Date registered: Mar 2007
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My cheap Mercedes...
I paid $500 for a running 190D with about 150k miles. Body very good (some rust), interior very good, everything working but not necessarily very well. The engine wasn't running right, the transmission was funky and leaked a bit. I'm a mechanical engineer and former auto mechanic, so I knew what I was getting into. I was confident I could get the engine going well, and hoped I could live with the transmission for a year or so.
I replaced a lifter in the engine and got it running well. Within a week or two of driving the car the AC compressor siezed. Then the transmission started to leak so badly I'd be spending more on ATF than on fuel.
I'm now just about $2000 total into the car, including the purchase price. I have done all the work myself, buying parts at wholesale, and not paying for any labor. I've rebuilt the transmission, replaced all the rear suspension links, fixed some minor electrical issues, etc. Still have to replace a front ball joint, do the compressor (and flush the system, convert to 134...), new tires by the middle of summer I'd guess, and I'm sure other things will crop up. I imagine it would have been $4000 or more if I had to pay labor.
Still happy though! It's a great car!