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  #1  
Old 11-30-2003, 05:25 AM
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considering buying a W124

Need advice on purchasing a W124
I'm looking for a 89 - 93 300E. I'm forced to sell my current car b/c of insurance reasons, and I need to buy something before Dec. 5th as a temp. car to use for about a year until my premiums go down. I have a couple questions about 300E's.

Was the 24V 3.0L engine ever in the sedan, and if so for which model years & models?

What should I be looking out for when looking at a 300E - are there any areas that generally tend to be troublesome? (i.e. Head gaskets?)

Which model year did they replace the M103 with the M104 engine?

Does anyone have a list of updates that 300E's received b/w '89 and '93?

Thnx
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2003, 08:45 AM
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If I were going to get a 300E I would pick up an '89 model because it does not have some of the emission stuff the later models have. It also has the single overhead cam engine which, in my opinion, is a little easier engine to work on. There is a local 103 engined 124 car for sale (no rust) for around $3500 with high mileage (220k+) but supposedly well maintained if you are interested email me and I will provide the contact number/name.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2003, 10:05 AM
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More info...

the 93 300e's have the 24v that is also in the 94 and 95 e320. However, they were not rebadged until 94.
If you are going to keep it for a year, I would get the earlier model 300e because it is easier to work on, as already mentioned, and it will be a lot cheaper to buy and maintain and, most likely, cheaper insurance premiums.
Two major problem areas are the a/c (evaporator) $$$ and the front upper timing chain seal cover (it leaks). Also look out for poblems such as rough idle, it could be cheap or expensive to repair and make sure all the windows and switches are working. Otherwise, they are very solid vehicles.
I would recommend a pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic familiar with MB's.
Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2003, 10:48 AM
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I may get flamed for this, but if you just want a cheap car for a year than an older Toyota or Handa for about 1 to 2k, would work. You can get some decent Camry and Accords for 2k.
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2003, 12:01 PM
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You might want to see what the folks at this website had to say about it http://www.mercedesproblems.com/
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2003, 01:03 PM
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I would not buy 1993 300E because it has the new 3.2 liter M104 engine. This model should've been badged as "E320", but wasn't.

The reason why I wouldn't recommend it is because it will have a bad engine wiring harness (they were all bad from 1993-1995). It will also have a bad head gasket. The original head gaskets were poorly designed, and it will leak oil.

I'd look at 1989-1992 300E's.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2003, 01:04 PM
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Oh, and to answer your question, the 24 valve 3.0 liter engine was never used in the sedan, at least not in the U.S.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2003, 01:09 PM
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I second Hatterasguy's idea.

For the money and cost of maint., the Accord/Civic/Camry are very tough to beat. This would be a good idea, especially if you are just looking for a year.

Like any car, they need to be analyzed. Older Accords/Civics can have leaking head gaskets. If the car won't idle cold and takes a long warm-up period before it does - beware. A wandering temp. needle in older Accords/Civics is also a sign of a weakening head gasket.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2003, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Murrell


For the money and cost of maint., the Accord/Civic/Camry are very tough to beat. This would be a good idea, especially if you are
I considered buy an Accord for a while, but when I drove them they felt like they were too light. I dont' think those cars are very safe in an accident, esp. if you got hit by an SUV or something.

Test driving those cars just reinforced my belief that Benz's are better regardless of how old they are.

Also, was ASR standard equipement on all 300E's built after '92 or was it an option?
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2003, 05:06 PM
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Midniteblubenz

Have you tried a Camry? Very safe, my 93 has an airbag. Not a very heavy car but not light either, I think mine wieghs 3,300 pounds. If you just are going to have it for a year buy the cheapist most reliable car you can buy. If you do it right you won't lose anything in depriciation to. Then when your insurance goes down buy a nice MB.
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  #11  
Old 11-30-2003, 05:49 PM
Bud
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Originally posted by azinn
You might want to see what the folks at this website had to say about it http://www.mercedesproblems.com/
There's a lot of whining on that site. For instance, the guy complaining about the seats being too firm.

