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  #1  
Old 04-16-2009, 04:39 PM
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Question Buying a C-Class - bad idea??

I'm looking at a 1996 C280 with 120,000 miles, for $3500.

The reviews for this model range from "most horrible MB ever" to "lots of fun and never had any probs" - so not much help. :-)

I'm trying to decide if I should purchase this one (after being inspected by mechanic of course) or replace head gasket on my 1990 300E (has 202K miles).

Is the C-Class meant to go 200K+miles like the other models or is it just not built for the long run?
I would love your opinions...I am really torn here and need to make a decision by tomorrow.

Thanks so much!

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  #2  
Old 04-16-2009, 04:46 PM
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Do some searching. This info has been discussed. My opinion is get a 98 for 5K or less. They are out there. http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/cto/1125318822.html I think they seemed to get better all the way to 2000, the end of the W202, just based on problems posted here. The weak points have been listed before. Mine is very good. Only weak areas have been some electrical accessories and the front end components. I like the 4 cyl. plenty of power for me and very good MPG.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2009, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWAphrodite View Post
I'm looking at a 1996 C280 with 120,000 miles, for $3500.

The reviews for this model range from "most horrible MB ever" to "lots of fun and never had any probs" - so not much help. :-)
!
This will be a discussion where everyone has a different say. From my experience with my 2000 C280 its been a pricy one. I have owned Mercedes V12'S that have been cheaper to maintaine. I have owned it 3 years and put about $3,000.00 into it so far. Is it a good car? I dont think its anything special. It has many many lows to it but at the same time there are things that you will love about it such as its handling and trunk space. I personally would not buy another C Class but thats just me. As far has the worst MB ever build. Well it is the cheapest and you get what you pay for.

Pros:
Its a Mercedes
Handling
Breaks are amazing
Looks nice if you have the Sport Edition
Trunk space is good
Performance
MPG is good(About 25mpg)
Cons:
Cost to keep it running
Interior could of been better and headliner is cheap
lack of room
Not very many up to date options
Ride is bad
Sterring is way to tight
It just does not feel like a Mercedes should
Seats are small and uncomfortable


Bottom line. Drive it for a long time. If you like it buy one. Now get one low miles and have it inspected before the purchase. Good Luck
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2009, 05:59 PM
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I'd say a pretty good year, nice 104 motor, last year of a 722.4 transmission, OBDII - good car, if it's been cared for, and if you're a DIYer.
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deanyel View Post
I'd say a pretty good year, nice 104 motor, last year of a 722.4 transmission, OBDII - good car, if it's been cared for, and if you're a DIYer.

X2.

I think you have to be a little realistic about the long term reliability prospects of the used car market when the example in question is almost a decade and a half old. Its kind of a crap shoot when you get into this age range - If you are thinking (or maybe counting) about being able to run this baby on $500 a year on repairs (and you are not a serious DIY'er) you might want to reconsider and look for something newer.

I like the W202 chassis, its lots of fun to drive and I've got to disagree with the previous person that said "it just doesn't drive like a Mercedes" - I think it drives exactly like a Mercedes. It's solid, stable, predictable and fun to drive.

I love the old recirculating ball steering, the rack and pinion system in the W210 does not even come close to steering feel (at least for me). I also like the brakes, HVAC system and overall styling of the W202.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2009, 06:20 PM
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I'm not a DIY'er, but I do have a good shop to go to.

I'm willing to spend $800-1000 per year on repairs, but not more than that.

The main prob with my old 300E is the head gasket needs replaced (and a ty-rod end), but besides that it has a number of annoying things like badly bubbling window tint, radio antenna motor not working (so no music), heater fan not working (so I'm freezing half the year), scrape on one door panel, peeling clear coat. So it's not exactly fun to drive. But it's been pretty reliable. The blown head gasket was caused by a user error (me).
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2009, 06:29 PM
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Exactly how much money do you have to spend on a car? Im asking because I can help that way so I know what to look for in your area.
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2009, 06:46 PM
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Only $3500. And thank you for your help, that is really nice!

Last edited by NWAphrodite; 04-16-2009 at 06:55 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2009, 06:57 PM
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Can you get them to come down on the car anymore? Is this a private seller or a seller lot?
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2009, 07:04 PM
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Pvt seller, and I haven't tried getting them down yet.
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2009, 10:18 PM
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Ok see if you can knock a little off the price. Its a poor economy and cars are not selling so I am sure he or she will take a little something off. Good Luck.
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2004 CLK320 Cabriolet. 2005+ Interior swap. For the sunny Florida days & beach days
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2009, 10:26 PM
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I always want 1 owner, with all records, and I will pay more for that. Otherwise it is about like buying at an auction or car lot. Or you can get an inspection, but usually can't lowball as much in that case. Anyway, I would offer 2500. They will counter something.
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1988 F150 144,000 miles (leaks all the colors of the rainbow)
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  #13  
Old 04-16-2009, 11:16 PM
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I think all these cars were built as good cars. i think they are much more reliable than any 203 and wouldnt give mine up (i too would prefer a 94-95 to almost any new mercedes) but I really think its all how athe car has been treated. I know how i have treated mine and am not ready to get rid of it. its possible to have a 3 owner car that is perfect and a one owner car that is a "pit". Bottom line, have it looked at by someone who knows about them.
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2009, 01:48 AM
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I'd fix up the 300E. That is really not all that much wrong.....aside from the head gasket....the other stuff is easily fixed by a DIY'er. The head gasket can be too if you're up to such a task. If it should ever come up on mine I may try to do it myself.
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2009, 02:14 AM
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Head gasket is DIY'able if you have a semi-decent array of tools. Only tricky part realistically is getting the timing chain pin out as you need a small slide-hammer or use a little ingenuity.

If you search my threads I have a ton of pictures from when I did mine.

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