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1991 300 E 4-matic
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I just purchased a 91 300 E 4-matic. It's got just under 100,000 miles on it and appears to have been meticulously maintained. I am only the third owner on it. I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of questions and I've already found a wealth of information on this site, so thanks for that.

My question is, what are the chances of me learning to work on this car myself? I know only generally about cars and I've worked on cars with friends in the past. I would love to be able to work on my own car but I'm not very handy in general.

I'm sure there are many scoffers out there reading this already, but I'm asking earnestly because everyone had to start learning somewhere right? I know I could do major damage but on the other hand, worst case scenario I'm never going to be out more than the little amount I paid for that car but the upside is, I could really get into this and learn something along the way.

So how about it guys? By using this site could I learn to work on my car myself?

Thanks in advance,

Gary
 

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01 ML430, 08 GL450, 09 ML350, Prev 126, 124, 210, 211, 203, Z28
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231 Posts
Welcome!

There are many qualified people here willing to help (as long as you update your profile under the "User CP"). This site has been extremely helpful to me over the past 6 years, don't know what I would do without it!
Best of luck!
Gordy
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
Get a good tool kit and learn how to search the work manual and go slowly and follow directions you'll be fine.

I managed to change out my headlights and headliner... no worries.
 

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600 Posts
If you like learning, this is a very fun car to work on. If you don't have patience and don't like learning, forget about it.
 

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1991 300 E 4-matic
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@tgordy - good to hear. What do I need to do to update my profile?

@chabanais - what would you suggest as a good tool kit?

@bangawy - that's good to hear. I definitely like learning (8 years higher Ed, 3 degrees and the student loan debt to show for it!) that's one of the main reasons I'd love to be able to work on my car to have some practical knowledge to go with all the book learnin'

Thanks for the replies


Sent from my iPad using AG Free
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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17,388 Posts
Almost anyone can work on their own car, provided they have some mechanical inclination and are willing to learn and spend the time learning.

For a MB, there really is only 1 major requirement whiich pretty much applies to imported vehicles as well.

That is, toss out your standard toolbox and purchase a high quality metric toolbox preferably made by Hazet or Stahlwille. Snap-On would be a feasible alternative. Forget Kobalt, Husky, Craftsman. I've broken many a tools in my lifetime but never a Hazet or Stahlwille.

Unfortunately, your learning curve is going to be steeper than other W124s due to your car being a 4Matic which is far more complicated (for better & worse) and will at times test your patience and stress your wallet as well.
 

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E550W4
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1,879 Posts
Despite the above comment, I've always used Craftsman. The "pros" use Snap-On but that might be more because the Snap-On truck makes house calls.

I've used Craftsman for 17 years and never had one break on me... plus I think if one does break they give you a new one for free.

For German cars you are mainly going to use 8MM, 10MM, and 14MM. My Volkswagen and Mercedes love these sizes.

A kit like this is $80 and is a good start:

Craftsman 118 Piece Tool Set: Get a Shop to go at Sears

Will have most of what you need. You will want to have wrenches in Metric, too.

Or buy Snap-On, etc...

Just don't buy cheap tools. A cheap tool will not only let you down but could very well damage what you're working on.

The key to working on your own car successfully is:

  • Having a good place to work on it
  • Having the right tools
  • Having the right instructions
  • Having the patience
  • Having the time
  • Not replacing a part unless it's with a better one
  • Always use genuine Mercedes-Benz parts when possible
  • When you're pushing/pulling with the tool make sure if it slips you won't get hurt!
  • Staying organized
  • Being able to follow directions
If you can follow the instructions at the link below and meet all the bullet points above you'll be fine:

Model 124 Maintenance Manual Index

Important things to keep in mind are:

  • Knowing when to quit
  • Knowing when you're in over your head
  • Knowing not to force things
  • Not cutting corners
  • Asking the right people for help
  • Staying positive
You will fuck up and break something... hopefully it won't be expensive/important!
 

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1991 300E 2.6, 1992 400E, 1995 E320 sedan (RIP), 2001 E55, 2009 SL550
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139 Posts
The first purchase of a tool + part to remove/diagnose it may equal the price of a mechanicic to do the job with their tool + part. But the investment pays for itself in learning and confidence building for even more challenging jobs.....which are now cheaper since you won't need to buy the same tool again
 

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1993 300D 2.5 "Elsie"
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1,287 Posts
These cars are surprisingly easy to work on. In fact, the only car I've had that might have been easier was an '81 VW Rabbit diesel. There are things I can't or won't do for certain reasons (like most things that would require me to actually get under the car), but overall it's just a matter of having the right tools and knowing how to use google search. Some sort of service manual is helpful too. I have a Haynes manual and while they are known to not be perfect, I've been able to get great use out of it. Having torque wrench settings alone is worth the cost, IMO.
 

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1993 300E, 2003 996 Turbo X50
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624 Posts
Go to sears and get a starter metric set, a decent one should be 100ish. Unless you really want to spend $90 on a ratchet and 300 for a 3/8 socket set through hazet, snap on, etc.. Not saying they arent worth the money, but Craftsman is perfectly fine for the diy mechanic.

I have found these cars to be pretty diy friendly in general. Not a huge fan of the bosch mfi but some of the members here know it like the back of their hand, so good advice is not hard to come by.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,717 Posts
I do have Crafstman wrenches for my tractor, but most of the time they are too thick to work on MB. Buy good wrench set and you will enjoy it for your life instead of using bad language and making often trips to Sears for tool replacement. I still have Chrome Vanadium metric set (made in China) I bought 30 years ago in Europe.
Did someone say VW? Still remember replacing head gasket in 2.5 hr with manual wrenches only.
 

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1995 E320
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2,547 Posts
While I agree that Stahlwille are probably the best tools to get, I would argue that that is true for the professional mechanic. I certainly lusted for a set while apprenticing as a motor mechanic in Africa, but a set of wrenches and a 3/4 inch set of sockets would have cost a years pay with the then exchange rate.

I use Craftsman tools for the most part here, with the occasional Wal Mart tool. This is the price of doing repairs at 1 in the morning.

My advice to the OP is to read, read, read. There is a wealth of information here and other sites that is very detailed on the specifics of certain jobs and operations. Some are really comprehensive but omit a crucial step. Some are rather haphazard but have pictures.
Having been a mechanic, I tend to write stuff up concisely and in the correct order of operations. But, having been a mechanic, I tend to also ignore/ overlook some things.

If you think you have a good understanding of what's required just from reading the steps, then you're probably in a good place to start the job. But certainly, do yourself the favour of reading more than one waterpump R&R procedure (for instance) if you're planning on doing it. Print them all up and tape em to the wall of your workspace and try to follow the sequence on all three (or four.) Remember, some will be missing steps. When I did my waterpump I didn't remove the fan. It was highly recommended by others who had done the job though.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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36,717 Posts
I've got a Bus.

Head gasket... nasty job that.
Years ago my grandma did own VW411 with rear engine air cooled. Good performance and over-steer was great for practice, but to replace alternator brushes the dealer dropped engine down.
But that is another story ;)
I would highlight what nean says about WIS and all repair manual. Would I follow WIS for timing reassembly on diesel, I would put cover on with no bolts inside.
WIS is design as help to trained mechanics, so don't follow them to each letter >>> you still need to use your common sense and knowledge.
 
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