to buy or not to buy...and buy what?!? - Page 2 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 04:53 PM
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Don't let previous misconceptions about diesels cloud your view of them! New generations diesels have two batteries and are equipped with a glow plug activator that typically starts when you open the door. The result is incredible fast glow times, even in cold weather. I have started both our diesels on very cold days with no engine block heater. Diesel fuel is blended differently in the winter, so gelling has never been an issue either.

MB currently offers the R class, ML and GL class in diesels. Fuel mileage is typically 25+ mpg for a large SUV. The R class is a nice crossover that is perfect for someone who hates a minivan but wants something lower than an SUV. They are all 4 matics. Find a nice demo model and finance it. Probably over your budget, but worth it in the long run. If you are still biased against diesel, get the gaser.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 05:03 PM
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She wants a wagon, not an SUV/CUV. Any newer CDi diesel will be well out of her price range.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-22-2007, 05:30 PM
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i would say a 98-2000 e class wagon 4matic. as a mb tech i have found little problems with these mostly suspension work which if your husband is a halfway desent with his hands these problems are nothing. the elecrical is basic before 2001 after even after there not to bad but they use fiber optic. these are you best bet.
1. all wheel drive
2. still look good.(not like driving a boxy 124 body)
3. very DIY friendly
3. can find them with 60-80,000 miles for under 20k
4. parts are a dime a dozen. some many people have this model that parts a plenty full
alot of 124 parts are becoming hard to find. trust me i know my shop is a classic repair shop speacializing in fixing those old buckets
good luck searching..


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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I would definitely consider a diesel if I could afford a modern one that didn't have the 'cold start' limitations that the 70's-80's vintages had. (I grew up outside of DC and even down there, my Dad was always pluggin' in the heater to assure it would start on cold mornings...) No chance a vintage diesel would work up here in the 'tundra' as my Dad calls it . Ahh...I still love the purring sound of those older diesel engines though...

Besides, I think NY has still put the kibosh on new diesels (never mind the fact that Europeans have been successfully using new diesel technology for years...and never mind the fact that diesel fuel isn't as refined and therefore costs less fossil fuels to produce than regular gasoline...nor that they do not emit nearly as many pollutants as earlier models...NY in it's infinite wisdom has vetoed the most responsible and green automotive advance in decades.) I suspect though that they'll figure out a way to add a higher tax rate to diesel fuel, making the temptation way to great ... Once they merrily calculate all that added revenue, the ink won't be able to dry fast enough on the approval stamp. Gotta love NY...

Sounds like..putting everyone's advice together...

I should look for a 99-02 E320 4matic, (if I've got my translations right in my head here, that would be a W210...right?) avoid 03-05's...06-07's are out of my price range ...and I should be looking for a cherry one that has been well maintained due to the issues of the 'lifetime' tranny fluid. I should expect some potential problems with the rear window motors but the major issues of rust etc are really more RWD related. Check for pitting and spot rust near windows/doors etc...Anything else?

What about buying from an auction (ie Manheim) vs. buying from a dealer vs. buying from ebay vs buying from a private seller? Someone recommended requiring a PPI (is that the right acronym)...Sounds like that really works only on private seller deals...right?

One other last question. I read on another thread that there was information out there about specific dealers and their service areas reputation. Am I correct and if so where do I find this? There is a MB dealer in Fayetteville, NY not far from where I live and have thus far been happy to know there is someone nearby who is capable of doing some of the more complicated servicing. How do I check them out? Are there rating/reputation forums on dealerships somewhere?

Ya'll have been great and have offered terrific insight. I am so excited to own my very own silver star ...Now I just need to put on my hunting gear and track down that perfect car....

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 03:40 AM
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W124 320TE wagon, 1993-1995 very good choice

The responses here are all pretty much spot on, and informative.

My vote would be for a really, really superb condition, unrusted 1993-95 320TE wagon, with all books and records, and low miles, preferably from Southern California, which has the best climate agreeable for their preservation, best supply mechanics, and enthusiast owners.

Even with $1,000 added for shipping back east, this would be the best bet.

1994 and 1995 get you the Euro style headlights, which are so much better, and a subtly redesigned grille and hood.

The W124 is unquestionably the last E class series that were engineer conceived and built, and have the build quality, guaranteed longevity, freedom from elecdtonic overkill, and durability that made the company famous.

The 4 matic in the W124 was complex, and troublesome and a fortune to repair. The first year, the 1991, was an utter horror.

