and suspension. Also, an inexpensive part that needs upgrade involved a power steering hose. The last thing that comes to mind is radiator issues, as the cars are supposedly prone to running hot. Try a search on 500E, and a post in the hot rod forum down the page. There are some clean ones out there, but I have noticed the price going up over the last year in our local papers.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2001, 01:39 AM
roas
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You are probably already framilar with the Power Steering pump issues in the W124, the 500E/E500 have the same problems.

My 92' has over 164k miles and is still going very strong. As the mileage increases, here is my list of things to be on the look out for;

1. Power Steering pump leaks - new replacement $850, rebuilt $450.
2. Transmission - check for any noises such as a clicking sound while moving in reverse gear, annoying but no breakdown potential - rebuild $2k. Also the typical leaks from Mercedes tranny's.
3. Check to see if the plastic timing chain guides have been replaced, they become brittle after 100k miles - parts are cheap but the labor is not.
4. Belt tensioners tend to go after 100k miles - replacements are under $100 I believe.
5. Motor mounts will need replacement around 100k miles - replacements are under $300 plus labor??? You will know they need attention it the car vibrates noticably at idle.
6. Air pump will start making a sort of worn bearing type of noise - rebuild is around $500, not sure for new.
7. Check the steering slip ring, when turning in the parking lot you will hear the grinding noise, W124 typical replacement.
8. And the No.1 thing which has just shown its ugly head to my, the Air Condition System which has just plain quite operating - may be the electric blower regulator which is $300.
9. May as well mention the wiring harness issue. The insulation can become brittle exposing the wiring around the fuel injector area - cost is around $1k.
10. The ASR systems may exibit a symptom where the ASR light will stay on while driving - usually points to the Throttle Body Actuator I believe, that can be $1k.
11. Some parts on the Self Leveling Suspension (accumulator) usually need replacing around 100k - cost is not that bad.
12. Interior misc parts which are typical of other W124 cars.

So there is my list, some of the other guys will have further details I am sure. Also, try running some searches, many things can be learned in addition to my above list although I think I have covered every big $$ issue in regards to this car.

This is not intended to scare anyone here!! These cars are very robust considering the performance they deliver year after year! I have only put 5k on the car but there is no oil consumption to speak of. At least half the things I mention above are issues on other W124 cars which you are probably already framilar, I just thought I would try and make my list complete.

I am sure after your drive tomorrow you will be quite surprised at how well the 500E can do everything! It can cruise all day long and never disturb the passengers, and when you are feeling alittle frisky, well..... I like to use the term PermaGrin to sum up the driving experience.

I think the price sound par with the miles, you might try and get a carfax just for information purposes. Also, you might try contacting all the Mercedes locations the car has been serviced at and request that they forward the cars history to you, the records may or maynot be complete?

Hope this helps! Sorry for the long reply.
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Old 05-13-2001, 10:15 AM
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he he...it is Ithaca, NY...not "Ithica"...home of Cornell University!!!
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2001, 08:37 PM
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Thanks to all who commented!

I looked at the car today. Cosmetically, you cannot tell whether it has 20K or 120K on it. The only sign of wear is on the driver's seat on the left. I could not find a leak anywhere, everything works, and it has a perfect maintenance book. It did not seem to have any of the problems that Ross detailed.

I did see dealer receipts in 2000 for a rebuilt transmission ($2600), and several rear suspension components ($4000).

Drove it. Steering seemed uncertain while going straight ahead, but car seemed very solid otherwise. I put the pedal to the metal with the selector in "B" and it was quick, but not the nail-you-to-the-seat I was expecting.

I am a little suspicious about the history. Supposedly, Garage de France in Bath NY lost its MB franchise, and the owner did not want to keep the car without local factory service. So he traded it on an Audi. The Audi dealer then wholesaled it and it ended up on a lot in PA, where the current owner bought it. He is selling it because he has had a hip replacement and cannot drive the car for more than a half-hour without pain because the seats are not wide enough.

I am having a hard time believing that a car this clean would be wholesaled. I am suspicious that it was sold after obviously loving care and a $6600 recent investment. I am also concerned about the uncertain steering. My 300E with 189K seems more stable as I drove home.

This was the first 500E that I have gotten up close and personal with - what magnificent cars! I just don't want to be the one left holding the bag.

Chuck

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  #7  
Old 05-13-2001, 09:37 PM
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ctaylor738,

Well, I can confirm the fact that Garage de France lost its M-B franchise in Ithaca, NY, and I am guessin' in the NY area around Ithaca as well...and from what I can see, the nearest M-B dealership would probably either be in Rochester or Syracuse, which is at least an hour away...so I think that part of the story is true!!!
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2001, 10:40 PM
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Hhmmm... kind of unclear record history, at the most.

Just to be on the safe side, before buying, have the car throughly check by a proffesional, maybe someone who can tell if the car has been in a serious accident. The erratic steering is trying to tell you something...

A. Rosich
S 320, 1998
E 320 T, 1995
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2001, 11:11 PM
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I think you are right - there is a story here.

My worst fear is that the car has a serious front end problem, and the original owner decided to trade it. The Audi dealer did not want to deal with it and wholesaled it.

The current owner told me that he got a "partial alignment" as in toe-in and camber, so he must have realized something was not right.

This car is so perfect in appearance and running that it would not go to the wholesale market without a reason.

Chuck
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2001, 12:08 PM
roas
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Are the tire/wheel sizes stock? If you are running wide tires you may see the wandering or "hunting" of the tire following road ruts.

Maybe some other owners can chime in here.
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