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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie here. I just bought a 1991 300CE. It has about 48,000 miles, and it appears that the last major service was the 30,000 miles service. Obviously, I should have a 30,000 mile service done, plus all the additional things the Maintenance Booklet need to be done every 2 or 3 years.

My question is, given that it will be 30 years old in September, what else should I have done? For example, should I have the poly V belt replaced? I expect there are several valves that should be replaced, both emissions related and not.

The only issue with the drivetrain is that on both cold and hot starts, the engine is reluctant to catch. But it's been about 25 years since I last drove a W124, so I really can't tell if it's low on power and torque. Ride and handling seems fine to me, it doesn't feel like there's any slop anywhere, and it tracks straight.

Apologies if there's already a thread on this elsewhere in the forum. Thanks in advance.
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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I would have a knowledgeable mercedes independent mechanic do a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection), which checks about 100 things, and typically costs about $100, then work from that. there's a variety of things that may or may not need replacing due to extreme age rather than mileage, things like various rubber hoses, etc. this will note if your serpentine belt is in good shape or not, among many other things.
 

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'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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Suspension parts, sub-frame bushings, diff bushings.....if it sat with gas for long periods of time....bad JuJu. Screen in gas tanks, gas filter etc, etc.

The worst thing for these cars is to SIT. Nothing may happen at first, but eventually you'll be down a rabbit hole or two with age related troubles.

Kevin
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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7,279 Posts
yeah, my 300E2.6 had sat for years, and when resurrected ran like crap, stuttering and stalling at stop signs. needed a new EHA, a new air flow potentiometer, and new injectors + injector seals, new belt and tensioner. after all that, its run great ever since. it was worth it because the car was completely free to me, and the interior was in nice shape, the car only had like 40K miles on it when I got it. its exterior is ugly, I call it the 'rat benz', but its our preferred car for going to SF because we're not real worried that someone will break into it, compared with some shiny nice looking thing.
 

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1989 300CE & 1971 280SE; 73.5 911T
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A PPI (pre-purchase inspection) is a good idea. That can turn up exhaust leaks, drive shaft flex-joint (guibo) weakness; brake pad wear, corrosion.

If you intend to do some of your own maintenance, you can't get any better than do-it-yourself (DIY).

First thing would be to get the vehicle cleaned up. A trip to the self-spray car wash can get the engine bay looking good, so it is pleasant to work in there.

Second would be some very basic maintenance: change the air filter; the spark plugs, the engine oil and oil filter.

Pelican Parts has a good maintenance parts selection website- they offer free shipping which is a significant savings when you order:
ATF, filter & gasket kit; differential oil; fuel filter; coolant; brake fluid; power steering fluid & filter.
You want to stick with all MBZ approved specification parts & fluids.

The Bentley Manual is good for Basic Maintenance instruction (not good for troubleshooting). I am glad I got one because it has multiple specs, illustrations, tools needed.

You may need to clean the distributor cap contact points & rotor- when they get dirty it can lead to hard starts.
If the serpentine belt is only 40K miles old, it probably has minor cracking but can be okay a bit longer.

Stick with Premium fuel as recommended. The 300CE is a well-balanced all around great car. I've had mine 20 years and really like it, still.


2643283
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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a 91 300CE is going to be the DOHC M104 engine, not the SOHC M103 like yours. its still 3.0 liters, adn still uses CIS-E, until 1993 when the HFM-SFI 3.2L version of the M104 was introduced
 

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'92 300TE 4matic 280,000miles, '92 300TE 4Matic 'Ice Blue Metalic' 101,000miles
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That's also something to mull over. That early 104 with the CIS-E....hard to find parts availabilty.....

The Bentley manual doesn't have everything right either. They're talking about a 3.07 rear end for the TE when it's really 3.27. Probably a range of other mistakes too....you can't mix NA cars with Euro cars like they are all the same.

Kevin
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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one key part thats nearly unobtanium is the ignition module, its specific to those 300CE's, and its prone to failure and incredibly expensive if you can find it. the M103 used a different module thats much more common, and the HFM-SFI 2.8/3.2L later M104's don't even have a EZK module, they have an integrated engine management module with coil-over-ignition.
 

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Current, 90 300CE, 92 400E (Sold 95 E320,70 250C, 91 190 2.6, 91 420 SEL, 95 300D, 87 TD)
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Low on power....

This particular 3.0 M104 is a dog at take off. Which always bothered me.

