Looking for advice on my first Mercedes! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for advice on my first Mercedes!

Hi everyone! I posted a while back when I was getting into Mercedes. I have a 2004 Volkswagen Golf but due to recent events and the overall state of the brand, I'm not so sure I want to stay with that company. I've been loyal and a huge fan for years now but I can't deal with the direction they're going. Anyway, I'm selling my car. As a high school student with pretty well-off parents who both drive German luxury cars, I'm ready to join the club. They gave me a budget of whatever is left over from the sale of my car, plus some repairs on their end.

That said, here's what I'm looking for. I want ANY sort of Mercedes hatchback, sedan, or wagon. Preferably not any older than 1990 and no newer than 2004. My budget is $4,000 and I'm not looking for anything perfect- and before you say "that's too small a budget!" I just want to let you know that I'm not expecting something super nice. As long as it has a general reputation for NOT falling to pieces at the sight of daily use (I don't drive my cars in the winter. I have an F30 3-Series for that). I just want the be a part of the Mercedes community and enjoy the wonderful engineering that goes into every one of them.

So, I just need some info on what I should be looking for. If any of you have any info on what specific cars to stay away from, what ones to lean towards, etc, I'd love to hear it. Thank you!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 01:41 PM
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Hello and I'm glad to see you leaving the world of VW. Not the greatest designed german vehicle. If you are looking for a solid Mercedes-Benz... I would first recommend a 2001 E320 or E430. 2001-2002 was when they had the kinks worked out. The engine and transmission are solid in those vehicles. That model is known as the 210 chassis. After the 210 chassis was the 211 chassis. The first couple years of the 211 chassis were a disaster. The brake system was electrohyrdaulic and had many recalls. There were also gateway and other module issues. The 210 gives you simplicity with the trademark Mercedes-Benz engineering at the same time. The maintenance is relatively affordable. Synthetic oil change every 8-10k I would recommend with air filter and cabin filter changes occasionally. The transmission is supposed to be lifetime fill. That isn't really true, a flush on those transmission is recommended every 40-50k. It is a comfortable and fairly simple Benz to have. I'd like to have one of those myself soon. Hope this helps.

Mark
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 02:03 PM
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A bit older than 1990 but take a look at the 300E. The m103 engine is solid if you can get maintenance records with it.

Mike
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hello and I'm glad to see you leaving the world of VW. Not the greatest designed german vehicle. If you are looking for a solid Mercedes-Benz... I would first recommend a 2001 E320 or E430. 2001-2002 was when they had the kinks worked out. The engine and transmission are solid in those vehicles. That model is known as the 210 chassis. After the 210 chassis was the 211 chassis. The first couple years of the 211 chassis were a disaster. The brake system was electrohyrdaulic and had many recalls. There were also gateway and other module issues. The 210 gives you simplicity with the trademark Mercedes-Benz engineering at the same time. The maintenance is relatively affordable. Synthetic oil change every 8-10k I would recommend with air filter and cabin filter changes occasionally. The transmission is supposed to be lifetime fill. That isn't really true, a flush on those transmission is recommended every 40-50k. It is a comfortable and fairly simple Benz to have. I'd like to have one of those myself soon. Hope this helps.

Mark
Thank you so much! Really good to hear. I absolutely love the W210 E-Class, particularly the V6 since it sounds cool and pulls decently. I'll start looking
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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A bit older than 1990 but take a look at the 300E. The m103 engine is solid if you can get maintenance records with it.
I will definitely give that a look. The W124 was over engineered and I LOVED that. A wagon would be great
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 05:41 PM
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A $4,000 wagon would not be.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 07:08 PM
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From owning a number of models through the years, I would advise staying as far away from a W210 or cars built from 1996-2005. The quality is just not there as it is with most of the earlier models. That said, there are a few decent options. The best W124 will be the 94-95 models, as they had all the bugs worked out and were putting them together very well. The fit and finish is also what one expects from Mercedes. The other good model is a W140 from 96-99. There were some issues with earlier models (biodegradable wire harness) that were fixed after 95. These are Lux cars, and VERY well appointed and built. The 420 is a good V8, or look at the 320 six. Not the best mileage, but pretty close to 18-20mpg highway.

The W220 is a copy of a korean car, with the same build and finish. Could be the other way around, that korean cars are like the W220. Bad plastic, fuzz instead of real headliner/cabin material, just a let down from having owned Benz cars when they were built to last.

