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  #1  
Old 05-06-2014, 01:38 PM
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Buying Advice

Hey everyone,

I have been over on the diesel side of the board for a while, but want to come over here and ask this question. My wife has decided that she really likes the W140 chassis, and we will begin looking at some in the near future to purchase. I am trying to stay away from the diesel ones because of the rod issues, plus my wife is tired of plugging in her 87 300d on winter mornings. I know the W140 chassis spanned a large number of years. What are the year(s) to watch out for if any? Which gas engines seemed to be the most dependable and long-lasting. We are open to really any of the engine options, but don't want a dog in traffic. I was thinking mid-late 90's with under 130,000 miles if possible.

I usually end up fixing most things on my cars, so what are the problem areas I should look for besides the normal used car things I would check? Is there an existing guide out there somewhere which gives advice on the W140? I know when I bought my W124 someone had done a great write-up that was very helpful as we looked. Thanks for any advice!
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97 S500 (90,000 miles) - wife's car
87 300D (298,000 miles and a replacement #14 head)
94 Suburban K2500 - need something to haul firewood
83 300SD (343,000 miles) (sold)
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2014, 01:53 PM
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Location: Baton Rouge La
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA-Merc View Post
Hey everyone,

I have been over on the diesel side of the board for a while, but want to come over here and ask this question. My wife has decided that she really likes the W140 chassis, and we will begin looking at some in the near future to purchase. I am trying to stay away from the diesel ones because of the rod issues, plus my wife is tired of plugging in her 87 300d on winter mornings. I know the W140 chassis spanned a large number of years. What are the year(s) to watch out for if any? Which gas engines seemed to be the most dependable and long-lasting. We are open to really any of the engine options, but don't want a dog in traffic. I was thinking mid-late 90's with under 130,000 miles if possible.

I usually end up fixing most things on my cars, so what are the problem areas I should look for besides the normal used car things I would check? Is there an existing guide out there somewhere which gives advice on the W140? I know when I bought my W124 someone had done a great write-up that was very helpful as we looked. Thanks for any advice!
I think there is a general consensus for the 97-99 models.. no consensus on engine. I am very happy with our s320 with the 104 engine.

Mine was overmaintained and i am the second owner. Oriiginal owner had the front end rubber re-freshed... transmission conductor plate, a/c work. Those were the majors. Minors involved flex discs and some other things i can't remember, although i do have the service records.

in my 18 months of ownership.. i have had to replace the blower motor regulator..50 bucks.. and now i have to repack the wheel bearings at 118k

my air adjustable seats don't work..but i don't need that.. i suspect its the inflatable bags that gave out.

best riding car i have ever owned.. second best was a 94 Q45
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1989 300ce 129k
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1997 s320 154k (what a ride)

1994 e320 Cabriolet 98k (finally)



1972 280se 4.5 153k Owned for 12 yrs, sorry I sold it


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  #3  
Old 05-06-2014, 06:47 PM
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Seen this thread?

W140 S-Class Buyers guide - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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Good luck.






1998 E320 Wagon
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  #4  
Old 05-06-2014, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardM98 View Post
i would say there are very few diy-ers out there on v-12's... some on the eight's and more on the sixes\\
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1989 300ce 129k
( facelifted front,updated tail lights, lowered suspension,bilstein sports, lorinser front spoiler, MOMO steering wheel, remus exhaust,stainless steel brake lines). (Gone)

1997 s320 154k (what a ride)

1994 e320 Cabriolet 98k (finally)



1972 280se 4.5 153k Owned for 12 yrs, sorry I sold it


[/SIGPIC]
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  #5  
Old 05-07-2014, 12:26 AM
Jim B.'s Avatar
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S500 is probably the best choice, '97-'99, but these are pretty complicated cars.

The AC can be a horror if it goes out, back at A Mercedes Benz dealer in Santa Rosa in 1997 I saw one in the shop, the entire dashboard and both front seats had to be removed to even get at it.

Book rate at the MB dealer for this was - hold your breath - 22 hours!

Soft close doors, dual pane glass, the cars tried to out-Japanese the Japanese with these, and a bad one can be a money pit.

I would only buy one that had ALL books and records from brand new, and was lovingly cared for by an anal, picky owner.

The ultimate catch would be to get one of the 700 "Grand Editions" -- the last of the w140, a special edition tribute model (1999 model year only) -- all were gloss black in color with AMG wheels, bird's eye maple trim, special floor mats and other goodies.

Yeah, for me it'd have to be a mint '99 Grand. Every one of them had the 500 engine, which considering the size and heft is just about the right size, the 600 12 cylinder being over the top, and a potential nightmare in repairs.

