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Discussion Starter #1
I looked at and drove a 1995 E420 with about 60K miles. There is an issue with the mileage since the DMV here flagged the title in 2001 for an odometer discrepancy but the mileage seems to be accurate.

Pros: Interior in very good condition, transmission recently rebuilt by good local shop with receipt, coolant was a nice green, no rust, most things work. Oil pressure was at 3, a/c works well. The indy they take it to is well known. Recent cap and rotor. Manuals and keys (3). Overall clean other than the engine compartment.

Cons; Right rear window inop, regulator since the motor runs. The car has what I would describe an occasional lumpy idle, the owner's grandson who is trying to sell the car works at the local MB dealer as lot boy. He took in there for a diagnosis and was told no codes, they could replace the motor mounts but not sure if that would fix it. It is not a constant shake at idle. Engine pulls well and is otherwise smooth. Headrests do not move with the switches, otherwise the seats operate as they should. Paint is ok--it's flat black, nothing a few hours with a buffer could not fix. Rear bumper has been touched up with a rattle can. Don't know about the harness. There appears to be a seep below the valve covers, see the attached pic.

I did not think VC gaskets were an issue on this car, am I seeing a worse leak?

Is a "lumpy" idle a sign of something worse than wires or maybe plugs? I'll search for the headrest issue.

If you are wondering I think I could get the car for 3,500 and that's about I would be willing to pay in light of the title issue. It's not salvage and could be clerical error that was never corrected since these odometers have 6 places.

I have read the E400 vs. E420 thread but this car popped up so I decided to check it out.

Any thoughts are welcome, thanks.





 

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3500 with a branded title? No thanks, might as well be salvage in my book. From the sounds of it wasnt maintained properly either. Sounds like you should keep on looking to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
3500 with a branded title? No thanks, might as well be salvage in my book. From the sounds of it wasnt maintained properly either. Sounds like you should keep on looking to me.
The title is odd, the mileage progresses in a linear manner and the flag was in May 2001, the mileage shown then was slightly higher (19,800) then the mileage shown in March, 2001 (19,724) when the title was fine. It's not that it dropped, when we transfer title here there is a box you can check that the odometer reading is not correct. It is possible that box was checked then in error, the rest of the report shows increasing mileage. Since he works at the dealer I sent him the carfax and asked him to find out if that can be cleared up.

The car has some issues for sure, as does every 16 year old car. I feel a little better about the maintenance history than if they told me they took it to the corner gas station. Having a rebuilt transmission is a plus.
 

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Spend the money and have the local dealer do a pre purchase inspection.

The techs will go over the car with a fine tooth comb.

Ask the service advisor for an older tech that knows the W124 and M119.

$3500 is a good deal to get inro a W124.034 V-8 car. Market value is $4500 to $6500

Check all the engine harness's and throttle actuator date code.
 

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A lotboy's grandfather?
I'd be suspicious that a lotboy is trying to flip a suspect trade in.
If you persue, i'd verify last names on title and with seller.
(but that's me...I'm suspicious of everyone)
 

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Clarkz, I've looked at a lot of 400/420s over the past 3 months and think your estimate is a tad high. (Not really intending to quibble. :))

I've saw 1 or two really nice ones go for less than $3k, one mechanic owned with AMG wheels even. Guessing, people are scared off by gas prices maybe.

E320s seem to be selling for more.
 

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I'd say 60k miles is highly suspicious (but a friend in Hawaii says that cars there tend to have low miles because there's not much room to drive around, LOL).

Why did the trans need to be rebuilt if the miles are so low? 100k + is common.

Coolant is green? Bad sign. Only MBZ or Zerex G05 should be used in these cars and that stuff is pee yellow. Any knowledgable indie knows this.

I smell a stinker (which is too bad since a clean V8 124 isn't easy to find, especially in black on black).

Get the PPI at a dealer *for sure*.
 

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Oh I know all about the "mileage in excess of mechanical limits" box. Someone always tries to check that on the titles I am trying to transfer, no idea why it seems to tempt them so. Once it's on there, it will never come off.

The maintenance history does seem to be a plus. But you made no mention of the evap, which would be my main concern. I'd try to talk him down further on price.

Also I am with augapfel, green coolant is only put in by someone who doesnt know these cars. A good indy would never do that.

I just missed out on a really sweet running '93 400e for 1800, in good shape with a clean title, owner was deploying. So better deals are out there if you are patient.
 

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Clarkz, I've looked at a lot of 400/420s over the past 3 months and think your estimate is a tad high. (Not really intending to quibble. :))

I've saw 1 or two really nice ones go for less than $3k, one mechanic owned with AMG wheels even. Guessing, people are scared off by gas prices maybe.

E320s seem to be selling for more.
I think you've missed some major problems. Really nice ones don't need to be sold for under $3k. I can get $6500 for them with ease. And it depends on what you mean by "really nice". I've seen some go in the $8k to $10k range recently. I think there's some evidence that prices are going up, for really nice ones that is. A lot of people who think E420s are $3k cars either don't know a nice car or aren't looking at them in person. Nine out of ten ads claiming a nice car are BS.
 

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Clarkz, I've looked at a lot of 400/420s over the past 3 months and think your estimate is a tad high. (Not really intending to quibble. :))

I've saw 1 or two really nice ones go for less than $3k, one mechanic owned with AMG wheels even. Guessing, people are scared off by gas prices maybe.

E320s seem to be selling for more.

Nope, my 94 E420 was totaled by the insurance company and after the adjuster
inspected it they gave me market value based on it's comdition.