This is a high RPM freeway motor. The taken off from the start is not it's happy point. It doesn't do anything till above 3000 RPM. My opinion is equivalent to an old turbo motor. Nothing nothing nothing then all the sudden it pulls really well. At least that's the way mine's always been. It has no low-end torque. But I also think my transmissions old and tired not might be a factor. It's almost like it has the wrong stall on the torque converter on it. It locks up too quick and doesn't let the engine Rev.

Put on the freeway it's pretty quick car.... Even passing and downshifting.

The main problem 3.0 is the transmission (2nd gear start) it'll start in first gear only if you punch it and hit the button below the gas pedal (or manually downshift). The later 104 3.2 liter engine has more bottom-end torque and a way better transmission a true 4 speed with a true first gear start.

The 3.0 makes more horsepower but less torque. The 3.2 makes less horsepower but more torque but because of the transmission the 3.2 with kill the 3.0 in a drag race. I've had both engines. And I would say I probably prefer the 3.2 and the newer style transmission.

Someday I'm going to have to rebuild the transmission and maybe I can get a later version with the first gear start. That would really improve the 3.0 engine.

The 300CE COUPE Is still today at cool looking car. I even prefer it over the convertible. I really like the look. Especially with a Euro headlights. American headlights really ruin the look at a car. Someday when I get the time, I'll put a new transmission in it.

A little side note factoid: The Coupe weighs almost 200lbs more than the four door. If I remember correctly it's like 42XX and The four doors closer to 4000.
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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on those 2nd gear start transmissions, at a full stop, put the shifter in 2, wait a second (you might even feel it shift) then back in 3, and now it will start in 1st that one time only. then shift to -2-3 as needed. at some point put it back in D when you're cruising. On my 260, at least, if I put it in 2, then back in D, it seems to reset the 1st gear start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all, for the advice.

Without going into details, I wasn't able to get a PPI. For service history, I only had the carfax, and whatever is stamped in the service booklet. Big gap after 30k mile service until 2020, so I definitely took some risk in buying it. Did get dozens of photos though.

I'm getting an after-purchase inspection done this week, by a shop I know, that has experience with Benz's both older and newer than W124s. As this will be my daily driver, I've given instructions to be ruthless ... any doubt about something, R&R or repair as needed. New tires too, of course.

Happy motoring!
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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I should have been more clear, I was suggesting a postpurchase PPI :)

I did as much when we bought my wife's 94 E320 wagon. i then took their long list of stuff, and sorted it by priority, and proceeded to incrementally deal with the more critical things first. some of them were as easy as a shot of DeOxId in the power seat switches to make them more reliable, but things like flexdisks got dealt with immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
New question!

How many seconds should it take for the two front windows to go down? And to go up? Mine seem slow to me, but again, maybe things have gotten faster in the past 30 years.
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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thinking maybe 5 seconds, and yes, the regulators get slow, then they die. getting in there maybe once every 10 years and freshening the grease on the mechanism would probably double their life.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thinking maybe 5 seconds, and yes, the regulators get slow, then they die. getting in there maybe once every 10 years and freshening the grease on the mechanism would probably double their life.
I'll add that to the growing list. The last few inches going up of the passenger side window is disturbingly slow. I sit there egging it on: "come on, you can do it"
 

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1990 Benz 300E 2.6 (mine) ; 1994 E320 Wagon (wife's) ; 1993 300CE Cabrio, needs some TLC
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I'll add that to the growing list. The last few inches going up of the passenger side window is disturbingly slow. I sit there egging it on: "come on, you can do it"
ok, for sure, that one is dying :D get in there and grease it now, or you'll be replacing it before long. it always breaks at the worst time, like in a rainstorm.
 

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1989 300CE & 1971 280SE; 73.5 911T
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4 seconds down.
5 seconds fully closed.

My daughters H. Elantra does it in half that time. I find that extremely annoying. Too Fast! (this younger generation...)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Rats. I'll have to do those wee rear windows too. Luckily, right now it's too hot in Houston to drive around with the windows down.
 

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About a dozen 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991 sedans, wagons, 4Matics and 1 coupe
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LLP you haven't provided any pics of your new toy! Let's see 'em! A few years ago I bought a 91 CE with 113k on the clock. It had been sitting in a local service station's lot for 7 years (IIRC) before I was able to reel it in.

When I first saw the car appear on the lot I stopped to inquire about it. Bad transmission. The rest of the car looked beautiful. It wasn't for sale. I checked back repeatedly and teh answer was always the same: not for sale. Eventually the owner did contact me and sold it to me but by then the car needed a TON of work. In fact I'm still working on it.

The color combo is what got me: navy blue over java leather. What is the color combo of your car?
IMG_1859.JPG
 
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