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  #1  
Old 04-05-2002, 03:42 PM
tvpierce's Avatar
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Opinions on 4-Matic System

Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with MB's 4-Matic cars? I'm thinking of purchasing an early 90s MB 300 4-matic. My experience with MB cars in general is that they've never made a bad one. But I know virtually nothing about this all-wheel-drive system. Is it reliable? Problematic?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

tvpierce
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Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
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Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2002, 03:48 PM
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Search the archives on this tvpierce, as this topic has been touched on much in the past. I don't have firsthand experience, but here's what I reas in summary: the early 4-matic system was very complex, allowing the performance of RWD during normal conditions with the AWD system kicking in with loss of traction. While very cabapable, it was considered overly complicated by many and was frequently expensive to maintain.

Regards,
- Ryan
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2002, 10:44 PM
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According to most owning a 4-Matic is risky business.

When the transfer case develops the dreaded internal leak (hydraulic fluid seeping into the ATF side of the TC) you're in for a very very expensive replacement if you want to keep the 4-Matic feature. It is my understanding that 100k miles is the threshold at which most problems begin.

I've had my '93 300E 4-Matic for 19 trouble free months now and I can't describe how much I like to drive this car in the winter. It only has 73k miles and hope that the TC will hold beyond the 100k miles mark. When the TC goes I intend on switching the 4-Matic system off and drive it as a regular 2wd.

In the meantime I'm enjoying the heck out of it.

I hope this helps.
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'93 300E 4Matic
'98 Nissan Altima
'00 Yamaha Road Star Silverado
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Old 04-05-2002, 10:54 PM
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Location: Portland, ME
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"Switching Off?"

Is bypassing the 4-matic system as easy as switching it off? What's involved in this process -- and what are the mechanical ramifications?

tvpierce
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Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2002, 11:15 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Montréal
Posts: 95
On the '93 model there is an electrical switch near the battery. On the '91 model I believe that it is a mechanical switch located in the same area. In either case deactivating the 4-Matic is easy.

I don't know of mechanical ill effects but then again I'm no expert.
All I know is that I ran mine with the 4-Matic off for a couple of months last summer with no problem.

If you send me a private message I can put you in contact with an e-mail group of 4-Matic owners (sort of the 4-Matic AA). Some of the guys on the distribution list would be in a better position to answer your questions.
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'93 300E 4Matic
'98 Nissan Altima
'00 Yamaha Road Star Silverado
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2002, 11:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, ME
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Thanks Gilly. I think you may have saved me some grief. I don't want the added complexity of an all-wheel-drive system, I just saw one for a good price. I guess that price reflects the reputation that these cars have.

I'll keep my eye out for a standard rear wheel drive.

Thanks again.

tvpierce
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Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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  #7  
Old 04-06-2002, 12:21 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Evansville WI
Posts: 9,616
TV:
I recommend against getting into one of these cars. My experience as a mechanic with them has been pretty negative. The basic car (2wd) is very good, great car, but the first version 4Matic is just really bad news. The transfer case problem is the worst one, real expensive to repair, usually just replace it. It doesn't really "feel" lie the 2wd version either, kind of a heavy "truck-like" feel to the steering. Resale on them is poor too, probably from guys like me slamming them all the time. I'd avoid it.
Gilly
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