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  #1  
Old 06-12-2002, 11:36 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingston NY
Posts: 114
one last 300e question

I really appreciate the info that people have provided over the past few weeks in regard to purchasing a used 300e. I have but one final question.. and really it is to satisfy my wife. The car I buy (whether it is a Mercedes or not) should be reliable and somewhat low maintainence (not cost wise, but in frequency of required repairs). Provided I find a reasonably well maintained 300e, will it require a lot of maintainence? More than say a Honda Accord or Acura Legend with the same wear and tear? Thanks in advance for your reccommendations and help.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2002, 11:58 AM
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>a 300e is no more demanding in terms of 'maintence' vs. other vehicles....in my experience (oil changes, filter changes, tires, brakes, etc.)

>it is more demanding on the pocketbook in terms of 'repair' costs though.... (a/c evaporator, headgasket, suspension/chassis)

>the MB driving experience should hold the net payoff for the larger 'repair' costs though

-fad
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2002, 12:06 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
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My 1987 300E has been MUCH more reliable and about 1/3 the maintenance and repair parts/labor costs of our 1988 Acura Legend coupe. (I compared my records on each). It has been about the same as our 1984 Celica GTS in reliability and expense - extremely good.

The 'trick' with the car is that all - absolutely all - of the maintenance on the car has to be done by the book and on time. If not, you are generating extra repair costs (example - skip changing the coolant or use a cheap coolant, and you will wind up buying at least a water pump!) These cars don't seem to tolerate neglected maintenance. (but the Acura had premium and early maintenance as well, yet still ate us alive on repair costs, as well as having repair costs you won't find on the 300E - front CV boots/joints every 20-40k miles and rapid front brake and tire wear from crappy weight distribution.)

I haven't found anything yet that needed repair on the 300E more frequently or more expensively than that Acura, which had smelly AC by 50 k miles ('all cars are that way' - dealer), a failed AC by 80k miles ( 'you used it too much' - dealer) and a valve job by 100k miles (an exchange engine from Japan was less expensive than the lowest quote).

Point is, any car has maintenance issues, and even for the same model, some will be more reliable than others. Check the owners records - the more fussy they were on record keeping, then the better they were probably caring for their car. To me, missed records = missed maintenance = pending repairs.
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2003 Firemist Red/grey leather SL 500
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1987 Smoke Silver/burgundy mbtex 300E Sportline (SOLD)

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  #4  
Old 06-12-2002, 12:59 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
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I had an '86 Accord in the family, and it required more repairs than the '86 300E.
At 150K miles and 12 years of age, the Honda was no longer worth keeping. Too much rust, and too many problems. I did not find common parts to be much cheaper, though they were more likely to be in stock at local part stores.

At 190k and 16 years, the 300E shows its age somewhat, but has very little corrosion, and the motor is still strong and smooth.
Body hardware, and interior bits holdup so much better. These little things add up to make a difference. Components tend to be impressively 'overbuilt' in general. It is also much easier to service. That Accord with its transverse engine was a nightmare- you would need minature hands to do anything.

Some MB parts are indeed pricey, but mailorder comes to the rescue. Most common wear items are readily available through aftermarket/gray market distribution channels with OEM goods, and suprisingly reasonable. If you do your own service, it's not so bad. If you are subjected to 'list prices' when you hire service out, things can indeed be worse on an MB than a Honda.

I cannot comment on the Legend's reliability, though I drove a 1990 model some distance. It was solid and comfortable enough. I found the suspension to be way too soft for my taste. It was not particulary powerful either, lacking steam for passing maneuvers where the MB excels.

