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  #1  
Old 07-13-2000, 01:20 AM
Leon Hernandez
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Hey gang, was talking to a MB tech about our 300SD when the C280 was mentioned. A silence resulted and then he proceeded to share with me no specifics but rather generalities that the 104 engine was the shortest production run engine due to having to many problems. Then he recommended the 103 eng.up to 93' or the 95 on up V-6. So far I'm happy with the C280 (94) she flat out gets up to 125 easy and sips fuel at about 24.5 @ 75/85 on I-10 to Austin, so this kid is sat. B-u-t that seed of doubt has been planted and would appreciate valued opinions.
Best regards to all, Leon H.
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2000, 06:59 AM
clarkc
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I have a 93 300E 2.8,this is an incrediable engine.the only real problem is the headgasket.One of the best engines they made''Car runs strong to 125mph'''
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2000, 09:05 AM
Alain V.'s Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: KS.
Posts: 459
At our shop, not only do we repair & service benzes,,,,but we sell them also. It has gotton to the point that we completely avoid the cars with the 104 engine! It's very simple,,,we can not afford to sell these cars and stay in business. I have had well maintained, nice cars, (just out of factory warranty) spew head gaskets,engine comp wiring harness die for no reason,etc,etc.

We get alot of cars direct from MBZ credit corporation (star car program), and they recently revised their "arbitration list" to not include any head gasket failures. In other words,,, so many of the stinkin things are pouring, that if you are unluicky enough to have bought one,,,it's your baby!

There is a large dealership about 70 miles east of me, who has a budget "set aside" and a tech who does replace the gaskets on a "goodwill" status, depending on miles etc.
The other big problem I have seen is with the wiringharness in the engine compartment. They just totally disentagrate inside the plastic shrouding and start to short out.

I've been working on benzes for almost 20 years now, and (alot of experienced MB techs will admit "in private") that the 104 didn't measure up to the quality standards we have all come to expect.

Disagree with me, be mad, whatever(I'm not trying to tick anyone off),,,,,I'm just being totally honest with you all as to my experiences (and two local dealers) with this series engine.


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  #4  
Old 07-13-2000, 11:05 AM
engatwork's Avatar
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Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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This is interesting about the 104 head gasket. I purchased mine used with 81,000 miles and got a copy of the service records and see where the head gasket was replaced at 65,000. Was there an upgrade to keep this from happening once it is replaced the first time? Can I expect it to blow another one at around 120,000 miles? I'm glad that I do all of my own mechanical work and would not feel at all uncomfortable with changing a head gasket. I would be pissed if any of my Hondas had ever blown a head gasket at 65,000 miles.
engatwork
'95 E320
'97 Honda CR-V
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2000, 01:17 PM
Leon Hernandez
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Thanks for the replys all. Nah can't get angry just because I did not hear what I wanted to hear! Financially though I can't get out of this one and trade off for another. Lord willing though I can start making plans for trading this one in in the near future. My credit union will finance an used vehicle back to 93' maybe 94' by next year. So, here goes a loaded quetion (with a budget of up to 18-20k)what is a good alternative? We started out with a 85 300SD and have had injector pump problems (had to replace,ouch!) now this so am getting a bit discouraged. I'd like to 'enjoy' the vehicle and not spend all my spare time 'tinkering' to keep them running. IF I had a budget for a hobby car then that would be OK. So, again I set myself up and will brace myself for the recommendations. Well at least that way I can work towards a budget too. A 300/400 series for long trips and commutes. Thanks again! Leon
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  #6  
Old 07-13-2000, 03:49 PM
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JCE JCE is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: So Kalifornia
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I have just gone throught this question/answer process with my tech. I told him I would be looking for another w124, he told me that the m103 6 I have is pretty good - he likes it better than the m104 6. He said the w124 cars he likes the best are the 4 and 5 liter v-8 cars - for power, economy, and reliability he feels they have an edge over either of the 6 cars. He encouraged me to look for a clean 400E or E420 if I couldn't afford a 500E. (I could get into soooo much trouble with a 500E!!!)

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JCE
87 300E, 65k miles
Smoke Silver
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  #7  
Old 07-13-2000, 08:48 PM
Alain V.'s Avatar
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Location: KS.
Posts: 459
If you want a great 124 chassis car in the price range you mentioned, find a well maintained 400e and you will be very happy.
The 400e/e420 is a great car,for a little more money (initially) than the 6-cyl.

I have a few 400's that I service with over 150k on them, and the most common problem they have had is the little hose between the steering resevoir and the pump leaked. Actually it wasn't even the hose, it was the clamps. Talk about a cheap and easy fix,,,two small hose clamps and that's it.

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  #8  
Old 07-13-2000, 10:33 PM
engatwork's Avatar
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Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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I find it hard to believe that the 104 (in the 124 chassis) is as bad of an engine as ya'll say. On the other hand I would not have expected to replace a head gasket at 65,000 miles. Surely, everyone on here that is a mechanic can offer some words of encouragement for this engine/chassis combination. MB has been building in-line sixes for how many years and now come to find out that they put one out there that is not quite as good as some of the others.
wow
engatwork
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2000, 10:41 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suwanee, GA, USA
Posts: 4,712
I think that the 104 is one of the best engines. The wire harness will be replaced under a goodwill for 120k miles at our local dealer. The have done hundreds for us...As for the head gasket, yes, one in 3 will fail early, especially if the engine has ever been run at all hot or has not had coolant changes....

