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Old 05-25-2007, 12:19 AM
mj_sid's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: San Jose CA
Posts: 146
190E Questions before purchase

Hello All,
I'm looking into buying my mom a 190E. She seems to like them a lot (I would much prefer her in a 116,126, or 140 but she says they are too big for her to drive). I am interested in what issues these cars are known for and how reliable they are. Also is there anything special I should look for when test driving/inspecting one?

I am pretty handy with my diesel engines (617 and 603) but know almost nothing about the Mercedes gas engines; is this something I can work on or will it have to be taken into the shop?

Also finally I understand that the 190's are 201 body styles and the 300E from that era are 124's. From searching the threads they seem to be similar (a lot of posts say 190 and 300 in their tag lines) are the two models similar?

Thanks for any help,


Current Stable:
1987 300SDL
1980 450SEL

Out to Pasture:
1982 300D KIA (Rice Rocket vs. 123: He hit me at 80-100MPH I walked away he went to the hospital. Sounds fair to me!)
1985 300D EURO Scrapped (got more money from state than car was worth)
1979 & 1980 300SD Great Cars!
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:59 AM
MTI's Avatar
MTI MTI is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Posts: 10,626
Well, you should know that 2007 is the 25th anniversary of the W201 chassis introduction. It was sold in the US from 84 thru 93 and over a million units were sold worldwide.

At this age, the car's maintenance history is the primary concern. By now, even the last years will have at around 80-90K miles, but most likely 120K or more and even in the best kept ones, it will be time to refresh the front and rear suspension pieces and have some concerns about the transmission.

The a/c system's compressor (Nippon Denso) seem to be prone to leaks. There was a known issue with the heater cores bursting. In all fairness, this was not a MB fault, since VW, BMW and other brands using the same parts suffered the same fate . . . it's just that MB was the sole hold out for settlement.

The 2.6L M103 has the symptomatic issue with headgasket failures around 90K miles.

Rust typically occurs near the jack holes and also at the corners of the body.

The center console switches (flasher, windows, speaker fader), exposed to grit, gasses and other debris are notable for a high failure rate.

Dash cracks are common, as well as brittle plastic dash pieces.

I would suggest seeking out a later model (92 or 93) that has a minimal number of owners who have service records available. Perhaps your mom would like a used W202?

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