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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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Discussion Starter #1
PLEASE HELP FOLKS, I NEED YOUR SOUND LOGICAL AND LEVEL HEADED ADVICE.

At 2pm today, I am purchasing a 1995 Mercedes E320 Wagon with 173,000 miles on it for our family car (4 kids). She is automatic, leather, sunroof, I think almost every option, etc. Car is in good condition overall with a lot of work just done on it in some pretty key areas according to what I have read here on the board and in the forums.
They guy just replaced the (at pretty heavy expense):

wiring harness,
the MAF sensor,
two coil packs,
a CPS sensor,
an o2 sensor,
and did a general tune on it (oil, air filter, oil filter,etc).

He actually let me take it for the day and overnight, I still have it in my posession and took it in to have it inspected yesterday (buyer's inspection) at a local European Only shop which services Mercedes vehicles. They pretty much came up with what I already knew in their inspection:

-all 4 rotors need replacing soon
-all 4 pads need replacing soon
-oil pan gasket seeps
-trans pan gasket seeps
-front main leaking (slow)
-battery is on its way out (makes the check engine light come on from weak starts)

The hydraulic rear suspension works and was recently bled and filled and does not leak. The engine does not burn our leak any oil around the head. The suspension is amazing for this many miles on it.

Other than these few things that he told me needed a little attention up front and which was confirmed by the buyer's inspection, I think 3k is a pretty darn good deal, especially given the fact I will do much of the work myself. I will offer him $2500 and see what he says.


HERE IS MY QUESTION THOUGH IN LIGHT OF ALL THIS:

Can any of you think of anything else that I am missing for inspecting this car? Am I missing something crucial here?

IS THIS A GOOD DEAL? WHAT ELSE SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN TERMS OF PROBLEMS? Should I have another mechanic look at it or have I covered all/most of the key areas? THANKS IN ADVANCE GUYS.
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
$3k sounds like a fair price. Make sure you test the climate control. If the a/c doesn't work properly that's a very expensive fix. how about the cruise control? sunroof? when was the transmission last serviced? Sounds like your indie gave it a clean bill of health...
 

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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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594 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick input. Transmission fluid was just changed, A/C works great, so does the climate control. And, the Cruise Control works flawlessly without incident. I think I'm going to the bank today.

Any suggestions from you folks here on where to buy rotors online and pads at a reasonable price. Any preferred brands? I like Brembo but don't know if they make rotors for this car. Napa semi metallic pads are fantastic but I'm sure there is something a bit better. Any suggestions guys?
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
tirerack.com. autohausaz. performanceproducts4benz.com. buy from the site sponsors. it helps the forum stay afloat.
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
And, fill in your profile so we know your geographic location...
 

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1988 300E, 2006 E350 wagon
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278 Posts
why would the trans pan be leaking if he just had the fluid changed?
it sounds to me like he changed (some) of the fluid. to do it properly you should also change the trans filter and drain the torque converter, both of which require dropping the transmission pan. when the trans pan is reinstalled a new gasket should be used, and i see no reason why it should be leaking after that.
all the rest are easy DIYs. but if you were to pay a garage to do the work it would be very expensive due to labor and the mark-up on parts.
is the seller giving you service receipts?
 

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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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Discussion Starter #7
why would the trans pan be leaking if he just had the fluid changed?
it sounds to me like he changed (some) of the fluid. to do it properly you should also change the trans filter and drain the torque converter, both of which require dropping the transmission pan. when the trans pan is reinstalled a new gasket should be used, and i see no reason why it should be leaking after that.
all the rest are easy DIYs. but if you were to pay a garage to do the work it would be very expensive due to labor and the mark-up on parts.
is the seller giving you service receipts?
The seller only has the service receipts for the duration he has had the vehicle...and, I have been able to verify visually as have the mechanics, that the parts he claims to have changed were in fact recently replaced with new parts. Otherwise, I would not even consider the car, especially given the issues with the wiring harness.

On a different subject. The battery in there is about to go, it barely turns the engine over. The mechanic hooked it up to his volt meter and the first check came back 12.6V; that was 60 seconds after I turned the engine off and was driving around for 10 minutes. Then, I started it up and turned it off immediately, he then checked it again and it came back 10.2 and was very eratic. Incidentally, the check engine light is on and I am wondering if a dying battery will make the CEL go on. Thanks.
 

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Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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Don't know where you are, but if you are anywhere near NJ, I know of a car I would consider before that one. :) Long Island, NY $3500 obo, 116k 1 owner garage kept, green

http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/cto/1133244631.html

I do not know owner, just wish you'd buy it so I could stop thinking about visiting it.
 

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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Don't know where you are, but if you are anywhere near NJ, I know of a car I would consider before that one. :) Long Island, NY $3500 obo, 116k 1 owner garage kept, green

1995 MERCEDES E.320...wagon...3rd seat 116.000 miles

I do not know owner, just wish you'd buy it so I could stop thinking about visiting it.
I just looked at it; if I lived anywhere near there (I live in Seattle) I would spring for that if everything checked out. I love that color green by Mercedes. What a sharp looking wagon. The one I am testing is white and looks very sharp as well. If anyone knows of a deal better than the one I am considering in the Seattle area on an E320 wagon, please do ping me! Otherwise, I will be purchasing this white one tomorrow and will offer the seller $2400 cash and hope he accepts it.
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
Don't know where you are, but if you are anywhere near NJ, I know of a car I would consider before that one. :) Long Island, NY $3500 obo, 116k 1 owner garage kept, green

1995 MERCEDES E.320...wagon...3rd seat 116.000 miles

I do not know owner, just wish you'd buy it so I could stop thinking about visiting it.
Looks like a very nice car, but it doesn't have leather, as stated.
 

