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After reading through Consumer Reports and various online sources, I'm wondering if someone considering the purchase of a used E-Class would be better served buying a '95 or earlier car even if the budget allows for a newer model.

Any thoughts? I don't want to find myself at the garage all the time.
 

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[8D]
I asked myself the same question, then asked an experienced auto industry mechanical engineer in Detroit (my brother-in-law) for his opinion. He said it is well known inside the auto industry that M-B quality suffered greatly starting in the mid-1990s when production was boosted and prices held moderate to compete with the Japanese luxury cars. M-B outsourced more parts and sub-assemblies at the same time, without sufficient incoming QA procedures to insure subcontractors and vendors were meeting ISO 9000 specs.

After some research on my own to verify his story, I decided to buy a low-mileage early 1990s M-B, even though I can afford a much newer one.

Cheers!
Dave
 

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That's what I was afraid of. It seems like the cutoff is around '95. That's too bad since I figure you end up missing out on some of the newer features on the more later models but I guess that's the way it goes.

Today I pulled into a parking lot next to a nice E320 just as the driver was getting out. It turned out she was the owner and it was a 2001 model. I asked her if she enjoyed the car and she said she was quite happy with how it drove and looked but before the car had hit 14k miles she'd had to replace the rotors and calipers which she was told was not covered under warranty (calipers are 'wear' items?) at a cost of around $4000. She also mentioned that the car was awful when the weather turned bad. She had a 700 series BMW on order that she was trading the car in for. She'd said she'd always dreamed of owning a MB and went out and bought one when her business took off, but she didn't want to go through the spotty mechanicals and indifferent customer service. Shame.
 

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Ha! I never feel embarassed parked or stop side-by-side with newer MB, let alone feel humiliated.

I know I drive one of the best quality MB ever made, period. [8D]
 

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tiger_biru - 4/11/2005 9:42 PM

Ha! I never feel embarassed parked or stop side-by-side with newer MB, let alone feel humiliated.

I know I drive one of the best quality MB ever made, period. [8D]
Exactly how I feel! Today I saw a fintail drive on the opposite lane. He looked at my car following it as I went past him, as I looked at his car following it as it went past mine. Yes, pre-1995 models are considered the most reliable Benzes around...and I think I heard that the W210 is the most reliable newer model MB so far.
 

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yep, i concur with the 124. they are solidly built and powerful. i say you should try to find a 94' or 95' 124. you'll be very happy.
 

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lnkprksoldier - 4/12/2005 12:01 PM

yep, i concur with the 124. they are solidly built and powerful. i say you should try to find a 94' or 95' 124. you'll be very happy.
It's a shame we can't take advantage of the newer chassis and updated features because we're afraid of reliability issues. I guess finding an independent mechanic who can work on a 124 will be easier than finding one who can work on a 210.
 

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Obviously I’m partial to my 126s but I understand that they are for the extreme Benz lover – the 126s are the last of the best-built, best looking classic MBs. Even if modern MBs were at the top of the list in reliability, I would not own one (price not withstanding); a Mercedes-Benz should always look like a Mercedes-Benz, not a Honda.
 

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A late W126 with all the trimmings (leather & electric seats, ABS, Airco, Airbags) is the best of both worlds : luxury, reliability, performance and exlusivity (when in great condition and not "pimped").
A G-Wagen (W463) 1990 until 2001 is also excellent and reliable if you wan't something different or a week-end special. The one's after 2000-2001 also cause troubles.
 

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t might be possible to pick and choose carefully. Consumer Reports gives pretty high marks to the 2000 E320 - W210. I admit to no idea why that year seemed to come together right when all the preceeding -- and succeeding years are a bomb, but there you have it.

That is what I happen to have and it's been fairly uneventful. I bought it for under trade-in book and spent most of the discount on an extended warranty.

It's cheap peace of mind. My 94 E320 was starting to show wear just because of 150,000 miles.

We can't keep buying 15 year old cars out of fear? can we? At a certain point we either abandon the marque in disgust ( move to BMW, Lexus, or?) or figure out how to make it work.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is there any assumption that if you're buying the car used that some of the issues the original owner encountered have already been fixed, leaving you with a car that at least has the original kinks worked out?

And what alternatives are there for people who are not buying the car from a dealership to pick up some kind of warranty coverage? I guess there are companies who provide them but are any reputable or specialize in MB products?
 

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mjhawkins2346 - 4/15/2005 1:08 AM

We can't keep buying 15 year old cars out of fear? can we?
No, we buy them out of love. And older. For me the issue is moot – ALL new cars, even MBs, leave me cold.
 

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mjhawkins2346 - 4/15/2005 1:08 AM

We can't keep buying 15 year old cars out of fear? can we?
We can. Although the car may be produced 15 years ago, you can buy M-B OEM new parts to keep the car as new as possible.

the looks of M-B older models (such as W126, W124, W201, etc)are timeless, classic...they will last a long time in terms of both mechanically and aesthetically...
 

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RE: Older Model Reliability - W124, W126

I'm new to MB's - just bought my first 1986 Baby Benzm the 190e. I think that is a W201? But what is a W124 and a W126.

