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1994 BMW 740i
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Went to an auction to look at an ML320... After looking at it, it was in pretty tough shape, not to mention it didn't go cheap by any means. I got thinking after that it would probably be killer on fuel also. Next to that was a 300ET 4matic. I was thinking about it, was painted, but a really clean looking car. They said it was an awd. I had no idea Mercedes made an awd back then. I always thought the 4matic meant a 4spd automatic lol.

So I've been doing some reading and such. I need something for winter to drive to school and I was originally thinking of a e30 325ix, but they are ridiculously hard to find and somewhat expensive. The w124 4matic seems fairly common and reasonable to buy.

So what is the w124 4matic like? (fuel mileage, reliability, in the snow, etc)
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
use the search function. poorly maintained (i.e. reasonable to buy) versions are trouble.
 

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1991 300D 116,000m
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730 Posts
With your admittedly little knowledge of the 4matic system, I would stick with the two wheel drive. Or a different vehicle if you need a 4wd. A 4matic could drain your bank account in a hurry if you get the wrong one.

In comparison, I have the 300d 2wd with new Michelin MXV4's and have no problem getting around in snow. You could get Blizzaks on an extra set of rims and still come out way ahead compared to a 4matic repair bill.

When you get a chance complete your profile so we know where you are located.
 

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1994 BMW 740i
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I did find a little information before I posted.


I was driving my car in the winter, but it sucks in the snow and the winters can get pretty serve at times where I live, that why I was after an awd. I had a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder that I just sold a couple days ago. It was a nice truck with low mileage, but I had nothing but problems with it. I would rather stick with European vehicles after that incident lol.

I do all the work on vehicles myself. I basically never take my stuff to a mechanic due to the cost and I've seen how some people take care of other people's vehicles, so I don't trust the shops. I do it all from bodywork to mechanical to electrical lol.

From what I have noticed on the ads. People don't list the cars as being a 4matic, but from the pictures I see the truck emblem. Also where it says what type of drive the car is, people seem to list them as a rwd. So I'm assuming people actually don't know what they are selling lol.

I'm assuming this is a viscous transfer case like what is used in an e30 iX. How would I tell if the clutches are slipping? What does the 300E get for miles or km per tank of fuel and do I have to run high octane? Is there also any common problem with the 300E (like head gaskets, transmission, etc)?

Any other information would also be greatly appreciated.
 

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W124 Moderator
86 190E 2.3L 16V, 2 95 320TE's, 02 S500
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12,649 Posts
ProStreet,

Read this link from the DIY section : http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w124-e-ce-d-td-class/1480799-w124-buyers-guide.html

Then use the search function of the forum for " 4 matic". There are tons of post on the system. It is an extremely complicated affair, but works wonderfully when it's in proper order. Rebuilds on the system are deal killers as you can easily spend $4 grand on one. Even doing your own work, you have to have better than "good" skill sets, tools, special tools, work area etc.

Jayare
 

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1991 300E 4matic, Porsche 930, BMW 3 series, 1992 300E
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115 Posts
I agree in part to all the posted comments, but. I have owned my 91 4matic for over 15 years and love the traction that the AWD offers. That said, my TC did fail after 115K. I found a used factory rebuild TC for $700 and did it myself. Not very hard to do. Especially with the help one can find on this forum. Did have the head gasket leak and replaced by me.
Again not tough or costly if you can do it yourself. Other than these it has been, water pump, alternator, brakes, exhaust, battery, radiator, and a new windshield. The only things done by a dealer were water pump, and windshield. I just purchase an E320 Cab and will probably be letting the 4matic go. Good luck.
 

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1994 BMW 740i
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for the information. Well I have done some more reading on the forum here and I do have some more question.

1. Where is this orange test lever under the hood to test out the awd and how would I tell if there is a problem with the awd besides an error light?

2. Is there a light on the dash that shows the 4matic is engages without the lever pulled. If there is an error on the system, where is the light located in the gauge cluster(just in case someone pulled the bulb out) and should the light illuminate when I put the key in the start position just like all the other lights on the dash?

3. I have read that the SLS and the 4matic work together. Could someone explain a little more in depth how it does this?

4. I know on some of the BMW 7 series cars had issues with the SLS leaking. Is there any issues with the SLS on the W124?

5. Do they all say "4matic" on the trunk? I've notice some for sale with no emblem but the ad stats that it's a 4matic.

The particular model I found is a 1990 sedan... The one that is gas is a 4matic, but the one with the diesel I would have to ask the owner about (there is no photos in the ad).

Update: Called about the gas one. Its actually a 1992... Long story short, the engine leaks oil and he said he would have that fixed before he sold it. I also asked him about the 4matic system and he said that there is a problem with it. He used it last winter, but not now because it leaks hydraulic fluid and he doesn't know where its going. So, definitely not that car lol.
 
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