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Cruise Control
'87 300TD/'90 300D/'94 Quattro/'89 Vanagon TDI/'01 EV Weekender VR6
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52,233 Posts
I just looked at it; if I lived anywhere near there (I live in Seattle) I would spring for that if everything checked out. I love that color green by Mercedes. What sharp looking wagon. The one I am testing is white and looks very sharp as well. If anyone knows of a deal better than the one I am considering in the Seattle area on E320 wagon, please do ping me! Otherwise, I will be purchasing this white one tomorrow and will offer the seller $2400 cash and hope he accepts it.
What you're describing sounds like a very good deal for this area. Good luck
 

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1988 300E, 2006 E350 wagon
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278 Posts
that CL listing smells bad.
the photo looks like it was taken in a used car lot. the seller doesn't know the difference between mb-tex and leather. and he can't spell.
why should i believe it's "garage kept"? ...all highway miles? please.
that said, if i were in the market for that car and lived nearby i would check it out.
 

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...all highway miles? please.
that said, if i were in the market for that car and lived nearby i would check it out.
Just another reason I think hourmeters should be on all vehicles as well as odometers.
 

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2001 E320; 2002 ML500
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1,982 Posts
soundquest,
Make sure the tranny pan leak is indeed a gasket leak and not a B2 piston leak which can also look like a tranny pan gasket leak.
It sounds like a good deal but beware of tranny issues....
 

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1995 E320 Wagon, 2002 S430
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594 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The plot thickens! I drove the car cold this morning for the first time and had some things come up. The transmission seemed to be slipping a bit. Going from gear to gear their was definitely some slippage going on. But then, after the car was warm, the slipping went away almost completely. I took the dipstick out and smelled the fluid and it definitely smelled burnt. The thing is, the trans fluid looks newer and so I think the smell may be from some of the older fluid that mixed in with the new. In either case, the level was down about a quart. Could that cause the transmission to slip like this only being down a quart? Also, I figured out the wiper fluid does not come out (I don't even hear the motor going, is this common to go out?) and when I turned on the wiper blade it went for a few swipes and then just completely quit working. Checked fuses and they all look good. So, probably looking at replacing the wiper motor as well which is $100 plus a few hours labor that I don't mind putting in.

But...the Mercedes mechanics I spoke with said the following about the transmission issue:
"you can probably get another 3 years out of this transmission if we flush out all the fluid and put in some new fluid with some conditioner"

Does this sound right to you folks? 175,000 miles on the original transmission. What exactly inside these transmissions fails?

In light of the fact I will probably have to replace or rebuild the transmission in the next 3 years, do you still think $3000 is reasonable given the condition of the rest of the car? Thanks you guys, you have been extremely helpful and I really do appreciate it.
 

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Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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merc-one
The best deals I see and have acquired tend to be sellers who are not great at describing what they have. :) But sure, I always enter watching for reasons not to trust sellers. :)
 

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If they did there would never be another municipal or police dept. Crown Vic sold.
Aw, that just means the 24 Hours of LeMons would be rife with Crown Vics, that's all.

I'd love to enter a beat-to-hell W124 or W126 in LeMons...once I took everything remotely salvageable off it.
 

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2000 e320 4matic
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3,401 Posts
The plot thickens! I drove the car cold this morning for the first time and had some things come up. The transmission seemed to be slipping a bit. Going from gear to gear their was definitely some slippage going on. But then, after the car was warm, the slipping went away almost completely. I took the dipstick out and smelled the fluid and it definitely smelled burnt. The thing is, the trans fluid looks newer and so I think the smell may be from some of the older fluid that mixed in with the new. In either case, the level was down about a quart. Could that cause the transmission to slip like this only being down a quart? Also, I figured out the wiper fluid does not come out (I don't even hear the motor going, is this common to go out?) and when I turned on the wiper blade it went for a few swipes and then just completely quit working. Checked fuses and they all look good. So, probably looking at replacing the wiper motor as well which is $100 plus a few hours labor that I don't mind putting in.

But...the Mercedes mechanics I spoke with said the following about the transmission issue:
"you can probably get another 3 years out of this transmission if we flush out all the fluid and put in some new fluid with some conditioner"

Does this sound right to you folks? 175,000 miles on the original transmission. What exactly inside these transmissions fails?

In light of the fact I will probably have to replace or rebuild the transmission in the next 3 years, do you still think $3000 is reasonable given the condition of the rest of the car? Thanks you guys, you have been extremely helpful and I really do appreciate it.
low a quart could cause the trans to slip. you read the level with the engine running, correct? i wouldn't bet on the 3 years but i had mine rebuilt at 210k, however, I don't know if it had already been done once by a PO.
 

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2001 E320; 2002 ML500
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I would NOT buy it. You may not get another 3 years before the tranny needs replacement although these trannys are as tough as nails. Mine has over 223K miles. It is a gamble....
 
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