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Old 02-26-2004, 03:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Feb 2004
Vehicle: 93 200TE
Location: London, UK
Posts: 124
230 TE / 300 TE buying question

Hello All,

I am new to the forum and was looking for some advice on which w124 to buy.

Scenario is as follows, I am buying a car for my mom and we have a few requirements:
- reliability (most important, thus we're going for a Merc of VW)
- not too expensive to run (fuel and parts wise)
- not expensive to buy (UK budget between £2k and £4k
- estate
- will be used mainly on local trips but also for frequent 200+ mile motorway trips

The thing is, my mom is not that good with cars as far as maintenance goes and she lives alone (in Italy) so I won't be there all the time to see whats wrong.

I have been considering a 1991 230 TE as the best option, though there are also plenty of 300s around. Cars I've seen have between 120 to 180k miles.

So, which do you think would be the more reasonable choice given the circumstances?

Anything to look out for on the 230s in particular? I've seen that the 300s are keen on headgaskets?

Thanks in advance,
Riccardo

PS: If anyone knows of a goof car for sale in the Uk please let me know...
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Date registered: Jan 2004
Vehicle: '01 E320CDI Estate, '98 E430 Estate, '55, 220a, '72, 280SE 3.5,
Location: N Ireland
Posts: 306
RE: 230 TE / 300 TE buying question

I've had a 230TE for a couple of years now and it's been good.

On fuel economy there is not much between the two.
The 230 is a little less complicated mechanically but the main thing is to ensure that the car is in good order and has been well maintained, not crashed and little or no rust.

I only bought my 230 cos I could not find a good 300. A point worth noting is go for one with a leather or MB-Tex interior, cloth interiors are a disaster (main off point on the 300's I looked at)

The same things can go wrong with both cars, I've just had a head gasket done at 153K miles.

From reading comments by people with 300TE's the 300 is more refined and has more power and sometimes better spec. I don't know where you propose buying it but strangely 230TE's can be just as well equiped as 300's)

If as you say it's for you mom I'd go for a 230 with a good spec, they are usually cheaper to buy in the first place though there is not much in it in running costs ar far as I can tell.

If the car is not from a sunny climate lok for rust on front wings just in front of the front wheels and rear wheel arches.

Good Luck.

Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2004, 03:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Date registered: Feb 2004
Vehicle: 93 200TE
Location: London, UK
Posts: 124
RE: 230 TE / 300 TE buying question

Terry,

thanks for your input. It does seem we're probably going to opt for a 230 mainly because it will be cheaper to insure. I'm looking to buy the car in the UK, ideally LHD but there doesn't seem to be many of those around.

Having a look through Loot and Autotrader I've seen a few later E220s (93-94) at reasonable prices. Is there anything against these engines or these later models in general?

By the way, our other option would be a late style Passat 1.8 (T maybe). This is newer so should give less problems, but would it really?
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Date registered: Jan 2004
Vehicle: '01 E320CDI Estate, '98 E430 Estate, '55, 220a, '72, 280SE 3.5,
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Posts: 306
RE: 230 TE / 300 TE buying question

My brother has a 94 E220T which replaced his old 230TE and he reckons the newer one is better despite the slightly smaller engine it has more hp.

I dont know much about passats except that they generally are ok. I know a couple who have early 90's models and I've never heard them complain. I think tough the diesel engine is better than the petrol.
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Old 02-27-2004, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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RE: 230 TE / 300 TE buying question

[QUOTE]RGubbioli - 2/26/2004 6:02 AM

Hello All,

I am new to the forum and was looking for some advice on which w124 to buy.

Scenario is as follows, I am buying a car for my mom and we have a few requirements:
- reliability (most important, thus we're going for a Merc of VW)
- not too expensive to run (fuel and parts wise)
- not expensive to buy (UK budget between £2k and £4k
- estate
- will be used mainly on local trips but also for frequent 200+ mile motorway trips[QUOTE]

wow, with that criteria, how did you come up with mercedes or volkswagen as the only two brands to consider??? what about honda or toyota? i definitely wouldn't buy a used 10+ year-old mercedes for someone who doesn't know anything about cars and will need a reliable car that can make frequent long-distance trips.... mercedes is pretty reliable (but requires frequent attention -- it's not a use-it-and-forget-about-it kind of car), but volkswagen is definitely not a reliable car at all, so i'd strike it from your list.
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