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  #1  
Old 05-28-2002, 02:50 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
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300E Price Reality Check

I really enjoy my '86 300E 5-speed with 196K but it is aging, and I am always on the lookout for a "younger" one. A couple of weeks ago, an '86 with 123K miles showed up in our local paper. I looked at the car last night.

I was impressed - second owner, very clean, good service history, much tighter, quieter, and newer feeling than mine. It would also (presumably) be some miles away from the top-end service that I am looking at fairly soon with my car.

On the minus side:

- no heat/air from the footwell vents
- needs 2 tires
- needs antenna mast
- door dings
- left side door stops making noise with door motion

The problem is that asking price is $6K. That is higher than the asking price of any '86 I can find. I am going to offer $4.5K and walk if he won't take it.

Comments? TIA
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2002, 03:03 PM
agupta
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its a 16 year old car. 6K is too high. 4 - 4.5K is the range, given what you have written. So your estimate it bang on.
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2002, 07:08 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Agree 6k is too high. 4.5k is good if there are no big gotchas lurking.

Fan failure is very common. There is a service notice on this. Fusebox contacts typically melt. I'd be surprised if your current 1986 has not had this problem as well. Most were fixed long ago under warranty. Could be more serious, but it's not going to be a dealbreaker.

Antenna masts kits are available for about $40. Did mine a couple of months ago, though sometimes the mechanism is not repairable. If mine died in this way, I would just get a cheap aftermarket replacement. So you lose some height settings- big deal.

Door check straps are a common and cheap replacement item.

I'd ignore these relatively minor problems and focus on the big-money items. Engine condition, oil leaks, suspension/steering problems (these add up to real money quickly), air conditioning.


Even at $4.5K, you get a bad deal if you need to drop $3k+ in repairs.
Good luck
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  #4  
Old 06-07-2002, 12:06 PM
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Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
Chuck,
While I hope that you are comfortable with any decision you make, I have to point out that you didn't give us a lot to go on. What I mean is, you have a 5 speed 300E and a web page, but the page doesn't show us the W124. How can we agree that you should dump your existing car without seeing it.
As well, you know that any younger W124 will need the same work as your car is facing. We are all facing the same repairs, just some of us have longer to budget.
In all seriousness, your potential car makes mine look pretty bad. While I have done a lot to mine, it still needs:
paint - $3000
fuel pump relay - $100
dash air control - $1000?
monovalve - $50
sportline conversion - $1300
wheels rechromed - $250

When added to the money I already have in the car, $8K, it looks like I need the reality check, not you!
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1967 250SL
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2002, 12:26 PM
pmizell's Avatar
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$3k paint job?

Where, and what quality?!

~Paul

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  #6  
Old 06-07-2002, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
Is that bad for paint? I was given an estimate here in Duncan, British Columbia for my car to be painted for $4000CDN=$2616US. This was for original quality paint with a lifetime guarantee. They strip it down after removing trim and they would paint the trim as well. The guarantee was transferrable to my son and/or other heirs. I haven't done it yet because a mechanic that I trust said I can get it done (possibly) better and maybe cheaper at another shop.
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1967 250SL
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2002, 12:48 PM
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I apologize for not giving you guys an update on this. I made the offer, which he declined, and he chose to hold firm at $6K. It didn't help that in the meantime a 155K mile car appeared with a $5995 asking price.

So I am going to stick with my current car for now. It really has no issues, except it does use about a quart every 800-900 and has a very slow leak from the side seam of the radiator.

Since the compression is fine, I may go ahead and invest $19 and an afternoon and do the valve seals. I need to decide if is is worth spending $350 for a radiator to fix a leak that costs about a pint of coolant mix every four-five weeks.

Beyond that it feels old and kind of loose - not exactly a "bank vault" on wheels. I'll take a picture when it's clean and post it.

Knowing full well all the AC and electrical gremlins, I do think that the 5-speed 300E's are about as good a car as MB ever made that's why I am always on the lookout for a better one. I dram of running across a pristine really low mileage example (that had the evaporator fixed, of course)!
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2002, 04:47 PM
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Location: Jax, FL
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I don't get it!

A 1986 for a car of the same year? It may have less miles but the age of the car is the same. You still would have to change the all the rubber and face the same problems particular to that production year. Good thing you are looking somewhere else. I may suggest a later 124.
Happy hunting!
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2002, 06:11 PM
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It depends on the specific car, but the '86 with 125K was very much a newer car in how it drove, quieter engine, tighter transmission, etc. It had much more of a new car feel than mine. Dash was uncracked and seats less worn.

IMHO if you really like a specific model/year, it makes sense to find a really good low mileage example.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2002, 08:31 PM
atikovi
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The average price for this car at nadaguides.com is $6000, while the high and low prices are $7,100 and $4,700 respectively. Given that most cars are driven an average of 12-15,000 miles per year, a car with 120-150,000 miles will be priced at least in the average range. I don't blame him for holding firm at $6,000. I may be a bit impartial since I'm also selling my '86 5-speed for $6,000.


P.S. There ARE some under 100,000 5-speeds out there, but those that own them either say they will never sell them, or that if they do, they will be asking over $10,000 for the car.
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2002, 08:48 PM
LarryBible
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Chuck,

You never said so, but I am assuming that the cars you have looked at are automatics.

I understand your feeling about your car getting older, mine is the same way. It gave trouble yesterday, no big deal, just put a fuel filter in and it fixed it up. I hit a deer a couple of months ago and it mashed in the passenger side door, I removed the door panel and pushed it out and it looks reasonable. I need to put a windshield in it and it needs front rotors, they're warped.

My A/C is still perfect, I hold my breath every spring, but it's hanging on.

I see 300E's for sale in the North Dallas area all the time, and I'm sure I could spend 5 or 6 k and get one in much better shape, but what keeps me from doing that is my manual transmission. It took several years to find it and I'm determined to keep it going.

IMHO on a scale of 1 to 10 a 300E is a 7, but a 300E with a manual transmission is a perfect 10. It's all about taste and what I want in a car.

I'm driving it A LOT right now, and basically using it up, but I really enjoy driving it.

Best of luck with your decision,
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  #12  
Old 06-09-2002, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Lookout Mtn, Georgia
Posts: 92
Chuck,

I sold my '91 300E for $10,500 last year. 108k miles. Unquestionably, the best car I've ever owned. Purchased from a F18/later Delta pilot who was way beyond anal. He took the car to a friend who paints airplanes and had them airbrush all the blems out. It was Pearl Black with a Dove interior and just an exceptional car. Euros, MXV4's, Sport wheels, and Remus tips made her quite the sassy girl. Even my teen kids loved her but, I had to give up the car payment. When I bot her she was 9 yrs old with 81k miles. Your car is out there at your price and the right mix of compromises. I didn't have the manual tran requirement so it was easier for me to find but I still had to suffer through all the blah-blahs of how great someone's pile of scrap was.

The interesting curse/blessing of knowing what you want. Patience, cunning and luck as you hunt. Keep us informed along the way.
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'66 250 SE Coupe, european
Black
Power sunroof
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2002, 11:20 AM
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Location: Falls Church, VA
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Larry -

Actually, I have only looked at 5-speeds. I am absolutely with you on this issue.

The only thing that is tempting about the automatics, though, is that there are some real always-garaged, dealer-serviced-every- 5000 cream puffs out there.

I have thought more than once about one of these cars and doing a transmission swap from my beater.

Regards.
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Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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