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Have owned a '95 cabriolet since 2003. In the last few years, have noticed that parts -- mechanical and trim -- are getting harder to find; in some cases, they no longer exist.

Recently had my cabriolet with 84,500 miles into the local Mercedes independent shop for an SRS issue. it was touch-and-go trying to find the items necessary to correct the problem, and luckily we did. This instance started a conversation between myself and the owner of the shop (a German with a long Mercedes pedigree) regarding the sustainability of the E320 Cabriolet over the next 10+ years. He spoke of the cabriolet's low production numbers, the uniqueness of many of its parts, and Mercedes' business choice to get out of the "old car parts business".

His thoughts gave me pause.

I always felt maintaining an older Mercedes seemed quite doable. This, in part, was why I had chosen to take the cabriolet into retirement with me.

To ensure the longevity of my cabriolet I have always maintained it to a high standard -- addressing problem issues in a timely manner and performing preventive fixes to stay ahead of other issues. Besides a little road rash from 25 years of travel, the original paint (#904) has a high luster and the interior is exceptional. The engine wiring harness was replaced as a preventive measure; and within the past five years the cabriolet has received a new top and headliner, and all the top's hydraulics were rebuilt (again, preventive) by a company in the Mid-west.

A new air conditioning compressor (old one failed) was installed three years ago, and a new stainless steel resonator (another part that is getting hard to find) was installed this week.

Reading the above it sounds like I have written an ad. That is not the intent. Rather, my intent was to show that many 'typical' big items have been addressed with no undue difficulty; however, this may not be the case five or ten years down the road.

Has anyone else encountered issues with finding parts to correct issues with their cabriolets? And if so, what were the issues and how did you resolve them.

Did not mean to ramble.

Kind regards,

Bob
 

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Have owned a '95 cabriolet since 2003. In the last few years, have noticed that parts -- mechanical and trim -- are getting harder to find; in some cases, they no longer exist.

Recently had my cabriolet with 84,500 miles into the local Mercedes independent shop for an SRS issue. it was touch-and-go trying to find the items necessary to correct the problem, and luckily we did. This instance started a conversation between myself and the owner of the shop (a German with a long Mercedes pedigree) regarding the sustainability of the E320 Cabriolet over the next 10+ years. He spoke of the cabriolet's low production numbers, the uniqueness of many of its parts, and Mercedes' business choice to get out of the "old car parts business".

His thoughts gave me pause.

I always felt maintaining an older Mercedes seemed quite doable. This, in part, was why I had chosen to take the cabriolet into retirement with me.

To ensure the longevity of my cabriolet I have always maintained it to a high standard -- addressing problem issues in a timely manner and performing preventive fixes to stay ahead of other issues. Besides a little road rash from 25 years of travel, the original paint (#904) has a high luster and the interior is exceptional. The engine wiring harness was replaced as a preventive measure; and within the past five years the cabriolet has received a new top and headliner, and all the top's hydraulics were rebuilt (again, preventive) by a company in the Mid-west.

A new air conditioning compressor (old one failed) was installed three years ago, and a new stainless steel resonator (another part that is getting hard to find) was installed this week.

Reading the above it sounds like I have written an ad. That is not the intent. Rather, my intent was to show that many 'typical' big items have been addressed with no undue difficulty; however, this may not be the case five or ten years down the road.

Has anyone else encountered issues with finding parts to correct issues with their cabriolets? And if so, what were the issues and how did you resolve them.

Did not mean to ramble.

Kind regards,

Bob
My indy mechanic happens to own two, so I really lucked out in finding someone who not only has personal expertise on it, but also perhaps a personal pride in helping others maintain theirs. We've developed a sort of friendship--I shared my source when I found a vendor making reproduced fabric retaining bows and top release handle housing--he's provided a handful of comp plastic bits & service items (steering wheel AND airbag cover swap, AC recharge, and threw on a new tonneau cover release latch housing when my old one popped off in traffic).

That said, there have been a few things he's been creative on--recently did wiring harness on mine, but he wasn't able to find the exact late-95 harness, so he retrofit the early-95 harness, which simply has two different sensor connectors he was able to address.

I need a new headliner and canvas top if I wanted concours-quality, though I'd rather use my convertible top, and I understand it wears significantly near the rear fold regardless, so why bother replacing?--hydraulics are fine thankfully.

If I'm not mistaken, most of the AC/heater/etc related components are those shared across the 124 platform, right? (i.e. heater core + vacuum pods aren't Cab-specific versions?)

I've addressed every plastic and Cabrio-specific item that is broken while I can--new trunk handle, new side flap, new overhead dome assembly and rear view mirror (one of 6 of each left in U.S. MBCC inventory), new trunk struts, etc. Going to send the antenna to Becker for repair.

I think the bottom line is that the points your mechanic raised will increase the value of the examples as well-preserved as ours. As with any classic, resourcefulness will persevere.
 

