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Old 05-11-2010, 12:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: May 2010
Vehicle: 1999 C230K
Location: 381′48″N 7828′44″W
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used c280, how many miles is too much?

So i'm looking to buy either a 96 or 97 c280, i've found a couple now in my price range...

This would be my first MB so I'm wondering just how many miles is "too much" for a used MB. I've read around that if taken the right care that they should go past 250k and etc (my friend's 300sel is at 250k)...


I found a 96 c280 with 110k miles and the ad says it's a "one owner" car so i'm interested, but the price is a bit high (dealer psh) haven't had the chance to check it out for myself or speak with the dealer yet...

I also found a 97 c280 with 134k miles, it's a woman and she is the 2nd owner, asked her about the wiring harness and head gasket and she said that it was taken care of at about 56k miles, all I need to do is go for a test drive and to check it out myself, this one is more in my price range and it's not a dealer so I wouldn't be paying an extra 9% and etc...

Any buying tips for me?

Anything else I should look for other than the wiring harness and head gasket?


Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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a 97 shouldn't have the harness issues but if it's been replaced and there's proof, go for it.

At that mileage, the best thing is just a good PPI on the vehicle. Drive it, check for obvious leaks, especially around the HG and in the coolant and oil, and if it's all good then spend the money on a PPI.

That mileage, I wouldn't worry about it at all. That's nothing on these cars.

Enjoy.

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Old 05-11-2010, 06:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The real money you'll be spending is on the regular wear items that have probably not been attended to on this car. Things like lower control arm bushings and shocks, not to mention every other piece of rubber in the suspension. Things like oxygen sensors. Things like every rubber cooling system hose under the hood (and I think there are 7 with the inline 6 cylinder). Maybe a water pump, alternator or starter, too. Maybe all three. Even if this car had its fluids and filters changed at the right intervals, there is still more than likely a pile of work waiting. So the most important question you need to ask yourself is "how long do I plan on keeping this car?"

These cars you are mentioning are low mileage cars. There is no reason to believe that a properly maintained M104 engined W202 will give you any less than 250,000 miles if you are ready to put money into the things that are going to have to be replaced. And you don't have to do all of this at once as soon as you buy the car - all I'm saying is be prepared for these expenses to mount up over the next couple of years. If you have to sink several thousand dollars into your car over the next few years, it might make you say something like "this car is a POS" but that would be untrue. It is a 14 or 15 year old car, and stuff like the parts I mentioned are only designed to last so long.

If you plan on keeping this car for 5 years, then jump in (as long as you get an inspection by an MB specialist as part of the purchase agreement) especially if there are records that prove the HG and wiring harness are done. If you're looking at keeping the car for two years, you'll never get your money's worth. Move along.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the replies!

yes I do plan on keeping this car for 5+ years so thanks again!

Are there any specific websites or anywhere that you can recommend for those parts? (suspension, engine mounts, hoses etc...)

I am looking at the usual places for my parts such as autozone or kragen

Randy - could you clear up what PPI means? (sorry) Personal Private Inspection?

Thanks!

Last edited by thedose; 05-11-2010 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of people in the US seem to like these guys for parts.

Auto Parts at AutohausAZ - OEM Auto Parts - Discount Replacement Parts, Resources and Car Care Tips

I wouldn't expect autozone or kragen or pep boys to stock very much at all for these cars. PPI = Pre Purchase Inspection
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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PPI = Pre Purchase Inspection.. take it to a Benz specialist and let them have at it.

PS- mine is a 1996 with 137K on original suspension except shocks and springs. Tight as a bulls ass.

rjp
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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autohausaz.com is, yes, a good place for parts. I like to go between two other sites as well and pick the lowest price
partsgeek.com
importeccatalog.com

as far as miles and "general wear" items, it's all up to you. I've had the same 1994 C280 since 14k miles and I'm about to hit 240k. Yeah, I had to fix the headgasket and wiring harness years ago, and my headliner is drooping (i've seen 1 other c280 with the screwy headliner), but I don't foresee the thing lasting any less than at least another 200k. i'm on the factory original lower control arm bushings and shocks (as well as all steering components), starter, alternator, both vac pumps, etc. only things i've had to replace were water pump and radiator (due to a deer hit), MAF, o2 sensors, fuel filter, ignition lock tumbler, and a belt tensioner. upon replacing the belt tensioner, I discovered it wasn't even broken. i just didn't loosen the pivot bolt to allow the tensioner to do it's job. went ahead and put the new one on anyway, and kept the old one as a spare.

also, an oil change every 20k miles with mobil 1 0w40.

though I am sure ther are a few c280's out there that just didn't cut the mustard and 250k was pretty much all they could stand.

250k is average miles for these cars at this point, but that's just because there are few of them out there that people have driven past this point.

over at CLUB202.COM (forum is down for now) there was a member 2 or 3 years ago who had 560k miles on his 1994 or 1995 C280. good compression, good power, and still had plenty of life left in it.

so "too many" miles all depends on you and the car.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The only thing I am sorta "thinking twice" if you will... is that this lady is the 2nd owner, or so she claims. With that being said, there isn't really any way for me to tell how much abuse this w202 has taken... Unless if she bought it from her dad or a family member, then there really wont be any way for me to tell (I guess I could always run the carfax?)

After comparing prices from autohausaz to autozone, I am completely BLOWN out of the water. Autozone certifies that mercedes parts are "expensive" but autohausaz.... that's just another story.

As for taking it to a MB specialist, should I just google "MB Specialist" in her neighborhood/area and then have her take the car there with me? any idea who would pay for the inspection (her or I?)

Some people just don't wanna pay these days... haha


Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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abuse isn't really the factor, I'd say. these cars are made of depleted uranium.

i'm the third owner of mine. it had been through 2 owners and a wreck before I bought it. I got it when I was a 16 year old high school kid. I abused the CRAP out of it for a good 7 years I'd say. It never died. i did have to rebuild the tranny from too many burnouts. that was a $1300 lesson. i drive her a bit less abusive these days, but still very spirited. she never gets tired or hot. the longer the road trip, the more "ready" she feels. it's hard to explain until you've done it yourself.

as for the specialist, I dunno. that's one you need to do alot of research on. no matter what's wrong with the car, you almost ALWAYS will get "omg this car is going to explode if you don't _____." there's a thread on this recently.

I'd say the best inspection is your hands, ears, and right foot. take her out. drive her softling for a few miles. then drive her as hard as you can a few miles. then a few more soft miles. see how she takes it. even if she has a resulting misfire or rough idle, it likely isn't anything serious (MAF, plugs/wires, o2 sensors)

plugs are another story. MAKE SURE the owner DID NOT use anything other than OEM plugs for it. NEVER, EVER, EVER use anything but. see if she will let you pull one to find out if it says "bosch f8dc4 (I think)." if it has more than 1 tip on it (hence, is one of those platinum or whatever), then ask her how long ago these plugs were put in. the wrong plugs on these cars can spell disaster many miles later--ESPECIALLY if the car hasn't been run on premium it's whole life. benz didn't go through the trouble of putting that label on 3 different locations in various languages just for fun. it's crucial. ask the lady if she always uses premium. if she says no, you could still be fine if the test drive proves ok. but ifyou buy it you better run a tank of v-power with some fuel system cleaner and then keep it on a strictly premium diet.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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sulaco - did I read correctly, oil change every 20K? Being a newbie witha 02 E320, I though oil change should be every 10K?
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