The W124 wagon with a diesel engine was available ONLY for 1987, in the USA and the prices are sky high on them because they are rare, and the biodiesel craze and the high cost of gasoline.

Anything later than the W124 in the E class is a trap for the unwary.

Nice ones abound, but SO do electric, computer and all manner of other troubles,including rust. That was the beginning of the market driven Mercedes, which were built to a price point, and were literally built "cheap", unlike W124 and earlier cars, built to the founders's slogan "The Best - or Nothing"

<--- superschnelle 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV, Hochverdichtung = high compression (11/2011) ... Wie im Freien Fall. Nur horizontal.

"I swear to god, it's like I live in a trailer of common sense, and stare out the window at a tornado of stupidity." >'='<
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 06:27 AM
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Massachusetts, like NY, jumped on the California emmisions bandwagon. While the law does not allow you to purchase a brand new diesel, you can bring one into the state with 7,500+ miles. While this may not help you now due to your cost restrictions, it is definitely something to consider for your future. A 50 state diesel is also in the works for 2008. has a used vehicle search feature for cars at dealers. They tend to keep the better cars and auction off the ones with higher miles, or damage history. That is the risk at the auction houses, you really don't know what you are getting. A car from the dealer will typically be a trade that was purchased their, and possibly be certified.

If you go private party, a PPI is always a good idea. The dealer, or a good independent mechanic can do this for short money.

Good luck
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 08:40 AM
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'nough said...

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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-23-2007, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cascade View Post
My vote would be for a really, really superb condition, unrusted 1993-95 320TE wagon, with all books and records, and low miles, preferably from Southern California, which has the best climate agreeable for their preservation, best supply mechanics, and enthusiast owners.
Good idea - a Southern California car. But watch out for the ones that were too close to the ocean - they'll be rusty. And watch out for the ones that have had the lower cladding painted, badly, as so many of them have. And watch out for the ones with chrome wheels - because it degrades the strength of the wheel, and they won't hold air as they age. And watch out for the ones with 17 to 20 inch wheels - they ride like crap and the tires have a very short life. And watch out for the high miles cars, especially the ones showing low miles. There must be at least a dozen cars that don't have any of these issues. Good luck.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-24-2007, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mbforcyndi View Post
Hello all you wise and knowledgeable MB owners...

Need some advice.

43 yo Mom looking for a WAGON to haul around a 5yo, an infant and a 100lb dog on lots of road trips (as we like to say, we're like visa...6 hours from anywhere you want to be . Live in UPSTATE LOTS of snow.

I am not going to buy another gas guzzling SUV (been there done that) nor am I willing to go back to a minivan (been there and done that too). Having started the kid thing later in life, I am looking for a slightly more luxurious ride that perhaps the average sippy-cup carting crowd.

I have loved MB since my Dad bought his first in the late 70's. Dream car was a MB 300TD wagon even then. (Have looked at those used but dh says no way on the diesel because it gets too cold around here. No where to plug in a block warmer while on the ski slopes...)

Hubby is very handy with vehicles and in the past has done quite a bit of our maintenance although he has been taking his A4 to the dealer instead of repairing himself. I suspect we will do some repairs ourselves and take others to dealer.

I am interested in a USED E320 4matic but have NO idea what year to look for or avoid. I know there are issues with some years but there are lots of differing opinions about which ones. Help knowing what things to check mechanically would be great too.

Need to keep the price under 20K and would prefer under 15k. Miles don't scare me as much as things like premature rusting and other serious flaws.

Advice? (Please don't tell me to buy a Subaru...saw the earlier post on that...) I have test driven almost everything else on the market and either hate the plastic/fake interiors or am turned off by the less than 20 highway mpg that most wagon/crossovers are getting. (I pretty much have my heart set on a mb....



I think now is the prefect time to shop for the 2007 MB cars/SUVs if you are open for colors. We just got a CLK350 fully loaded with $48K out of door from Pleasanton, CA. The sale person also was willing to give me a E class for 49K out of door but I dont like the color. Look into the Internet for the dealers nears you and you migh find one with big sale. It ranges from $5000-$10000 discount now. As for the maintain service goes, I had looked under the hood, MB is way too different compare to the Japanese/American cars. I do all maintaining works for my MDX upto 120k miles without any problem(even with the timing belt). Need to start over with the MB.
By the way, does anybody know if the first maintain service is due at 13k
miles? I think the break-in for my MDX is 5k.

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