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Old 09-14-2017, 09:38 PM
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Undercarriage rust opinion

Hello technical sages,

Just wanted a take on the undercarriage rust on a W124 that's for sale on a site I won't mention here . *ahem* I hear that the suspension bits underneath have to be rusted pretty bad for it to cause practical problems, but that rust underneath can make wrenching on the car a pain in the ass. How do these photos look? I highlighted two of the worst areas.

History: one owner, 90-some-odd-k legit miles, Carfax shows five or six years of daily use followed by many years of light use. I just need another Benz to torture me, since my Fiesta doesn't break often enough.

Mods, if this is the wrong sub-forum, don't hesitate to move the thread.



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Undercarriage rust opinion-300ce_rust2.jpg   Undercarriage rust opinion-300ce_rust.jpg   Undercarriage rust opinion-300ce_rust3.jpg  
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:51 PM
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As an "Comparison"

I've got a '90 W124 that was originally a Canadian chassis AND IT'S GOT
NONE of that Corrosion anywhere!

Of course, the Canadians have a different approach to Winter Road Precipitation
Control... (They don't Flush Everything in sight with SALT !)

But,still, the underside of the exemplar chassis in your pictures has been sadly
Un-Cared for for many Winters!

If the Previous Owner(S) have lavished so little on the Underside,Great chance they have also Neglected Everything Else, Too!
'84 300SD sold
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:21 AM
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I think it looks pretty good. I'd expect a lot worse after 20 years.

I can't compare it with mine, which is a summer-only car.
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:44 AM
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For the most part, the rusted components are replaceable parts. More importantly, the floors seem to be rust free. So I'd take a chance on this for the right price. I'd be inclined to replace the rear springs immediately, and to keep a spare rear axle on hand. Also replace both front ball joints.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:34 AM
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Frank, do you think the car is safe to drive in its present condition?
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by p. rex View Post
Frank, do you think the car is safe to drive in its present condition?
Is it safe to drive? That's not even bad at all!!! That's surface rust! I'm not sure what else you could expect on a 20 year old car. Unless the suspension mounts are rusted out, brake lines, fuel lines you're fine to drive it til the wheels fall off! I wished you could see some of the rust I've repaired.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:20 AM
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That looks real good in comparison to one I just finished. There are a couple good rust delete products that will end the corrosion on those suspension parts. Where rust is troublesome of course is on nuts/bolts.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:57 PM
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My opinion (you asked for opinions right?) is that the rust you show isn't really anything to worry about. It seems to be mostly surface rust, which isn't unexpected on any vehicle in the areas you show. The trailing arms, suspension arms, and body all look to be sound - and those are the parts you actually worry about.
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Old 09-15-2017, 01:49 PM
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Alright, guys. Your advice has been very helpful. Sounds like I shouldn't rule the car out.
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:39 PM
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looks good,I always pull on the dirt,and spray used motor oil all under car in winter.I use a little gasoline so it will spray.Inner fenders everything.
tired of aches and pains? look and feel young again, ask your doctor if a 22 in the mouth is right for you
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Old 09-15-2017, 03:41 PM
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It's important to check the jack ports on that car. That's the point of concern. If really rusty there, like rot, then move on

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Old 09-16-2017, 01:52 AM
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Alright, a related question for the gurus of the forum -- the car's A/C system will not hold a charge. The seller has been very forthright about this. Let's assume the worst -- the evaporator is toast. How much am I looking at to replace the evaporator and all the other stuff you should replace while you're in there with new OEM parts? Assume I'm paying a decent indy mechanic. My guess is around $3,000?

I know it's a lot to splash out, but it's not that easy to find these with lowish miles and a good history.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:17 AM
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A/C problems are tough to evaluate. If you can bring it to an a/c shop, they may be able to pressurize it with inert gas and locate the leak. But it's not just that the compressor and plumbing may be compromised. If it doesn't hold a charge, you can't evaluate the CC head unit, sensors and the vacuum system. $3000 is probably far too much, but it can certainly end up being a three figure repair.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:04 PM
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Thanks, Frank. The seller has gotten back to me and confirmed that the evaporator is bad, per his A/C shop. The seller has also confirmed that the car's maintenance records are complete -- I thought it didn't look like that much paper, but apparently there's also a stamped booklet for the first years of ownership.

Since the seller seems honest and the car looks like a good one, I am going to roll the dice on the air conditioning repair and bid on the car. Thanks to everybody for chipping in with opinions. I've been wanting another one of these cars for a long time. I had my grandfather's 300E for a while about ten years ago, but I was 18 years old and could not afford to make the repairs it needed. If I can swing it for the right price, this should scratch that itch.

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