I recently bought my first car ever. This very nice 1994 Mercedes E220.
It had 115 000 original kilometers when I bought it (+- 72000 Miles). I bought it from a guy who says he bought it for himself but then got a company car. I did not really buy this story, it is way more likely that the guy bought it to sell it with profit after cleaning it up. But this wasn't a major drawback, this happens quite often in Belgium. What was a bigger risk was the absence of maintenance history. The car was serviced at an independent non-mercedes specialist. The place where it was serviced has a good reputation, but as it isn't a benz specialist some maintenance probably isn't performed on schedule. I really didn't like the idea of buying a car without maintenance history. The only history I have are stickers stating the oil changes in the door gap. Oil changes were done with full synthetic oil...
However, since the previous owner must have been a really old guy (judging on the license plate on the owners papers) and all serial numbers matched on the windows and the general condition of the car I decided to buy it.
I have driven around 3000 km (almost 2000 miles) with it without any problems. It starts from the first time, even now when temperatures are dropping. However, there are some very minor 'faults':
-After starting, the first gear change can be felt. After the first gear change, this problem disappears. So when I stop and then accelerate, everything goes as smooth as it can. This is the first time I drive an automatic, so I am not sure how bad this is. I would guess the transmission fluid has never been changed and a fluid change would help. This is the four speed (722.3 ?) auto. What is the normal interval for these fluid changes? On the internet I find everything between 25K and 56K miles?
-I can hear a mild squeek from the shock absorber when I drive over a bump. This is also only with the first bump I take, after two the noise is gone. Probably some rusting on the shock absorber from being parked outside?
-The wiring harness seems pretty alright for now, but I now I have to pay attention to it. The E220 produces less heat then the larger, hotter, sixes that are more common in the US and by that it suffers later from the problem. But I am aware mine will need a replacement in the near future. I am just waiting to see if everything else on the car works well.
-The headgasket also is a problem more common with the sixes than with my Inline 4. There is some very, very mild oil sweating but I'm guessing I'm pretty safe here, will post a picture later. Maybe due to the use of full synth oil? I read people advise against it for these 'older' mercs. The cooling fluid is free from oil.
For the rest, the engine seems in a very good shape. It drives like new and still easily passes it's original 130 mph top speed. This was measured on GPS on the german autobahn. The stability at this speed (>120 mph) is very good, but there is a noise that sounds like a flag in heavy winds, originating somewhere at the roof. I would guess this rules out compression loss or any other kind of performance loss
This week I am taking it to an indie for maintenance as it will reach 120 000 km or 75 000 miles soon. According to the sticker it is on full synth now, what would you advise to change the oil with? Full synth again? I will also ask to change the transmission fluid. Do the axles need fluid changes? Or where can I find the maintenance intervals for these less frequent maintenance jobs?
This was a long story with a lot of questions but any input is appreciated!