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  #1  
Old 08-30-2002, 02:28 AM
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Location: Calgary, Canada
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Question What to look for on 1990 300E

A friend is considering buying a 1990 300E with 150,000 km (Canada).

I've done a fair amount of searching on here and found mention of issues related to head gaskets. If the head gasket has been previously changed are the problems likely to re-appear? How often?

Also, are there any other 'typical' problem areas to look out for?

Thanks much
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2002, 02:57 AM
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Besides the notorious head gasket, test the climate control, and make sure the AC compressor kicks on. If not, thats probably going to cost a bundle. Check out the suspension components, with careful attention to bushings, front and rear. Make sure the sunroof works, another expensive fix. Other than that, pretty reliable car.

Good luck
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2002, 03:39 AM
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I have had good success in taking a MBZ to a good authorized dealer and paying for an "Inspection prior to purchase". Without a compression check it used to run about an hour, with about an hour more.

I have found the dealers will do this quite readily. They like creating a list with the potential to repair the car.

It is an impressive negotiating tool with the seller. Often the "list" from the experts not only gets the car to a good price, but also makes the buyer almost completely aware of what they need to do to the car.
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2002, 06:13 AM
mikey-az
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'90 300E problem areas

Here's what I have found out/done since i bought my '90 300E 3 months ago with 132,000 miles on it. This car seems to have a lot of electrical gremlins. So far, my gas gauge flickers back and forth, the trip odometer stopped working as well as the main odometer (i fixed this myself), I had to replace all of the vacuum pods (vacuum controlled servos within the dash that control the vent positions) with the exception of the floor vent one, I fixed the intermittent wiper (aged relay), both dome lights (aged relay and broken wire), and I also had to fix the SRS light (random-blinking problem...really expensive fix if not taken care of right away). I also have never been able to get the headlight wiper/washers to work (they blow the fuse when turned on and pluged in...I suspect I need new motors). I also have replaced a bunch of interior instrument lights and replaced the low washer fluid sensor. I have never done so much work in such a short period of time to a car before this Mercedes, and this car was checked out by a certified technician before I bought it and was driven by an older couple who took care of it. It is a nice car, but only buy it if you like working/tinkering on your car or else paying someone hundreds if not thousands of dollars to fix all this stuff. -- Mikey
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2002, 08:12 AM
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SRS Blinking

Mikey:
You mentioned fixing the random blinking SRS light. What was the cause and how did you fix it.
Thanks
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2002, 11:14 AM
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Do you know whether you have the M103 or 3.2L M104-series engine? The head gasket issue is primarily an anomaly on the M104 engines.

You may have read about the wiring harness issues, but I believe that affected 92-94 models.

I am not aware of any serious electrical gremlins save for the defective OEM OVP relay, but if an unscrupulous mechanic or careless previous owner "jerry-rigged" anything in order to repair something they knew nothing about, that could cause a chain reaction of electrical problems in the future.

If the OEM radiator hasn't been replaced yet, you may have to soon. The original rads crack at the plastic hose inlet neck about 99% of the time when they do fail. The replacements have a reinforced neck with a metal insert.

Okay, you've heard enough about what could go wrong...what is right about these cars is that the bottom end is almost bulletproof, and parts are not as expensive as you may think. Plus, much of the maintenance can be performed at home with average tools. They are actually pretty reliable cars, and I probably don't service my W124 any more frequently than I do my other MBs, even though the W124 does the daily grind while the others are weekend drivers...
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2002, 11:37 AM
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The 1990MY sedan W124 uses the 3.0L M103 177hp SOHC engine, and it's head gasket failure rate seems much lower then the DOHC M104 engine.

One point:

If you are having the car inspected by a dealer, forget Hyatt's service dept. Go to Lonestar.

About SRS:

Blinking SRS lights are most commonly caused by failing steering wheel contact points. Easy to repair.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2002, 11:58 AM
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BlackMercedes,

What have you heard about Hyatt vs LoneStar. Interested since I have some upcoming service due on my S320.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2002, 03:31 PM
speedracer888
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head gasket
coolant problem (VERY recent)
check all suspension components
not too much electrical problems with mine, only a fuse went out for the ABS light

other than that, the car is like a rock and handles well!
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2002, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ehmand
BlackMercedes,

What have you heard about Hyatt vs LoneStar. Interested since I have some upcoming service due on my S320.
Experienced. Hyatt has made a serious goof everytime we've taken a car in for service. Mis-diagnosis and just plain missing things wrong. The 190E 2.6 had a battery drain problem, and they charged my Dad over $1000 in parts without fixing it. He took his C230 in, and they missed a ton of stuff, and charged him for things they didn't do. (filters not changed...)

If it happened only once, I could let it go. However, they have goofed many times, and I'm quite sour on them now.

Thaty said, we've bought all our cars from them, as their sales service has been superior to our family. Edmonton dealers (David Morris and Weber) just plain refuse to sell us a car. Lonestar tried hard, but Hyatt won out, and we've (my family) has bought five MB's in four years, but none of them now return for any servicing.
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2002, 12:53 AM
mikey-az
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SRS light

On older MB's the SRS light will start to blink randomly or come on for short periods of time. This is caused by worn/dirty contact rings on the back of the steering wheel. These rings make contact with like 5 or 6 metal pegs that stick of the steering shaft and make it possible to keep power to the airbag while moving the wheel. After the blinking occurs for a while, I have been told that this shorts out the SRS control computer which is like a $1000 part and therefor the SRS light will stay lit. To make sure you do not have to pay for this unneccessary fix, remove the front/bag of the steering wheel by removing the two screws on the back of the steering wheel with a torx screwdriver. then unhook the electrical connection to the airbag and remove it completely. After that, get the right sized tool/wrench/breaker bar to remove the big nut that holds the steering wheel to the shaft. Remove the wheel and look at the back. You will see a bunch of contact rings. Either replace them, or clean them with alcohol and make sure they are crystal clean (that is what I did). Also, clean and sand the pegs to ensure those are gunk free. My SRS light has never come back on (with the exception of the normal start-up check) after doing this procedure. -- Mikey
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2002, 12:58 AM
Christian
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U guys are scaring me! I just posted a topic about selling my C200 for a 1994 E280....

I hope the good outweighs the bad

Christian
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