Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog How To Articles Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help




Go Back   PeachParts Mercedes-Benz Forum > Mercedes-Benz Tech Information and Support > Tech Help

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-09-2004, 04:11 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Question Best year for 300CE '90 thru '93

I'm looking to purchase a 300Ce between the years 1990 and 1993 and would like some opinions on the best year in that range and why?

Thank you in advance for your time and advice on this.

Danny
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:53 PM
scottydodah
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up best 300ce

As a 91CE owner (for 5years), I would have to recommend the 90 model, because of it simpler design. Single cam versus twins, I think its a little easier to maintain, cheaper to fix, & work on. Hardly any difference in power or speed. From what I have read the twin cam version was MB's last minute answer to BMW's version, (& not well thought out) do to the cylinder head bolt spacing, etc. They tended to leak more in my opinion, (however I do not claim to be an "expert"). The later 3.2 version did not improve this, they leak oil to. Also I presume that the crapy engine harness problems of 93, also is a problem with these models? I read about the cylinder head design problem (of the twin cam version) in the Mercedes Enthusiast Magazine from the UK. (actually just an letter to the editor, with there reply) I will look this up & get back to this thrd. because I have never read about this on this forum or in the US.
I do love my CE, very fun car to drive. With now 140,000 miles I had a head gasket put in about 4 years ago, (at about 120,000) the original hone marks were still on the cylinder walls, very well made car. I just put in new motor mounts, took out a little ruffness at about 30 MPH, & at startup, engine shook. Were actually looking for another 300 E for my wife, but a sedan,& I will probably purchase the single cam version. I love these cars, & worth every $$$, sorry for the long reply, anymore questions about my CE, feel free to email
Scotty
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-09-2004, 09:34 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,726
I agree with Scotty's point but the single cam was only in 88-89, which if I were you I would consider. 1990 was the first year of new style leather and the twin cam, then 93 the first year of 3.2 twin cam.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-09-2004, 09:50 PM
volosong
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I got the '89 version. Prev reply was correct. The '88 and '89 were the only ones with the M103 engine. The '90 model was the first year with the M104 engine. There were also some other nice changes starting in '90. There is more wood inside, (on the doors and along the entire length of the dash). The seats were a different style also. At least a different covering. Not sure of the exact year, but my '89 (and I'm 100% sure the '88) have a knob on the door to adjust the driver's door rear view exterior mirror. Sometime, they changed this so that both mirrors exterior can be adjusted from the center console switch.

Another minor change is the radio. Can't tell you the exact model numbers ('88 and '89 had Becker #780, subsuquent models have #1480????) Only difference, that I know about is that the "newer" ones have a greenish/greyish band the length of the radio in the middle. Older model was all black.

I'm sure that there are other differences. But, as stated, biggest difference is engine. Older (M103) has 177bhp, newer (M104 3.0) has 217bhp. Problems with each engine are well known. Just search this forum. (I purchased mine not knowing all the differences. Went with a car that had complete service history thinking it is much more important than engine size or wood trim.)

- - - - -

Correction to the above re: radios. Only the '90 model have the 1480 radio. Starting in '91, the radio was a two piece affair. The head unit and another unit (the amp?) mounted under one of the seats. All post '89 radios have that trim "band" across the radio.

- - - - -

Another minor diff. I keep thinking of more of these. The '88 and '89 have Zebrano wood, post '89 have Burl (sp.) wood.

Last edited by volosong; 01-09-2004 at 10:03 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-09-2004, 09:54 PM
volosong
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
If I can add . . . and to be very simplistic . . . the choice is between periodic valve stem guide replacement or periodic head gasket replacement (and wiring harness being replaced once).
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-10-2004, 02:08 AM
scottydodah
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up which 300ce

Man You guys are right!, I should have known this!, maybe I did when I was younger! I can't remember, hell to get older, oh well, sorry for the screw up, anyway I think any of the CE's are great cars....good luck
scotty
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-10-2004, 09:00 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Which one gets the periodic headgasket replacement and which one gets the valve stem replacement?????????
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-10-2004, 11:18 AM
volosong
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm by no way an expert. Most everything I've learned about my CE, I learned from other members of this fourm and their posts. Just read the archives about the W124 cars (well, technically, the coupe is a C124, but nobody would know what you were talking about). Anyway, the M103 engine has the valve stem guide seal "problem" and the early M104 engines have the head gasket and wiring harness "problem". For the coupes, the '88 and '89 cars have the M103 and post '89 have the M104. That's about all I can add. Anything else, just read old posts. Also, since I got a M103, I only read with passing interest items that relate to the M104. Owners of those cars can give more information about if the head gasket indeed need to be replaced at some semi-regular interval. I could be absolutely wrong about this. They can tell you for sure.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-10-2004, 11:26 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Thank You
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-10-2004, 11:35 AM
volosong
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
In case of other questions, I sent the below in response to a PM yesterday. I may be full of it, this is only my opinion and what I've learned for the great people on this forum.

- - - - -

Best to do a search on the forum. This topic has been discussed quite a bit for a long time. What I've learned is from others on the forum. Not by asking questions myself, but reading old posts and learning from other's experiences.

