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Hi, I’m looking into buying a W124 wagon and could use some advice. I’ve never owned a Mercedes before. I have a few main questions, and any other advice is welcome!
-What is the highest mileage you would purchase one at? There are a few for sale near me, one with 200,000 miles but needs paint on the hood, transmission, probably struts/shocks, and one window needs a regulator (Selling for $1,000). There is another with 320,000, which seems really high to me, but it doesn’t have any of the major cosmetic or immediate engine issues that the other one has. ($1,100). Which do you think is a better buy?
-What common issues should I look for, and what of those could be relatively easy to fix and which should stop me from buying the car? I’m able to put about 3k-4k into the car right now with hopes to make it a reliable daily driver.
Thank you!
 

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With these W124 you will need a vary deep pocket and large wallet to keep your Mercedes in tip top condition .Unless you can find a good example with very low miles on the odometer . New parts are getting hard to find .Second hand parts prices are going up all the time .My W124 is in good condition .But is worth more in spare parts than sitting on iits wheels . Rust is a one problem ,,but in your location might not be . I would get a mechanic to inspect the car in question before i purchased it . These cars can be older than 30 years or more now . Also one owner cars are the best to pick up. Thats if you can find one, but the price will reflect in that . The W124 260E of mine was pretty good when i was given to me back in 2013 . But to get the car looking how i wanted it to look , took most of my savings . And i will never get back what i spent on it if i sold it to-morrow . Me i would find one thats perfect in rthe body and you can repair mechanics a lot easier than body work at any time . Look out for junk wiring looms in the engine compartment water in the oil and lights showing on the dash at tick over . Check the tire wear is even and if they are well shod .Feel through the wheels to the disc brake feel for ridge on the disc ,if bad will need replacing . They are out there it just taking time to find a good example .Good luck in your search.
 

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Hi, Iâ€m looking into buying a W124 wagon and could use some advice. Iâ€ve never owned a Mercedes before. I have a few main questions, and any other advice is welcome!

-What is the highest mileage you would purchase one at? There are a few for sale near me, one with 200,000 miles but needs paint on the hood, transmission, probably struts/shocks, and one window needs a regulator (Selling for $1,000). There is another with 320,000, which seems really high to me, but it doesnâ€t have any of the major cosmetic or immediate engine issues that the other one has. ($1,100). Which do you think is a better buy?

-What common issues should I look for, and what of those could be relatively easy to fix and which should stop me from buying the car? Iâ€m able to put about 3k-4k into the car right now with hopes to make it a reliable daily driver.

Thank you!
Colin

Welcome and thank you for posting your question. The link below will answer many of your questions and give you a good guide for a future purchase. You would also do yourself a favor by reviewing the various links in out DIY sticky.

Good luck and again, welcome..

Jayare

124 Buyers Guide

Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
 

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Hire an experienced M-B mechanic/Tech to look over the car you want- i.e., perform a PPI.

A Pre-Purchase Inspection will allow you to deduct the cost of the multiple items that will need repair (due to deferred maintenance) from the $offer you would make to the seller.

A PPI can save you thousand of dollars.
You can say to the seller: "This is what the car needs, if you deduct this amount you will have a sale."
 

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Gotchas: oil leaks. Could be head gasket.

AC not working: could be evap leak.

Trans slipping: may need a rebuild.

94/95: eco wiring.

$3-4K USD, you won't be getting very much, but you never know. Try to get one with no electrical issues, no body rust, and none of the above issues.

I would opt for a 94/95 (avoid CIS-injection and EZL issues) and if you're handy, you can replace the harness yourself with good used ones on ebay for <$400.
 

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most running 93+ HFM cars that aren't stupid-low-mile garage queens have probably already had their harnesses replaced.

IMHO, the single most important thing on a used Mercedes is through and comprehensive service records. for instance, ideally, a high miler has had a quality rebuilt transmission installed within the last 50k or so miles. if the car has been properly serviced, and is in good physical condition inside and out, then the mileage isn't a big deal.

get a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) from a reliable mercedes independent shop on any car you're seriously considering buying. the $100-ish this costs will be well worth it as they will likely innumerate a range of things that will eventually need addressing.

remember, there's nothing more expensive than a cheap mercedes.
 

