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  #1  
Old 10-06-2008, 01:57 PM
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'94 E320 repair or replace

I have a '94 E320 with 99K miles. I've had the car for 9 years when I purchased it with 35K miles. Mostly minor repairs and regular consumables brakes, oil changes, tune-ups etc. throughout ownership. New rotors & pads last month, tires +/- 5,000 miles.

I have (3) issues now:
#1 Vibration in the front end noticable at +45MPH.
#2 Exhaust system after CAT is starting to rust out.
#3 Head gasket leak detected 6 months ago. oil leakage, no signs of coolant loss.

#1 Just had tires rotated and front tires balanced and vibration is still there. Not sure what this is i.e. vibration from head-gasket leak or engine mounts, or something in the front end. Any suggestions?

#2 Guess the cost to replace exhaust system at +/- $1,200.00

#3 Local shop quoted +/- $2,000.00 to replace the head gasket and regrind the valves etc.

I like the car. The body is sound, no rust and paint bright, the car is sharp looking black & tan. When it was running in top shape the car performed great. Not sure to spring for the repairs or trade-in. I drive +/- 5,000 a year.

Opinions appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 10-06-2008, 02:53 PM
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Fix it. It's not worth much with a blown head gasket anyway...

I wish I only drove 5K/ year...
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2008, 03:05 PM
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Depends on how much you can do yourself. Where is this oil leakage detected? Does the front end shake going down a hill at 45 in neutral? If so then unrelated to the engine.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2008, 12:42 PM
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IMHO

"no rust and paint bright"
Mechanicals are fixable / replaceable. Rust = cancer = expensive at best vs a no win scenario.

"Vibration in the front end" Bad tire to any one of the many suspension links. Take it to a couple of very good alignment shops for an estimates.

$1200 for pipe and muffler after CAT is outrageous. I can't imagine it being anymore than a half hour job at any good muffler shop.

$2000 for head gasket & grind valves. "Grind valves" sounds like the shop is wasting your money. When doing a head gasket, it's realistic to also do water pump, front engine seal, serpentine belt and tensioner. In my area about $1500.

CASH is KING now with current financial crisis! Shop around, the repair shops are suffering and some are willing to discount to keep their cash flowing. If it's a small independent shop, put real "cash" on the table. He won't have to pay out the bank card fee, so it's more money for him.
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2008, 03:35 PM
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All comments appreciated

Tried the down hill neutral and vibration still there.

Just had tires rotated and balanced. I'll assume the issue is in the front suspension.

Looks like the smart thing is to make the repairs. Its going to cost a couple K but I don't see anything else out there without spending +$20-$25K to get a later model E320 and I'm not into built in GPS's, cup holders and all the electric's. I know that short of a major engine or trans failure the car will go another 10 years. In my world less is more.

Thanks all.....
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:34 PM
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If I had the dealer fix everything that has gone wrong since I bought my cabriolet 35,000 miles ago, I would have easily spent as much as the car is worth today.

Shameful.
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:44 PM
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Who did the rotate and balance? Would they have enough skill to notice a bad tire or badly worn suspension components?

How was the "head gasket leak detected"? How and by who?
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1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2008, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpolli View Post
Who did the rotate and balance? Would they have enough skill to notice a bad tire or badly worn suspension compo/nents?

How was the "head gasket leak detected"? How and by who?
I had the 2 piece wheels completely rebuilt last year, full disassembly, stripped, remachined, repainted and new tires and balanced. Tires & wheels less than 5,000 miles. When vibration started 2 months ago I first had the front rebalanced and no change then last week rotated and fronts rebalanced. No change, same vibration noticable at +45MPH. No mechanic looked at front suspension but should have noticed a bad tire.

I had two opinions on the headgasket, MB dealer who quoted $3K and a highend repair shop at $1800-$2K. Both used dye inspection. Oil is leaking from the rear of the head. I can't see it other than the pool in my drive way. I put a qt. in once a month.
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2008, 07:01 AM
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asuperglide, please explain the 2-piece wheels on your 1994 E320. They must be aftermarket wheels and not genuine MB wheels installed at the factory. If that is the case I would recommend acquiring the proper genuine MB wheels for your car then have them balanced on a Hunter road force machine.
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2008, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferdman View Post
asuperglide, please explain the 2-piece wheels on your 1994 E320. They must be aftermarket wheels and not genuine MB wheels installed at the factory. If that is the case I would recommend acquiring the proper genuine MB wheels for your car then have them balanced on a Hunter road force machine.
They are after market but have been on the car since 1998. The wheels are better than MB-OEM. +/- 12-15 months ago I had them taken apart and the curb rash machined off and repainted, new tires added and all balanced by a first class shop that just rebuilds racing wheels. Its not the wheels, tires or the shop. After this was done there wasn't any problem with the front end. I haven't hit a pot hole or anything like that. This started roughly 2 months ago.
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2008, 11:33 AM
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Fix it you don't need a car payment. Besides you said you like the car. As for the vibration have you had the wheels rotated and balanced in a while?
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:45 PM
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Jack the car up so the tire is off the ground and then grasp the tire and see if you notice any play in the wheel. Check each side. Maybe you have a bad wheel bearing or maybe one of the balljoints is worn. You said you balanced and rotated the wheels but i don't see you mentioning a wheel alignment.
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  #13  
Old 10-12-2008, 10:16 AM
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You may want to consider a few other things.

Your car has several rather expensive common failure items. They are the head gasket, (as you already know) engine wire harness, throttle actuator wire harness, and air conditioning evaporator. Approximate repair costs are $2,000, $1,500, $800, $2500 respectively. If you have the original engine wire harness, it is very likely that you will have to replace it after doing the head gasket. Removing the head requires that the harness be disconnected/reconnected. The resulting movement will cause shorts in the wire harness. The throttle actuator harness will not be affected when the head gasket is replaced, but if it is original, it will likely cause problems in the future. As for the air conditioning evaporator, if it is original, it will likely leak at some time in the not to distant future. Over the past two years or so, I have probably looked at a dozen 93-95 model 124 MB's. The failure rate for the original ac evaporators was in the 75% range.......

I'm not trying to scare you with this, I have three model 124's and they are all excellent cars and a joy to drive. I have dealt with most of the above items on all three cars. In my case it's been worth it, but cars are my hobby, and I do all my own work. Your situation may be different.

J. M. van Swaay
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  #14  
Old 10-12-2008, 12:40 PM
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On a 100k mile M104 I think your nuts to touch the valve train. Just replace the head gasket.

The vibration could be anything and the exhuast shouldn't be to expensive.
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  #15  
Old 10-12-2008, 01:42 PM
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Vibration could be a slightly warped rotor, a tranny mount, engine damper, steering damper, drive shaft carrier bearing(even in neutral the drive shaft it turning). Do you fee the vibration at the center console , to the front, or rear? Just some more "Could Be's"

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