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Registered
1995 C280
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Need an advice here...
Looking to buy a mid to late 90s C-class.
My price range is up to $5000
I am looking at 1998 and 1999 models but can go earlier.

Most of them have over 120K on the ODO
I am having a hard time finding ones that have full or at least some records.
(Carfax just isnt cutting it...)

Major Issues I am aware of on these cars:
-Wire harness going bad and in need of replacement
-Head gaskets leaking

What ELSE would be a major issue with this time period of C-classes?
Was 1998-1999 a good period for these cars? or should I go for an older model?

Also - I do most of my regular maintenance stuff myself at home.


Any advice would be awesome! Thank you.
 

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'99 2.3L Kompressor
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1,944 Posts
A C230 isn't going to be as smooth or powerful as a C280 but you will get better gas mileage and it is a lot easier to fix. 98 is going to have the first of the electronic transmissions but no know design problem with the head gasket or wiring harness. A c230k has more power but the supercharger amplifies the smoothness deficiencies. If you are going to go with a C230k, go for a 2000 model manufactured past at least May when the transmission was revised for some known issues (needle bearing). I don't remember the actually changeover date and am just guessing at May being safe.
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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31,631 Posts
For that kind of money you can drop into the facelift W210 (E class). Much nicer car, lots more comfort features, pretty easy on gas if you get the V6 E320 and keep your foot out of it. I regularly see 30+ on the freeway. No seat motor issues, no wiring harness issues, no head gasket issues, though there are some issues common to the E. If you're interested check out the "common issues" thread in the W210 forum help/diy stickies.

I rode in and drove a few W202 230s and wasn't terribly impressed; indeed I wasn't even that keen on the brand at that point, but when I drove a W210 I was hooked.

Happy shopping.
 

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Moderator
2.3-16 | A3 2.0T | 986 Boxster
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5,048 Posts
97 and 98 are the best years for the C230. No issues with wiring harnesses from 97 on, no head gasket issues in the I-4 (like some I-6 cars have). If you can follow directions you can fix most things on these cars yourself. '99-2000 are also good too, eventually the superchargers will fail, some here say 100,000 miles, some have gone many more miles with no issues... the '97-8 won't have this issue, no SC. I have a '98 pushing 200K. In NOVA there are plenty of W202s and W210s in your price range.
 
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