LOCATION: MONTVALE, NEW JERSEY
I bought this 1988 300CE in November 2005 to drive to law school. It served that purpose reasonably well until last summer, when the fan clutch failed in traffic and the engine overheated. I replaced the fan clutch and radiator at that time, but the car started consuming coolant because the head gasket was compromised.
The car was an M-B Starmark Certified Pre-Owned car when the previous owner bought it in 2001. I have the portfolio from his purchase, as well as the window sticker and all of the books.
The body is straight and accident- and dent-free. The only rust is a spot below the right taillight, which I painted with touch-up paint to prevent from spreading. The paint is mostly good, with one faded spot on the hood and a few scratches on the trunk lid.
All of the power accessories work. The wood trim from the shifter area is missing, as is one of the window switches. The radio speaker fader needs to be replaced, as it crackles if you move it and does not send sound to all of the speakers at one time.
This summer, I replaced the head gasket, re-sealed the front timing cover, replaced the timing chain tensioner, and replaced all of the rubber hoses (including the boot on the bottom of the airflow sensor) in the injection system. At that time, I also replaced the fuel distributor and EHA with Bosch remanufactured components and all six fuel injectors with new Bosch injectors, because the car previously had a rough idle. I also replaced the spark plugs, but was unable to obtain the Bosch H9DC0 and instead used Bosch resistor plugs.
Something else in the fuel system is amiss. I suspect that the fuel pressure regulator, the oxygen sensor, or both, are bad. The car starts cold, runs extremely rich, and eventually floods itself and cannot be restarted for awhile. This is a problem that someone familiar with the KE-Jetronic system could probably diagnose easily. I have a small child and am finishing my last year of law school, so I have neither the time nor the energy to continue chasing the fuel injection problem.
You will want to tow the car, because if it dies at a stoplight, it will not restart for about an hour. The car does have a fresh M-B oil filter and Mobil 1 oil.
I towed the car to a dealer. They indicated that the car has low fuel pressure and needs both fuel pumps replaced. I do not know if this is truly the problem, but it's worth looking into.
Unfortunately, when I towed the car back up the driveway after it died in the street, the tow strap came loose and broke a piece off of the front bumper (see pictures). I have the piece.
I bought the car with 102618 miles on it, picked it up in Florida, drove about five miles to a gas station, and reset the trip odometer as I pulled out. Apparently typical of old VDO mechanial odometers, I heard a snapping sound and neither the trip nor the regular odometer work anymore. There are a number of vendors who repair these for $65-100.
Here are the parts that are new in the last year or two:
- Cooling Fan Clutch
- Fuel Injectors (6, Bosch, new)
- Fuel Distributor (Bosch, remanufactured)
- Electrohydraulic Actuator / EHA (Bosch, remanufactured)
- Fuel Pump (one was leaking, the car has two)
- Overvoltage Protection / OVP Relay
- Spark Plug Wires (Bosch)
- Distributor Cap, Rotor, and Backing Plate
- Steering Center Link (a ball-type joint at one end became loose)
The engine in the car seems solid. It has good oil pressure and no bottom-end noise, and the compression test after head gasket replacement was within 10 psi on all cylinders. This is one of the nicest-driving cars I have ever owned, and I am extremely disappointed that I cannot get the fuel injection set up properly. I simply lack the time and patience to tinker with it anymore, and I bought a new car a few months ago.
The vehicle has a New Jersey inspection valid through February 2009.
My wife has informed me that if I do not get rid of the car so that we don't have to insure it while it sits, she will run me over with it (not really).
I am only asking $1100 for the car. Someone with the proper diagnostic skills and knowledge of KE-Jetronic could fix the injection and make an extremely nice daily driver out of the car. I doubt if I've put even 3,000 miles on it in the last 3 years, including driving it back from West Palm Beach. Alternatively, the new parts alone are probably worth more than I am asking for the car.
Feel free to call me at 908 235 1040 or e-mail me for more information.