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Old 08-08-2001, 10:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Greenville, NC
Posts: 533
educate me 300/400/500E

I am wondering which engine would last the longest with normal service:

300D 2.5L Turbo Diesel (1990-93)(hard to find)
300E 2.6, 2.8, 3.0 liter (Straight 6)(1990-1993)
1992 400E 4.2L V8
1993 400E 4.2L V6
1990-1993 500E 5.0L V8 (the rare BIG DADDY)

I have read the many excellent post regarding and also the $800 timming chain on the 400E (why so much when the parts are less than a $100?)

I want a benz for the long haul without having to get major engine/tranny work done.

I have seen 400Es with milage in the 140k- $13,000 and 200K miles for $10,000.

Also when did the 400E/500E introduce factory 134a with the dual electric cooling fans on the condenser. Was it 1993 like the 300Es?

Thanks for the info!!!!
1993 Mercedes Benz 300D 2.5 205K (ex wife's)
1984 Mercedes Benz 300SD 320K (SOLD)
2004 Mercedes Benz C240 75K
1995 GMC Sierra 2WD 5.7L 188K
1983 Mercedes Benz 300SD 239K (SOLD)
1987 BMW 325i 220K (SOLD FOR SALVAGE)

609 Certification
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Old 08-08-2001, 11:41 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
The diesels are by far the winner hands down in terms of longevity. There are forum member here with diesels with easily over 200K miles (just breakin' her in)! The hardest part is finding one in good condition. Some previous owners have driven them to the ground (I've stayed away from 10+ yr old Volvos for the same reason).

I can't speak about the 400E and 500E series. The 3.2L 300E is probably the most common and popular of the series. MB trannys aren't problematic as far as I can tell, but the M 103/104 series engines have been historically known for having head gasket failures when the mileage gets in the 100Ks. Mine is at 108K and so far, so good. I figure when it happens, it will be due for some head reconditioning anyway.

Overall, the car has been very reliable. My only hassle has been with the A/C evaporator failure (fixed under an extended warranty), and the engine cooling system (all components replaced with in the past six months), which I attribute more to age.

I have found parts to be reasonably priced, and the car very serviceable by a DIY'er like myself. I have had other daily drivers that have not fared as well, when called upon for daily duty.
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 08-09-2001, 12:00 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Beech Island, S.C.
Posts: 468
Please let me know where to buy the timing chain for $100 and I'll stock up on them. And still the tentioner has to be replaced too.
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Old 08-09-2001, 12:47 AM
rainmaker's Avatar
Woo hoo!
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Asia
Posts: 563
My 93 500E (built late 92) has dual auxiliary fans.

As for R134a refrigerant, this table shows you when they were introduced on various models:

Hope that helps...
93 500E, 43k mi, Pics of upgrade parts
Evo II Wheels on Dunlop FM901 235/45x17s
94 Facelift
RennTech CF Airbox
RennTech ASR Defeat
RennTech Chip
1st Gear Start
97 Range Rover 4.6 HSE Vitesse, Yellow, "Tonka" (sold)

Last edited by rainmaker; 08-09-2001 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-09-2001, 01:53 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
For your theoretical "longevity" consideration:
(technology and engineering adequacy/efficiency aside)

...usually machines that operate in the least stress benefiting from the root engineering/ design will optimize longevity

From another perspective,
...usually machines that receive the least stress in terms of "use" will optimize longevity

From yet another perspective,
...usually machines that receive the least stress by benefiting from "over maintenance" and "timely" repairs will optimize longevity

Would be ideal situation to acquire an engine with all three characteristics (used), alternatively ideal to control the variables yourself (new).

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Old 08-09-2001, 03:44 PM
Posts: n/a
Originally posted by Stan Pittman
Please let me know where to buy the timing chain for $100 and I'll stock up on them. And still the tentioner has to be replaced too.
Parts shop has them for $100.41 on fast lane.
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Old 08-10-2001, 04:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA/ Hilo, HI
Posts: 92
To answer your first question, I would say a '88-'92 300E with the 3l M103 would be the best overall choice for a car thats easy and relatively inexpensive to maintain. Gas mileage is not as good as the diesels but still acceptable. The earlier ones are good if the valve seals and head gasket have been done. Look for one that has been maintained and you can't go wrong. The 3L M103 is probably the best six MBZ ever built, I have seen cars with more then 400K.Mine just turned 204K and drives like new.
I love my 400E, but what a difference in prices for some parts and not quite as easy to work on. The highest milage I have seen on a 400E so far was 248K. I'm not sure how much they can do if properly maintained. Perhaps somebody else does.
Good luck!
81 300 SD grey/palomino 168K miles
84 190E 2.3 black/grey 64K miles (wrecked)
85 190E 2.3 maroon/palomino 92K miles
88 300E desert red/palomino 204k miles
(made to look like a '94-95)
92 400E desert taupe/creme beige 120K miles
(converted to 94-95 E420 looks)
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