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Old 05-15-1999, 02:09 AM
Posts: n/a
Hello guys. I currently have a 99 Millenia S, and am looking to purchase another car. I want to spend $20,000 or less.

It seems the following would be in my price range. I would appreciate some recommendations...

3.e-300d (any advantages on the diesels?)
5.c220/c280 (I have seen several with the AMG pack)


Miami Beach
Old 05-15-1999, 02:16 AM
Posts: n/a
For $20,000 or less I will say 300E.
Old 05-15-1999, 06:59 AM
Posts: n/a
I agree with MB Stars.....the 300E is considered by a lot of MB people to be the best sedan for the can get a good used cream puff for under $20,000!

Good Luck!

1986 300E 138k
MBCA Concours Judge
Board Member -
Western Reserve Section
Old 05-15-1999, 11:26 AM
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There are several 400E models available in my area for $20,000-$22,000. Are they worth the difference from the $15,000-$17,000 300E models? I read the profiles on your site. They seem to have more power, etc. Do they have more mechanical problems? Also there are c280 models available for roughly the same price as the 400E' good?

Also, any recommendations on a shop in Miami where I can bring in the car for an inspection...prior to purchasing it.

Old 05-15-1999, 05:02 PM
Lee Scheeler
Posts: n/a
Having owned both the 300E and the 400E I can tell you they are different cars. I will present the debate in a pro/con 400E/300E format.

400E: The 400E has power big time. Especially the early 93 and 92 models. The downside to the 400E is that the first thing you do, after your first tank of gas, is go looking for more rubber. The car has about 300HP and 300lb-ft of torque on the same size wheel/tire combo as the 300E. 225/50/16 wheel tire package will fix the problem but it is an additional cost. The 400E also has about all the options standard. In addition to the big bump in power over the 300E (275hp vs 177HP, 295lb-ft vs 188lb-ft) you get the upgraded wood, audio, much improved brakes, and a shifter for the tranny that lets you select any gear. (vs the 4-3-2 setup of the 300E) The tranny is also beefier, but that goes with the total package of chassis fortification to handle the V8. Variable valve timing and a host of other techno-tricks give a much flatter torque curve than the 300E. (90% available @1500rpm with a peak of 4000rpm) With a 2.24 differential off the line acceleration could be better but fuel mileage is equal to the early 300E's. 0-60 is in the 6.5-7.0 second range where the 300E was about 8.0-8.5 seconds. Fuel mileage is about 18-20 mpg in town and 24-26 mpg on the highway. My 93 400E will hit 60 in 6.4 (consistently, on a cold night I have timed it at 6.2) and turns in about 20 mpg around town even if driven aggressively. On a highway trip it gets about 26 mpg if I'm driving 75-85mph. Mine is bone stock, I was just lucky in finding a excellent example. The steering is slightly "heavier" feeling on the 400E. The A/C and heater are also MUCH stronger in the V8. As far as known glitches in the 400E's...the cooling system is under allot of strain. It is adequate for even the worst conditions but if not propterly maintained it will cause 4-5 figure problems. If you can find a car that has been kept up perfectly then it isn't an issue. The V8 isn't stressed much by the W124 chassis so it lives a long time.

300E: This car has a light, nimble, tossable, handling feel that none of the V8's can match. You may not be going any faster than a V8 car but you are having at least as much fun. 300E's had some valvetrain problems that can be pricey to fix. Other than that the 300E is perhaps the best used car on the market. Please read and review the MercedesShop reviews on both the 300E and 400E (500E too if ya like!), they will give you more tech data and some other interesting info. 300E's are a bit cheaper to buy, maintanance cost between 300E/400E is about the same. You will be able to find a 300E in beautiful condition much easier than a 400E. This is because there were approx 10 times as many 300E's as there were 400E's. Also the 400E some people bought and used, rather than keeping it "meticulously maintained". People got themselves in trouble with the extra power as well. The 300E is probably the best "1st benz" or "starter kit" but drive them all before making any decision.

I would avoid the C280 simply because there are two better options available. Either the 300E or the 400E is simply "allot more car" for the money. The C280 had a "Sport" package that gave you lower profile rubber (but no wider!) and a few other appearance goodies. If you get a C280 I would recommend finding one with the Sport package.

Bottom line is just test drive, test drive, test drive. The more time you spend in these cars the more you will find which one suits your personality best. I just picked up a 92 500E. As I'm sure Mark Herzig could tell you, those things are too much fun. He has a 300E and a 500E at the same time. Perhaps you two should talk? If you need anything more feel free to post or email me.

Hope this helps...Lee

[This message has been edited by Lee Scheeler (edited 05-15-99).]
Old 05-15-1999, 07:26 PM
Mark Herzig
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As of 1 hour ago, I no-longer have the 300E. I was REALLY sorry to see it go. There was just no room in the stable for it. Actually I should say the hangar. I have a 300SDL which is my long range bomber - my B-52. Then I have the 500E which is my ultra-sophisiticated F-15 fighter. The 300E fit perfectly right in the middle of these two. I would definately recommend the 300E ( mine was an '86). It was my first MB; got it in March '96; I was also nieve. I was lucky because the the person I bought it from really couldn't give me much history on the car; no books; no records. I was looking for a good 300D at the time but couldn't find one in decent shape. There was a ton of little things to fix up which obviously had been neglected. hoses, belts, water-pump, etc.. Even with the PO's neglect, I was able to recussitate it and restore the drive/performance.

