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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting a bit of tax money back and have a couple of cars that I had seen that I have some questions on.

First is a 220k mile 1984 190D. Owner has mechanics report that says needs rear diff. replaced, a wheel bearing and a strut brace as repair items, and (per the owner) needs drivers window and sunroof motor replaced, and the AC recharged (or converted). A bit of cosmetic stuff inside--the headliner is loose in spots, wear on drivers seat. This is driveable right now. Auto trans.
Fairly cheap at $500.

Next is a 1985 or 6 (forget which right now) 190E with 120k miles. Auto tranny changed out at around 80 to 100k miles--owner has receipts for the work. Not currently running--from description of problem (I talked with the owner), it sounds like a fuel delivery or charging system problem (leaning toward alternator dead). Nicer cosmetics than the 190d car--no apparent wear. This is a 4 cylinder car.
A bit more expensive at $950.

Both cars have almost perfect outsides (for 20 year old cars, they present very well).

I used to have a BMW 325e (1987 with auto trans)--miss the car very much (sold it to pay for a move recently). Looking to get some decent handling out of a car again. However, my wife has been complaining about her Windstar recently, so anything I got would likely end up in her hands. My Wife's car knowledge is limited to "Somethings Wrong, it's making a Noise"--getting her to pin down when the noise happens, where in the car it is coming from, etc. is almost impossible. So, I need something that is fairly durable, so I am not spending all my time diagnosing problems with it.

So, I have some questions if anyone can possibly help--
#1. I need a fairly reliable car (something that if it gets started is likely to get my wife to work)--I know this is never guaranteed in a 20+ year old car, however. Which (190D or 190E) would come closest to this?
#2. Which set of problems (Fuel or Alternator in 190E, or the 190D problems above) are easiest to fix?
#3. What to watch out for in these cars?
#4. Parts availablity (is either on easier to get parts--used or new, for them).

I'm working with limited funds (not much of a tax refund to go on)--I know the ideal would be to buy a new(er) car with a long warrantee and let someone else hassle with it. However, my parents owned a Mercedes a long time ago, and came through a minor accident with almost no damage to the car other than a few scratches--always impressed me with the durability of the cars.

And, finally, as I may be driving the car myself at one point: How is performance and Mileage in both cars? I know the 4 cylinders are not going to be as fast as an 8 cylinder AMG, but are they (both, or just the diesel) going to be so slow on accelleration that you have to make sure the highway is clear for an entire county before you try to merge into traffic? Gas mileage for either one?

Thanks for any possible help--I was hoping to get answers fairly quickly, even if it is a best guess answer, as if I wait too long, I may lose out on both cars.

AFARR
 

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'85 2.3-16 '99 C280 '11 GLK350
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While I'm a big fan of the W201, I must say that there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.

If your ultimate goal is reasonably reliable transportation, with low operating costs and maintenance, buying a 80's vintage W201 that "needs work" is not the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, same thing is said about BMWs, Porsches, etc. I realize that it will not be cheap to maintain, but I'd rather have a well made car that has the potential to make it 200-300k miles or more, than a cheap car that has to be disposed of before it hits 150k miles.

That being said, what makes you a fan of the W201's?

Of the two cars listed (one of the reasons I focused on them is that if I had to spend $500 or more on parts, and do the labor myself, I would probably come out ahead), which is a likely better deal?

Thanks!!
 

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'85 2.3-16 '99 C280 '11 GLK350
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Assuming your assumptions of the problems with either car are correct, $500 would not be enough to address the mechanical issues with the diesel, although that engine would be the best bet to get you more miles down the road. The same amount of money would probably handle a fuel system or charging issue that didn't require more than a basketful of parts.

Why do I like the W201? Owning one helps. Historically, it was a major development of Mercedes engineering and design. The fact that it still looks reasonbly current as a Mercedes, over 20 years after the design work was started, is a testament to it's classic proportions. The lightest sedan in decades for Mercedes, it's a fun drive that doesn't isolate you from the road like some of their big "land yachts" do. So long as you don't need to put grown human beings in the back seat and aren't bothered by the high lift over of the trunk, it's got the ride benefits of a full size Mercedes in a compact car envelope.
 

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'72 220d, 250td, e320cdi
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if you geta good 190d i dont think u could ask for anything better, mine has 205k miles on it, my parents has 137k on it, if you get a good one, you will have ultra-reliability, great fuel milage and they will last a long time, i have seen plenty still running with 370k on the. i love mine. just get a compression test done on it and make sure its up to scratch, dont try and take the cheap route unless you get it looked at by an expert 1st. i paid about $3500 for mine and it needs no work and starts promptly down to, so far, -6 which is the coldest its been
 

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1993 190 E 2.3
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i suggest you look for a 201 in the $2-3K ballpark... it should have nothing wrong with it but very minor superficial/mechanical problems...it will drive better...and look better than a GM that costs twice as much and you can drive it for 50K miles and sell it for $2-3K...what more could you ask for?
 
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