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Old 02-06-2002, 01:22 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: South Eastern, MA
Posts: 1,743
500E Help!

I am new to this forum however if all goes right I'm sure I will be a frequent visitor. I need fast help from all thos experienced with 500E and 124 bodies in general. I'm about to put a deposit on a 93 500E with 84K miles but want your oppinnions. I had a 200 point inspection at Mercedes and found the following that needs attention:

New Front Brakes, Motor Mounts, Steering Gear Housing, Steering Pump, Steering Seals, oil pan gasket and other minor seals, repack front whl bearings, and some hoses.
The mechanic also stated that the shocks and struts will also need replacing but Im not sure if I agree with that. Would also like to know if the hydraulic load leveling has caused headaches for anyone.
Items already replaced include, rebuilt tranny 80K, new differential 40K, new radiator 60K, new belts, and about 25 other electrical components.

What do you think....I would love your oppinnions....I believe that actual owners know best what is normal and what isn't.

Thanks for the help!
Previous 84 190E
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Old 02-06-2002, 01:55 PM
Michael's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
I go thru these one-by-one:
Wheel bearings: Just replaced both front @90k, looked a bit rough so it was time (I drive my car VERY hard, to include track events)
Brakes: Wear item, to be expected
Steering gear housing: I presume this is the worm-and-roller mechanism: very common to leak, liekly just needs a reseal
Motor mounts: Also a wear item, at that mileage/age this is to be expected
Steering pump: Many need a re-sealing, as mine does at the moment (it's very minor, so I'm not sweating it)
Oil Pan Gasket-Never heard of this leaking on an M119, so I can't comment
Shocks/struts: Need replacing-why? Are they leaking? I can understand the fronts maybe getting a bit tired, but unless one of the rears is making noise or is leaking, they're likely fine. I've never had any problems with the load-leveling suspension in either of my so-equipped cars

New diff & rebuilt trans, eh? Did the former owner abuse the car? If I were you, I'd find someone that owns a 500E and have them take it for a ride.

Good luck, and hope to see you join "The Club"
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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Old 02-06-2002, 02:10 PM
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Location: South Eastern, MA
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Michael thank you for the input,

I agree with everything you stated and wanted to make a few more coments. The reason for the tranny rebuild was due to a leak at the seals, the owner decided to rebuild since it was already apart. As far as the differential, the reasoning from the dealer was that their is a sensor inside which was faulty and Mercedes warrantied the differential. Let me know if you think these sound like valid answers.

I have had a chance to test drive a 500E and have an idea what to expect but if anyone out there lives on the west coast and would be willing to test drive the car I would love to hear from them.

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Old 02-06-2002, 02:11 PM
Senior Canadian Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 827
what michael said :-)
'94 W124.036 249/040 leder; 8.25x17 EvoIIs
'93 W124.036 199/040 leder; 8.25x17 EvoIIs, up in flames...LITERALLY!
'93 W124.036 481/040 leder; euro delivery; 8.25x17 EvoIIs
'88 R107.048 441/409 leder; Euro lights
'87 W201.034 199/040 leder; Euro lights; EvoII brakes; 8x16 EvoIs - soon: 500E rear brakes
'70 R113.044 050/526; factory alloys; Euro lights
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Old 02-06-2002, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
placo1- you have come to the right place for active 500e feedback

wow- can't imagine what the total cost will be to bring this car back..

my general initial impression of this vehicle, based upon your list of "to-do's" is that the previous owner was not diligent in keeping the car up and that the car has had a relatively hard life (with possibly a lack of maintence) for all these items to need attention right away

...based on real mercedesshop owners enthusiastic experience posted here (drags, tracking and auto-crossing) seems like the 500e platform is adequately robust to offer this fun absent suspension, rear-end, and tranny failures

is the car modified in any way? often times, hyper-mods in one area affect the less-robust OEM stock-duty parts causing premature failures

have you pulled a car-fax for the history of the vehicle? it may have tons of useful pre-purchase info for you as well , did the dealer pull a MBnet inquiry for you to review as well?- (usually free) any warranty on the vehicle?

