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yosshimura 10-28-2001 01:22 AM

300e & C280
I have been surfing the archives for the last week mostly focused on 300E issues. But, seeing the local prices for ones with <100K miles I could probably get a C280. So, i started looking for info on that now, but got confused. :confused:

The 300E is te W124 body style and the C280 is the W202 body style, right? How about the engines? I had written down the 300E has the M103 and the C280 has the M104, but now I am not sure. Which is which?

The 300E looks "more" car to me. Is there are a better one of the two? (I saw some things in the archives, but now its time for me to fine tune the specific questions I have :D ) . Should I just be concerned with the motor issue or are certatin aspects of the body styles better than the other?

How about this example of two units I saw this week:
1. 93 300E 104K miles $10500
2. 91 300E 75K miles $15K

Just talking 300E in this case, is it worth spending the extra $4500 for 29K less miles? Or just go with the 104K? COndition on both was marvelous.


yosshimura 10-28-2001 01:07 AM

My concern on the 104K miles unit wasn't the high miles, as I have seen that is not really high by MB standards. The view I had was that with the lower mileage unit, I might be a year away from major service vs needing major service NOW on the 104 mike unit.

I am in the "tire kicker" stage right now, so neither was checked out. I would be looking for all servie docs and have car checked out by MB mechanic before making that type of purchase.

I guess what you are saying that they are different classes (mid size vs compact) is what I noticed in size of each model. I was hoping I was benig dillusional.

I am going to have to research further to decide on what model to focus on. Visually, to me the 300E is nicer, but I don't want to buy "just" on good looks...mechanical features first!


ymsin 10-28-2001 04:05 AM

If you're talking of mechanical features first, then the W124 would suit you fine.

If you are into electronics and want a sample of how and where MB begin venturing into e-systems in engine management with some refinement in and out, then the W202 would appeal to you.

Comfort wise would be more or less the same, then again, as mentioned earlier, we ARE looking at 2 very different categories of cars with different perspectives tailored in mind. Though they have things in common, the chasis and engines seperate the two. Of course, the W202 runs on a newer designed engine.

At the end of the day, its your desire over preference with whats available in the 2 models.

Now, if I was confronted with:
1. 93 300E 104K miles $10500
2. 91 300E 75K miles $15K

I'd go for the cheaper as I believe that miles for that age don't matter that much, more so when its a difference of 30K PROVIDED that the 104 miles meant long distance running and not because of extreme city driving.

That is just MHO.


jsmith 10-28-2001 09:29 AM

i think you have to keep in mind specially with the last post that 93 was the changeover to the M104 engine. there were a couple of problem spots when they did that - to the extent that certain publications rate it a "stay away" year. to me this was a puzzle since the M104 engine had been around prior to that. this is the very same engine that is in the C280...

stevebfl 10-28-2001 11:31 AM

On a ten year old car, mileage is a very small consideration. Overall condition should be evaluated by a professional.

In the case above I would definitely take the 93 on numbers alone. For the difference in price all the possible pattern failures could be updated with some left over including head gasket and evap for which both cars are candidates. The newer car is definitely a better product when right.

yosshimura 10-28-2001 12:00 PM

I appreciate all the responses up to now...keep them coming :D

In response to a few of the comments:

I went to Barnes & Noble last night to look for an MB book, but they just had one that was very very vague. It seemed geared towards just as a browsing book. I will be ordering today the book recommened.

Someone mentioned that in 93 the 300E changed over to the M104? Meaning 93 was the LAST year for M103, correct?

Based on this, I would be foolish to go with an M104 equiped unit, as I plan on working on my vehicle; as much as is realistically possible, so electronics are a no-no :eek: . I have always worked on my American older cars (again - no electronics involved :D ) , so I "assume" it will be more or less the same, as long as I have a good shop manual on my side, with unrealistic jobs being farmed out to an MB shop in town. (I have some different specific service questions, which I will address under seperate cover once I finish surfing the archives).

Easy questoin.... Is the M104 V6 or also I-6? Just curious :confused:

I see I am on the right track, as I also assumed that I would be better off with a 104K less expensive (if in good shape, records, etc.) than with a 71-75K mile unit but more expensice.

