Date registered: Feb 2007
Location: Florida, USA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
1996 300D sedan
I am looking at a one owner 103k miles sedan with voluminous maintenance records from the local Mercedes dealer, and some substantial repairs (complete recent A/C overhaul and injection pump replacement) new tires, brakes, suspension work, and some other repairs. No rust on the body, original paint with just some clear coat fade, not sure if it can be buffed out. The inside rear view mirror mount is loose for some reason, it this a common problem? Also, the power rear headrests do not seem to work, maybe a bad relay or broken cable? The remote keyless entry fob seems to work only at very close distance, perhaps a weak fob battery?
The car runs well and is very smooth at highway speeds. The coolant temperature seems a tad high - at times about 95 degrees C. Maybe the fan clutch is not working properly? I am very concerned about questionable reliability of this particular model. I have found references to horrible electrical problems some owners have experienced, bulbs burning out left and right, and even something about "vegetable base coating" on the car's electrical harness requiring complete harness replacement, as the insulation will degrade in time. Is this true? I am somewhat surprised by the sheer volume of repair bills that came with the car, seems way too much for a diesel car with such low mileage. Why injection pump replacement? Supposedly it was leaking. This makes me wonder if this injection pump will not degrade from the new ultra low sulfur diesel. I also read that glow plugs are a common problem with this model and that glow plug replacement requires intake manifold removal. And in some cases they are so difficult to remove that the head has to be taken off. Ouch! Is this true?
I read some comments by owners of this particular model and some gave it very poor reliability marks. Some said that these cars develop electrical problems every 3-4k miles. Also, there is a reference to front spring mounts literally rusting away on these cars and springs falling out.
I am looking for some solid and fair technical assessment here. The car is not expensive to buy, I would only use it as a work car. The mileage rating is quite good on this model - EPA 28 city and 35 highway. I am not sure if this is realistic at 75-80 MPH highway speeds though. I do not want something that will require $ 3k in routine maintenance every year (besides repairs).
I have a low mileage 1985 300D turbo which is a very reliable car. However, it is not as plush or quiet as this car and the performance isn't any better and mileage is worse. It seems that many interior materials on this 1996 model are inferior to my '85 300D. Gone is the real wood trim and headliner looks real cheap.