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  #1  
Old 12-11-2003, 06:27 AM
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Should I buy a E320 or E420?

Hello,

I am a new member and was wondering if someone could direct me in the right direction with my choice of a used MB. I am thinking of buying a 93-95 model of E320 or E420. Does anybody know what is the best buy?

Also, out of curiosity, I want to know more about a 1994 E420 . However, I am afraid it would be more troublesome and costly to maintain than a E320, because they are rarer models (more difficult to find parts, V8 engine, etc...) Do my concerns make sense? But the E420 has of course massive power.
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2003, 10:14 AM
dtf dtf is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: South East CT
Posts: 824
Wow. I recommend you use the search feature and use words like : wiring harness, OVP, evaporator (sp?), throttle actuator, head gasket, water pump and other qualifiers like 1994, M104, M119, W124 or E320 and E420. The popular opinion here here is that once the bugs are worked out the E320 from '94 to '95 they are awesome cars (I own one) but the E420 seems to be a favorite here.
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dtf
1994 E320 Wagon (Died @ 308,669 miles)
1995 E300 Diesel (203,000)
1999 E300 Turbodiesel ( died @ 255,000)
2006 Toyota Tundra SR5 AC 4X4 (115,000 miles)
2011 Audi A4 Avant (165,000 miles) Seized engine - donated to Salvation Army
BMW 330 xi 6 speed manual (124,034 miles)
2014 E350 4Matic Wagon 48,000 miles
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  #3  
Old 12-11-2003, 10:25 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
There is a strange thing with the 94-95 E320 and E420 cars. Usually, I would always recommend the smaller engine if you're interested in lower operating costs. This situation is an exception.

Thanks to VERY tall final drive gearing, the E420 hasn't much of a fuel economy penalty compared to the E320. However, that gearing also steals some performance. If you're inclined, a change of the final drive ratio gives near-E500 performance, but with a resulting economy loss.

The M119 is very durable with only a few easy solved problems. Oil feed tubes in the heads are easily replaced. The V-8 cars have looooong timing chains that have to be changed more often than the short six cylinder ones, but the M119 is nothing like the M116 for chain problems.

The E420 sold for a hefty premium over the E320 when new (in Canada I remember is was over $10K difference) but in the used market there is little difference in pricing for a clean "last of" the W124's.

The M104 suffers from the same issues as the M119 in the chassis department (wiring harness) but has the added worry of the head gasket. There is some talk that once the "updated" M104 gasket is installed, it's fixed, but some people seem to be replacing head gaskets on a regular basis.

What I would recommend is simply finding the best car you can, and buying it. Also, don't pay too much attention to very low mileage. These cars don't like to sit idle. Don't pay extra for low miles.
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2003, 11:44 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
The 420 is the only way to go – bigger brakes, quieter inside, more subtle suspension, nicer interior, lots more giddy up and so on. It’ll cost a little more for tune ups, but you get significantly improved performance in virtually every measurable way for the bargain.

Plus, if you wanna toss a few $$ to increase performance further, there are lots of simple bolt-on options. On mine, adding only a 500E front sway bar and slightly over sized sneakers added cornering stability, cut down wheel spin and removed half of the body role. Next project is a 500E rear sway bar and HD shocks all around, and the car will have about 85% of the cornering prowess of my former Porsche. Even though you can bolt the same parts on to the 320, the comparatively anemic 3.2 6 banger engine will never deliver the way the 4.2 does.

And fuel consumption – mine gets about 26 mph on hiway trips and, well I never pay attention around town, but would guess 18-20 is typical

Get a nicer toy and you will never regret it.....
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...Tracy

'00 ML320 "Casper"
'92 400E "Stella"
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  #5  
Old 12-11-2003, 11:57 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
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My personal choice was the E420

I've enjoyed mine for over four years now. It's my primary commute car (70 miles round trip), so it racks up the miles quickly. I have over 110,000 on her now and she's still running perfectly. When I was considering a W124, I test drove both E320 and E420, and to me, the choice was clear. The added power of the E420 was the deciding factor for me. The E420 in stock form is just about perfect except for the consensus that the stock tires are too small. I did a subtle +1 upgrade to 16" rims and wider tires. It did wonders for the car's handling.

The slightly nicer interior of the E420 was a bonus.

Warren
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2003, 12:07 PM
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Yes, 195/65-15 tires and 275hp are not a good mix. The super tall rear ratio helps a bit, but an E420 can be a real handful in wet weather if you're the least bit ham-fisted with the throttle.

Most E420's I see have 16" wheels with 205/55-16 or 225/50-16's on the them. The eight-hole wheels look great and can be found at pretty low prices for knock-offs or even take-offs for OE wheels. Then the 15" wheels are super for snow tires.
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2003, 12:40 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 232
Having owned W124 300E with the M104 3.2 motor, I would say get the E420. New they were much more than the 6cylinder, but, as stated earlier, they are very closely priced. Don't get me wrong the M104 is great have 145k on mine, never let me down, other than the typical repairs, radiator...wiring harness... head gasket....A/C.... and it still runs past 140mph if I need it to....But the E420 will deliver more acceleration, hands down.

