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Old 10-02-2008, 09:16 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 22
S320 purchase

If all things are equal which year s320 short or long wheelbase would you buy
I would like input from the mechanics that have worked on these MB's
no long explanation needed . I have read all the posts some of which is contradicting each other and a lot of BS

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Old 10-02-2008, 11:12 AM
CWW CWW is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 124
The newest one you can afford.

That's always my strategy with used cars. So many things require replacement just from age alone, not mileage, that it's worth going as new as you can.

Think of all the rubber seals, bushings, plastic wear & tear items, etc., that only last 10-15 years max, and will need immediate replacement on an early model. But if you can swing a 99, then you will probably still get several years worth of use out of all that stuff before you have to start replacing.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,726
Facts you sort out but contradictory opinions is what you're going to get on site such this. There are arguments for and against each of the models - no clear answer on which one is best. It really depends more on you - are you a DIYer, do you like simplicity or sophistication, do you value traction control where you live, do you want a limousine back seat or a smaller turning radius, etc. etc.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 3,048
Hal, an S320 is a significantly different automobile from the 1994 E320 coupe you're accustomed to driving. I recommend driving any S320 you are considering buying extensively to ensure the ride and handling of a larger car suit you. An S320 will likely feel underpowered compared to your coupe. Then it's a question of whether you plan to work on the car yourself or you can afford to have an indie or a dealer perform routine maintenance. The 1992 thru 1999 versions can be prohibitively expensive to maintain, but I guess you already know/read that. I would opt for the short wheelbase car.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:41 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milford, CT
Posts: 19,307
With W140's newer is better, try to find a low mileage 1997-99. Paying more upfront for a better car is money well spent.
2020 GMC Sierra Denali
2007 Tiara 3200
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
The S320 has the same engine as your E320 coupe, but it has a 5-speed automatic transmission, so the performance figures are probably the same.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Jacksonville Florida
Posts: 723
On the 140s

Run the vin at a Dealer for Warranty and service history
Have aPPI done before you make a offer

Big Ticket items

104 engine headgasket
A/C evap..
front end

The 140s are a great highway car...
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:30 AM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 883
From your original question:

There is absolutely no difference between short and long wheelbase in terms of reliability or any other issue besides the extra legroom at the rear seat. If you carry often passengers on the rear, then the extra room might be a plus. Some W140 owners say the long wheelbase has a slightly (but VERY slightly) better ride.

The S 320s also have a five-speed automatic.

The L6 engine size and power disadvantage is offset a little by the higher rear differential ratio compared to V8 W140s.

And like any of the members have said before, always buy the latest model towards the end of production and with the fewer mileage. A detailed service history is also a must!
A. Rosich
CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:44 AM
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Location: Southeastern PA
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Hal, let me second the importance of a PPI and a complete service history. The 140's have a reputation as a wonderful cruising/touring car.
Fred Hoelzle
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
Posts: 3,015
....and if its a 1995 or older model, it may have a potential engine wiring harness issue that would need to soon be addressed if it has not already been.

Yep 97-99 are better - I could not afford one now with everything else going on, so I am having to settle for a late W126, which is not a bad thing.

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