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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Most reliable Benz? Tips & suggestions??

I'm going to be after a 90's Benz soon for my fiance to drive, mostly. I'm told that a C, or E Class would be a great car.. what about the W140? I'm curious if there's a particular year that they fixed the electric issues w/ the car.. i want whatever will be most reliable, I'm not fixed on any particular model because hey, it's a Benz!

Tips & Suggestions are welcome, just let me know what specific models i should look for, what year, and any other things to check for, etc.

What's the best investment I can make for around 5-7 thousand? And something SAFE would be nice. (I assume they're all pretty safe cars)
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 11:16 AM
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There are many MBs to tickle your fancy. And yes, they're all pretty safe.
However, opinion is divided on the quality of MB cars post-1996.
The W210 & W202 certainly don't live up to their precedecessors (W124 and W201 respectively), but for many people the feel & image of a newer car is more important.
The W140 is a breathtaking piece of engineering (and incredible value used), but quite enormous. Be warned!

If it were my money, i'd look at:

W201 190-Class (produced until 1993)
W124 E-Class (produced until 1995)
W140 S-Class (produced until 1999)

wouldn't touch the rest with 'yours', as they say.

'93 W201 Euro 1.8568 Signalrot • 16x8J Evolutions
W201 ROTM February 2007

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 11:38 AM
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Probably the W124 about '94-95, the last year of the model run that began in 1986, the bugs were pretty much worked out by then, an E320 would be fine, just mind the wiring harness has no problems (many did) and no head gasket issues, and the AC is blowing cold. These W124 models are believed by many to be the last of the truly ultra high quality Mercedes sedans and coupes, still built when the engineers ruled and not the accountants, and built to a cost no object standard. If you can find one, try out an E420/420E, they give 80% of the high performance of the E500, the ultimate W124, built by Porsche and Mercedes.
The E420 is very polished, VERY quick, and balanced, and handles very well. For every day use, the E320 is fine, and there is a diesel variant sometimes found, if you like the oil burners.
The W140 was a VERY expensive car, over $100,000 when new, (1992-99) with HUGE potential problems, vacuum actuators, airconditioning evaporator failure that required removal of entire dash, 22 hours labor, a $3000 job to fix, soft close doors, computer problems, not expensive used because their manitenance costs can be HUGE (though they are sublime, sweet, safe and comfortable and a delight when they are running well, and the best car to be in, in the mother of all car accidents). If you get a bad example, invest HEAVILY in underwater financial scuba diving gear, you will be over your head fast.

Jim B.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 11:58 AM
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sorry to bust your bubble, but the words "reliable" and "Mercedes" just do not go together. Yes they are well-engineered cars that are safe and stylish, but reliable? There's a saying, the most expensive car money can buy is a cheap Mercedes (without a warranty).

Bottom line, i don't think you'll find a decent MB for $5-7k that'll be nice enough for your fiancee. If you want the relationship to last, either get her a used Honda/Toyota if you're tight on the pocketbook, otherwise lease her a new MB with a warranty.

Goodluck on whatever you decide

Gone but not forgotten:
2003 Honda S2000
1999 BMW 540i sport
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProV1x
There's a saying, the most expensive car money can buy is a cheap Mercedes (without a warranty).
Bottom line, i don't think you'll find a decent MB for $5-7k that'll be nice enough for your fiancee. If you want the relationship to last, either get her a used Honda/Toyota if you're tight on the pocketbook, otherwise lease her a new MB with a warranty.
Your saying is true, but...
Dude wants a Mercedes! He signed up here and everything!
Seriously, a good W124 with service history is within your reach.
Larger engines and acres of leather may not be, but trust me when i say that
a low-spec W124 or W201 is ten times more impressive than any generic Japanese sedan.
A W140 for your budget would likely be the money pit that ends your engagement, i'd play safe and look at late (91-93) 2.6 litre W201 cars and 91-95 W124s (2.8 litres or 3.2 litres).
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ProV1x
sorry to bust your bubble, but the words "reliable" and "Mercedes" just do not go together. :

I don't agree with this. My w126 has given me many years of excellent service.

I would suggest you look at the w126's. You can get an excellent example in your price range. They are fairly easy to work on, the manual is available from Mercedes for $20, and the guys on the w126 forum are very knowledgeable.

Mike
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 02:18 PM
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For the latest years possible and the most reliable:

1989-1991 w126
1994-1995 w124

Pick your engine. Just remember, they're very reliable, but it'll still cost $1,000-$2,000 a year to keep on the road because of the age. And because of the age issue, I'd recommend a 1995 w124 - the newer, the better.

- Brian



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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by POS
For the latest years possible and the most reliable:

1989-1991 w126
1994-1995 w124

Pick your engine. Just remember, they're very reliable, but it'll still cost $1,000-$2,000 a year to keep on the road because of the age. And because of the age issue, I'd recommend a 1995 w124 - the newer, the better.
The W126 of all years were reliable. The only weak point was the climate control unit.
Of course the timing chains had to be dealt with every 100K miles on the V8's, the 6-cylinder gasser liked to eat plugs every 15K, and went through valve guides/seals often. And the 6-cylinder diesel would crack its head if overheated just once.

The earlier 300E's were the best. They were far more agile than the later 24-valve versions, and had equal performance for acceleration with a similar top speed. Still, the earlier 300E achieved slightly less fuel economy than the E320.

The later W124's go through head gaskets often, have disintegrating wiring harnesses, have a PITA electronic throttle control unit, and they really are a BEAR to work on with the engine guts being jammed in there so tight. I've literally lost buckets of blood trying to work on these things.

I loathe the W124 M104, simply because of poor space management. The 210 M104 is laid out SO much better.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-01-2006, 04:12 PM
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The earlier 300E's were the best. They were far more agile than the later 24-valve versions, and had equal performance for acceleration with a similar top speed. Still, the earlier 300E achieved slightly less fuel economy than the E320.
The later W124's go through head gaskets often, have disintegrating wiring harnesses, have a PITA electronic throttle control unit, and they really are a BEAR to work on with the engine guts being jammed in there so tight. I've literally lost buckets of blood trying to work on these things.
I loathe the W124 M104, simply because of poor space management.
That's the best piece of W124 buying info i've heard in a very long time.
Was recently considering a W124 Wagon, and many advised me to buy as late a car as possible.
However, the earlier cars have tougher interiors.
Nice to hear they're easier to maintain too. I think they're one of the biggest bargains out there.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the tips, i think i'll look for a 95 E Class... although i could find a newer model E Class around my budget, it would have higher milage. Do you think that the newer body E Class is just as reliable? Or am i better off with the 95?
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