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Old 05-01-2012, 05:26 AM
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Testing 4matic system - 1991 300E

I am going to look at a 1991 300E this weekend with 4matic. Is there any practical way (other than finding a gravel parking lot and having some fun) to test the 4matic system? Or am I being overly cautious and it's not something that breaks?

Also, can anyone comment on how well 4matic from this vintage works in the snow?

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Old 05-01-2012, 09:36 AM
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Make sure that the 4-matic MIL light on the cluster functions.

Find a wet road, gravel, or grass & see if all 4 lock up.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:22 PM
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When you turn the key the 4matic light should light up with all the others, SRS, Check Engine etc, and then go out when the car is running. Find a gravel patch and put a few wheels in the gravel and accelerate, the triangle in the centre of the speedo should illuminate when the 4 matic becomes active. It may only stay on for a second or two. Do a tight slow speed turn to make sure there is no binding or shuddering - if there is forget about that car.
With a 4matic 124, the most expensive repairs in order of expense are:
Transfer Case
Head Gasket

Unfortunately all three are inevitable... I know.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by thorsen View Post
Also, can anyone comment on how well 4matic from this vintage works in the snow?
Fantastic! I drove mine through upwards of a foot of unplowed snow and had an absolute blast doing it; although, I did have studded snow tires on at the time. I never once got stuck - NEVER. The only problem I encountered was I needed to replace the front bumper because I smashed it up driving through too much hard snow (such as what the plows pushed off to the side of the road). There were times I was driving through snow so deep it was building up and pushing over the grill onto the hood. I just reversed and then went around it until I had to do it again.

I was the only one on my street able to drive through it for several days during the double whammy the Washington, D.C. area got a couple years ago.

When it works, it's great!


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