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  #1  
Old 09-22-2008, 02:01 PM
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1994 C280 - Opinions wanted

Hi All,


Looking for a nice safe used car for my sister. Saw a '94 c280 that looks to be in great shape. I'll know more after I have it up on a lift.


Does anyone have opinions about this vehicle? Any reasons to stay away from this particular model? Anything to look out for when I inspect it?


Thanks!!


J.

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  #2  
Old 09-22-2008, 03:20 PM
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The two main problems with that model are the degrading insulation on the engine wiring harness/throttle actuator and oil leaking from the head gasket. You would want to verify that both have been attended to. While the car is up on the hoist I would also inspect the lower control arm bushings to see if they have worn out. This is a $700-900 job including the necessary alignment afterwards.

I've had my 94 C280 for over 8 years now. It has about 100,000 miles on it. I bought it with about 50,000 miles. It has been a good car but expensive to operate. Knowing what I know now I would probably not purchase it again, and would instead look for a 1996 or 1997 E320.
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2011 Mazda2
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:51 PM
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How much are they asking? The 98's are getting pretty cheap. C230 gets pretty good MPG.
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1998 C230 330,000 miles (currently dead of second failed EIS, yours will fail too, turning you into the dealer's personal human cash machine)
1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
Previous stars: 1981 Brava 210,000 miles, 1978 128 150,000 miles, 1977 B200 Van 175,000 miles, 1972 Vega (great, if rusty, car), 1972 Celica, 1986.5 Supra
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlomon View Post
The two main problems with that model are the degrading insulation on the engine wiring harness/throttle actuator and oil leaking from the head gasket. You would want to verify that both have been attended to. While the car is up on the hoist I would also inspect the lower control arm bushings to see if they have worn out. This is a $700-900 job including the necessary alignment afterwards.

I've had my 94 C280 for over 8 years now. It has about 100,000 miles on it. I bought it with about 50,000 miles. It has been a good car but expensive to operate. Knowing what I know now I would probably not purchase it again, and would instead look for a 1996 or 1997 E320.
The E320's have similar probs. I agree with everything else.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:14 PM
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He wants $3k for it, 130K miles, new trans last year. I gave it a once over and noticed two things, one is a trans leak somewhere (can't tell if it's the pan or cooler line or what just yet)..... And, the front end makes loud creaking when you bounce it up or down. Could be those control arm bushings you mentioned, or bad shocks. My 300se was making noise that sounded like the control arm bushings and it turned out to be blown shocks. Other than that, it ran quite well.

But, if wiring harness problems are typical, I'd better stay clear of it. My sister has no mechanical ability whatsoever so I don't want to saddle her with headaches and a money pit.


Thanks!


J.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2008, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Douge View Post
The E320's have similar probs. I agree with everything else.

The wiring harness and head gasket issues are uncommon on the W210 E320s, which are the 1996 to 2002. The 93-95 E320s (W124 body style) are the ones with the same common problems.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tinypanzer View Post
He wants $3k for it, 130K miles, new trans last year. I gave it a once over and noticed two things, one is a trans leak somewhere (can't tell if it's the pan or cooler line or what just yet)..... And, the front end makes loud creaking when you bounce it up or down. Could be those control arm bushings you mentioned, or bad shocks. My 300se was making noise that sounded like the control arm bushings and it turned out to be blown shocks. Other than that, it ran quite well.

But, if wiring harness problems are typical, I'd better stay clear of it. My sister has no mechanical ability whatsoever so I don't want to saddle her with headaches and a money pit.


Thanks!


J.
I would imagine the creaking from the front end is probably the ball joints. I had similar symptoms that were fixed with ball joint replacement about 5 years ago. Suspension stuff just wears out over time, so you expect that on a car of that age. If the wiring harness has been replaced you don't have to worry about it any more. The replacement harness used a different type of insulation that doesn't degrade. Your best bet is to have a pre-purchase inspection by a reputable MB technician who knows the car. An hour or two of labour will buy you some peace of mind. As the saying goes, there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinypanzer View Post
But, if wiring harness problems are typical, I'd better stay clear of it. My sister has no mechanical ability whatsoever so I don't want to saddle her with headaches and a money pit.
Wiring harness issues are common but it's quite likely that it's already been replaced. Virtually anything in that price range is going to have its headaches but that's likely as good a $3,000 car as you will find.
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2008, 09:41 PM
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My opinion if your not one who enjoys working on your own car and researching forums like this a 1994 C280 may NOT be a GREAT choice.
But it is a great car, just that parts can be pricey and that six cylinder takes up a lot of space in that engine-bay so working in it can be tedious.

That trans leak and history have me thinking the owner wants to get rid of the car at this point because repairs are becoming too frequent and he doesn't want to put more money into the car.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2008, 10:20 PM
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What is the price range you want to spend, and do you want a fixer like this?
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1998 C230 330,000 miles (currently dead of second failed EIS, yours will fail too, turning you into the dealer's personal human cash machine)
1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
Previous stars: 1981 Brava 210,000 miles, 1978 128 150,000 miles, 1977 B200 Van 175,000 miles, 1972 Vega (great, if rusty, car), 1972 Celica, 1986.5 Supra
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2008, 02:00 AM
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love my 94 c280. have a good qualified tech look at it if your worried... be sure to have them check the harness and head gasket. Did you ask to see receipts? many say these cars are money pits, but mine has been a pleasure and no more cost than my toyota pickup or any other car i have owned. they all need maintenance!
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2008, 02:48 AM
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94 c280

I currently have a 94 C280 with 159K miles I just replaced the headgasket last month and it seems to be holding it all together as far as the wire harness this was replaced by the previous owner. It's got some power compared to my 97 C230, Th only thing that keeps me owning these cars are good (honest) mechanics as well as a good source of parts (Wreacking yards) I paid about the same for my C280 ($2800) march 08 with more miles & let's not forget the headgasket $.

97 C230
94 C280
98 ML320

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