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  #1  
Old 01-31-2002, 12:21 AM
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Location: Colleyville, TX
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94 E420 vs 93 300E

Howdy Folks,
I was looking for a 94 or a 95 280C all of last week to replace my 92 190e. I test drove a few and they drive really well. But a few of my friends & others who had owned one had only horror stories to tell me. So, I have narrowed my search down to a 94 E420(102K asking for $14.9) and 93 300E (61K - asking for $13.5). I really like the E420 because of the V8. Do the V8's last as long as I6's on the 300/320E? My next question - is the maintenance really high on the V8's vs the I6's?. Please advise. Are there any major weaknesses on the V8's ?? Thanks.

smk_texas
86 BMW 325e 146K
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2002, 08:48 AM
jsmith's Avatar
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my vote is for the v8. do a search for things to look out for.

FYI, 93 was actually the first e320 with the m104 engine, they just didn't change the trunk lid and lenses until the following year. as such there are known problem areas - the one you are looking at with the low mileage is immediately suspect for the head gasket and wiring harness problems...
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1993 300e-2.8
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  #3  
Old 01-31-2002, 08:55 AM
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By everything I've read, and my own experience thus far, the M119 V-8 engine is nearly bulletproof. Yes, virtually every service is a bit more expensive for the 119 compared to the inline 6 -- 8 spark plugs instead of 6, etc -- and even some unsuspected things like replacing the starter is more challenging because of the physical size of the engine. Overall, though, I really like the power of the M119 and with good maintenance (e.g., very regular oil changes) should go a long, long time.

Did you look carefully at the service records? That's a must, in my book.
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'93 400E
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  #4  
Old 01-31-2002, 09:41 AM
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The M119 V-8 commonly needs both caps & rotors every 60,000 miles (one per cylinder bank), but other than that they are ultra reliable.

If you are a DIYer, the replacement procedure (and many other useful W124 info) is available on this site at http://www.peachparts.com/do_it_yourself.htm

A review of the car in general is available at http://www.peachparts.com/featuredcars.htm
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Dave

1998 BMW 540i Sport
1995 E320
1992 400E
1989 BMW M3
1979 Triumph TR7 (1st car)
1986 BMW 735i (Sold)
1980 BMW 320i (Sold)
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  #5  
Old 01-31-2002, 10:40 AM
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I echo the earlier thoughts about the M119. Its a very impressive engine. Amazingly powerful but very refined.

The only downside that I've seen with M119 powered W124 cars is trying to work on things like exhaust systems and motor mounts. There is very little free space under the hood of one of these cars after MB installed the M119 V8. This can make things difficult when repairs are required.
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2002, 12:16 PM
Randall Grubbs
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smk_texas

Assuming you're in Texas, here in Dallas there's a '93 400 for sale. 100K miles and he's asking 11,995. I haven't seen the car.

http://www.lamotorcars.com/inventoryvpc.html

Randy
'94 E500
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  #7  
Old 01-31-2002, 12:21 PM
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To Tim Freeh:

Have you replaced the motor mounts yourself on a M119 W124 car? I am contemplating this on mine. Any tips? I have done this on other cars including a 300E a few years back, so have some experience, but I am concerned about getting to the mounts on this car.

Thanks
Bob
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2002, 12:57 PM
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I have had the M103 inline-6, and currently have the M104 DOHC 6-cylinder and the M119 DOHC V8 in two different W124 chassis (wagon & sedan).

While the 6-cylinder cars are IMHO better balanced, and lower to maintain, there is definitely no substitute for cubic-inches.

The inline-6 cylinder engines need to be revved to really get them in the powerband.

Since you don't have to rev the M119 V8 to get a healthy amount of torque, you can achieve the same gas mileage with the 400E (almost never with our 500E).

Changing motor-mounts on a M119 W124 is an exercise in patience and perserverence. I've done the M103 and M104, but will NOT tackle the M119 myself.

If you HAVE to get a car now, get the one with the best maint. history, otherwise wait to find that "cream-puff" of a 400E/E420 with impeccable records.

Hope that helps,

:-) neil
1988 360TE AMG
1993 500E
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2002, 10:14 PM
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I would vote for the 93 300E. I am biased because I own one, but I feel the power is more than adequate. The M104 engine has terrific horsepower (217) and Torque (229), with a very flat and broad power curve. I have never felt that it was underpowered. Ever.