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I echo all the previous comments, and will simply add a "mantra" used frequently when speaking about purchasing these wonderful, but old cars.

Please believe this, it is absolutely true --

" All of these cars you will find for sale will have $5000 to $10,000 USD worth of deferred maintenance needs" to be in near perfect condition.

You are better off looking for one that is owned by a dedicated owner who has spent this money already and takes great pride in the condition of the car. It will cost much more to buy up front, but having the critical failures already taken care of has great advantages.

Lastly and unfortunately, Mercedes is not supporting OE parts for the older cars like they used to. The list of NLA (No Longer Available) parts grows monthly.

As stated above this may be very costly, you can easily spend more money in repairs then the car is worth.

Spend the money for a very well maintained example and you will be rewarded with a really great experience. Buy a lemon and you will be constantly plagued with down time and expensive repairs, to the point you will regret even thinking about buying one.

Caveat Emptor
 

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totally agree to many points raised here, and I’ll add a few:

-AC issues *period* should keep purchase price below $5k. Best case you’re low on Freon, worst case your dash comes apart for replacement of one or all of the following that can all impact function: vacuum pods controlling air flow, AC evaporator core, heater core, blower fan, etc. Watch the Japanese 6-min blower fan replacement video on YouTube

-stereo issues: malfunctioning FM antenna, glitching fader control (93 and earlier), blown speakers, bad amplifiers, malfunctioning Becker head units

-wire harness is a 3-part problem: upper, lower, and throttle body. There’s also a harness for the oil pressure sender that can crumble (as on my 95 Cabrio)

I also had to put on new brakes right off the bat bc the POS dealer I brought the car from had cheap aftermarket crap on it. Replaced front two wheel bearings recently. Trunk struts.

This may counter opinions of this board, but if I were you the first thing I’d do is have a bypass installed that turns on the electric fans whenever the climate control is turned on. My mechanic did that for me (he has 2 w124 cabrios like mine) and now my engine temp doesn’t fluctuate above ~90 sitting in traffic.

These engines run really hot, and they’re subject to fluctuations. Have an extensive exam done on the cooling system—water pump, viscous fan clutch, electric fans, everything. The head gasket on these cars was fickle, but their high operating temperature didn’t help. Cooler you can ensure your engine is, the better, and it’s easy to overheat due to unforeseen malfunctions.

A few rules I’d abide by:
-have a few thousand to spend on repairs
-become friends with the best local Benz mechanic you can find (I trade parts with mine—he gives me free Freon charges & quick fixes when I need it, etc)
-enjoy a project—nothing is simple on these cars (but everything about it is beautiful)

These cars need a lot of love, whether that comes from you or the PO is up to you. Choose wisely.
 

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Look for rust in unusual places. My 1989 has very little despite having been an alpine (Chambéry and Geneva) car !
But on the front crossmember, just inside from the front lower A arms front mounting points, there are holes in the frame that need welding on both sides.

This does not affect suspension geometry (yet) but will if I do nothing about it.

The solution is new metal by a competent welder. This is not expensive but the welding and POR-15 are necessary...

Remember that on these old "classic cars", anything is possible.

Denis
Mennecy
France

A friend with a mint and rare 5-speed manual W114 250CE of 1970 suddenly got a major leak from his oil pan gasket ! One day dry pavement, one drive and when he returned home, oil started seeping like mad... 50 years old next year !!!
 

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So what is with this thing where I hear about the W124 parts becoming NLA more and more all the time? This worries me about my daily driver W124 diesel that I expect to drive another 40 years. (unless diesel goes bye bye with regulations)
 

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Typical car manufacturer trick to make more money...first parts become NLA and suddenly they become available again at five times the price !!!
Here in Europe, governments hide behind ecology to sell/force us to buy electric cars...my car is now registered as a Collector Car and all I ask is to ...drive it for another five years (I'll be too old afterwards). I expect to sell it to africans who know the value of a W124...

Diesels have a BLEAK future as many European capitals will BAN them by 2025... The World Heath Organisation has a severe case against it concerning nitrogen oxyde lung irritations, Tokyo has BANNED all disel cars...
So the writing is on the wall for diesels, I suggest selling your diesel while it's still sellable...

Denis
 
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