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  #16  
Old 02-25-2009, 05:36 PM
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Talking about "reliability" with respect to a 20 year old car is silly and futile.

Most of them--including W124 Mercedes--are simply ready for scrapping, and it's pretty silly to complain when something breaks/fails on a 20-year old car.

It's mythology that Mercedes are different.

When they're new, Mercedes are nicer and cooler than almost all other cars. When they're 20 years old, they're junk like the rest unless they've been regularly serviced and maintained to factory specifications. This means that things that are normal include replacing all suspension rubber, rebuilding the auto transmission, some major engine work, HVAC parts replacement, etc.

When you buy a new car, you are forced to buy a warranty and a warranty is the same thing as paying for service in advance. When the warranty runs out, it's time to start expecting to pay even more for service, not less.

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  #17  
Old 02-25-2009, 05:39 PM
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Well, I have owned my Toyota for the last 5 years, and have owned several MB's since late 2006...let me tell you, the Toyota has been worse than any MB i've ever owned when it comes to repairs...LOL. The parts aren't as high quality, and don't last as long...but it's a bit easier to work on for the DIY'er, so I guess it all evens out in the end.
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  #18  
Old 02-25-2009, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
Talking about "reliability" with respect to a 20 year old car is silly and futile.

When they're new, Mercedes are nicer and cooler than almost all other cars. When they're 20 years old, they're junk like the rest unless they've been regularly serviced and maintained to factory specifications. This means that things that are normal include replacing all suspension rubber, rebuilding the auto transmission, some major engine work, HVAC parts replacement, etc.
Well, I just have to disagree. Prior to the Benz, I owned 3 cars that were between 15-20 years old, and they were all quite reliable daily drivers that seldom needed repairs. Again, just my experience, perhaps your experience has been different.

20-year old cars aren't all "junk." One of my best friends drives an 89 Corolla I sold him a couple years ago everyday to work here in town, and back and forth to Denver (50 mi one-way) several times per month. It is nearing 310k miles; the clutch finally had to be replaced at 305k. The last time I checked with im (about 2-3 months ago) the rear defroster doesn't work (went south several years ago)--other than that, it runs fine and no other repairs in the last 4+ years (I did sink $1000 into it at that time, first "repairs" I ever had to do to that car). Another friend has a 92 Subaru I sold him, it has a little over 200k. The only things that have ever gone wrong with it was the rear struts (replaced) and the A/C (not sure what the prob is--compressor? never bothered to fix) in 5 years/50k miles of combined ownership.
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  #19  
Old 02-25-2009, 06:27 PM
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Your experience sounds pretty typical. Most of what you had to replace I also had to with my old 300E, although I did it over a longer timespan (several years) than you did (months). Even with only 125k miles, 20 years is a long time and most of the rubber bits have dried out and started leaking by then.

If you were inclined to repeat your experience, the best place to start is with a car that has all of its maintenance records, and then to review them to see just how long all of the important parts have been on the car. It's pretty hard to tell how long most parts will last otherwise.

At any rate, reserving $1500-2000 a year for parts and labor is a reasonable assumption. It's a lot for a car only worth that amount, but then again you don't have any equity tied up in the car and you're not losing anything to depreciation.

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Originally Posted by Colo Springs E View Post
Well, I just have to disagree. Prior to the Benz, I owned 3 cars that were between 15-20 years old, and they were all quite reliable daily drivers that seldom needed repairs. Again, just my experience, perhaps your experience has been different.
I'll venture to say that the difference between an old Benz and an old everything else is the nature of the driving experience. Even with cars 10-15 years newer, I always thought the ride, handling, and performance of my 300E compared equally (or better).

Of course, you do miss out on the creature comforts of newer cars, and I have to say, technology is kind of nice to have around.
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2009, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
Talking about "reliability" with respect to a 20 year old car is silly and futile.

