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  #1  
Old 06-13-1999, 11:53 PM
Katttfishh
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I found the forum a couple weeks ago and first I would like to say thank you for all the knowledge. This is great. One problem though. Reading about all of the great Mercedes cars has got me thinking I need to upgrade my 92 190 2.6. There is plenty of articles on the 320/300e which is probably what I'll buy, but I have a few questions first. Is the 300ce have the same suspension,hp,reliability etc? What about the AMG version? Also there is'nt much info on the SEC 500/560. Is the SEC 500 high maintenance? Looking through the Trader online adds for my area (San Francisco) all of the above mentioned cars can be purchased for similar prices ($15,000 to $20,000) There are also several 400e ads with similar prices. The car will be my wifes daily driver to work, 15 mi one way (freeway). Any advice greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work.
  #2  
Old 06-14-1999, 12:26 AM
Katttfishh
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I forgot to add the 380 SEC to all of the above questions.Is the 380 a V8 or 6 cyl?Also I've read about the single row timing chain problem with the 380. The SEC,s are nice looking cars if they are reliable.
Thanks again
  #3  
Old 06-14-1999, 02:39 AM
Robert W. Roe
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The 380 is a V8, found in the 126's from 1981 to 1985 I believe. Check out
http://fly.hiwaay.net/~gbf/mbmodels.html


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Robert W. Roe
1983 300SD 264K mi
  #4  
Old 06-14-1999, 02:57 AM
Katttfishh
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Thanks Robert
That page answered several questions

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San Francisco
1992 190E 2.6
100k
  #5  
Old 06-14-1999, 11:01 PM
Benzmac
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In my opinion, if you are wanting a car to drive and not work on every week, just get a 300 or E320.

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Benzmac:
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
LEAD TECHNICIAN FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
PARTNER IN MERCEDESSHOP.COM


  #6  
Old 06-14-1999, 11:37 PM
Katttfishh
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Benzmac
What about the 300ce? Is'nt it basicly the same car as the 300e? Also is'nt the 400e the same car with a V8.
Thanks
Tom
  #7  
Old 06-15-1999, 12:06 AM
Lee Scheeler
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Tom,
The 300E up to 92 had the 177HP/188lb-ft torque M103 engine. 93 and later 300E's had the DOHC 3.2 I6. The 300CE had the 177hp/188lb-ft M103 until the 90 model year. During the 90 model year the CE got the 3.0 DOHC engine making 217hp/195lb-ft. Then in 93 the CE and 300E both got the 3.2 DOHC engine making 217HP/229lb-ft of torque.

The 400E is NOT the same as a six but "with a V8". Chassis and driveline mods/fortifications abound, biggest brakes you can fit inside a 15" wheel with 4 piston front calipers, beefed tranny, HD suspension, most 6-cyl options standard, and the aforementioned V8. **See MercedesShop reviews** The 400E may look the same to the untrained eye, but blow off some Mustang (or similar vehicle) and you will really appreciate the difference. Handling feel between the 6's and 8's is different. Both are very capable handlers (especially given better rubber and/or tires) but the 6's have a more nimble and tossable feel. The 8's, although more capable by the numbers, have a heavier "feel" to them. I can personally testify that 400E's make wonderful daily drivers as well as one of THE best performance sleepers. (only that 1" 4 where the 3 usually is gives onlookers a clue that there is 275+ HP and 300lb-ft lurking underhood vs the 177HP/188lb-ft of your average grocery getter) Then there is the 500E but that nudges into "4-door Porsche" or supercar territory...EG

Hope this helps....Lee
  #8  
Old 06-15-1999, 12:28 AM
Katttfishh
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Thanks Lee I think maybe the 400e is what I'm leaning towards now. But before I buy I would like to hear from SEC owners. Lee have you had any experience with a SEC? I know about your new 500 and unfortunatly 500s aint in da budjet. I have a lot of choices at some great prices. Just having a hard time figuring out which one to buy.
Thanks again

[This message has been edited by Katttfishh (edited 06-22-99).]
  #9  
Old 06-15-1999, 01:14 AM
akry
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SEC as in W126 or W140. Personally, I don't own those two cars, but luckily, I have driven them all. In my opinion, W140 SEC is way more comfort, luxury, and more power. However, they bring top dollar if well looked after. As for W126, somehow(I maybe wrong) I feel that 560SEC is alot more power, and runs more smooth then 500SEC. It's like as if 500SEC is running on in-line 6 compare to 560SEC. Lee, what do you say??

Andy Kuo
'92 400SE
  #10  
Old 06-15-1999, 03:31 AM
Lee Scheeler
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Akry/Tom,
The W140 is an impressive car. A different animal than any of the E's though. It has grown to have the nickname "Panzer" among several people I know... Comfort, ride, room, etc are only exceeded by the W220. It "feels" perhaps even more solid than the W220. I think it is perhaps the epitome of the MB overbuilt solidity and "old school MB-ness". (know what I mean?) Sporting is not the first thing that comes to mind. Don't get me wrong, it is VERY capable but don't expect to kick butt at a Starfest autocross. They have a few weak points. Top examples command a premium, but any of them can rack up MAJOR repair bills very easily. I would check into the status/condition of the evaporator core of any prospective purchase.

The W126 is a good choice, but I would give the nod to the W140 in just about any category. I must concede that most of the W126's I've experienced have not been collector maintained, but even if everything were perfect the W140 still has a full generation more of just about everything. The 560 will hit 60 in about 7.5 seconds and the 500 (US spec, not euro/gray market spec) closer to 9.0 secs. The 560 engine torque’s pretty well but does not have the top end of any of the new engines. The W126 500 engine is rated at 185HP/247lb-ft while the 560 was rated at 238HP/287lb-ft. The Panzer engines are rated at 322HP/354lb-ft for the DOHC 5.0, 217HP/229lb-ft for the 3.2 I6, 275HP/295lb-ft for the DOHC 4.2, and 389HP/420lb-ft for the V12. 0-60 times are quicker across the board for the W140 even though the Panzer is chubbier than the W126 by a few hundred lbs.

