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Old 06-06-2002, 08:40 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
How about this candidate to purchase (320E)?

Well, after getting your comments on the 1991 300E I had seen a few days ago, and thinking about I decided to pass on it, as it didint look right for some reason....

So, I went yesterday to look at the other make/model candidate I am entertaining and I loved it, 1996 BMW 328i w/76K miles.... Left there thinking "this" is the car.... Then after work stopped at a dealer on the corner of my job who sells MB, Jag, BMW, Lexus.. ... and he had a 1995 black/tan interior 320E..... This thing stood out accross the showroom .

Here is what I found:
-Exterior - immaculate, not a ding, no swirl marks, "looked" like the original paint (ie: no orange peel, overspray, etc.).
-Interior - immaculate is an understatement...not kidding! the wood, the leather, the steering wheel (which I was suspicious on the prior 91 I saw with only 70K miles on the clock). The wood shined like new, seats had no wear... Visually it all looked beatiful.
-Engine compartment - same as above, MB battery (must be good they didn't just drop in a diehard right, hahaha.
-Price - $13.5K

oh.... the catch?...... 1. It had 102K miles, 2. Maintainance log only went up to about 60K miles and no record of wiring harness changed on the M104 nor a/c evaporator changed , so have to assume I will have to do that sooner or later (add another $1500-$2K). 3. I wanted the M103, since it is simpler to work on and seems to be the better/simpler engine of both

It is amazing that this 102K mile car is in sooo much better shape than the 70K mile I went to see! They could've rolled back the miles to read 50K and it would be believable

thoughts? btw, I had planned on doing alot/most of the mechanical work on the car, so that is why I am hesitant also on the M104
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Old 06-06-2002, 10:22 AM
JCE's Avatar
JCE JCE is offline
Down to the Wear Bars
Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
Posts: 2,189
I would do some checking:

1) If it has been serviced continuously at a dealer, the records will be available. Ask to see the MB record print out on the car.
2) Search the archives for all the 'issues' on this model, and verify if they have been done.
3) Ask to take the car to your tech for a PPI - one that involves an overnight with a cold start in the AM.
4) Ask for an EXTENDED test drive - all day and overnight, like you used to be able to do with cars in the early 60's.

If they won't work with you on the items that need repair, or discount the price, or throw in a 25-50 k extended service contract, or let your tech inspect it, then I would walk away. Ditto on the BMW - I would personally rank 76k BMW miles with 100k MB miles, and you still have to research the BMW 'issues', service, etc.

Good luck on the search, and remember, if you find one as perfect and documented as you and I would each demand, it is probably going to be a premium price, as someone who maintains their car that well knows what they have, and also knows what they will have to spend to replace it with something comparable.

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 06-06-2002, 10:31 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 565

First off, I'm not a tech and no nothing about 104 engines other than what I've heard. More on that in a bit.

Sounds like the PO had service through 60K. He/she may have skipped the 90K because they anticiapted selling the car in or around that mileage? I'm not sure that missing the 90K service is grounds for walking away given the condtion of the car. Hard to say. One pro who posts here recently said more or less that a PPI may prove nothing. No way to see everything ahead of time.

Wiring harness-evaporator - won't show up in maint. book. I've heard it said that you can get the VIN and via the WEB, find out who owned the car before. Not sure about this. PO would know about harness/evap/

102K looking better than 70K - I have an '87 Accord with 255,000 miles on it. The interior looks as good as it did the day I bought it 15 yrs. ago. Mileage/time mean less than what the owner did to preserve it.

A local tech I use(10 yrs. MB dealership) told me that the M104 head gasket issue was cleared up around '97. Just passing this on. Pro techs here can certainly verify this. I have seen many posts here and at other MB web sites regarding M104 head gaskets. There seems to be a problem in this area.

Head gasket-evap-wire harness - if you can't verify that these have been improved, you might have room for price negotiating. Then again, it's supply and demand. People love pretty things. Someone else who hasn't a clue what a wiring harness/evap/head gasket are may come in and scoop it up before noon today.

My 2 cents - likely worth less.
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Old 06-06-2002, 11:10 AM
jsmith's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
hed gasket + wiring harness + evaporator is more like $3k-$4k than 2k. the ac job is something like 15 hrs...
1993 300e-2.8
- gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"
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Old 06-06-2002, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,503
The dealer will be able to run a vehicle master inquiry that will show all the recall / warranty work on the vehicle. My wiring harness replacement showed up on this.

It can also be visually inspected if you're not sure.

If it hasn't been done, I'd have them do it and pay full price for the car. It'll cost them $850 to replace it parts and labor. I don't think $13,500 is that much money for a 95 E320 with approximately 100,000 miles.

As far as the evaporator, if the a/c works fine, I think it'd be hard to get them to go down in price just because it 'might' go out and because it's expensive to replace.

Head gasket leaks are common and easy to notice.

I'm surprised you think 100,000 miles is too many miles for a Mercedes. In my opinion, it's just broken in.

Last, the M104 engine was used until 1999 in the S320. I have to believe that Mercedes itself must have thought this was a great engine because they used it in their most expensive chasis. I think it's a fantastic engine that is smooth and powerful, and the only fault the engine itself does have is oil leaking at the head gasket. There haven't been any complaints about its refinement, power, durability, longevity, or efficiency. It puts out a lot more power than the M103 engine, which I think you'll also appreciate.

If a dealer is selling it, they must've thought enough of the car to sell it on their lot. Cars that are too old, have too many miles, or too many problems end up at the auction.
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".

Last edited by suginami; 06-06-2002 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 06-06-2002, 02:50 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 565
Check out

Kelley Blue Book.

I ran this car as a sedan. Came up with a dealer price of $16,525.00.

Try it yourself. Variables such as your location could affect the price.
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