The worst of the bunch would be the first year, 1992, in V12 guise.


Plus the build quality was still excellent - it went downhill fast with the 2000 w220 models that followed.

And the w140 is really really safe! Nevermind the Princess though - her w140 was a salvage title rented s140 280SE euro from a French limo company and that vehicle that was a lemon, and a repaired wreck. AND she did NOT wear her seat belt!!!
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2014, 07:25 AM
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VA-Merc, from what I have read over the years the later (1997 - 1999) 140's are the most reliable. These cars can be a money pit. Best to have a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) performed by a MB-trained tech who knows that particular vehicle and its problem areas. Good luck finding a pristine example. Better to buy a creampuff than attempting to rejuvenate a neglected vehicle.
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2014, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies! I hadn't seen that thread....that is helpful. I plan on only buying a car that has been well-cared for with records. I was not picky when I bought my 87 300D and ended up changing out the head, the complete a/c system, had to pull the dash out and replace vent-pods etc. The buying guide mentioned a very expensive vacuum pump that goes out. How often does this fail?

I didn't want a v12 simply because of the fuel economy. I will end up doing most things myself, and working on a Mercedes doesn't scare me. I am not in a rush either so I will be pretty picky. Those of you that have the six cylinder engines in a W140...do they still perform at least moderately well? I was leaning towards an S420 or S500 because of the V8 performance. I am not expecting rocket (these cars are heavy), but am wondering if the six cylinder performance would at least be comparable to my current 87 300d with the OM603 turbodiesel.
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97 S500 (90,000 miles) - wife's car
87 300D (298,000 miles and a replacement #14 head)
94 Suburban K2500 - need something to haul firewood
83 300SD (343,000 miles) (sold)
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  #8  
Old 05-15-2014, 09:48 AM
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Well we pulled the trigger yesterday. 97 S500 with 78,000 miles. All dealer records showed up on carfax, and it never sat...just drove 2500 miles a year for the least 12 years. The car really is beautiful, but we had to drive a few hours to get there. When I test drove it, I found 2 issues, but I decided not to break the deal over it since it was hard to find a good one with this low of mileage. The front seat heaters do not turn on...I don't know much about this chassis yet, but both fronts do not work (the lights don't come on for lo or hi on the switches). The rears work fine. I also noticed a slight suspension squeak in the back....sounded like a dry bushing. The guy I bought it from said to take it in and have an estimate done and he would pay for the rear suspension noise. I know LCAs and sway bar links were already done according to the dealer records, so it's probably just another bushing. Man....I love these cars....they drive so nice you feel like you own the road! Any ideas on the front seat heaters?
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97 S500 (90,000 miles) - wife's car
87 300D (298,000 miles and a replacement #14 head)
94 Suburban K2500 - need something to haul firewood
83 300SD (343,000 miles) (sold)
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2014, 11:23 AM
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Looks really nice!

As for the seat heaters, they are a high current item so start with the fuses.
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1998 E320 Wagon
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  #10  
Old 05-18-2014, 07:25 PM
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From everything I've heard / read over the years, the W140 to avoid because of expense is the V12. I would definitely be prepared to spend up to several thousand dollars a year in keeping it totally up to snuff, if you intend to use it to any extent. Which of course is not uncommon and to be expected with any aging MB. Good luck and enjoy it!
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2014, 05:47 AM
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best car I ever owned besides my diesel w126.do not buy a 92 thru 96 do too wiring harness issue.They are ok,if wiring harness is changed or deducted from price
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2014, 08:45 AM
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I am hoping I can claim the same. From what I have read over the years, finding one that has been meticulously maintained (as with any old Mercedes) is the key. I was not picky when I bought my 87 diesel, spent only $1500 on the car and within 2 years racked up $4000 in repair bills doing the work myself! Granted that car drives like a dream now but it was a lot of blood and sweat. This go around I decided to spend a bit more on the W140 so that I could get one that had been well-cared for...less time under the hood and more time driving .

It looks like the only elusive problem so far is the front seat heaters. Fuses check out ok and when I swapped the wiring for the relays under the back seat the rear seat heaters still worked, which tells me the relays are ok. I'll troubleshoot it more at some point here...although this time of year it doesn't really matter. I'll probably start a new thread for the problem specifically to see if I can get anywhere.
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97 S500 (90,000 miles) - wife's car
87 300D (298,000 miles and a replacement #14 head)
94 Suburban K2500 - need something to haul firewood
83 300SD (343,000 miles) (sold)
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