I have had a 190e 2.6 (m103) for a couple of years now and I love the car but it's a high mileage example and I bought it because it was cheap and driveable. I want something nicer now. Something that I won't have to feel bad about sinking money into. I LOVE the W126 cars. So, I went out to look at this example during my lunch break today:
The ad lists the car as having 100k KILOMETERS (that's 62,000 miles) so it's a baby! Ad says "mint condition" and the price is low so I thought, something is going to be wrong, and there is ... but are they a deal breaker, that's what I need input on from the community. So, here goes:
(if someone can run that for me it would be much appreciated)
On with the show
Emblem is cracked :/ bumper has damaged areas:
Only one area of rust I could find outside on the drivers side front fender:
The rest of the fenders seem good:
Headlights don't have any rust around:
all lights seem to work:
The interior is not in the greatest shape but I think it could be cleaned up well, not sure now as I can't remember if that's a tear or a stain in a crack...
But this is ... WHY IS THIS?
Sunroof is busted, not sure how fixable or not this is. Trying to open I didn't hear the motor at all:
No rust around windows, pillars, windscreen...
The M103 valve cover is prone to having it's paint flake off, my 190e at 300k km is definitely in MUCH worse shape than this one .. which leads me to believe that the mileage might be accurate. Valve cover is actually in pretty good shape, mind the oil:
But there's rust starting in here:
And that makes me wonder about the battery tray:
Paint code etc:
Classic cracking center console
Why do I want a 300SE?
I want a daily driver, not a garage queen. But, I want a nice car that I don't mind dumping money into for repairs. I want it to last a while so I want something with low mileage. Up here in Toronto, Canada, it's hard to find these cars without any rust, much less with so little mileage. I looked under the car and I couldn't see much rust, just light surface rust on some of the metal suspension components etc but nothing really to worry about. The chassis on this car is not rotting away.
I went to go look at the car during lunch and it was parked at a the guy's shop between two other vehicles. I had VERY little time to look at the car so it will need another look and of course a test drive. I asked the mechanic about the history of the car, why the owner is selling and here is what he said:
The guy has a lot of cars so that's why the mileage is low, he has other cars to drive.
He's selling it because he's ill (and old I presume).
The car comes certified and e-tested .. can be put on the road right away.
The owner has had it since 92 (but he's not the original owner).
The mechanic said that nothing has ever been wrong with the car, I didn't have a lot of time to pick his brains or talk about service records but I'll go over that with the owner when I get him on the phone
Right off the bat the things that concern me are:
1. The rust on the front drivers side fender
2. The rust under the rear deck (click here for a video of the underside of rear deck
) how bad is this? I hear about it but i don't know how far along this is.
3. The interior, are those seat belt areas repairable? Is the sunroof repairable? I know I can change the center console cover but I don't want to swap seats .. these just look really dirty, I imagine that they will clean up really well.
4. damaged paint on bumper. I've done a bit of paint work and it was mostly successful on the 190e, I think I can repaint the rear bumper myself (or am I totally underestimating the size of that job?).
5. Exhaust is starting to look a little rusty, will need replacement either right away or soon
6. Green coolant
Things I like about the car:
1. low mileage
2. mostly rust free
3. the colour combo
(and my girlfriend LOVES THIS CAR)
4. started and ran fine, all lights in dash work which is a good sign and I like the M103 because it's familiar and also the most fuel economical of the gasser W126s (north america).
5. Price, it's priced very attractively and it is ready for the road (cert, etest)
So what do you all think? It's far from perfect but are any of these things deal breakers? Of course, I will drive the car before I make a decision or an offer but there are no signs of head gasket failure or any leaks (except the timing cover leak which is common on the m103).
I've been looking a long time and this is so far the nicest 300se for this kind of money and the mileage is just too attractive to pass up. Other cars I am considering are the w124 wagons and sedans or a w126 diesel all of which are impossible to find up here in good shape, so far anyway (the sedans are not but nice ones are priced very high). My 190 is a great car but I didn't buy it thinking I would go ape over benzes and I have .. and now I want a "nice" one