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Old 11-07-2012, 04:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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'92 300E as first car?

Hi all -
I'm 17 and looking at buying a 300E. I have some questions before I start really looking.

1) What fuel efficiency can I expect? I have a fairly moderate driving style. Most of my driving is done at either 35mph or 0mph.
2) Is it safe to run 87 octane gas on these? 89 and 91 are also sold here (Idaho) but expensive.
3) How much maintenance is required for a 3.0 300E? Is it any beyond what a 'normal' car would have? I can attempt to do basic maintenance myself, such as oil changes, spark plugs, that sort of thing.
4) What commonly breaks on these cars? The ones I can find for sale in my area mostly have dead power windows and torn seats. How difficult is it to fix the power windows?
5) Euro headlights. How much will a swap cost, and how difficult is it to do? I'm fairly confident in my skills in this area, but I also don't want to royally screw up.
6) What should I look for in ones I'm thinking of buying? I'm talking both common problems, signs of abuse, and desirable features.
7) What advice do you have for a first time W124 buyer/owner?

I'm trying to find out mainly if I can afford to keep up with what this car needs and deserves, and if I can make it work I'll go for it.

-- Jacob

P.S. Is 200,000 miles too much on these cars? I know they go a long ways, but I'm not sure if I'm hearing amazing stories or just typical mileage.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Expect $1-2k upkeep per year. 91 octane is required. 87 and you're risking the engine sooner or later since it has no knock detector.

Based on what I am reading, I would say not a good choice.

Stay away from 88 or earlier if you really want to do it since you'll save a few extra money headaches. Do searching there is a wealth of information here.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ps2cho View Post
Expect $1-2k upkeep per year. 91 octane is required. 87 and you're risking the engine sooner or later since it has no knock detector.

Based on what I am reading, I would say not a good choice.

Stay away from 88 or earlier if you really want to do it since you'll save a few extra money headaches. Do searching there is a wealth of information here.
86-88 bad, 89+ good?
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What factors in to the 1-2k upkeep? Is that regular oil and such, or is that just the rate at which things break? Also, I've been reading that 91 octane gives better fuel mileage, such that it usually balances out. I drive about 7000 miles in a year. Would I see a huge cost issue from using 91? Premium is about .20$ more per gallon here.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Here's a link to the w124 buyers guide:

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w124...ers-guide.html
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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91 is the bare minimum, hence the labeling on the gauge "USE PREMIUM UNLEADED FUEL ONLY".

If this car was running around in Europe, the lowest octane available would be 95 followed by 98.

So don't step over dollars to pick up pennies by pumping 87 or 89, unless you're willing to pay the price later as mentioned due to lack of knock sensors.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Fix the window could be the switch or a regulator. They're both easy DIYs. It's easy to break the console tabs like most people do. I had the cheapest gasses in the cars and never had a issue. Don't listen to what people say. Regular is fine and I say again I never had a issue or seen an issue. Advice? I'd tell you to not waste your money and euro headlights and save the money for repairs for future. This car can be expensive, or you can get a snag of a deal with the head gasket done, climate control fixed. Get receipts for proof of work then look into reviews who've done it to get an idea if they do awful work, or good work. Just give the car a good once over all. Pull the trunk liners on both sides for rust (leaky antenna masts) check tire well, suspension pull the wheels off (ask if he'll let you get a pre-purchase look over for good car).
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PinkFloydFan810 View Post
..I had the cheapest gasses in the cars and never had a issue. Don't listen to what people say. Regular is fine and I say again I never had a issue or seen an issue. Advice? I'd tell you to not waste your money and euro headlights and save the money for repairs for future. ...
This cracks me up. "Advice" coming from someone who doesn't even have a W124 according to his profile, and whose W202 has knock sensors so naturally he won't feel it's a issue.

Similarly, Euro headlights are one of the best upgrades you can do a US spec W124 that got saddled with the crap US DOT plastic junk.

Again, he won't know the difference because his W202 already has Euro style glass headlights.

I can only assume he's browsing the wrong forum because he probably doesn't know his vehicle's designation number.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you have the extra money to put into maintenance, a 300E wouldn't be a bad choice. However, it won't be an economical choice by any stretch since these cars will need more upkeep due to their age and what upkeep was neglected by the previous owner.

A 1992 model may have the "eco-junk" wiring harness in the engine bay, which can be pricey if it was not already replaced.

The upkeep figures are what you should expect to budget, not that it will always cost that much. While the cars can be had cheaply now, quality parts can still be expensive (avoiding the knockoff parts) and it's best to keep more on hand than necessary in case something crops up.

In regards to fuel efficiency, my '95 E320 with the 3.2L M104 averages 21-22mpg. Some owners with the M103 may be achieving better mileage, however. Premium fuel is a must, and generally will only be a few extra bucks a tank.

This is a great place to learn about these cars. While fairly stout and reliable (depending on how well it was cared for), they do have their quirks.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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No, regular is not "fine". If you are using it, go be a cheapskate and buy an A to B car like a Honda. Enough said.

Whatever you do, don't rush into a purchase. Take your time researching.
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