FQ
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W124
Sportline Swaybars
Bilstein HD Struts
16" E420 wheels
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2003, 01:21 PM
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Location: Washington, DC
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I've owned three cars in my life: a 1988 Geo my wife inherited from her grandmother (thankfully gone, the car not the grandmother), a 1997 MB C230, and a 1994 MB E320. I rarely drive the E320, but next to those other two cars, I feel like I'm driving a Porsche or Ferrari. Don't get me wrong, the M104 E320 is no muscle car, but 225 hp is totally sufficient. I have driven some pretty sweet cars in my life, but the M104 SOUNDS and FEELS better than most of them. Run the 104 through it's power band and you can't help but smile. The M119 could only be better, though.
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1988 300 SL (5 Speed)
1994 E320 Wagon
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  #9  
Old 12-11-2003, 01:24 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 298
Can anybody elaborate the difference in suspension between E420/400E and E320/300E?

It looks like almost all part numbers are the same, maybe sway bars is different?

I changed rear shocks on my 400E, the Bilstein shocks I got were the same as those for 300Es,
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03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2003, 02:11 PM
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Front and rear swaybars are fatter. I upgraded my swaybars to Sportline on my 300E, nice difference.

FQ
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W124
Sportline Swaybars
Bilstein HD Struts
16" E420 wheels
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2003, 06:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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Posts: 298
Thanks,

400E/E420's power shines at speed higher than 40kmph, particularly when kicking down for speed at 60kmph(37mph) and 120kmph(75mph), these are 2 killer power bands of 400E/E420, gear will drop to 1st and 2nd respectively, 1st gear will pull to 80kmph and 2nd gear to 140kmph!
It normally blows competitors away in these 2 bands. Overall they are built as highway cruisers, my drives are 95% highway, so I like it dearly.

For stop and go traffic at any speed lower than 40kmph, don't even try to race with a Corolla, IMO, tall gear along with excessive understeer are the biggest shortcomings.
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99 BMW 540i 6-speed 110K Km
03 SAAB 9-5 wagon 80K Km
92 400E (Sold) 245K km
Still missing the days with the Benz, it kept me busy.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2003, 06:56 PM
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
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The problem with just about every Mercedes ever made (even the small diesels) is that they are so much better at high speed than around town. My own C230 "sits" best at about 150 km/h.

Unfortunately, the RCMP don't have a special "sweet spot" speed limit for MB owners!
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2003, 09:00 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 520
I agree that Mercedes, and also BMW, feel better as road speed increases. When I was much younger I bought a new BMW 2002 in 1971. It was more comfortable at 75mph than at 55. Many of us remember President Nixon's mandate to reduce the national speed limit to 55. My 94 E320, which I have owned just one month has the same characteristic - the faster it runs, the better it feels.
regards,
Mark
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2003, 09:47 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Knoxville,TN.
Posts: 12
E320 or E420

I recently purchased a 1995 E420 about a month ago.After looking at Ebay Auto Trader Hemmings and many other sites i had my mind set on an E320.

Right before i was able to purchase the E320 that i really wanted someone bought it.So it was back to the drawing board.I had tons of Mercedes saved up in files.

One day while searching i ran across an 95 E420 Special Edition in the color i liked.

The asking price to me was unbelievable on top of me not thinking that this Benz would still be around.

I had to drive over 900 miles just to see it.I called the owner in Massachussets to see if it was truly still available.

I got there about 30 minutes after they closed.I stopped by to look at the Benz and the picture did it no justice.

As i walked around it i kept thinking WOW! The color was exactly what i was looking for.

It was onwed by a physician who had service records from day one.The attendant started it for me and said take it for a spin.

As i sat there getting familarized in the cockpit a friend who was in the passenger seat said start it up.

I began to touch the key in the ignition when i remembered that there was smoke coming from the exhaust.

You could not actually tell that this car was running.As we pulled out from the dealership just an ever so slight press on the pedal showed me that this baby was built for the autobahn.

I could'nt help from keeping a sly grin as i drove it home.It performed flawlessly.

Today it is still as smooth as day one.Don't tell anyone but at times when i get up in the middle of the night i sneek and take a peek at her.

If you get the chance the E420 is the way to go.Once it gets a hold of you you will never be the same.

It gets in your blood and there's actually not a cure for it except to appease her as she begs you to press just a little harder on the pedal so she can show you what she can do.

You'll never regret it.Sorry for the long post but i attribute it to the effect she now has on me.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2003, 11:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,726
I agree with whoever said this is the exception to the rule - the bigger engine is easier to take care of. Gas mileage is about the same, 420 purchase price only slightly higher. The car is so understressed in normal driving it's just ridiculous. There's no rational reason not to get the 420.
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