Bottom line is test drive 126's, test drive W140's, test drive W124 6's, test drive W124 8's...the more the better. Try to get in at least 2 examples of each model-each chassis. The treatment each car has had up till now can make a big difference when you get to the 80,000 mile and over ballpark. Don't let one bad example ruin you on a whole chassis or model. While 80K is nothing for a well maintained example, it can be the beginning of trouble for ill-cared for or just plain problematic cars. Find out which seat suits your butt... Be observant, if you didn't like the way a car handled is it because something is wrong, it is just the way the chassis is, or are the tires just worn out? Nothing beats time in the cars, and in the number of cars. Bring a notebook and put it to good use...

My personal vote is the W124. In my opinion it is the best balance or total package in the used market. Its big enough to take a group of 4 or 5 on a week long beach trip. (even the way my ex packs!) Still nimble enough to slice through traffic or around a track. There is a wide choice of engines from mild 260E's to fire-breathing 92 500E's. As plentiful as they are many parts are easy to get and (by MB standards) relatively inexpensive. DIYing is also easier than many others. The build quality is still from the days when engineers ran the show. (read: top notch!) Styling is always in the eye of the beholder, but the W124 still appears quite modern and attractive. It doesn't have the all-imposing presence of the Panzer, but still caries gobs of curb appeal. (especially if well detailed)

If you need any help finding a particular example, you know how to reach me. Drive as many as you can, when you find the right one...you'll know it. It may not be a bad idea to ask around Tech Help for recommended pre-purchase inspection tips/list. Techs and members should all be able to contribute or help. It is late and my mind is gone.

Happy Hunting....Lee
  #11  
Old 06-15-1999, 04:03 AM
Adamou
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Hi,

I'm a w126 560SEC 1986 2nd hand owner with original 24.500km. About the specs, it sounds strange perhaps the US models are less powerfull than the EUR ones. Mine is 220KW which is arround 301HP. In my manual, it says that it exists 2 types of engines, one with 200KW and the other one with 220KW. The difference is with the compression 9:1 and 10:1 respectivly. About the performance, I did several tests from 0-100km/h and it turns arround 5.4 and 5.6secs, the sensation in the car is amazing! I also had a race with an Audi S4 that one of my friends was driving and it turned out that the 560SEC is faster...
The car is great! You have enough power to do wathever overtaking you may dream of. The engine is quiet and doesn't consume too much 15L/100km.
The inside sitting is not as confortable as in a SEL one but at least you are stuck in it with the air baloons in the "chair".
Anyway I must say that it is one of the best cars MB has ever built!

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-------------------------------------
WEB Site : http://www.adamou.dpn.ch
A.S.C. 1999
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  #12  
Old 06-15-1999, 06:11 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Euro spec cars are almost always MUCH faster than their US counterparts. Especially during that time period... While a euro, hence gray market, car can be loads of fun...just ask Benzmac, or any of the other techs, what a nightmare they can be to service here in the US. Not to say all are bad, but let's say our example owner overseas buys a new 560SEC and drives it hard until it has problems, doesn't pass TUV, etc. He then turns around and sells it to a hungry US gray market for much more than it would be worth locally. Caveat Emptor! If you live in Europe, then buying a euro-spec car only makes sense, keeping an aging one in the US usually only leads to financial woes. Euro-spec cars that have been "converted" are still questionable. To get them to the level where they are totally compliant they are not much fun and vise-versa.

Lee
  #13  
Old 06-16-1999, 12:32 AM
Katttfishh
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Thanks Lee I really appreciate the time and effort you spent on my questions. I've made up my mind, I'm gonna get me a 400E. Pretty soon I'll be asking you a bunch more dumb questions about my new car. If I can be of any help to you please ask.
Thanks again
Tom

------------------
Tom
1992 190E 2.6 100k
San Francisco

  #14  
Old 06-16-1999, 05:29 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Your quite welcome Tom. Glad we could be of help. Good luck finding that "perfect" 400E. I'm sure you will enjoy it immensely. One 400E tidbit that you will not find in a book...the 92 and very early 93 cars had somewhat "hot" engines/engine management systems. (less restrictive emissions standards gave more power on wide open throttle) They are a bit faster than their more modern siblings. If the extra power is important to you, you may want to seek an early example out. If not, any of them will be quite rapid, the early ones just have the edge. 225/50/16 tires really help the chassis a ton. If you need anything else don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Hunting....Lee
  #15  
Old 06-17-1999, 09:20 AM
MikeM
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Kattfishh,
I recently purchased a 400E, I looked extensively at approx. 12 cars, mostly 300E's (92's up)and 4 400E's. Take your time, don't jump at the first one you see. If your not capable, have it looked at by a trusted mechanic, and a body man if possible. On the 12th car I found one that had absolutley no body damage whatsoever. (a Very big consideration in my mind, especially if no written documentation on history of work).

I have a checklist that I used in checking out each car, that becomes a great help. If nothing other than keeping them straight in my head. Drop me a line and I will send it if you wish.

A couple of things to keep in mind when looking:
1. You're the buyer, you are in control, don't lose it.
2. While the color might not be what you like (Signal Red, in my case,) don't let it keep it from the purchase, resale after your done with it will also be important. If you don't like it, someone else might not either.

These cars very predictable, i.e. what happens to one usually happens to others.
Take plenty of notes, ask plenty of questions, take your time.

Good Luck,
Mike Mullins


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