A "C" series could be viable. It was the next model up from the W201 (190). Made after 1993 I think. No wire issues, very sporty, middle of the road build quality, but better than the newer junk. The 190 would be a really good car, since by 93 they had worked all the bugs out, the cars were solid. Only downside is that being the low rung of the ladder, owners tended to drive the crap out of them and not take good care. Finding a well tended W201 could be a very good investment. Diesel would be even better. Look for a 2.5 for more power, as the 2.2 was a but anemic. Very high MPG in the 36-39 range.

my $0.02

Clay

74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'76 300D - Voldemort
'95 E300D - Cleo
'72 220D - Gump
'87 300SDL - POS SDL

92 300SE - #1 boys ride
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 07:54 PM
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My preference for a first timer who wants to learn about his car is

1) 1981-1985 W126 300SD with the turbocharged Diesel OM617 *
2) 1986-1987 W126 300 SDL with the more sophisticated OM603 turbo Diesel. Nothing like the long wheel base S Class from the '80s!*
3) Any W123 Turbo Diesel
These are all bullet proof cars that can be had in your budget
4) W114/W115 more classic looking cars from the early '70s (some have twin carbs so that in itself is an education)
5) R107 (450SL, 280SL,380SL) canbe found in your $4000 range, but they are more cramped under the hood (except the 280 with the M110 six) and so harder to work on, but they are timeless beauties*

*Owned or own one

Just look for rust as it kills the older MBs

Current:
Reggie 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Monika '74 450 SL
BrownHilda '79 280 SL ex-Zender
Scarlett 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4wd
FoxyCleopatra '99 Chevy Suburban
Krystal 2004 Volvo S60
Gone:
Rudolf ‘86 300SDL
Bruno '81 300SD
Fritzi '84 BMW
'06 Volvo S60 AWD turbo
'97 Jeep GC
'96 Volvo 960
'96 Impala SS
'92 Subaru Legacy wagon
'74 Jeep CJ5
'71 Buick GS conv
'67 GTO conv
'63 Corvair conv
'57 Nomad
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 09:56 PM
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+1 JNL

OP though has a limitation that it has to be from past 25 years. The early models in diesel are far superior to the new stuff. His desires would be met with a w124 TD or the 85 TD. An SD would be ok, but the w140 SD was a rod bender. If he REALLY wants to get to know and learn, I think the W115 300D is perfect. They were simple and very easy to work on. Some rust issues, but good sheet metal and basic, so you can feel ok working on them. Lighter than a W123, so power goes to the wheels. Getting a manual would be better HP to the wheels.

The SL is more hassle than it is worth. Especially for a kid. The V8 sucks fuel, the 280SL is very sought after, but too euro for getting parts. The 380SL need engine work unless dual chain was installed. The 560SL is big money since it is the best appointed.
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Clay

74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'76 300D - Voldemort
'95 E300D - Cleo
'72 220D - Gump
'87 300SDL - POS SDL

92 300SE - #1 boys ride
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-13-2015, 11:56 AM
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By not going back to the 1980s he is missing out on some of the best built and most reliable cars ever made (W123, W126)
My recommendation is to not have a too old date, but look at the condition of the car and what records it has, & etc. I would never have bought the 1974 450SL unless I did research first. It had 206,000 well cared for miles on it when I got it. The '79 280SL followed me home and was more of an impulse.

I agree thast the R107 is the biggest pain in the butt in my list, but when they are running right, they are the sweetest things and still look great (at least to me)

My Diesels were the best cars I had ever owned and I wish I still had them. Rust finally took my 1981 300SD and an ex-wife got the 1986 300SDL.
Both had over well 300K on them last time I saw

Current:
Reggie 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Monika '74 450 SL
BrownHilda '79 280 SL ex-Zender
Scarlett 2014 Jeep Cherokee 4wd
FoxyCleopatra '99 Chevy Suburban
Krystal 2004 Volvo S60
Gone:
Rudolf ‘86 300SDL
Bruno '81 300SD
Fritzi '84 BMW
'06 Volvo S60 AWD turbo
'97 Jeep GC
'96 Volvo 960
'96 Impala SS
'92 Subaru Legacy wagon
'74 Jeep CJ5
'71 Buick GS conv
'67 GTO conv
'63 Corvair conv
'57 Nomad
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