my feeling is that once these items are repaired, you'll not have trouble with these items for a while- ..notwithstanding- the suspected previous enthusiastic use of this car may have other parts worn enough not to be detected now- but-in the near future require $$$ replacement as well (an unavoidable bit of risk in used car ownership)

re: your Q's
>the power steering leak issues seem to be common, there seem to be a couple of posts of 500e owners replacing struts,
> very cautious of 500e's that go into limp mode- we have a couple of owners in an ongoing exercise endeavoring to source its cause (but we have a few owners that have happily fixed this ill too)

my '94 E500 (37.8k) required replacement of the the rear self leveling sytem nitrogen spheres recently and also a couple of cam seals due to oil seepage (using dino oil). Other than that, I'm satisified that its been trouble free and offers an enjoyable motoring experience at all levels.

in the event that this is not the car for you, there appears to be a healthy number of 500e/e500 candidates to review for purchase @ ie (

good luck and let us know what turns out

PS- where is the car at?
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Old 02-06-2002, 02:30 PM
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Location: South Eastern, MA
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fad thanks for your reply,

here are some answers to the questions you asked. The car is completely stock throughout. I did run a carfax and the car is clean. I have the MB Net list from the dealer and the list is long over 60 items have been replaced, mostly electrical and sensors. The owner did maintain the car well and has done major service at 15K intervals with oil changes every 5k. Some of these items on the 200 point check are areas which arent major problems but do exist.....let me know your what you think...this feedback is making my decision much easier

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Old 02-06-2002, 02:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
re: reasons for rebuilds-

you may wish to examine the invoices in detail to determine what parts were replaced in the "re-builds"

I can't imagine a total rebuild of an MB tranny and MB rear end making sense when it only required minor parts replacement...I also can't imagine an MB dealership picking up the tab on replacing parts and/or a comprehensive rebuild when not merited (after all, they are a business and must make money somehow)

From my experience, a Factory Authorized Service Shop Foreman had mentioned to me that parts replaced under factory warranty were shipped back to Germany for review for these reasons:
1) Quality and Engineering Review of the part
2) As a control mechanism to ensure that fact auth service centers were not replacing parts unnecessarily under warranty

He added further that the dealership was charged back for the part if it was found to be replaced unnecessarily- and that the dealership was not credited for the cost of the part until the audit was completed.

If it were my decision, I'd make sure there's a warranty on the rebuilds, purchase an after-market warranty to address the 'used-car' risk, and (if pristine in all other areas) negotiate an ~ $20k or less purchase price

also,- see if you can identify the "electrical" and "sensors" replacement (from invoices) and post here, from our experience we can kinda figure out what the gremlin was that plagued it at that time


Last edited by -fad; 02-06-2002 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 02-06-2002, 02:52 PM
Jim's500E's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Manchester, Connecticut
Posts: 1,325
Thumbs up

So what if it had some major work done and needs more work...if its the car you like and you are going into it knowing what it does need then drop the coin and fix the problems. I'd be more worried if there were no records. I also doubt if any car at that mileage (which isn't a whole lot) is in perfect shape. As long as its not your daily driver then why not get it and spend some money and time fixing it up? As we all know...the species is very limited so do the right thing...get it and join the 'club'. There is NO PROBLEM that these guys here can't figure out and help you with...get it before some other Einstein drives off with it. Just my 2 cents...