Other than that, they do not go through valve jobs or use oil, they have alot of power...

I think that the few problems that they had can be overcome and you get a great package.

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Benzmac:
Donnie Drummonds
1991 GMC Syclone
ASE CERTIFIED MASTER AUTO TECHNICIAN
SERVICE MANAGER FOR 14 BAY FACILITY
MERCEDES SPECIALIST 8 YRS
PARTNER IN MERCEDESSHOP.COM
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2000, 11:26 PM
Leon Hernandez
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Once again! the MB pros/owners and lovers of fine autos come thru! I cannot thank you all enough for your insight and experience. Here in South Texas we've been averaging 99-107f per the interior temp indicator, so the coolant maintenance is high priority. That was done as soon as we came back from the hill country. And we'll probably start budgeting for that 400E/E420 (m-m-m man can I get in trouble! )
So, with all that said think I'm going over board by having a fan in my garage blow air towards the grill every time it gets parked in there? I know we can't help it out and about but I sure am new to this class of autos and the engine heat soak makes me marvel that that they last as well as they do. So not sure if I'm babying it too much with the fan. Guess it's the nuclear maint. mentallity in me over kill on most everything! Thanks ya'll happy motoring

Leon H
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2000, 11:38 PM
metricman
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Time for my two cents.

Yes the m104 leaks oil from the cam cover and the head gasket. If the job is properly done (with the black MB sealer) they do not leak. All of the m103 engines leaked from the cam covers. I saw alot them being resealed at the 15,000 mile service.
The 103 also had valve seals problems. We did hundred's of them and it was not uncommon to have bad cams and rockers. I have not done any valve seals or even camshafts on any 104 engines. I have done a dozen cam/rockers on the new m112 and m113 engines.
Yes, a ton of 104 engine wiring harnesses have gone bad. They could be tough to diagnose because they would not always have the same symptoms.
Ah, but the benefits. As mentioned, the 104 has a nice power curve, and I love the nice smooth idle. I have always been disappointed with the way the 103, and all CIS cars, idle. It was a genuine pleasure to have a smooth idling 104 engine after so many years of less then desirable 103.
Yes, we have seen idle problems from coils (May Christie) in the early production, and plug insulator problems. But the electronic fuel injected 104, whether it be HFM or ME2.1 is without a doubt a great improvement over the time honored 103.
Yes the 103 is very reliable, but the 104 has my vote, hands down. When my 300DT turbo wears out, I will skip past the 103 and go to the 104.


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  #12  
Old 07-13-2000, 11:56 PM
ARJAY
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Please, where can I get more info on the wiring harness problem and what to look for to try and catch any problems early.
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  #13  
Old 07-14-2000, 12:57 AM
Aaron's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,935

To add another note to this thread....

As you all know, one of my cars in the stable is a '93 300E 2.8. I absolutely love it, and when I went looking for a 124 chassis car, I remembered the wonderfully smooth 104 motor in the limited run 300E 2.8. I have driven many an E320 and many a 300E with the 103 motor but when the final decision came, the 104 won hands down. Extremely smooth and certainly powerful. We just returned from a trip to Atlanta with the 2.8 and it ran like a top the entire way there and back. Right now, it's at 64,000 miles and no trouble to report. There's some slight seepage at the rear corner of the head, but that's normal, and everything else is cherry. In my opinion, the 2.8 motor was the best match for the 124 chassis (save the 500E).


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Rgds,
Aaron Greenberg
MB technician
Precision Motorcars, Cincinnati, Ohio
'67 250SE Cabriolet
'77 450SL
'80 300SD
'85 380SE
'86 420SEL
'89 420SEL
'93 300E 2.8
'74 Jensen Interceptor Mk.III
'81 DeLorean DMC12
'84 BMW 745i Turbo
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  #14  
Old 07-14-2000, 10:10 AM
LarryBible
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Great thread!

Since I'm such a nice guy, I guess I will be obligated to take one of these lemon 104 engined 124's off someone's hands for a few thousand. After all, I certainly don't want some poor guy living a nightmare.

Leon, are you ready to get this junky thing out of your garage, and put two or three thousand in your pocket at the same time? Just kidding, keep up that Nuclear maintenance mentality, and you'll be driving this beautiful automobile forever. Enjoy it.

Good luck,

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Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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  #15  
Old 07-14-2000, 03:24 PM
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Posts: 117
Leon wrote: "...So, with all that said think I'm going over board by having a fan in my garage blow air towards the grill every time it gets parked in there?..."

Leon, you're not alone. In the hot weather, whenever I pull my cars into the garage, I pop the hood and leave it up -- since there's no underhood light, it doesn't hurt anything. It lets the heat out, and (IMHO) will make some underhood components (rubber, plastic) last a little bit longer. And, as I glance inside, maybe I'll spot a little problem before I get a nasty surprise out on the road.
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