Rule #1: insist in books and records; understand the chain of ownership and maintenance patterns.

Shortly after buying the 300E I began to really appreciate its performance; the ride was really masterful. The new shocks/struts and MXV-4's made a BIG difference. I also began to get a string of speeding tickets. I have been to drivers education so many times that I actually pay attention to speed signs now. To this day, I still can't resist, on an open stretch, flooring the 300 and screaming to 110mph and then settling back to a silky-smooth cruise at 85mph.

For better or worse, I'm the kind of person who kinda figures stuff out along the way. That was how it was with the 300E... IT was a great adventure and I'd recommend it to friends and family, for sure. I'm now embarking on a new adventure with the 500E; I haven't bonded with it yet but I'm letting Linda have the first date with it; she'll keep the odomoter reading basically static. I'm hanging out with the SDL for now - figure I won't get speeding tickets with it - however I learning the pedal and how to kick the turbo in ( Linda thinks I should get a radar detector for the diesel - such little faith!)

Finally; I printed out Lee's 300E write-up in featured Cars and gave it to the new owners; I think that really captures the essence of the car. I'd also recommend the Frank Barrett Illustrated Buyer's Guide - second edition. I'd also second the idea that the 300E is a great first MB; the only problem is that you'll possibly turn into a fanatical MB enthusiast that hears, constantly, "When are you going to stop talking about it?"!

Mark Herzig
1992 500E (82,000 miles)
1986 300E (181,000 miles)
1987 300SDL (104,000)
Old 05-15-1999, 08:40 PM
Posts: n/a
Lee and Mark,

Thanks for the responses. I have driven several 300E's. My friend has a 91 model, and I have test driven several others. They do have very lively handling. I have also driven my friends 98 600SL model (a bit out of my price range!). I will be test driving two 400E's this week. I read both "Featured Cars" profiles. It seems I will be leaning towards the 400E for the power improvements. I have a some questions...

Regarding the tire/wheel size. On my 99 Millenia S I have 18" chrome Niche Bella Wheels with 225/40/18 Sumitomo tires, rides very smooth. I plan on putting 19" AMG chrome Monoblock wheels onto the Mercedes. I heard that 20" wheels might rub...have you seen this happen? Which tire size (i.e. 225/40) would you recommend?

Five figure cooling system repairs!!! =) Anything specific I can look for when ispecting the auto? It does get very hot and humid in Miami.

Can you recommend a Mercedes shop in Miami that would be able to provide me with a thorough inspection of the car prior to purchase?

Does AMG make bodykits for the 300E or 400E? Do they have a web site?

I am glad I found this site before making a purchase. You guys are a big help!

PS Mark...they make radar/laser detector jammers now...they are wonderful! They completely block the cop's signal. They run $300-$500 (depending on the model) but work great! I have not gotten a ticket since I got one. Let me know if you want the number.

Miami Beach
Old 05-17-1999, 11:11 AM
Lee Scheeler
Posts: n/a
Hope this answers your questions. I've formatted in >Q/..A format.

>I plan on putting 19" AMG chrome Monoblock >wheels onto the Mercedes. I heard that 20" >wheels might rub...have you seen this >happen? Which tire size (i.e. 225/40) would >you recommend?
.....Go to TireRack's "wheel rack" fittment guide. It will tell you exactly which wheels, of what diameter, of what design, will fit any given model. I would not go under 225/45/17. The money would be better spent on better tires at that point. Can't go wrong with Michelin MXX3 or Pirelli PZero Asm.

>Five figure cooling system repairs!!! =) >Anything specific I can look for when >ispecting the auto? It does get very hot >and humid in Miami.
....Not five figure cooling system repairs, the aluminum cylynder heads can be destroyed if severely overheated even once. Check for a perfect service history for starters. Coolant flush is not on the official schedule. Have the fluids tested to make sure there is no cross contamination between water/oil. Look at the radiator, it should be metallic and shiny,(bug guts aside) if it isn't...budget a new radiator. Search the forum regarding 400E cooling issues, that will give you the rest of the specific tests. Even if I drive agressivley in Atlanta traffic under 95+ degree/100 percent humidity my 400E is okay.

>Can you recommend a Mercedes shop in Miami >that would be able to provide me with a >thorough inspection of the car prior to >purchase?
.....I don't know any offhand. You can reference the MB dealer netowrk on their website. Perhaps another member can chime in here?

>Does AMG make bodykits for the 300E or >400E? Do they have a web site?
.....the only site in English that I know of is I'm sure they have a bodykit, but I would advise against it. It will hurt resale severely... If you want the sexy bodywork with the V8 just buy a 500E.

I'm glad we could be of help. Best of luck with your purchase....Lee

P.S. You may want to search the Shop Forum archives regarding things to look for/at when buying a W124 or W124 V8. The search function (at the top right corner of page) works wonders for digging up useful stuff.

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