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Old 10-24-2001, 10:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: SF
Posts: 201
Talking 86 300E 5-speed-Good? Bad?

Hey folks, looking at a 86 300E 5speed with 112k for 7500 bucks, I have no experience with W124 Mercs and am interested in opinions on the price, the positives and negatives. Also confirm or deny that the weak spots are 1) Cylinder heads 2) Climate controls and 3) Bosch CIS components? Other than preformance, what other good points are there? (if any are really necessary!) Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-24-2001, 10:46 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, Tx
Posts: 713
Well, I have a 92 w124, and its great. It has 105k on it, and its solid as a rock. I haven't had any major problems with it, only had to replace the fan belt. But, I notice that you are looking at a 5 SPEED. And well, just personal opinion here, since it is a 300E 5 SPEED you should just buy it. Cause as I understand it, those are quite rare stateside, and should be a blast to drive... have fun! ;-)
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Old 10-25-2001, 10:40 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 387
You found a 5 speed? Buy it. Just buy it. What I'd give for a 5 speed...

Obviously, I'm just kidding. If the vehicle is in good shape, the price sounds ok.
Bill Streep
San Antonio
'57 190SL (toy)
'08 S5500 (mine)
'09 CLK550 (wife's)
'06 SLK350 (daughter's)
'11 GLK350 (daughter's)
'03 CLK310 (spare)
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Old 10-25-2001, 10:53 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saugus, CA USA
Posts: 1,974
I've got a 190e 2.6 5 speed and love it. I paid a little more than I probably could have but there was a long line forming. I'd have bought it even if it was in bad shape. My wife had a fit with me buying a ten year old car. I also got lucky with it having low milage (66,000 for a 1991 bought 1 1/2 years ago.)

Ask about oil consumption and if the valve guides have been replaced with the newer long lasting ones, thats the problem with that year engine.
5 speed '91 190E 2.6 320,000 mi. (new car, fast, smooth as silk six, couldn't find any more Peugeots)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.5l Turbo Diesel 266,000 mi. (old car, fast for a diesel, had 2 others)
5 speed '01 Jetta V6 (new wifes car, pretty quick)
5 speed '85 Peugeot 505 2.2l Turbo Gas 197,000 mi. (wifes car, faster, sadly gone just short of 200k )
5 speed '83 Yamaha 750 Maxim 14,000 mi. (fastest)
0 speed 4' x 8' 1800 lb Harbor Freight utility trailer (only as fast as what's pulling it)
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Old 10-28-2001, 04:23 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
Your car should be in pretty good shape for that price. One was for sale here on the swap forum for less. The 124 head needs work at 200K+ miles. Mine went to 242K. New seals, valve job, lots of other parts $1300. Oil consumption went down from a quart in 400 miles to 1 in 2000. Do it earlier than in my car's case. I got a few scratches on my cylinder walls that I believe were caused by carbon buildup due to the amount of oil burned.
124 climate controls are known to be weak. I got all new A/C, control unit, lots of other parts $1300.
I don't know about the fuel injection. New injectors are $25 each and easy to change. The fuel distributor is expensive. I have no trouble with mine. My 560 has a fuel problem with a rogue sensor but I haven't repaired it yet so no data on cost.
My paint is very weak on the top surfaces, $1000 to $4000 to repaint.
So, find out what works on your prospective car and see what it costs to fix. To get a great Mercedes 300E, you pay a fair bit up front or you live with repairs over time. I think they are worth spending some money on.
1967 250SL
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Old 10-28-2001, 08:48 AM
Posts: n/a
If you are stick shift lover, you will fall in love with this car. That is, of course, if it is in good condition.

There is really only one Achilles heel with the 124 and that is the climate control system. The early cars including all '86's had bad valve seals. If it turns out that it uses a lot of oil, it would be best to pull the head, put in new guides and updated seals. The integrity of these engines is mostly in the head anyway, so you would be doing a lot to improve the engine in every way, fuel mileage, oil consumption, performance, etc.

Check out the Climate Control thoroughly and try to find out about the oil usage.

My '88 stick shift car has gone over 200,000 miles now. I now use it for an every day car and it is not what it used to be cosmetically, but what a fun car to drive on a daily basis. And the reliability is superb. I wouldn't be afraid to get in it this morning and take off on a 3,000 mile trip. All I would do is check tire pressure, fluid levels, top off the tank and go. And I would make a healthy bet that I would make the trip with no problems.

Most all cars have weaknesses of some description. Unfortunately the 124 is no exception, but IMHO, all in all it is one of the best cars ever built.

I wouldn't take $7,500 for my car unless my family were going hungry.

Good luck,
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