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BILL DIGGINS 01-02-2002 01:08 PM

4 Matic---yes Or No
I'm looking at wagons and I'd like some input on 4 Matic versions starting in 1991 and the newer body style starting in 1996. What are the opinions of the experts???.....

loubapache 01-02-2002 01:11 PM

I am no expert.

Why do you need $-matic? Any MB with a set of snow tires works extremely well in snow, ice, or slippery surfaces.

From all what I have heard, the 4-matic is $-matic in the W124 models of the early 90s.

BlackE55 01-02-2002 01:27 PM

How are the newest 4-Matic MB's? 2000 and up? -- E320 or 430 with 4-matic?

loubapache 01-02-2002 01:45 PM

For the W124 chassis, I believe the 4-matic is available during 1990 - 1993. Generally, the system is considered as overly complex therefore not reliable. Transfer case leak (internal and external) is what I heard as the main cause and fix is not cheap.

I also heard that the newer systems are much simpler so more reliable.

To me, I still prefer simple systems because they are good enough if I use good tires, good caution, and good driving skills. As MB says in the sales brochures (I paraphrase): no system, no matter how advanced, can overcome the laws of physics.

These 4-matics, traction control, etc., are all problem areas. I have read enough from this forum that when one of these electronic system malfunctions, you "limp home" and then pay top $ for costly repairs.

The longer I have the 1987 300TD, the more I like it. I do like my 1997 E320 but it is still fairly new so everything is still working. I wonder if a OM61X powered car will make me even happier.

blackmercedes 01-02-2002 03:26 PM

The early W124 4-matics were popular here in the frozen north, and many owners I've talked to have found them quite disappointing from a cost of operation standpoint. The 4-matic system was very complex, and seems to require expensive repairs.

The "new" 4-matic system is simpler and uses the ASR/ESP instead of locking diffs. This is not as good for Jeep Jampboree kinda off-roading, but is less costly to manufacture, easier to maintain, and works very well in on-road conditions.

With the large volume of 4-matic systems on the road today (ML, W210) I would expect that we would have heard about any flaws in the new system by now. About 50% of E-Class cars sold in Canada are now 4-matics.

A friend of mine has an E430 4-matic, and it's been flawless so far. The only thing was the sticker (nearly $90K...)

Lebenz 01-02-2002 03:57 PM

The old 4-matic was not very good in a number of ways. Not only did the system itself not wear terribly well, but it tended to put lots of stress on the entire front suspension & steering. Buying one now is all but guaranteed to lead to an easy $10K to $20K (USD) to fully restore. The old 4-matic system ran through ’93 in the 124 chassis. Starting in ’98, MB reintroduced the 4-matic system. The only thing that remained the same is the name 4-matic. This system was and is found in the 320 wagons and sedans in ’98, and starting in ’99 they added the 430 sedans as well. The new systems are pretty good. I have heard rumors of transfer case issues at 80K miles or so.

Hope this helps…

jeffsr 01-03-2002 06:34 AM

:( no :(

blackmercedes 01-03-2002 06:56 AM

Were I interested in 4-matic, I would skip the W124 version, buy a W210, and equip it with an extended warranty that covered AWD bits for peace of mind.

Most 4-matic W210 cars will be still under factory warranty, so your chance of finding one on a dealer's lot that could be "Starmarked" would be good.

The main problem of course, is cost. Late model E-Class cars are not exactly used-car bargains.

If you deem AWD an absolute requirement and the W210 is beyond your budget, consider a Subaru or Audi. I understand they both have bulletproof AWD systems. Volvo has one too, but it's getting a poor reputation for reliability.

Michael 01-03-2002 10:36 AM

4WD for PA? Why? Unless you live in the woods or on a private, non-plowed road, I can't imagine why you'd need the added weight, complexity and inevitable increased costs of operation & maintenance. Just my opinion, FWIW.

I'm in western CT at fairly high elevation, and have never gotten stuck in any of my 2WD, snow-tire-clad MBZs. Even my wife, whose snow-driving skills are somewhat suspect:rolleyes: , has never gotten stuck.

FWIW, I run Toyo Observes on the 500E and 300D, and Michelin Arctic Alpins on the TE.

ricali 01-03-2002 09:53 PM

Michael you have not been in Snowshoe Pa. in a blizzard. The only thing worst is the Artic circle:eek: :D

Michael 01-03-2002 10:38 PM

Snowshoe PA? Is that near Buffalo (7 feet of snow already this yr!!)!:eek: :eek:

bobbyv 01-04-2002 12:57 AM

from what others say about the W124 4Matic versions, it seems that the "4" should be pronounced as "proble".


andy day 01-04-2002 02:37 AM

I looked at one here last year, oil everywhere, groaned and creaked like an old man on the road, steer WELL clear !

ladomani 01-28-2002 03:10 PM

4matic-no support
i have a friend with a 4matic w124 and he seems to spend all his weekends at the mechanics. if dats is not a vote of no confidence then i dont know what it is!

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