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  #1  
Old 03-01-2003, 01:39 PM
Jackd
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Looking at a new (er) W124

My old 1989 260E is getting tired. 266K, original paint. As spring is coming (hopefully) I am looking to go to a newer W124.
Yesterday, I saw and drove a 1994 E320 with 75K. One owner, all service records, being sold by the same dealer who sold it new. But the car drives like if it was 20 years older than my 1989. Loose suspension/steering, heavy pulling to the right,noisy engine (clicking sound, like a valve, when starting from cold). body rattles, 2 electric windows not working, (driver and right rear), sagging driver's seat, needs 4 tires an a major clean-up job inside and out. Overall, the car felt older than my old one, although engine performance was much better. asking price: $US11,700.
I also saw and drove a 1995 E320, same mileage, one owner. Same impression. The car is loose from everywhere. There are faily major rust spots aroung the antenna, along the body mouldings and around the sunroof opening, fairly major leather cracking on the left seat, price: $12,500.
is it possible that the later w124 declined in quality during those years, or is me.....
jackD
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2003, 01:56 PM
it leaks, its german
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: raleigh nc
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Time to go south and get a solid US spec car.




Joe
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2003, 01:58 PM
fz500sel's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Venice, FL - "sharktooth capital of the world"
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I'd stay away from them. You can find plenty of nice mid-90's E class that won't rattle and without the rust (depending upon what geographic area you look). If your not too tied to a geographic area, you can find plenty of low mileage, NO RUST E class vehicles in Florida.
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84 500SEL EURO 101K ( JUST LIKE MY 1ST WIFE. GLAD TO GET RID OF HER! )
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2003, 03:24 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Don't compromise in the purchase of a car. You will ALWAYS have to fix something that you didn't know about. Don't settle unless you are prepared and really understand what is going to be required to fix the known problems.

A good car is such a great satisfying experience. There is such a range of cars available now. Some are absolutely incredible, in my opinion. Some were ridden hard and never put away.

In my opinion, a good car "talks" to you. I am teaching my kids about cars. I tell them that one could line up 100 of the same model, same color and same mileage. I think that each car would have its own personality and quirks. Some less, some more. The harder you look the more you will see and know. Since it is hard-earned money, if in doubt, don't.

Further, it pays to:

1-Become a student of the subject: Know generally what to look for, what just feels right and what doesn't

2- It pays to get your knees dirty: Get down on your hands and knees (if no inspection lift is available).

3- Pay a dealer the hour or two to do an "Inspection for Purchase", ideally including a compression test. The dealerships like this because they have the opportunity to potentially sell you future work. It really works well with finalizing a purchase price with the seller.

It is my experience with he 94-95 cars (and I am sure some will disagree with me here) that their quality really varies more than other series, such as the 90-93 cars. I can't tell you why. I have seen really rock solid cars and I have seen (and driven) ones that seem like they are on the road to self-destruction. Odd.

I would be MUCH more interested in a car with a little bit higher miles but have a full documented service history (dealership records ideally) than one with an questionable service history and lower miles.

Finally clustering: After looking at few cars, problems that are part of the "breed' start to become evident. You start noticing certain common problems such as the B-pillar covering coming loose on the passenger side (seat belt cover) or surging under acceleration etc, etc.

In conclusion I say there are two parts: Objective criteria and subjective criteria in considering a car to purchase. The objective is obvious, the subjective is finding out how you really feel about a particular car. I think we see and collect more information than we realize. The same holds true about considering cars for purchase.

I almost purchased a car that met all of the objective criteria.... but something about it kept nagging at me. I went and drove the car multiple times but kept holding back. I didn't know why but I had this voice in my head saying "I don't think so ...". It turned out the vehicle was in a flood. I couldn't tell it at the time but something told me not to jump and buy it.