Most of them--including W124 Mercedes--are simply ready for scrapping, and it's pretty silly to complain when something breaks/fails on a 20-year old car.

It's mythology that Mercedes are different.

When they're new, Mercedes are nicer and cooler than almost all other cars. When they're 20 years old, they're junk like the rest unless they've been regularly serviced and maintained to factory specifications. This means that things that are normal include replacing all suspension rubber, rebuilding the auto transmission, some major engine work, HVAC parts replacement, etc.

When you buy a new car, you are forced to buy a warranty and a warranty is the same thing as paying for service in advance. When the warranty runs out, it's time to start expecting to pay even more for service, not less.
Thats not true....a 20+ year old MB thats been properly taken care of will last a long time and be perfectly reliable.

Any car's reliability is determined by how its serviced, not by its age. Plenty of new cars are unreliable from the start.
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  #21  
Old 02-25-2009, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
Thats not true....a 20+ year old MB thats been properly taken care of will last a long time and be perfectly reliable.
I agree wholeheartedly. I have had excellent "luck" with cars up to and exceeding 20years old that I bought and maintained from new. There will always be people like yourself who are unfortunate enough to buy someone else's troubles and neglected cars, it can be an '89 300E or an '87 Supra. I do Pre-Purchase Inspections as part of my business on luxury motorcoaches, those who don't know and don't want to get into expensive trouble know enough to call an expert. This is no different other than the size of your bills.

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Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
Any car's reliability is determined by how its serviced, not by its age. Plenty of new cars are unreliable from the start.
True again. I've had cars that I bought new and had no problems for 100,000 or 200,000miles, and others that were trouble from the start. Several of the former and one of the latter were Mercedes.
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  #22  
Old 02-25-2009, 08:25 PM
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Well, I think there are some models of cars that are just inherently unreliable...none made by Mercedes.

I noticed my Supra mentioned in the last post...I suppose the fact that it's made it past 200k miles means it's been at least somewhat reliable...even though I bought it with 199k miles, and have owned it a considerable amount of time, while only putting about 20k miles on it. I recently added up all of my invoices, and the total was close to $10k since 2005...I do all of my own work on it as well. Currently it still needs a new clutch, and the entire rear subframe needs to be replaced as it is cracked in three places, and only being held together by the differential housing. (A common problem for Supras, just like their tendency to constantly blow head gaskets). Also needs a new steering rack, evaporator core, and transmission rebuild. Oh well, it's just money, right?
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  #23  
Old 02-26-2009, 06:21 PM
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My 88 300ce just had the radiator replaced. Little leak bout half way up on the plastic metal side seam opened up. Only lasted 20 years! Imagine that.!
...and the light bulb just went on my center console gear shift indicator. Only lasted 20 years. Go figure.
She just turned 108k.
Stuff happens. Still turns head though.
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynalow View Post
My 88 300ce just had the radiator replaced. Little leak bout half way up on the plastic metal side seam opened up. Only lasted 20 years! Imagine that.!
...and the light bulb just went on my center console gear shift indicator. Only lasted 20 years. Go figure.
She just turned 108k.
Stuff happens. Still turns head though.
Wow that's really low miles for an '88, very cool!

My radiator leak was in the same place, and it possibly was the original as well. Too bad so many things happened to mine in such a short period of time. I could've lived with it if it was maybe one or two issues a year, but I had the alternator, struts, radiator, and water pump go in the span of just over a month. Ouch. Wish there was a crystal ball I could've looked in to see if that was all there was gonna be for awhile--would've liked to have gotten some mileage out of the "investments" I made recently. But with the strange feeling tranny, various odd noises and the leaking head gasket, I had to go ahead and cash in.

Yours sounds like a keeper, what color?

Even with the money I had to sink in it... I still miss it.

