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Old 02-27-2008, 05:10 PM
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Any Evidence of Proper Servicing??

Hi. I'm looking at a '94 MB with 38K miles. In the absence of service records, are there any indicators one should look for to determine if a car was properly or recently serviced? Any checks a layperson could do? Sniff the oil stick, etc? Thanks, Ken in NYC

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Old 02-27-2008, 09:01 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
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Location: Sarasota, Fl.
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See if the service book is still there. It should list initial inspection, and subsequent dealer maintenance entries. Granted, with only 38k miles there won't be many, but there should be at least a couple of them.
Also, with only 38k, everything should look pretty much brand new - undercarriage and engine compartment. The serpentine belt, might still show some print on it, however, after 14 years, it should be showing cracks, and it should be replaced.
Coming across a 14 year old car, with only 38k miles, is rare enough for me to be skeptic of its actual mileage.
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein

09 Jetta TDI
1985 300D
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:12 AM
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I would definitely be very uneasy about a car with only 38k miles and no service records or booklet. Lets say a car with over 100,000 miles and various owners might have lost track of it service history, but with only 38k??? Very doubtful. So, be very very very careful.

MBs tend to cover high mileage very well, especially highway miles. There are little details that people who turn back odomoters tend to forget:

1/ Check the brake and accelator pedals. The wear on their rubber covers should be MINIMUN.

2/ Check springs on both seats, are they firm? If not, then....

3/ Check all rubber materials (window seals, engine compartment lateral seals, all gaskets. Even though is an old car, with only 38k they should look fairly OK.

4/ Check the drivers seat upholstery. It should show minimun wear. A heavily worned side left side backrest bolster shows high mileage.

5/ Although, again, Benzes tend to hide this advice but check turn signal stalk, all switches at A/C and dashboard. All should work properly and without any obvious fade on their covers (for example: the white triangle on the hazzard switch is perfect or faded?).

6/ Also check springs, with 38k the car should still carry the original factory set.

7/ All windows should open and close smoothly and noiseless.
A. Rosich
CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:07 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Location: Lafayette Indiana
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I would echo the other two posts. Be very sceptical.

Tom W
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:23 AM
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Location: Southeastern PA
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Ken, have a PPI (Pre-Purchase Inspection) performed by a MB-trained tech who works on that vintage MB routinely. The tech will be able to determine if it's truly a 38k mile automobile, plus inform you of any impending high-cost repairs. Even with low mileage many of the rubber components could require replacement depending on the environment this car experienced over the past 14 years. A MB that is seldom driven may be in worse shape than a daily driver, especially if it was driven a mile or two at a time ... where it never got up to operating temperature.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:16 AM
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Excellent, thank you to all.

I have asked the owner to go to his local MB dealer in search of any service records. We shall see what he finds out (or if he does). Much appreciated. Ken
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:09 PM
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Can you post the VIN number?
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:40 AM
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VIN # at a dealer

When I got my 93 300E I asked the Parts Manager at my dealership to run the VIn and they gave me a printout of any/all services on record.

This at least will give you a baseline to work from as to upgrades and Warranty/TSB issues.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:52 PM
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I ran a VMI on the vehicle in question, just for kicks. Since a VMI only shows work done under warranty, I have no way of knowing whether or not the regular maintenance schedule was followed. However, with such low mileage, I'd give this car a serious look, if I were a potential buyer, the low mileage, at least to me, would be very atractive. I know that many Shop Forum members warn against buying low mileage "garage queens", but I think that a low mileage W124 could be a great find. My reasoning is simple. There's just not that many around anymore. If the car was kept in a garage (out of the Sun), that's a huge plus.

Back to the VMI. The car was prepped for delivery in November, 1993. It was delivered to the owner in August, 1994. The head gasket was replaced in April, 1998. A few taillight bulbs, a window regulator, noisy brakes, and a slow sunroof were the only issues fixed by the dealer, between February, 1996, and April, 1998.

MB Roadside Assistance gave this car five "jump starts", between June, 1998, and July, 2004.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:08 AM
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Very Interesting...

Is it possible the 5 jumps were due to the car sitting idle for long periods of time? Also, it's clear that if the car was EVER serviced, it was not serviced by MB. Not even the "break in" service. Wouldn't that be cause for concern? Lastly, there's nothing in the report that confirms the car is not a rollback, is there? Would you run toward or away? K
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:11 PM
The Big Dog!'s Avatar
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: elk grove ,ca
Posts: 53
Low Mileage

Finding a low mileage MB is still possible.

My 1989 300E just turned 80,000 miles. Service records very spotty but I always changed the oil about every 5,000 miles and flushed the coolent. Need to change the brake fluid again soon too. So far so good.

Had a little accident in the garage that I will post in a separate thread.
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:24 PM
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Yes, the frequent jump starts were probably caused by the car sitting for extended periods.

Regarding the maintenance service history, I'll repeat what I posted previously. Only warranty work shows up on the VMI. Work paid for by the customer (regularly scheduled maintenance, etc. ), does not! If you want to know how many oil changes the car has had, the VMI won't help you.

As far as the mileage is concerned, nothing looks "fishy". The car simply wasn't driven that much.

If I were looking for a W124, I'd definitely consider a low mileage car.

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