Needing paint, I got $4300 from State Farm. They said that's what they were
going for after doing comp's.

A clean low milage 400E / E420 will bring $6000 to $8000 if near mint.

Your looking at some real turds for under $3K, probably needing another $3K in work.


And someone desperate for cash will give away any car for less then market value.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the thoughts. The seller didn't raise my BS meter. I do think he is trying to help his grandma. And I know where he works:)

Mileage is not uncommon here. My cab had less then 16K when I bought it and it's also a 95.

I need to bone up on my coolant colors. The indie is well known. Not sure why the tranny needed a rebuild but it was done.

I have not talked price with him. They are asking much more than I am willing to pay. Since he works at the dealer he should be able to get the PPI done although I trust his indie.
 

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If car fax + receipts look logical, and an inspection of the car shows good...
The title would be the only thing seller and I would discuss as I tried to convince him that issue alone makes the car almost scrap, impossible to sell.

But I've seen silly mistakes ruin a title, so following due diligence, I'd still be interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If car fax + receipts look logical, and an inspection of the car shows good...
The title would be the only thing seller and I would discuss as I tried to convince him that issue alone makes the car almost scrap, impossible to sell.

But I've seen silly mistakes ruin a title, so following due diligence, I'd still be interested.
He freaked a bit when I emailed him the car fax last nite. I look at it as it may not bother me but what if I want to sell it. That would be my concern.

If I were looking at one around The Islands then I would try to find him: http://www.benzworld.org/forums/41305-nutz-4-benz.html

I bet he could look at in and in 3 minutes let you know if you want it or not.
The bad news is we are on different islands. There was am e420 for sale on Maui a while ago that I was going to ask him about but I think it is sold.

None of the issues I can see is a show stopper. But I need more info on the harness and actuator.
 

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It's only $3500 bucks, I'd buy it. If it lasts 3 years consider it a good deal. I have the exact same car only a 1994. Same color, same interior, my wife paid $100 less than what the seller of yours wants and mine is a polished turd and has waaay more issues than that one. I'd buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
It's only $3500 bucks, I'd buy it. If it lasts 3 years consider it a good deal. I have the exact same car only a 1994. Same color, same interior, my wife paid $100 less than what the seller of yours wants and mine is a polished turd and has waaay more issues than that one. I'd buy it.
I agree my risk is limited.

Update: the dealer believes someone checked the wrong box at one point and the title got branded. I am going to see if there is a way to remove it but my guess is no. He printed out the service history from the dealer, he did not see a reference to the harness and I will proceed assuming it is original. I did read every M119 thread I could find about the harness, some feel it is less likely to disintegrate than those in the M104s. I did see a good way to examine it at one place to see if it is going bad. I am going to look at the car again tomorrow night and talk to his indy. I'll get the service history from him then.

I know it needs; right rear window regulator; fix the front headrest (inexpensive part somewhat of a pain to get the seatback off), get rid of the green coolant, v/c gaskets (and perhaps the oil tubes while I am in there) and try and figure out the intermittent skip at idle. And cosmetic love which is of less concern.

I should add no ASR. I don't think it has any options. A stripper E420.
 

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No ASR...well shoot, there ya go! That's a quarter of the BS you won't have to deal with. I say go for it! None of my rear windows work, I've got green anti-freeze in my reservoir. My title is all messed up being a salvage vehicle. But it runs tight and right! Other than the occasional piddly stuff. I look at it like this...If you like it, you buy it. Mine runs fine. every now and then my check engine light turns on but I just tap the dash and it turns back off. Man, it's an older car..but it's an E420 for $3500...talk him down and get the car.
 

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No ASR...well shoot, there ya go! That's a quarter of the BS you won't have to deal with.
More like three quarters I'd say. The non-ASR HFM and LH cars of that era were just great cars - great engines, long lived transmissions, repairable, good DIY diagnostic systems, etc. Ironic but the great cars all came with bad wiring harnesses.

The 119 wiring harnesses often lasted longer only because they didn't have to be disturbed to replace the spark plugs and/or repair the head gasket. The wiring harness doesn't go all the way to the plugs as with the 104 and the head gaskets don't normally fail absent overheating.

Some harnesses are obviously bad on first inspection, but when in doubt try to find the part tag near the source plug behind the black box. The FD / fabrication date will tell you when it was made. It's in the format day / month / year. If it's a Delphi it's a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
More like three quarters I'd say. The non-ASR HFM and LH cars of that era were just great cars - great engines, long lived transmissions, repairable, good DIY diagnostic systems, etc. Ironic but the great cars all came with bad wiring harnesses.

The 119 wiring harnesses often lasted longer only because they didn't have to be disturbed to replace the spark plugs and/or repair the head gasket. The wiring harness doesn't go all the way to the plugs as with the 104 and the head gaskets don't normally fail absent overheating.

Some harnesses are obviously bad on first inspection, but when in doubt try to find the part tag near the source plug behind the black box. The FD / fabrication date will tell you when it was made. It's in the format day / month / year. If it's a Delphi it's a replacement.
Thanks, will I be able to find the tag without removing anything? I know in my 320 you need to remove the battery and the shield behind it. My plan was to remove the front engine cover and look at the sensor shown in the picture from a thread on Peach Parts

 

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It's tucked back there in the corner but I don't believe there's anything you need to remove. Do take a flashlight and a small mirror in case you have to read the bottom of it. If there's no part tag it's probably original.
 
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