To briefly sum up: The M103 engine has a well known "problem" of valve quide stem seals. They are a weak point on that engine. All M103 engined cars have this feature". That includes the 300E cars as well as the 300SE cars. The coupes only had this engine for the first two model years. Historically, the develepoment of the coupes has been several years ahead of the sedans. Meaning, the coupe got the M104 engine several years before the sedans got them. Coupes always got "stuff" before the sedans did.

I've had my car for one year now. I picked it up with 73k plus miles on the odometer. There is a major service at 75k miles. At that time the valve guide seals were replaced. My mechanic, (Enrique at Mr. MB Motors (do a search about how much people "love" him and his work)) said at that time that the original valve guide seals last about 75,000 miles. When they are replaced, a newer style is installed and that they will last about 100,000 miles. The parts themselves are only around $30, but the labor brings the price up to about $300. And this is at an independent MB mechanic. Dealerships will be much, much more. It is just a weak point on these engines. With proper preventitave maintance, they will go over 300,000 miles without much problem. In fact, some people on the forum say that you will never have to work on the bottom end of the engine. They are that good and tough.

It isn't critical to replace the valve guide seals. If not replaced, you will just burn a lot of engine oil. That is how I found out that they were going out. I never had a car that used oil between oil changes. My coupe was going through a quart about every 1000 or 1500 miles. I was initially told that it was "normal" consumption. Over time, I continued to complain and they were replaced. Since then, I only have to add a quart every 3500 miles. Still more than what I am used to with other cars, but well within acceptable limits for a Mercedes gasser.

Don't think there is anything else specific that is weak on the M103 engine. It has been around for awhile and is fairly simple. Some people complain about the fuel injection system. But, it is not a real criticism about something lacking in them. It is always phrased in, "the x system is so much better".

Now, to the M104 engine . . . there are several well known problems with these engines. They are also well documented in the forum archives. The first of these is the wiring harness. It has been stated, over and over, to only purchase a M104 engine car (up to a certain year, where after that it wasn't a problem) if the wiring harness has been replaced. It has been stated that it is a $800 job. Not sure if that is part or parts with labor. The problem stems from a period in German culture where they were very environmentally consious. The result is that they used "environmentally friendly" wiring in their automobiles (or at least MBZ). The only drawback is that the insulation on the wiring could not withstand the high temperatures in certain areas of the engine bay. The insulation would literally crack and lead to short circuits. The replacement harnesses were of the stronger insulation type and do not have the problem.

To my understanding, this is something that only had to be done once in the cars lifetime. Hence, make sure it has been done before purchasing it.

The other problem with the M104 engine is the head gaskets. Here, I really cannot say what the problem is, or if it can be fixed long term. Since I got a M103 engined car, I haven't paid much attention to this matter, other than it is a topic that seems to come up all the time and is a well known problem with the engine. Again, do a search in the archives to learn more.

Something to ask, and ask to see the reciept for repair work, is the air conditioning "something or other" controller, or whatever it is called. It is located behind the dash and to fix, the dash has to be pulled out of the car. A very expensive job to do. Not all W124 cars have the problem, but worth asking if it has been fixed. Check the a/c carefully when looking at a car. Make sure it blows real cold. Don't take someones word that it only has to be recharged. More likely, it needs to be replaced. To me, if it only needs to be recharged, why didn't they do it! They are hiding something. Maybe it can't be recharged.

All of the above I've learned from reading old posts in the forum. There are great, knowledgeable people who are more than willing to help. But, they really don't like people asking the same questions over and over. That is why I recommend spending a few hours and reading old posts. There is a pretty good search engine for the site and you will learn quite a bit about your car.

For me personally . . . I like the newer coupes better. The wood, the leather, more features, etc. But, it has been stated over and over again . . . it is much, much more important to obtain a car that has been well maintained. The best way to make sure it has been taken care of is to first ask, then look yourself at the maintainance book. Make sure that all the maintainance has been done and done on time. If they don't have the book, pass on the car. That is also a good reason to purchase from a private party. For some reason, dealerships or used car lots never have maintainance records. They always get "lost" somehow, or they say they never received them with the car. Pass on any car that doesn't have records. I can't stress this enough to you! Also, take a car for a PPI (that is Pre-Purchase Inspection). Not at a dealership, but an independent mechanic . . . and make sure it is a Mercedes Benz mechanic. Not some general, run-of-the-mill, any German auto mechanic.

The car I got has a few dings and dents in the body and the paint is fading is several places, but since the mechanics were looked after, I knew that nothing major would fall apart on me anytime soon.

I've been pretty happy with the car. I did have to replace the valve guide seals and the EHA block. The EHA block really didn't need to be replaced, but it was leaking and the recommendation of everybody on the forum was to replace it. Only other thing I've done is put in Sportline sway bars and Bilstein shocks as well as new tires. I've got some Bosch euro lights and corners, but haven't had time to install them yet.