1992 500E
2007 CLK63
2003 Audi RS6
2001 Audi allroad
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Old 02-06-2002, 03:14 PM
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Location: South Eastern, MA
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In response to Jim,

Your right. I do love this car and am willing to repair its problems because its worth it. The only drawback is that I do want to use it as a daily driver and don't want the problems to get in the way of that. I believe the car is driveable in the condition its in the items can be replaced in order of importance. Keep going with responses....your input has been helpful and its great knowing there are other enthusiasts willing to help!
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Old 02-06-2002, 08:43 PM
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you had asked in your last post the list of electricals which were replaced and here they are....
radiator cracked/replaced, oil pressure sensor, oil pan gasket leaking/replaced, accelerator actuator, leaking rear shock absorber/replaced, pressure reservoir leak, ABS B electronic control unit, ABS wiring harness, oil level sensor and gasket, crankshaft seal leak, power steering pump leak, fore/aft adjustment of front seat, rear axle speed sensor, A/C compressor low pressure, impulse transmitter in rear axle, front wheel bearing problem 11k, electric rear window shade, front power seat switch, vacuum line hose leak, LH control unit, fan clutch, oxygen sensor, speed sensor rear axle

As you'll notice some items appeared more than once. All of these items were once replaced either under warranty or after warranty. Let me know what you think and thanks again.

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Old 02-06-2002, 11:19 PM
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Ditto to Michael's response as well, I think the required repairs you mention in your first posting are not out of the normal, after all the car is 9 years old.

Concerning your question concerning the rear self-leveling suspension, I would say you only must perform the recommended fluid flush and your system should stay healthy. You may need to replace the spheres every 100k or so, give or take 20k depending on your driving habits and general road conditions.

I'm not sure what is going on with your rear drive-line as it does seem as if the PO was chasing down some sort of nagging problem there? Not common to the 500E I believe.

Other than that, it appears as if the PO has chased all issues out of the building, W124's do not seem to be "Lemons" the way other cars appear to be. With all the above mention repairs the PO has had performed I would guess that the PO was 1. very maticulous with all issues that appeared, 2. was very hard in his driving habits which wore the car components early, or 3. happened to own a problematic 500E? You general impression upon inspection may or maynot be able to give you the true picture.

Is this car being sold by a Dealer or the PO?

Where are you located, there are many owners in So CA and several in the Bay Area?
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Old 02-06-2002, 11:58 PM
Shaun McCarren
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I agree w/ the above posts. I just wanted to make sure you realize how rare the 500E is and that it may cost more that the typical Benz at times. It is an amazing car, and as such needs to be babied. If you are a car nut and really passionate about your automobiles (I'm sure you are if your on this site) then giving them the best care is not a problem, and I say go for it. If you are not a car nut I urge you to stay away from the 500E cause it should not be treated as just another car. Nothing personal...I just hate to see these works of arts neglected by owners. About the condition...It seems to be wear and tear items but make sure everything is tight. How is the body? If possible call the previous owner(s). Call the dealer that serviced it and ask them about the owner (if they are small enough). One other thing I'd be leary if the car is not from a MB Dealer.

Best of Luck!
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Old 02-07-2002, 01:21 AM
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Location: South Eastern, MA
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Guys Thanks For The Input,

Here are some more details on the car. The car is being sold by owner and it is a one owner car. The dealer has stated that the car was babied thus all of the little items which were changed. I am weary of what dealers say especially this one because they will probably be selling a new car to him and have a relationship.

As far as being a car me I wouldn't even consider this car if I wasnt a true car nut. I owned a 190E for 6 years and the car was clean enough to eat off of. I have come to realize that once you own a Mercedes its impossible to find anything even close (IE VW Golf, Honda Accord). They just lack the personality.

To let you know I live in northern San Diego and if anyone out there can meet up with me and review the info I have I would love it. I tried going to a local dealer and they blew me off. Would also like to know if there are any good mechanics other than the dealership in this area. I can do some of the work but my garage limits me.

Let me know other opinnions....I think Im going to put a low bid in and see if the seller goes for it.

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Old 02-07-2002, 01:41 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
Posts: 1,185
I live in Carlsbad and have a '94 E500. I'd be happy to meet you and review your info. Email me offline and we can set something up.
Glen Tokuhara
Beauty & the Beast and the wagon that could!
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Old 02-07-2002, 09:36 AM
Shaun McCarren
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go for it!
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