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  #1  
Old 07-28-2002, 03:49 PM
MCAMEE2
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Pre-Purchase advice

I'm interested in buying a used 1990's C class or E class. What are some things I should look for in general? I especially want to know what are some areas to look at on the cars to see if it's been in an accident - telltale signs that the average joe like me wouldn't spot unless I had been told. Also, how accurate is CARFAX - I've never used it before. A friend told me to look out for mileage rollback, that carfax wouldn't necessarily find discrepencies, etc. I was also warned there are folks out there with some kind of "equipment" that you could plug into these cars and rollback the miles. I don't want to get BURNED! Thanks for any input.

Martin in Calif.
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2002, 09:21 PM
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For accident repair, ideally a mercedes collision center putting a car on a lift will find the truth.
No matter what, car should be point on lift for inspection

Drive as many examples of the particular model you are interested in as possible, learn the sound and feel of the car by testing as many examples as possible.
1) listen to car at start up, check tail pipe emisson at first start up
2) find out where car is parked check for fluid leaks on ground
3) check fluid levels, power steering
4) feel transmission engage in all gears at rest
5) check all electrics
6) check for heat and air conditioning
7) rev car to 2000rpm and feather gas pedal approx 200rpm under and over, listen for any piston knock in engine.
8) warm up car, drive five miles, accelerate hard from rest, then test hard acceleration -kick down- from 15mph, try some other higher speeds, check for gear engagement, stumble.
9) listen for wind noise when driving



Open doors, trunk lid and hood, look at the sheet metal and paint in jambs and channels, no creases, no paint tape lines.
Check paint finish in engine bay.

Lift up floor mats, and check interior and trunk floor for dampness.

Pay close attention to car at bumper height all the way around, feel and visually check for perfection.

Usa a kitchen magnet with tissue underneath to check for sheet metal in likely damage areas.

Look for original windshield, manufacturer and decal in lower passenger corner.

Check all four tires for same model, date and wear rate

Check all service records with mileage, no service records, no buy

Mercedes can do a VIN check on a vehicle, hopefully dealer will peform this for you. Relates all Mercedes dealer work with mileage

Professionals can make a poor paint job or poor interior look good for sale.

Don't buy any car that has been in North Carolina, or in flood regions.

Know which MB engines are head gasket leakers

Consider a new Mercedes C230 Coupe, BMW Mini,
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  #3  
Old 07-28-2002, 09:38 PM
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Location: Evansville, Indiana
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Check MB records for replacement of wiring harness in 94-96 cars, they have terrible problems with insulation failure -- a feature unintentionally introduced in an effort to reduce problems with "eternal" wiring in landfills. It degrades on the car in normal use, not good. Volvo owners will be familar with this!

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2002, 09:50 PM
MCAMEE2
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Wow! Thanks guys... that helps a lot. One particular question about previously leased cars. I had read that leased cars usually find their way to auto auctions as opposed to dealerships used car lots. I noticed in my town the local Jaguar dealership has good looking used MB E and C classes, but the MB dealership rarely has any (C Class at least). The Jag salesman told me that MB usually doesn't repurchase any used benzes (unless trade in) because they want to move the newer stock. Doesn't matter I guess, but I read on this forum to stay away from regional auctioned cars. Why?

Martin
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  #5  
Old 07-28-2002, 11:41 PM
it leaks, its german
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
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"Don't buy any car that has been in North Carolina, or in flood regions"


Why is that? NC has one of the toughest salvage/rebuilt title laws in the country. All you have to do is call NC DMV, give 'em a vin # and they will tell you of it's ever been damaged to the point of total loss.




Joe
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  #6  
Old 07-28-2002, 11:57 PM
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NC has one of the toughest salvage/rebuilt title laws in the country


are these relatively new laws?
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2002, 12:20 AM
it leaks, its german
 
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"are these relatively new laws?"

Enforcement of the old laws has picked up in the past 8 years. Fran was a HUGE eye opener for the state and title branding has been well enforced ever since.

Salvage rules require a inspection prior to the repair, all reciepts from reputable business (no buying parts from the local crackhead), post repair inspection and a branding of the title showing flood damage, rebuilt or salvage vehicle. Not to mention when you trade a car here that is less then 5 years old you are required under penalty of purgury, to fill out a damage disclosure of any damage over 25% of vehicle value at the time of repair.

The state is tring to get it right without overburdening everyone.

Joe
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Project Smoker, '87 603 powered wagon
Hauler, 96 CTD can you say torque?
Toy 73 Cougar xr7 convertible
Acme Automotive Inc.
Raleigh NC
919-881-0364
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2002, 01:07 AM
MCAMEE2
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Thanks for more info guys. I looked at a C220 and a C280 today. Everything looked good on the cars - i checked all areas for paint oeverspray, vin numbers in door jams/hood area, etc. One question though - in checking out the trunk area of both cars - where the spare tire is kept, I could see all the sealants, light assemblies all looked ok. On the 220, the entire trunk was painted the same color as the body - silver. On the 280, the trunk had white paint everywhere except near the battery area. The "beam" that a cd changer and ultimately the bumper would attach to seemed half painted, and had a stamp on it... V 1 ... or something like that. Both cars checked ok on carfax for what it's worth, and both drove great. Any thoughts? Both are one owner cars.

Martin

Last edited by MCAMEE2; 07-29-2002 at 10:07 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-29-2002, 05:41 AM
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On my 1998 C230 (black) the trunk under the mat is a green galvanized color, the beam you mentioned, everything. The sealent lines are visible.
These cars do go through yearly production changes, so I don't know if what you see is original or repair.
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  #10  
Old 07-29-2002, 11:34 AM
yosshimura's Avatar
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Location: Liberty City, FL
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DO a search for questions posted under my name. I have had a lot of good responses on similar questions such as yours in bying a new E or C class.
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  #11  
Old 07-29-2002, 04:46 PM
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Thumbs up may a suggest getting a starmarked car

may a suggest getting a starmarked car, it really gives you some peace of mind. I they are not much more expensive than the corner lot ones. Or if you can hook up with one from an auction and have it starmarked (it can be done)....

hope you find the right car........
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  #12  
Old 07-29-2002, 04:58 PM
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I think the www.mbusa.com web site has a STARMARK locator section, put in car type and it will search your area.
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