On a side note, I have noticed a shocking (to ME) and interesting bit of info. Typically when you surf in print or online for sale car ads, if they have high miles (most of us common un-MB enthusiasts would say >100K miles is high) don't advertise the MILES; but last night on Ebay while looking at 300E's I saw alot, more than any Corvette (I Know different class, but it is / was one of my options I was looking at) listed. Just in passing I saw miles such as: (in K's) 199 236 221 276 145 141 230 216 167 215 284 230 126 ..... Pretty amazing, but looking at it from the outside, I ask myself, "yes, they are high miles, but at what price?" My point being is that it might be possible to keep any vehicle on the road for ever, but at a Price ($$$$$), just a thought, not trying to cause any waves or anything. ;)


loubapache 10-28-2001 12:21 PM

The 104 engine started on the 124 cars in 1993. So 1993 has the 104.

Both 103 and 104 are inline 6.


stevebfl 10-28-2001 12:30 PM

"Pretty amazing, but looking at it from the outside, I ask myself, "yes, they are high miles, but at what price?" My point being is that it might be possible to keep any vehicle on the road for ever, but at a Price ($$$$$), just a thought, not trying to cause any waves or anything. "

After a life watching the way Americans use up automotive machinery, I have came to some conclusions. They mostly revolve around considerations expressed above.

First, the way a car is serviced by the first owner has no effect to the first owner. Second the damage done during the second 100K by the third owner just about does in all cars no matter who makes them. Mostly, the cheapest machinery is that given up by the first or second owner and is used thoroughly up by the third. But the best deal going is to take that good piece, use it up and sell it as a MB.

yosshimura 10-28-2001 12:52 PM

This leads to my next question....

The 300E changed over to a 320E. Is the 320E the 94 w/the M104? Or just a different version of the M103?

I also have seen 400E, but haven't researched those, & they seem more expensive :rolleyes:

loubapache 10-28-2001 01:00 PM

300E changes to E320 in 1994. 104 is used in the 1993 300E and also the 1994 and 1995 124 cars.


Glen 10-28-2001 01:47 PM

W124 models...
Maybe this will help: (or really confuse you...)
(U.S. cars only)
1986 - 1992 300E: 3.0L, M103 I6, SOHC, 177 HP, CIS-E mechanical FI
1987 - 1992 260E/300E 2.6: 2.6L, M103 I6, SOHC, 158 HP, CIS-E mechanical FI
1993 300E: 2.8L or 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 192HP/217HP, EFI
1994 - 1995 E320: 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, EFI
4-matic sedans all had 3.0L M103 engines

1992 - 1995 400E/E420: 4.2L, M119 V8, DOHC, ~275 HP, EFI
1992 - 1994 500E/E500: 5.0L, M119 V8, DOHC, ~320 HP, EFI

1988 - 1992 300TE wagon: 3.0L, M103 I6, SOHC, 177 HP, CIS-E mechanical FI
1993 300TE wagon: 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, EFI
1994 - 1995 E320 wagon: 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, EFI
4-Matic wagons all had 3.0L M103 engines

1988 - 1989 300CE coupe: 3.0L, M103 I6, SOHC, 177 HP, CIS-E mechanical FI
1990 - 1992 300CE coupe: 3.0L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, CIS-E mechanical FI
1993 300CE coupe: 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, EFI
1994 - 1995 E320 coupe: 3.2L, M104 I6, DOHC, 217 HP, EFI

...and W202 sedans:
1994 - 1997 C280: 2.8L, M104 I6, DOHC, 192 HP, EFI
1998 - 2000 C280: 2.8L, M112 V6, SOHC, ~192 HP, EFI

yosshimura 10-28-2001 09:36 PM

Re: W124 models...

Originally posted by Glen
Maybe this will help: (or really confuse you...)
(U.S. cars only)

This list actually finished clearing up my confusion.. I guess I had tried to get too much info in too little time. I kept insisting to myself that I had read somewhere that the 93 W124 had the M103 motor, when in fact it has the M104.

So, now if I want the less electronics, no faulty engine harness, no leaking head gaskets..... I will just look for a 91-92 W124 with an M103 motor......


Glen 10-28-2001 11:12 PM

Another thing to consider. I believe the 1991 300E defaults to 2nd gear start while the 1992+ defaults to 1st gear start...someone please correct me if I have this wrong. Of course, you can always 'force' a 1st gear start but you have to think about it beforehand. Be sure to drive several examples of each and see what you think.

loubapache 10-28-2001 11:17 PM


I also have a 1991 300E and it starts in first gear. I know that for sure because I had a 1990 300E that started in second gear. The difference between these two cars off the line is quite remarkable.

Were you the one who had a 5 spd 300E? I remember your name from another list.


Glen 10-28-2001 11:32 PM

I think I read somewhere that late production 1991 models had first gear start but early 91s didn't.

And yes, I did have a 5-speed 300E...sold it to fellow member Vaughn. I miss that car! :)

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