Good luck on our search. There are a lot of 300CE cars out there. Don't be in too much of a hurry to get one. I looked at a whole bunch before getting the one I did. It took several months to find one that I was comfortable with. Paint color is important to me too! Get a color you can live with and be proud of.

Again . . . search the forum and read old posts. You will learn who the knowledgable ones are. You can send them private e-mails and they are more than willing to help. Sorry for going on so long, but you asked . . .

Last edited by volosong; 01-10-2004 at 11:43 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-14-2004, 11:23 AM
glenmore's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 963
I love my 1991 300CE. When looking for a new car, I zeroed in on this body style and tried to find the youngest well maintained example that I could afford. Bought it in June 2002, 112k, for $9500. This was a 100% dealer serviced car and the PO had two new MBs in his driveway so I skipped an inspection. Now have 127k and did just have to do the head gasket plus water pump. This is one of the 2 big repairs to be aware of. The other is the leaky evaporator that requires tearing apart the dash. I think the wire harness problem is with the mid 90's models, not with the 90-93 models. I also had the work done at Mr MB. As an aside he mentioned that the trannies tend to last to 150-175k but not a huge deal as rebuilts can be done for $1500-$1800.
Mine still shifts perfectly. Besides the gasket, all I've done are the front brakes, drag link and a few other minor repairs. I switched out a perfectly good original viscous clutch.

Around here, SoCal, there are plenty of 300CE's to choose from. I would insist on an inspection. After 100k, there are a lot of things that will begin to need attention. Go on an extended test drive. Be sure to turn into driveways and listen for any clunks from the front end. Any hint of oil scum in the coolant overflow tank means head gasket time.

glenmore
1991 300CE
1990 LS400
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-15-2004, 03:00 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 86
300CE Differences

I had an 89 and although it was a great car for the 6 years that I had it, I sold it and got a 92. The important differences that make the 92 better overall are 1) first gear starts and higher rear end ratio so the RPMs are lower on the highway 2) a LOT more power and acceleration. These differences are worth the potential problems with the 104 engine. Furtunately, the 92 had all of the service records from 1994 on and the head gasket had been changed twice. In my opinion, most of the earlier 300E and CEs were geared too low for normal or fast highway driving and the RPMs at 70MPH were much too high. It took MB way too long to figure this out. Craig
PS - don't send me an explaination of MB final gear ratios, the logic would be flawed.
__________________
90 300SL Pearl Gray
92 300CE Smoke Silver
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-15-2004, 05:50 PM
volosong
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
chronodeco,

What are your RPMs at 70MPH? With your CE. Next time I'm on the freeway and have a clear stretch, I'll read my numbers at 70, to compare.

update - 5 Feb 04
Have been out of town the past few weeks. A nice vacation to Hawai'i. Lots of nice W124 cars there. Anyway, last night I ran out my '89 CE on the freeway to check the RPMs at 70MPH. The tachometer registered either 3050 or 3100 RPMs (difficult to tell exactly which) at a constant, cruise controlled 70MPH. So . . . doesn't seem to be any difference between '88 or '89 CEs and post '89 CEs, at least at 70MPH.

Last edited by volosong; 02-05-2004 at 10:51 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-29-2004, 11:34 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 86
RPM at 70MPH

It's turning 3100RPM and 70MPH. Craig
__________________
90 300SL Pearl Gray
92 300CE Smoke Silver
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-29-2004, 12:28 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 3,126
What say we get some statistics straight first?

The W124 coupe for the U.S. Market was manufactured for model years 1988-1995.

There were three different engines used:

1988-1989: 3.0 liter SOHC, 2-valves per cylinder making 177hp

1990-1992: 3.0 liter DOHC, 4-valves/cylinder making 217hp and 195 lb.-ft. torque. This engine redlines at 7,000 rpm.

1993-1995: 3.2 liter DOHC, 4-valves/cylinder making 217hp and 229 lb.-ft. torque. This engine redlines at 6,400 rpm.

All had 4-speed automatic transmissions.

The Sportline Option was available from 1992-1995.

Wiring harness issues began with the 1993 models and continued until 1995 due to the material used (supposed to be more environmentally friendly).

Mercedes-Benz made MANY changes (even some mid-year) to the features of these cars....wood changes, stereo changes plus other cosmetic changes like the shape of the steering wheel, style of alloy wheels, etc.

I have owned a 1991 300CE for 9 years. I bought it Starmarked at 70,000 miles and now have about 188,000 so I've lived through a lot of the issues described on this forum. The most expensive to date have been the oil leak (fixed at 100,000 miles) and the water pump.

*********

Now for my opinion.

Get the newest example with the lowest mileage you can afford. The extra 40hp in the 3.0 and 3.2 liter engines WILL make a difference in terms of power. The car is FAST on the highway (will hit nearly 150mph), but kind of a slug around town, especially with the A/C on. Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz never offered a V8 in this body style from the factory.

Gas mileage is good for 15 year-old technology. I maintain about 21 around town and use this car as my daily driver.

Hope this helps Good luck in your decision!

Last edited by el presidente; 05-12-2009 at 07:59 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts, LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Peach Parts or Pelican Parts Website -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page