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Old 03-16-2002, 05:34 PM
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1991 300E with 81,000 miles...a few questions.

Let me say first, I know nothing about Mercedes-Benz automobiles.
So with that in mind, I have an opportunity to purchase a 1991 300E with 81,000 miles for $7,500 from a relative. I would appreciate any comments/advice on this automobile, it's maintenance, etc... He has all the maintenance records from initial purchase; the maintenance was performed at the local Mercedes-Benz dealer.

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Old 03-16-2002, 05:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
Great car, low miles, book and records. What are you waiting on?

Have fun with the new Benz.
Donnie Drummonds
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Old 03-16-2002, 06:05 PM
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Benz Zealot
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
Assuming the cosmetic appearance is good, that's a superb value! 81,000 is just breaking in an M103 engine. You can expect the engine to last 200,000 to 300,000 miles easily.

Some things to look out for though: head gasket problems -- if this has already been replaced then that makes the deal that much better. It's not a matter of if, but when you'll have to perform this maintenance. (~1k$)

Also, if the car has the original radiator (plastic neck), it will eventually become brittle and break. New radiator ~300$.

What options does it have on it? Sunroof? ASR? Heated seats? I think those are the only ones available for the '91. (MB Tex might've been, not sure)

If you keep the fluids fresh and maintain it well, you will enjoy years of enjoyment from this great car!

Also, any problems that might arise with the 300E can be solved on this site, either by posting or browsing thru the mountains of archive information.

Good luck!


'91 300E, 208k miles
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Old 03-16-2002, 06:11 PM
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It has the sunroof and the heated seats; not sure what ASR is. Cosmetically, it's in great shape. I guess I'll have to go over the maintenance records again to check for the head gasket replacement, if it's been performed. If it hasn't, how long do I have until this will be necessary? I do know the A/C condenser and compressor were replaced around 65K.
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Old 03-16-2002, 07:17 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
The 103 engine may need early head gasket by 100k miles, but my tech said he has seen some that have 200k on the original gasket. They could need valve guides by 100k, but equally could go to 200k - your oil use should let you know (I use zero oil in 3k intervals.) The AC may need service by 100k miles - many cars of any brand do - but likewise may go a lot longer. It is an R12 system, and when it needs work probably needs converting to r134a depending on emisson laws in your area. The AC evaporator is a difficult job and expensive when it goes. You may want to check the rear suspension bushings and arms as well - very inexpensive parts that can cause strange handling when they age. Interior plastic trim can get brittle, but the 3 items I have replaced have been easy repairs, and the parts were all less than $10 each. (A comparible broken plastic seat base item on my 88 Acura Legend was quoted as $125 ! I used epoxy and screen door mesh to make an ugly repair instead.

If this sounds like doom and gloom, it isn't. All cars need work as they age, and the w124 is no exception, but my experience is it requires lots less work than any of my other cars that I kept beyond 100k miles. Many of the parts are less expensive than their Honda or Toyota conterparts, but some are more expensive. It evens out, and I will probably still be driving this car 10 years from now, and expect it to be as solid and dependable as it is now.

2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
2015 Palladium Silver/black mbtex GLK 350
1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)

Click to see 87 300E
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Old 03-16-2002, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503
I would whole-heartedly encourage you to purchase the car.

It has everything you need: documented service history, low mileage, and a good price.

These cars age well, and are bullet-proof. What's more, one of the most expensive systems to replace on the car - the a/c - has already been replaced.

The only thing left is really the head gasket / valve guides / seals, and these can usually wait until high mileage and done at the same time.

Good luck!
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 03-16-2002, 11:38 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 31
Great car. Mine had head gasket failed at 75k but is easily fixed. You may also want to check that pervasive leak at the bottom of the timing gear door. It usually lasts 20K and it needs a gasket and special sealant again. Seems everybody experiences that leak. In my case, oil got to the alternator brushes and caked the graphite with a dead battery and no charge. You might also want to check the alternator brushes (replaceable $75 - 5 minutes) mine went gone at 80K. Change fluids often and enjoy.
Adam Reinosa
91 300E 190K
81 911SC 210K
61 MB 190C 90K - sold...sigh.
70 914-6 - DUI victim - sigh
911T - Fire victim
Renault Dauphine '62
67/Cougar GT;70 Challenger 440 Mag - OEM future option coming soon
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Old 03-17-2002, 02:08 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Hurricane, West Virginia
Posts: 878

i've replaced the water pump, radiator, serpentine belt, almost all of the console power window switches, the valve guide oil stem seals.

i've up graded a few items also.

no question this is the best car i've ever had!

*92 400e 124.034, SOLD

*92 300e 124.030, SOLD
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