Hope this helps,

Haasman
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Last edited by haasman; 03-02-2003 at 09:25 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2003, 09:17 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: La Quinta, CA
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Cool

is it possible that the later w124 declined in quality during those years, or is me.....
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Just about anyone familiar with MBs will tell you that the last good ones were built prior to '92. The marketing department started getting involved in building the cars instead of just selling them......marketing wanted more features and toys and didn't give the engineers the budget to build the cars right. So now you get MBs that just aren't as good as the older models, especially after the newer MBs get some miles and years on them.
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2003, 10:05 PM
Jackd
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I would have presumed 8 year old 75K car would feel and drive much better than my old 13 years old car with 260K on it.
I could understand that one of the car may have seen a tough life and some neglect but they have both been maintained according to the book (all service done at the dealership with copies of invoices available) and fairly low mileage. Both were owned by mature adults, not the type of guys that would beat a car for the fun of it.
My car went through 12 harsh/cold winters, has seen a lot of road salt, never been garaged and is overall in better condition and drive better than the 2 cars I have seen. I will keep on looking for a better shape/ newer W124 but maybe I should invest a few more $$$ on mine and keep it until it falls apart.
I need a paint job (there is absolutely no rust on the car but the paint is faded), engine mounts, transmission is starting to flare between gears, the alternator is only pushing 55amps, there is a slight oil leak from the rear crakshaft seal, the cruise control is jerking, the radio does not work when the car is cold, and a few other minor things. Over the last year, the following has been done: New rad, full valve job, full tune-up, new brake rotors and brake pads all around, 4 new shock absorbers, some suspension work, 4 new tires, replaced ignition module, new battery,
What do you think?
JackD
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2003, 10:27 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
bet you could find a peach of a 90 or 91 560 SEL they don't get much better than that.........
William Rogers.........
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2003, 01:43 AM
fahrgewehr
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How bad is your paint? I would look into having your paint restored before doing anything else. With some clay and a good buffing, you could probably make the paint look decent. Forget about painting it - would cost at least 2 grand to get something quality.

I would advise you to keep your car, rather than sell it. I had to make the same decision, and decided to keep my car. I have a lot of money invested in it, and if you buy another used car, you are still going to have problems, just a new set. Why not see if you can get 300K outta her, then make a decision. Its not like its gonna depreciate any further with that much mileage anyways. Good luck, Mike.
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2003, 02:31 AM
A. Rosich's Avatar
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Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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I sincerely doubt that the E-class declined in quality during the last years of production. My 1995 E320T wagon and a friend's E280 sedan still drive like the first day they were driven off the dealer's lot.

The problem is how the original owners take care of their cars. By neglecting it, a W124 can be trashed quite easily, they are not as rock solid as the W123s were. In the same way, a neglected W140 will feel and lock worse than a neglected W126.

If you shop around, you should be able to find a late model W124 that is rock solid and realiable (if the original owner really took good care of it).
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2003, 11:21 AM
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Location: La Quinta, CA
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Cool

bet you could find a peach of a 90 or 91 560 SEL they don't get much better than that......... William Rogers.........
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Amen, Brother William......
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2003, 07:13 PM
DTF
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The W124's you've driven are not the norm. They are great cars and don't under estimate them. Haasman is very wise. They (used cars) all give us clues as to their condition on a test drive - you are already ahead of the game by dissecting (sp?) them like a detective.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2003, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 103
I have a E320 94 since last year, I buy it from a friend, original owner, with 72K miles and the car runs perfect. I have the car for a year now, and it is the best car I have ever own. It is a trouble free car and pay only $11,000.
Keep looking man!
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2003, 10:41 PM
Jackd
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Importing a mint car fro Fla or any other southern states is out of the question.
US cars do not meet Canadian front bumper regulations, they can be imported but will have to be retrofited to Canadian specs.
Going to see a 1994 E420 with 81K tomorrow.
jackD
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  #14  
Old 03-02-2003, 11:17 PM
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Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 103
What is difference between US spec and Canada spec?
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  #15  
Old 03-02-2003, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dallas
Posts: 330
Jackd,

I drove a 94 E420 Saturday for the first time. Those extra few cylinders REALLY make a difference.

IMHO if you get a used W124 in reasonable condition, with price reflective of the condition, you will be very pleased after making whatever repairs are needed. I would love to get hold of a cosmetically needy E class for a steal and spend a few weekends sprucing it up. Once you have ascertained that there are no major problems like A/C, transmission, oil leaks, wiring harness, the rest of the repairs seem to be fairly inexpensive and with the help of the pros on the website, fairly straightforward.

If you can get that 420 for a good price, jump on it.
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