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190E 2.3-16 Advice

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There is a 1987 190E 2.3-16 available for sale near me that I am interested in. I have no experience owning an MB - I have driven several in the past (mostly friend's cars). I did not (yet) have a chance to drive this car (or model). In the past I had a chance driving a 5-speed 190E 2.6 which I liked but found a little soft for my taste - I would like something a bit sportier.

Anyone experienced with this model that is willing to pass on some points of wizdom about it?

Things to check, maintenance costs, reliability, durability etc..?

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'85 2.3-16 '99 C280 '11 GLK350
4,803 Posts
Generally, the 16 valve models were originally purchased by pretty well heeled owners who ...

Generally, the 16 valve models were originally purchased by pretty well heeled owners who were probably more "enthusiasts" than regular MB owners, especially when they had to shell out nearly $40K for a car that sold in the mid-20's in lesser form. Most shipped with the manual trans (you'll love the "racing" dogleg 1st gear position) and there's pretty much universal agreement that most of them were driven fairly hard. But, original owners tend to pamper their babies, so if the seller is the first owner, you'll get all the maintenance records and they were probably very good in having things done right. Second, third and more owner cars are less likely to have maintenance done regularly and that's where a higher revving, higher maintenance cost car, like the 2.3-16, starts going downhill.

Specific to the 2.3-16 is the powerplant, rear suspension and bodykit/interior. The 2.3-16 does not use the hydraulic valve lifters, but uses replaceable shims, so have those checked. The rear suspension uses hydropneumatic accumulators and a pump system (SLS) to maintain ride height. These can leak or fail. The suspension is also slightly lower (1/4 to 1/2 inch) than other models, using shorter springs and heavy duty shocks.

Everything else is pretty much standard checklist items for the W201, the rubber and plastic suspension pieces, the timing chain and tensioner, the serpentine belt tensioner, the a/c system, flex discs, engine/trans/subframe mounts and rust, particularly in the doors and along the lower sills near the jack points.
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