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Old 11-21-2003, 11:47 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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86 300E- considering- are the 300E's reliable?

Many of you know I have been searching for a 300SD. Tonight, I located a local 86' 300E 4dr sedan. I have only seen photos of it. It is stated to be in excellent running condition and "low miles". It does not say how many however. Are these good cars? What problem areas do these cars have? They are asking $2100 for it. Any information appreciated.
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Old 11-22-2003, 01:40 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 387
This model comes up on every MB enthusiast's "Best built MB ever" list - usually at or near the top.
Bill Streep
San Antonio
'57 190SL (toy)
'08 S5500 (mine)
'09 CLK550 (wife's)
'06 SLK350 (daughter's)
'11 GLK350 (daughter's)
'03 CLK310 (spare)
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Old 11-22-2003, 08:53 AM
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Location: Southern California
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Yes, the 300E is a wonderful car, but consider that the list price of a base 300E in '86 was $34,700, and $2100 is on the low end of current asking prices, so don't set your expectation level too high. Based on the asking price, this car probably has a number of problems, due to deferred maintenance or repairs.

In particular, repairing a non-functional A/C system can cost about the asking price if the evaporator requires replacment, so you might be better off paying more for a car with everything functional.

Do a full functional check of all systems and ask for maintenance and repair history documentation, but don't hold your breath. Also inquire about the rate of oil consumption. Unfortunately this car might be one major repair away from car heaven.

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Old 11-22-2003, 12:01 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Posts: 333
I bought an 86 300E 2yrs ago

I bought my 86 300E 2yrs ago and I'm satisfied with it. There are a few minor things wrong with it, but overall it's solid.

If their asking price is $2,100 I'd be a bit skeptical. If it's runs good mechanically, it's a steal. As with buying ANY used car, get a professional to inspect it. I suggest the MB dealers. This will give you a clear picture on the car's true condition.

Keep in mind this is a 17yo car so there will be quite a few things that may need replacing. But if the previous owner took care of the car, I don't think you'll run into problems that are out of the ordinary.

Good luck,
1986 Gold 300E 4Dr automatic
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Old 11-22-2003, 12:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
Great car and long as it has been cared for. As previously mentioned, I would be slightly catious about why it is only $2,100.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 11-22-2003, 09:48 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
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Totally depends upon the "deferred maintenance" factor.
You could easily sink another $2100 into it, and have a forty-two-hundred-dollar twenty-one hundred dollar car...

If it is has been kept up, I have found the annual care, feeding, and repair costs to be reasonable.

For any car, you really need to like it to go through the trouble of keeping it going at 17 years. That is the main thing.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 11-23-2003, 09:32 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wrightsville Beach NC
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Great cars when cared for, as stated many times above I'd be careful of a $2100 300E.

"There's nothing more expensive than a cheap mercedes."

2008 S550
1957 Dodge D100
1967 VW Microbus 21 Window
2001 Suburban
2004 Beach cruiser bicycle
-----------------GO DUKE!-----------------

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Patrick Henry 1776
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Old 11-23-2003, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 803
Well, the w124 is a good body style etc etc, but just so you realize, buy the car for $5K and then keep 5K aside for the repairs coming your way in the next 3 years.
You'll get a zillion replies on this post, but the bottom line is the w124 has it's share of problems, more so than any other mercedes model in my opinion.
Bottom line... put money aside for it's repairs (lots of it) and don't just focus on the selling price as it's total cost of ownership.
good luck.
Whether you think you can or cannot, Either way you're right!. by Henry Ford.
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Old 11-24-2003, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,774

They're an excellent, all-around, well built sedan. Mine has close to 300,000 Km on the original engine - only oil changes done, even the valve seals are still original. Only thing I've replaced in the engine compartment (aside from maintenance items) has been the water pump. Even then, it didn't fail, the gasket was leaking. Mech suggested that I replace the pump anyway due to labor. I agreed.

It's a fantastic car. Make sure that you buy one that has been well maintained and it will last you a long, long time. Good luck!
2007 E550 4Matic - 61,000 Km - Iridium Silver, black leather, Sport package, Premium 2 package
2007 GL450 4Matic - 62,000 Km - Obsidian Black Metallic, black leather, all options
1998 E430 - sold
1989 300E - 333,000 Km - sold
1977 280E - sold
1971 250 - retired

"And a frign hat. They gave me a hat at the annual benefits meeting. I said. how does this benefit me. I dont have anything from the company.. So they gave me a hat." - TheDon
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Old 11-24-2003, 10:01 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 5,316
They are great cars, but the ACC systems are marginal, prone to failure and expensive to fix. The rear suspension can eat you alive fixing clunks and a tendency to wander. And around 200K, the injection system can develop problems that no one except Steve B can diagnose and fix.

At least in the DC area, it is getting very hard to find shops that can fix them because the '86-88 models don't retain their fault codes. At $2100, I would bet it has one of these problems that someone doesn't want to spend the money to fix.
Chuck Taylor
Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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