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Old 10-15-2000, 09:04 PM
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I've had 2 W124 300Es, a '90 and currently an '88 model year. I plan to keep the '88, but am seriously thinking of getting a '92 500E.
I've run a Carfax and it's clean, not even a history of auction action. But, and here's where I get nervous, what can I expect to be charged by dealers and independents for the scheduled services at 15k and 30k? Also, I know that I should have the chain stretch measured, have the chain tensioner, the belt tensioner, hoses and belts, rubber
suspension pieces, engine mounts, transmisson seals and gaskets, cam cover gasket, etc., checked, as well as having the shop that does the PPI check the undercarriage of the car for rust, wear, suspension and exhaust pieces. I also need them to check the cooling system (to see if the owner has been using MB antifreeze or the "green stuff"), and also have a compression test run, and based on that, maybe even a leakdown test. Am I missing anything? (probably) If so, what can I reasonably expect to look out for in the next six months to one year of ownership with this car? I know you don't have a crystal ball, but stuff like the water pump, alternator, fuel pump, etc. Are there any problems endemic to the '92 500E that I should be aware of? Is there a "500E" registry or anything like that where I could get more detailed, model specific information?
Thanks very much,
Tom Reynolds

[This message has been edited by Thom (edited 10-18-2000).]
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Old 10-15-2000, 09:08 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 530
500Es can be money pits if they aren't perfect. Everything costs 10 times as much to maintain.
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Old 10-16-2000, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 398
I have taken a different approach you may want to consider. I also love the W124 and bought a 1994 E420 that I now call an E420+ because it has 500 suspension with the exception of the hydraulic self-leveling set up in the rear. The E420's in stanard form are way too softly sprung but have a fantastic - and powerful - engine. 275 horses are plenty if you convert, as I did, after much research.

I am delighted with the result which looks and handles great. The relative economics are compelling. The other "responder's" point about parts is true; rear sway bar bushings on the E420 are $4 each and $27 each on the 500's.

I have a 1986 190E 2.3-16 which has the same rear hydraulics as the 500. Boy are they a tedious and expensive pain. I am retrofitting an Eibach rear sway bar and to-be-determined rear shocks to get away from that system.

Charley Cleaver
1986 190E 2.3-16
1994 E420+

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Old 10-17-2000, 01:39 AM
Senior Canadian Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 827
well...i'm not entirely sure that you need to be too worried about the 500E. those m119 engines are pretty close to bulletproof. the tranys and the running gear as well. Remember, all that stuff came off of the R129 and the 500E is 10% lighter than that car is.

true, they can be expesnive to maintain, but that's only if you need engine or tranny work...and regardless of what car it is, that sort of thing is ALWAYS expensive. Regular maintenance is quite fact, the routine maintenance schedule is not very different than that of the 300E. and don't forget...ALL of the parts are standard MB parts and are available through the dealer.

When considering the purchase of a 500E check all of the regular things to determine what kind of care (or neglect) the car has been subject to. All of the usual caveats apply.

The timing chain isn't a huge concern with these cars...unless they've been abused. after 100,000 miles they MAY have worn to the point on needing replacement, but that is not common. the only other thing that MAY need checking would be the suspension bushings.

If you want a good guide on how to pick a 500, pick up the June 1999 issue of european car magazine. it's the first of 5 "ultra buys" and it covers the 500E in pretty good detail, and tells you what to look out for.

the only thing the article DOESN'T mention is that some people have had problems with the brakes on '92 and early '93 cars. initially the 500E was equipped with aluminum 4 pot calipers by Brembo and 295mm rotors. in some cases, this combo would warp rotors under heavy use. also this system was prone to making excess noise because of the flexing of the calipers. later models used 500SL brakes which are cast iron 4 pot calipers made by ATE mated to 300mm rotors...and even later models used 600SL brakes...same calipers, but the rotors were 320mm.

One of our cars has the original aluminum calipers and the other has the 600SL brakes on it. neither of them have been problematic, but this varies from car to car, and it seems that the dealer's respose was at each dealer's discretion. some dealers warrantied the brake upgrades while others would not admit that there was a problem with the early brakes.

Again, evaluate each car individually as these things vary from car to car.

hope this helps.


Yen-Hsen Liem
'93 500E black pearl/black leather; 89,000km; 245/45-ZR17 Michelin Pilot SX; 17x8.25 factory EvoII
'93 500E bornit(blackberry)/black leather; 69,000km; european delivery; 245/45-ZR17 Michelin Pilot SX; 17x8.25 factory EvoII
'88 560SL desert taupe/dark brown leather; 89,000km; Euro headlights
'87 190E 2.3-16 black pearl/black leather; 55,000mi; Euro headlights
'70 280SL white/red; 135,000mi (original); factory alloys; Euro headlights

[This message has been edited by yhliem (edited 10-17-2000).]
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Old 10-18-2000, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 92
My problems were a leaking power steering hose and rattling from the burl walnut trim.

Like "yhliem" said, all the parts are standard Mercedes. You will pay a little more for routine services but considering what the 500E gives you in's well worth it.
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Old 10-18-2000, 06:56 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 380
Mr. Devil;

What was the cause of the rattling from the burl walnut trim? I am currently experiencing the same thing!

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Old 10-18-2000, 07:32 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2,699
If it's the door wood rattling, it's because the nuts holding it in place have loostened. Requires pulling the door panel & retightening...I strongly suggest using thread locking compound, as I did.

All the best, Michael
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Old 10-18-2000, 10:33 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 92
Yup just like Michael said, the clip or nut came loose. Mercedes addressed this because they said if the clip or nut was broken then it was covered under warranty. It unfortunately was not broken, so they added a touch of "glue" or something. It's been okay for several years now.

However I do have a new mystery sound which sounds like it's coming from behind the passenger airbag????

It sounds like something very small because it reverberates / oscillates at a very high rate. I hope it's not the connection for the airbag!

[This message has been edited by Blue Devil (edited 10-18-2000).]
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Old 10-18-2000, 11:01 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 688
Because you ran a CARFAX don't think you are free and clear and the car you searched will have a clean title. I ran one last night on the 400E I bought on Oct.4 at a salvage auction. Carfax sent me a report that said the car has a clean title and it also missed the NC inspection done on 10/30/99. I asked them about their 'guarantee' of clean titles which says they will pay for one that is reported as clean but is found not to be. They will pay 10% up to $1000 tops of the wholesale value of the vehicle. They said that they don't pay individuals but would happily return my fee! What a bunch of liars.
This is internet fraud as their policy does NOT state this. The FBI will be next in line and a lawsuit.

The jist of it is, DON'T TRUST THEM.

Tobias MB
300CE, C280Sport, 400E, 190/5.0
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