-Eric
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  #25  
Old 02-26-2009, 07:21 PM
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Go over to the Open Discussion forum and search for the "300 ce owners roll call" There are some cool 124c pics there. Mine is burgundy with grey cladding. Garaged its entire life. Sweet. Pics of the "Red Baron", as Mistress named it, are somewhere in the thread.
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  #26  
Old 02-26-2009, 09:21 PM
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Another question: prices of some of my repairs

I thought this was sort of wierd: some repairs on my Mercedes actually seemed very reasonable; others not so.

Examples of things that didn't seem that bad $-wise:

Radiator. The cost of parts and labor for a brand new radiator was about $425. On a 94 Nissan Altima my daughter owned (the most un-reliable Japanese car we ever had in our family) to put a new radiator in was over 5 bills.

Struts. I mentioned the Subaru in one of my earlier posts. I actually didn't replace both struts in the rear as I was advised to--only the one that was literally broken. That ONE strut replacement was about $400! For two new Bilstein struts, top strut mounts and alignment it cost me about $600. Again, that actually seemed pretty reasonable to me.

But the water pump... WTF?? It went out at the same time as the radiator--they appear to be close proximity, and I would've assumed some labor savings to do both at once, but the labor on that pump was astronomical. Why? The water pump replacement was over $600, most I've ever spent on having a water pump replaced any car I've ever owned.
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  #27  
Old 02-26-2009, 09:32 PM
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The M103 engines have an extra difficult to replace water pump.....just the way it is. If you do it yourself it costs about $140 to replace. As I said before, if you expect to own a MB for a reasonable cost....you'd better be ready to do the work on it.
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'17 Metris(VITO!) - 37k - wifes (OC-41k)
'09 Sprinter 3500 Winnebago View - 62k (OC - 67k)
'13 ML350 Bluetec - 95k - dad's (OC-98k)
'01 SL500 - 103k(km) - dad's (OC-110,000km)
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  #28  
Old 02-26-2009, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
The M103 engines have an extra difficult to replace water pump.....just the way it is. If you do it yourself it costs about $140 to replace. As I said before, if you expect to own a MB for a reasonable cost....you'd better be ready to do the work on it.
I am very ready to do the work, unfortunately my skills are also very limited
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  #29  
Old 02-26-2009, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
As I said before, if you expect to own a MB for a reasonable cost....you'd better be ready to do the work on it.
I'm a believer.

I am a low-maintenance kinda guy w/no mech skills. So probably not a lot of older Mercedes in my immediate future LOL

-Eric
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  #30  
Old 02-27-2009, 01:32 AM
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To Colo Springs E,

I would have to say after reading your post and having been on this forum for awhile plus owning a W124 i say your car was NOT a lemon. The problems you list are fairly common and i have/had the same problems on my W124 (although the problems i dont have would be the ones that dont apply to a diesel engined W124)

My list is fairly similar:

Replaced alternator
Replaced front struts mounts and rear shocks (later upgraded to AMG components)
Replaced the Radiator (5 times i believe)
Replaced water pump
Driver side window regulator broke, right rear window motor went out.
Antenna wouldnt go up and down so replaced it with a manual
odometer quit
cruise control quit
middle vents dont blow air
windsheild wiper got slower
Transmission takes a bit to engage from P to D or R

But much more with my car, and not because of abuse but because these cars are 20+ years old with alot of miles and wear and tear.


Overall even though forum members here will stick to their opinion on your better off staying with this 20+ year old pile of heap instead of making payments on a new or newer car, i say no!

There was a reason why i bought my C32 AMG and will still push on to the fact that these cars dont make good reliable daily drivers. And after investing as much money as i did into my W124 i would have been not far off from putting that money towards the price of my C32. Actually with the money i spent i could have gone with a non-AMG C-class.

To each their own. Im tired of having a car that i cant take anywhere without worrying about it breaking down, having it towed from a breakdown, having to cancel my plans or trip due to the breakdown, and emptying my wallet to a worthless car.

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Last edited by greasybenz; 02-27-2009 at 02:14 AM.
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