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  #1  
Old 01-21-2002, 01:10 PM
rrabe
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Question Opinions requested. Looking at an '86 300E.

Hi. I'm looking for opinions on whether I should further pursue looking at a certain 1986 300E that's for sale, meaning set an appointment to look at it and get a pre-purchase inspection. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I've never owned a Benz myself before!

From a conversation with the owner, I've gathered the following (note that I haven't seen the car yet):

2nd owner (bought at about ~130k miles)

Original paint
No rust
No accidents
No dings (probably means no noticeable dings/scratches)
Interior is good (back seat hardly used)

Overhauled by 2nd owner at ~140k miles at American Service Center, Arlington, VA (didn't go into exact specifics)
All service/repair work by first owner done at Amer Serv Ctr
2nd owner has had work done at Stuttgart West in Chantilly, VA and Foreign Car Service (???) in Arlington, VA somewhere near Washington Blvd

New brakes
New tires
New exhaust
New steering rack
New alternator
New battery
New "water" pump
other parts...

Not sure if "new" means within the last year though or "new" as in 3 to 4 years ago or 50k miles ago in relation to the age and mileage of the car. Owner does have receipts/paperwork which I will look at if I decide to see it and go for the PPI.

Was used for commuting about ~50 to 60 miles/day 3 or 4 years ago
Driven maybe 3k to 5k miles in the last two years (owner recently bought a 123 diesel and an ML)
Odometer stopped functioning at ~200k miles
Mileage probably around ~204k miles
Mostly used these days for weekend errands around the neighborhood

Everything seems to be functioning correctly, except:

the A/C was working UNTIL last summer
Owner stated that he can't hear the compressor turn on or the clutch
Thinks it may be a switch (and we both agreed it'll be looked at during a PPI anyway)

Asking $3k

I'm also looking at using this as a weekend/errand car. Maybe a daily driver if it looks like it would be reliable.

Any thoughts on whether I should continue to pursue this? The owner was friendly and very accomodating over the phone (also been an MBCA member for 7+ years though not very active).

Lots of thanks in advance!

Roberto
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2002, 03:03 PM
Crowe's Avatar
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Before you purchase the car make sure that the AC works or what it will cost to fix. If the pressure in the system is low, there is a "low pressure switch" that will keep the compressor from coming on to avoid killing the compressor. A common problem with the 300E is the AC system, especially with leaks in the evaporator. You can do a search on this topic and find a lot of information. If the evaporator has to be replaced you are looking at a major expense $$$. I know from experience. The W124 is a great car, just be sure to check it out and do your homework. This is a good place to research problems and solutions. Make good use of the search capability.
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2002, 04:02 PM
rrabe
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Thanks for the reply Crowe

Yes, the AC not working is a concern of mine as well as the odometer not functioning (and not knowing actual mileage), although I have read the posts about removing the instrument cluster.

I've also read posts where the advice given was to pass on 300Es if they have AC or transmission problems.

I did read one of your old posts about having AC problems too when you purchased your car. How did that turn out in the end?

And lastly, I've read that the AC on the 124s should be serviced every 50k miles. Sound about right? Don't know what is involved in the servicing though.

If you had to do it over again (purchase your car with the known AC problem), would you? Or do you think most people would rather have spent the combined total costs of buying the car and fixing the AC on a newer/different model with no AC problems...or even a totally different make (the horror!).

Thanks!
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Old 01-21-2002, 04:42 PM
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Location: Jax, FL
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Thumbs down I bet...

without even looking at the car, that the evaporator is leaking. If it has not been used for a year (who knows) the compressor may be on the way out too.
The only way you can find a evaporator leak (100% sure) is with dye.
What I would do, have the A/C fixed and convert to R134 at the time with a good warranty and then renegotiate the price. The odometer should be the least of your worries, compared to the A/C, these cars will last a long time with proper maintenance. Let him show you papers.
Ask him what is he going to do if he does not sell it to you...
It may be worth more as a parts car, and I need a couple!
What color is it? Just curious.
Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2002, 04:52 PM
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I guess it depends on if you absolutely need the AC. We are talking about 15 - 16 year old cars.

Back in NOV, I bought my 87 300TD, knowing that the AC hydraulic hose was leaking (you can see the oily stuff on it) and that the odometer was not working (stopped at 62kmi). I trusted the lady who sold me the car and she told me these were the only two problems on the car and I did check it out very thoroughly. After owning it for two months, these were the only problems I found on the car. But I can live with these two problems and the price of the car is right and the rest of the car is good. If I cannot drive the car three out of 52 weeks here in Michigan, it is fine with me. I am not planning on selling the car, so the odometer is no issue to me although I would like to get it fixed just because. How many cars 15 years or older have working AC?
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Old 01-21-2002, 05:10 PM
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Exclamation A/C working?

I do!
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2002, 05:21 PM
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I said: "How many cars 15 years or older have working AC?" That does not mewan yours is not working.

On average, cars this old wil have problems in the AC (especially MB AC, overly complicated) unless the owner puts in $1 - 3K to restore it.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2002, 05:24 PM
rrabe
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Well, I do prefer to have the major systems in the car functioning. And the A/C would be nice to have on hot & humid summer weekends here in the DC area, especially if there's a dog slobbering in the back...on a towel of course.

Color is 'sky blue'.

Decided to just go ahead and take a look at it tonight. If the car is in good/great shape mechanically, it would be a shame to pass on for the A/C. I'll definitely ask about getting it diagnosed/fixed and figuring stuff out from there.

Roberto
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2002, 05:34 PM
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From what I heard, the high pressure hydralic hose leak is more common than any other component in the AC system for the W124 cars. However, that hose costs big $$$ for the gasoline W124 cars. I do not know why because the hose on a W124 diesel is much less.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2002, 06:59 PM
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re: '86 300E

If you decide that car's a money-pit & decline to buy it, email me. i've got a beautiful '88 AUDI 5000S Wagon ( Avant ) w/127K...and everything works just fine! autounion@att.net
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2002, 09:18 PM
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Go for it!

If it is the manifold hose (high pressure hose) do not get a new one from MB. Just go to any place where they fix hydrolic hoses and just change the rubber portion. It should cost less than $100.
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  #12  
Old 01-21-2002, 11:40 PM
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Since you ask

rrabe

I did purchase my W124 knowing that the AC was not working and in Atlanta it is very hot in the Summer. The price for the car was right. I enjoy my 300E year round, but much more during Spring, Winter, and Fall. I may still get around to having it fixed.
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