Good luck with your shopping.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2002, 02:55 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 427
I find that with normal maintenance, all of my various MBZ's hae been very reliable. Of more importance, ask your wife if she would rather be in a 300E or a Honda if someone crashed into her. If she isn't sure, go tour a few wrecking yards.
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2002, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica.
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Talking

SOMEWHERE IN THIS FORUM I READ A LONG TIME AGO SOMETHING SOMEBODY WROTE ABOUT THE 300E CHASIS, AND IT SAID IT WAS THE BEST USED CAR ANYBODY COULD HAVE.
I HAVE A 1987 300E EURO WITH 177000 KMS,IT IS MY FOURTH MBZ.
1-1983 240D OUTSTANDING CAR ON RELIABILITY
2-1984 190 VERY AGILE AND FUN TO DRIVE
3-1987 190E16V A HOOT TO DRIVE BUT A BIT DELICATE SUSPENTION
BUT ALL GREAT CARS
THE 300E IS THE ONE IVE HAD THE LONGEST,4 YEARS AND THERE ISNT A BAD THING I COULD SAY ABOUT THIS CAR.
I LIVE IN COSTA RICA, CENTRAL AMERICA WHERE BY THE WAY THERE ARE MORE MBZ PER CAPITA THAN I EVER SAW IN THE STATES. THIS CAR HOLS UP TO BAD GAS, BAD ROADS AND BAD DRIVERS (wife) LIKE NOTHING ELSE, THEY ARE EASY TO WORK ON-
BRAKES,SUSPENTION,TUNE UP AND DOWN HERE PARTS ARE CHEAPER THAN FOR HONDAS AND TOYOTAS AND IM SURE ITS THE SAME WAY UP NORTH.
BOTTOM LINE IS, IF YOU FIND A GOOD LOW MILEAGE 300E THAT HAS HAD GOOD MAINTENANCE AND TLC BUY IT.
THERE ARE ALSO 260Es WHICH A FRIEND OF MINE HAS AND ALTHOUGH ITS A SIX CYLINDER IT DOESNT DO IT FOR ME.
IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS BE SURE TO TALK TO US.
TICOBENZ
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2002, 08:56 AM
LarryBible
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While still driving my 123 diesel with over 450,000 miles I bought a copy of the "Mercedes - Benz Buyers Guide."

On page 143 and 144 the Summary of the 300E is as follows:

"Summary

Mercedes-Benz has always built terrific inline sixes and this one is their best. If you can't find what you want in this 3.0 liter gasoloine sedan, try one of its variations, diesel, wagon, Coupe, Convetible, four wheel drive. The market has an excellent supply of well maintained 300 models at a good discount from their orginal prices. A 300E is your best overall buy in a used Mercedes-Benz. Period. End of discussion."

On page 141, there is another interesting two sentences:

"Climate Control problems apply to all post-1980 models, but don't let that put you off. It's just part of the price for the excellence of the rest of the car."

After reading this book in about 1996 while owning a brand new, special ordered 210 car, I began searching high and low for a manual transmission 300E. It took about two years and I finally found one. I wanted it as a toy, but my situation changed and I ended up selling my 210 car. After a time I began using the 300E for my daily driver. My daily drive is 178 miles round trip.

After putting close to 140,000 miles on this $12,000 used car, it is probably the most enjoyable pennies per mile I've ever spent. The most economical pennies per mile has been my 240D.

With this experience under my belt, I TOTALLY agree with the above quotations. Will the car break at one point or another? The answer is Yes, absolutely. ANY car is a machine. Machines eventually have parts that wear out. The difference between this and other cars is what you have while it's running, which will be most all of the time.

My brother-in-law, who happens to be my tech at the MB dealership, and I have an ongoing friendly argument about which is the best car, the 123 or 124. I have at least one example of each, he has only a 124 car. These are both engineering masterpieces IMHO. I always take the side of the 123 car when visiting with him. But, I probably agree with him that the 124 slightly edges out the 123. But, I won't tell him that, after all how can you have an argument when you both agree?

If you drive one of these great automobiles for awhile, properly care for it, and fix it when it breaks, I believe you will understand what I am trying to say.

Good luck,
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