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My indy mechanic happens to own two, so I really lucked out in finding someone who not only has personal expertise on it, but also perhaps a personal pride in helping others maintain theirs.....
Hah, my indy mechanic drives a cabrio too, plus his shop has a 320 TE, and several other 124's, and the owner has said the W124 (and R129) are his favorite series.

Yes, cabrio specific parts are getting harder to find. at this point, I've decided I'm going to take it off top shelf 'keep everything perfect' and just do the mechanical maintenance needed to keep it running reasonably well, and drive it into the ground. otherwise, I'd need new paint on my hood ($1500 or so for a good job), new leather front and rear (at least $2-3000), new top ($$$$) within the next year or so.... yah, not happening. as is, I can probably keep it road worthy enough for another 10 years. I have a F250 I use for hauling stuff, vacation trips, etc, and I don't commute (retired now), so the cabrio mostly gets used for local round-town trips, and the top is down 90% of the time.

meanwhile I'm doing battle with a biga$$ 'wood rat' who's decided he likes nesting in my engine compartment, grrrrrrr. sucked his nesting out daily for a week, got a ultrasonic 'chirper', sprinkled cayenne around, I think I'm starting to win.
 

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I have been wondering the same thing myself lately. With so many important cabriolet parts like the top controller and the convenience control unit NLA, I feel like I am just one bad solder joint away from owning a boat anchor. I too have done all the important maintenance items (along with a few modifications) to keep my cabriolet in good shape (I still have the ETA to do), but time is marching on and taking its toll on it. In order to preserve it as much as possible I have moved it from daily summer driver to only-on-extremely-nice-days driver. I think the future of the E320 cabriolet is going to be rather Darwinian in that only a very few pristine examples will survive at the expense of those that are less so. I'm not sure where my particular cabriolet fits in that picture.
 

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I'm taking a similar view and using the Cab only on fine days - maybe once a month.
That said, everything works as it should and I've just received new vanity mirrors from

https://oldtimer-ersatzteile24.de

This Company specializes in new and replica parts for elderly Benz as well as other brands. They seem to have a fairly wide range of cabrio parts. I, too use an Indy who, until recently, owned a cabrio himself. He seems to be able to source parts fairly readily.

Realstically, the parts situation is only going to get worse for these cars so I am considering getting a supply of the plastic (quick deteriorating) parts in as spares when needed. Many of these small parts can easily be 3-D printed which is another route to take.

When the top control module fails (mine was replaced recently) there will be someone, somewhere who can repair it. Failing that, go manual!

I personally feel that these cars are worth preserving. There are still plenty of W113 SLs, W111 coupes and convertibles around and parts for them must be equally or more difficult - but somehow they are found/made.

Maybe we are fortunate here in NZ, where there are still small businesses willing to have a go at almost anything...
 

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Hey Bob -
As a vintage European automobile hobbyist of a few decades, I can tell you we're not quite at the parts scarcity position just yet. Drying up yes, but?. Our specific parts will never be plentiful, I'll give ya that; i.e. w124 models cabriolet and coupe.

The North American Mercedes dealership parts professional has Stuttgart, Germany as a significant resource. Stuttgart "home plate" can if requested,, search dealership inventories worldwide.
A keen eye over at Ebay.de (filter a worldwide search function) will surprise many of us.

Lastly, a fundamental to any vintage MB ownership I'd believe is a Mercedes-Benz EPC database subscription. Its stupid money per year, say under a $100., IIRC.

Cheers, M/S

P.S., My deceased uncles original '94 E320 coupe will be "as new" one OEM/Mercedes part at a time. Thankfully both the interior and exterior require zero attention; all original.


Edit/ Delete text . . .

Reading the above it sounds like I have written an ad. That is not the intent. Rather, my intent was to show that many 'typical' big items have been addressed with no undue difficulty; however, this may not be the case five or ten years down the road.

Has anyone else encountered issues with finding parts to correct issues with their cabriolets? And if so, what were the issues and how did you resolve them.

Did not mean to ramble.

Kind regards,

Bob
 

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While I do appreciate the situation of low production parts that are or going NLA, I do think that where there is a will, there is a way.

I also think that its obvious you are greatly attached to your cabrio. I think you would regret it if you were to set an end date, or sell now.

Hang on, and hope for the best?
 

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While I do appreciate the situation of low production parts that are or going NLA, I do think that where there is a will, there is a way.

I also think that its obvious you are greatly attached to your cabrio. I think you would regret it if you were to set an end date, or sell now.

Hang on, and hope for the best?
I’ve been grappling letting go of mine in favor of a w126 or w140, but today just drove it home for me how much I love my car. Was really warm in Los Angeles—popped the top down and had the AC on high, early house music pumping on the stereo running to the hardware store in Beverly Hills.

Given I attribute some of my obsession with my car’s aesthetics to the chrome AMG rims, but it’s just hard to imagine a more handsome car, for me
 

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I purchased a non running 1995 E320 coupe for parts to support my 95' E300D and 94' E320 Coupe.
You have no idea how many parts i've pulled off that car. Probably thousands of dollars worth of "rare" parts and only paid $400 for it. Still has a good engine and transmission as well!

Jetdude
 
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