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Old 12-20-2002, 12:04 PM
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How to tell if a '90 300E 2.6 is a 4-MATIC?

Couldn't find this exact question in the archives. I'm considering the purchase of a 1990 300E 2.6 from a local independent used car dealer who only deals with MBZ, BMW, and Porsche. He says all of his cars pass a 115 point inspection test and he only sells "good" cars. Be that as it may, and I am forewarned (about used car dealers) . . .

When I go later today or tomorrow to look at the car, how do I tell, by visual inspection, if it has a 4-matic system?

As a side question . . . knowing that the term is a relative one, is the 2.6 engine as good as the 3.0 engine in this model? Other that a little power, what do you give up with the smaller size?

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Old 12-20-2002, 12:10 PM
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I don't think there were any 260E with the 4-Matic option.
2.6 and 3.0liters engines are basically the same, except for 400cc less and a bit less HP.
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Old 12-20-2002, 01:38 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 2,632
You should be able to see an axle-shaft coming from the oil-pan and through the front-springs to the front-wheels. Turn the wheels hard-left or hard-right and you should see the axle-shafts.

I agree, I don't think there were any 2.6 4-Matics.

IMHO, stay away from the 4-Matic. It's expensive to maintain, it doesn't last long and eventually leaks (the tranny & diff case), and is not needed in So.Calif. regardless if you go to the "snow" for skiing (just get a set of Nokian snow-tires or chains).

It's also heavy, and you can't get aftermarket springs for the front.

:-) neil
1988 360TE AMG
1993 500E

Last edited by ke6dcj; 12-20-2002 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 12-20-2002, 02:30 PM
pmizell's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
If the brake master cylinder or oil dipstick (forget which) is on the right hand side of head, instead of left.
'01 E430, Sport 72,000 mi
'98 C280, 126,500 mi
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Old 12-21-2002, 10:46 AM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 883
No, M-B never manufactured (for series production) a 260E 4-Matic (neither in Germany nor in the U.S. as a 300E 2.6 4-Matic.
Only 300(T)E 4-Matics were produced (sedans and wagons).

Could it be that you are inquirying about if the auto transmission is a 4-speed? I found out that many persons tend to confuse the term "4-Matic" implying that the auto transmission is a 4-speed automatic.

The 4-Matic term refers to "4-wheel drive".
A. Rosich
CL 500, 1998
S 500 L, 1998
E 320 T, 1995 [Sadly sold ]
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Old 12-21-2002, 01:20 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 80
>No, M-B never manufactured (for series production) a 260E 4-Matic (neither in Germany nor in the U.S. as a 300E 2.6 4-Matic.

Sorry, but this is not true.
Mercedes did produce a 260 4matic sedan, maybe it was not exported to the USA. Internal number of the 260 4matic is 124.226.

4matic was available for the sedans 260E (124.226), 300E (124.230), 300D (124.330) and for the estate 300TE (124.290), 300TD (124.393).

Concerning 4matic in general: it is great, if you really need it in deep snow or sand and in the montains or woods.

On the other hand 4matic is very special (lots of parts wouldn't fit from the 2wd sedan, even floor mats are special), it is heavy, has a bunch of additional parts that may break and repair is expensive - if you find a trained technician at all.

As Neil stated, there are no aftermarket springs for the front - exept from AMG or Brabus -> $$$$

The smaller 6I-engine will need a heavy foot to accelerate the car, so gas milage will be poor.

Again, if you don't need the 4matic - pass the car.

bis denn,

1989 300TE
improve your German - please visit my homepage :-)
Das W124-Archiv
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Old 12-25-2002, 12:22 AM
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I gotta defend the 4 matic-I LOVE mine-I have driven it thru snow it NEVER should have been able to go thru-the instant on 4matic-combined with the light warns you of a few things-
like-hey the car is hydroplaning-hey off of the gas stupid-you are on black ice-or hey you took that corner wayyy too fast..
Yes it is expensive to maintain-and YES I did pay $1800 to replace the whatever it is part that goes on all of them (I am having a mental lapse here) BUT still I feel that for a car with 225,000 on it-it hasn't been all that all that time it broke down only ONCE (and that was a seized air pump).
I am a firm beleiver that an on-demand 4 wheel drive system really improves the safety of a car-without eating up tires and sucking down gas the way a fulltime system does-my NEXT car will be a 4matic also-only a station wagon....
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