My affinity for new cars and that new car smell and my budget has always caused me to buy a Chevy Lumina or Ford Taurus or what I have now, a 2002 Izusu Rodeo.

Then, while looking for a good, dependable used car for a first-car for my daugher, we found a 1986 190e.

It still run good at 158,000 miles - as well as my Chevy did at 75,000 miles. Now I have fell in love with MB's and would like to get rid of my Rodeo and get an older, used MB.

What would be some good choices? Something priced reasonalby but something with some good miles left in it.
 

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RE: Older Model Reliability - W124, W126

NewMBOwner - 4/16/2005 11:24 PM

But what is a W124 and a W126.
Introduced to the market in 1986 the w124 was DBs midsize car, positioned between the w201 and w126. They were available in sedan, wagon and coupe. I’ll allow a w124 owner post about that car.

The w126 was DBs full size car (S Class, the only true ‘class’) officially produced from 1979 to 1991. The first generation cars had a 2.8 L inline six, a 3.8 L and 5.0 L V8, and a 3.0 L inline five cylinder diesel. In 1986 the second-generation cars came with a 2.6 L and 3.0 L inline six, a 3.0 L and 3.5 L six cylinder diesel, and a 4.2 L and 5.6 L V8. The fuel injected ‘long’ sedans (SEL) had a wheelbase in excess of 121 inches and weighed close to 4000 lbs. In 1981 a coupe was introduced (SEC) using the 3.8 L, 4.2 L, 5.0 L, and the 5.6 L V8s.

These were the last of the great Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans and coupes reflecting a unique blend of advanced technology, classic design, superior build quality, and reliability. The interiors of all the cars are spacious, comfortable, and reflect an ergonomic layout 25 years ahead of its time.

These cars are not for the financial faint-of-heart. Fuel mileage is poor for all the gas models Great care must be taken when searching for an acceptable example. Buying a car that was not properly maintained or otherwise abused will be very costly to restore. Some parts can be expensive and labor costs tend to be high when worked on by qualified technicians.

Once you get the w126 bug you’re hooked for life; all other cars will pale in comparison. With their stunning classic design, excellent road manners, and sturdy construction, the w126 is the best car DB ever produced.

Below are pics of w126s:
 

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If you look around the web at some of the sites for older Mercs,check out the W123,I have one,originally from South Africa,which has over 450,000klicks on it.I saw one in the phillipines with 1,250,000 Klicks.Mines a 230 carby model,you can even get a 2,0 liter!,the top of the range was the 300TD (station wagon ) turbo.
My old girls the runabout car,it never gets serviced and has never had any work of consequence,apart from a timing chain and tappet adjustment to shut it up ! and Pertronix set up so it would start..
I have 380SEL with every option ,that also has or has had every glitch known including the famous timing chain drama.
So,given all that,I,along with a lot of european enthusiasts say that the W123 was last Real Mercedes of Quality.
 

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mercmad - 4/19/2005 8:23 AM

If you look around the web at some of the sites for older Mercs,check out the W123,I have one,originally from South Africa,which has over 450,000klicks on it.I saw one in the phillipines with 1,250,000 Klicks.Mines a 230 carby model,you can even get a 2,0 liter!,the top of the range was the 300TD (station wagon ) turbo.
My old girls the runabout car,it never gets serviced and has never had any work of consequence,apart from a timing chain and tappet adjustment to shut it up ! and Pertronix set up so it would start..
I have 380SEL with every option ,that also has or has had every glitch known including the famous timing chain drama.
So,given all that,I,along with a lot of european enthusiasts say that the W123 was last Real Mercedes of Quality.




Say that again? No, the last part...[:)]
 

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mister-hand - 4/11/2005 4:33 PM

After reading through Consumer Reports and various online sources, I'm wondering if someone considering the purchase of a used E-Class would be better served buying a '95 or earlier car even if the budget allows for a newer model.

Any thoughts? I don't want to find myself at the garage all the time.
What about starter troubles? I think starter just went bad on a 1986 190e, it is my daughers and she called and said she stopped for gas, but then car would not start back up.

Is this a starter or some other problem, I thought I read elsewhere that sometims these cars have a phantom trouble with starting and then it clears up.

any ideas of what to check or what could be wrong?
 

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Had starter replaced and that seems to have fixed it, although I'm not totally trusting of the garage I went to.

I had the car towed to the closest Import garage, called Johnson's Worldwide Imports. They checked it out, called me and said $249.00 for the starter and 3 hours of labor.

Told them I would get my own starter, went to Auto Zone and picked one up for $109.00 plus a core charge that I will be getting back once I turn in the old one.

Called MB dealer of Winston Salem and a certified MB garage (that is highly reccomended by others and has a great reputation - who I plan on having as my regular mechanic after this) and both quoted 1.75 hours of labor.

So, I know this Johnson's place is out to rip folks off and be less than honest, so I can't help but think that maybe it was just a fuse, relay or something else simple.

I'll have to check the old starter when I get home just to make sure it isn't the new one I bought with just some grease rubbed onto it.
 
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