I wouldn't presuade you to avoid the V8. Horsepower is great. It's a reliable engine. I'm sure you've read all the threads about timing chain failures, guide rails, etc.

I have read reviews in the automotive press about the V8 W124's, and while they applauded the horsepower, I have read criticism about the extra weight over the front wheels and poorer handling (oversteer). However, with regular driving, I don't think any of us would notice that much of a difference.

In summary, if you think the M104 300E/E320 is underpowered, you need a whole in your head.

If you buy the V8, you'll have marginally higher maintenance and fuel costs, and the ridiculous need (to me) of changing the timing chain / guide rails, etc every 100,000 miles.

If you buy the inline 6, you'll have marginally lower maintenance and fuel costs (I average 20.5 mpg). However, if the engine wiring harness hasn't been replaced, change it immediately (about $800.00 installed). Head gaskets leak after about 100,000 miles, but can be ignored until the leak becomes too great. Mine started leaking at 130,000 miles, and it is a very slow leak. I've also read posts by Benzmac regarding engine fault code issues, particularly relating to low EGR flow. I had this problem, and the fix is posted on this site.

Why not buy the 93 300E? The asking price is $1,400 less and has about 40% less mileage.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2002, 12:00 AM
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Location: Colleyville, TX
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Randy,
Thanks for the lead on the 400E. I do live in the Dallas FTW area and I will check this car out on Saturday. Thanks to the rest of the folks for your input. I am hoping to make a decision this week after checking out the 400E.

smk_texas
86 BMW 325e 146K
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2002, 12:48 PM
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suginami

Sounds like V8 envy to me. Take it from someone who has driven both. The V8 is the way to go every time. I average 21-22 mpg with my 1994 E420, and if I shift it myself, it is an absolute rocket! In my mind, higher maintenance costs are more than offset by exclusivity, stealth performance, and possibly longer engine life.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2002, 12:57 PM
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Suginami wrote:
"If you buy the V8, you'll have marginally higher maintenance and fuel costs, and the ridiculous need (to me) of changing the timing chain / guide rails, etc., every 100,000 miles."

Per my mechanic, the only time you need to change timing chain & rail is if you haven't done regular oil/filter changes, and if during inspection, the rails are cracked/split. Rolling in a new chain is NOT that bad cost wise.

:-) neil
1988 360TE AMG
1993 500E
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2002, 10:17 PM
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"As long as the chain is quiet at start-up, leave it alone" is what I've heard from my tech, and essentially the same from the Ritter/Easley list.
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'93 400E
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2002, 12:28 AM
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I know mechanics have opinions on the timing chains, guide rails, etc., but if you do a search on this site, there are numerous replies regarding this. I don't own a V8 so I have no bias, but there are testmonials from dozens of members to this site who are fanatical about changing these items every 100,000-120,000 miles. I do believe these MB engines are better engineered than any other car manufacturer, but why do these V8's have so many issues with timing chain breakage? I've never heard of a case of an American V8 breaking a timing chain. I have experience with them getting loose and needing replacement. Maybe it has to do with the pushrod design. I also think its ridiculous that MB can't seem to design a straight six engine that doesn't go through head gaskets every 100,000 miles or so.
Yeah, I'm like every other guy. Who doesn't want more cubic inches? I'd love to have a V8. However, I still stand behind my point that in my opinion the M104 engines are not underpowered.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2002, 06:59 PM
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I own a 400E, yes the balance is not very good, excessive understeer in turns, makes driver feels the car much bigger than it actually is, this can be corrected by applying moderate throttle, the handling is far from nimble, the rear end is too light, aggressive driving in the curves can easily slip the rear wheels, the 2.24 differential also limites its off the line acceleration, so if you do a lot of city driving, I would think 300E is a better choice.

V8 W124's true fortune is on the highway, they were born for high speed highway cruising, there are few 4 door sedans out there can compete with 400Es, at 120kmph, acceleration is as brutal as 60kmph, ride is super stable even at extreme high speed. I just did a round trip between Ottawa and Montreal, I averaged amazing 9L/100km (25 mpg).
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