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Old 06-19-2002, 10:45 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
M104 vs 8 cyl in E class <95

Ok, I know all about the M103 and M104 issues, costs, etc. But, I have seen a few 420E's advertised locally at similar prices than the 300's and 320's... What are the maintainance , repair issues with this motor in general...?

I assume repairs / maintainance is more? know two heads, two head gaskets, timing chain more $...etc...,right?

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Old 06-19-2002, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I've noticed that the V8's don't suffer the head gasket leaks like the M104's.

They also get almost the exact same gas mileage, only 1 mpg less in city / highway driving than the M104 engines.

I don't think they have the same high rate of engine wiring harness failures, but there are 400E / E420's that have had their wiring harnesses replaced.

I've noticed, though, that although the head gaskets don't leak, the timing chain / guide rails are recommended to be replaced every 100-120,000 miles or so. The timing chains are very long (about 6 feet) and stretch over time.

The timing chains on the M104's is very short, and the techs say that the chains on these engines never need to be replaced.

The timing chain issue has been discussed a lot on this site.

If you do a search on "timing chain" you'll probably get a lot of hits.

Also, even though the badge on 92-93's says '400E', it is the same 4.2 liter engine as in 94-95 E420's.

So, you may need an engine wiring harness regardless of the M104 or M109 engine, and the need to replace the head gasket on M104's is offset by the need to periodically replace the timing chain on M119's.

If it were my money, I'd look real closely at the 400E / E420. You get more power with almost no loss in mpg.

I'm not suggesting, though, that the M104's are underpowered.
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".
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Old 06-19-2002, 01:31 PM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
Thanks...M109...that is what I need to do my search. The timing chain deal scares me, as in more $$$ sooner ...on to search the archives
......I mean M119 thanks

Last edited by yosshimura; 06-19-2002 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 06-19-2002, 01:34 PM
Michael's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
It's M119
"If everything seems under control, you're simply not going fast enough" --Mario Andretti

1995 E500 street car
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo S track car
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Old 06-20-2002, 01:45 AM
94 E320
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 437
from a cost standpoint....people have said its the same cost between the I-6 (320) and the v8 (400/420) but you pay just a bit more due to 2 air filters, more spark plugs, and two distrubutor caps

other than the timing chain @ 100K and the wire harness....the V8 is one solid car

do a search with my username....u should find a post called "info on E420" or something like that

great car the 400E/E420 if there was a choice between the E320 and the E420...i'd pick the E420 everytime !!!

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Old 06-20-2002, 08:33 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Liberty City, FL
Posts: 653
So, in summary of problems including labor =

M103 =
head gasket = $1K
evaporator= $1.5K
wiring harness = $700

evaporator = $1.5K
timing chain every 100K miles or so = $1K

That is more or less what I found in the archives.... right?
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Old 06-20-2002, 08:51 AM
Posts: n/a
Could someone let me know if they find a 400E or E420 for sale with a manual transmission?

That's the only thing that keeps me from finding a nice one. What a GREAT car that would be with a manual transmission.

The timing chain, no sweat, I'd roll in a new one and replace the rails very often and consider it simply cost of ownership for such a great car. If I didn't have the manual transmission illness, I would have looked for a V8 when I bought my 300E.

Have a great day,
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