I think most of the problems cited there are with dealers (except for the problems with earlier M-Class).

I'm not defending Daimler-Chrysler but I'm sure glad I'm not a service writer.

I'd also recommend a Toyota or Honda if you are going to buy an inexpensive used car.
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2003, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Midniteblubenz

Also, was ASR standard equipement on all 300E's built after '92 or was it an option?
It was an option.
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  #13  
Old 12-01-2003, 12:05 AM
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Does anyone have the link to the Mercedes website that lists the specs of 300E's from 89' 93?
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  #14  
Old 12-01-2003, 12:12 AM
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http://www.mbusa.com/brand/container.jsp?/overview/overview_engine.jsp?spec=3&subNav=overview&yearModelCode=88_E300S&class=88_E&rnav=024568&menu=2_1

The page has a mistake, though.

Engine 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder. 1994: 3.2-liter DOHC 24-valve 6-cylinder.

Net power 177 hp @ 5,700 rpm. 1993: 217 hp @5,500 rpm.

Net torque 188 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm. 1993: 229 lb-ft @ 3,750 rpm.

They indicate under engine that 1994 was the first year of the 3.2 liter M104 engine. It was 1993.

They got it right under Net Power and Net Torque, though.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2003, 09:58 PM
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Paul S (suginami) and J Hidalgo are right. The 3.2 M104 was released in '93. My father has a July '93 build E320 coupe and it is not the first because the early ones here in Oz were badged 320CE for the coupe and 320E for the sedan. Paul is also correct in saying the 3.0 24 valve was not used in the sedan in the US, however much of the rest of the world got the 300E-24 (badged that way too) with the early CIS injected M104 as used in the 300CE from late '89 (which were badge 300CE-24 outside the US). Here in Oz, the M103 and M104 were available at the same time in the W124 sedan.

The 3 litre M104 offered a power increase over the M103 but it was all high in the rev range. Additional torque low down did not come until the later 3.2 M104. As Paul suggests, these suffered the well known wiring harness problem (as well as the other problems such as oil leaks and head gasket failures that came with the M104). For reliability and ease of maintenance, the M103 is probably the better choice (although they too suffer oil leaks and head gasket failures). The CIS injected engines (M103 and early M104) also have the advantage that the ECU can lose power or fail completely and the car can still be driven.

I spend time both driving and doing all maintenance and repairs on both our 300TE (M103) and my father's E320 (M104). Whilst there are similarities, there are many differences. The 300TE is proving a little more reliable despite higher mileage. I spent part of last weekend replacing the water pump on the E320 and prior to that it has needed an engine wiring harness and assorted other repairs. The E320 also appears to have the oil leak that is an early warning of head gasket problems. In fairness though, I have also had to do the head gasket on the 300TE.

From a driving point of view, the E320 offers stunning performance. At least Dad's coupe does with its 5-speed auto and 3.69 diff (I think in the US you got coupes the 4-speed as we did with the sedans). The heavier 300TE with its 3.27 diff can't match the acceleration of the E320. Normal starts in the E320's 5-speed are 2nd gear (as with the 4-speed in our 300TE), but if you use 1st you can easily get blistering tyre smoking launches.

The power delivery of the M104 is not as "seamless" as the M103 though. In the M104 you can feel the points where the inlet cam timing changes and where the inlet manifold tuning changes. The E320 has a very hard and heavy throttle (our RHD versions have a regular throttle cable whereas I believe the LHD versions had electronic throttle actuation) unlike the much lighter throttle of the 300TE. The E320 also has noticeable induction noise (an annoying drone or growl) at anything other than a closed throttle. The 300TE on the other hand offers smooth, silent power delivery only becoming audible in the upper rev range. As an MB tech friend once told me "the M103 was one of their finest engines but they stuffed it up when they fitted the 24 valve head to make it an M104". My overall feeling is that the '90 has better inbuilt "quality" than the '93.

My advice is that all W124s were fine cars (although not MB's most reliable) but the first "update" version (late '89 to '92) were perhaps the pick of them.
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