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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Possibly buying my first benz tomorrow need your help

I have been shopping around for a family vehicle for the last couple weeks. I like older cars as I own an e30, vw westy and old Z car. I have always loved the look of the 300e's and benz reliability. There is a 87 300e for sale locally with 120k original miles for $2200 obo. I'm test driving it at 9 am and called a local benz shop to see if they would do an inspection on it for me but they want to charge $150. I have swapped engines on my z car and do all my own repairs on my BMW , I'm just not to familiar with the Benz. What are some key things I should look for when inspecting the car? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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1989 300TE wagon 125,000 miles
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With a car with this many miles get as much of the maintenance history on the car as possible. I had mistakenly thought that people that drove these cars took care of them. Which may be true ..but was that two or three owners ago? They are German and quite logical in that they only come apart and go together one way and one way only. They can be very expensive to fix if you don't do the work yourself. Get the transmission checked out, self leveling rear suspension and check the color of the fluid in the radiator expansion tank, if it isn't straw colored or it looks to be a dull Grey or black you cold have a head gasket problem. Also check the reservoir for the wipers. If it is contaminated it tells you two things 1 the heating coil has failed 2 radiator fluid is going into your wash water and the wrong antifreeze may have been used in the engine as it breaks down the solder on the coil which caused it to leak in the first place and may be a sign that they just have not maintained the car. Do the wiper on the headlights work? Sunroof? all window regulators? Go over it top to bottom and buy with your head not your heart, because their is no such thing as a cheap Mercedes. Buy the best that you can afford with as much service history as possible. I love my car but I have had to take care of some major items that if spent on the car I thought was a bit too much at the time, is a bargain now...
good luck

Steve
 

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1991 300D 116,000m
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I am SHOCKED that a mechanic would get up and go to work everyday and then have the nerve to charge you for his expertise. Oh, wait, that's how the world works, DUH! I sincerely doubt your paychecks are piling up on you desk.

$150 is 1/10th the cost of a head gasket repair. Cheapest insurance you will ever buy.
 

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Black on Black S124 Estate and White A124 Cabriolet
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BEST $150 YOU WILL EVER SPEND.

And yes, I know I was yelling. If maintenance has been delayed, many times, these cars still can drive beautifully compared to average cars. Yet, that $2200 could turn into 2-3 times as much under worstest case scenario.

I ALWAYS figure on a budget to make things just right, but, having bought 8 124s, I'd agree w cbcatl, best advice ever, is get a ppi.

The odds are they will find enough wrong to earn their $150 + more off of the $2200 price. Lets ask posters here how often they find a ppi to be wasted money? See? No one answered. :)
 

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Immoderately Caffeinated/ Vintage Moderator
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I didn't get a ppi with my first 124. I thought I new enough to buy without one. Big $mistake$:crybaby2:.

Pay the money.
 

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2011 GL 320 CDI, 2004 E320, 2000 C230, 2004 Toyota Sienna
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If I were you, I would tell the seller that I want to get the car inspected and if it fails, I pay $150.00 and if it passes, the seller reduces the price by $150.00
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I were you, I would tell the seller that I want to get the car inspected and if it fails, I pay $150.00 and if it passes, the seller reduces the price by $150.00
Good Idea
Well the quest continues. I showed up this morning at 9 and he already had started the car and it was warm so I couldnt remove the coolant cap which I was upset about. Right off the bat he seemed shady and I asked him about the history of it. He said he owned a car detailing company and it was an old mans car who had to many other vehicles. I asked about any records from the previous owner and all he said was there was some papers in the glove box but I threw them out on accident

It didn't stop there, he kept saying " look how clean it is , look how clean it is" I then started it and it had a weird noise to the engine like a tick/soft knock sound. Not loud enough to hear with the hood closed but defiantly noticeable with the hood up. After idling for a couple mins the sound was still there
 

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99 SLK230 Kompressor, 5 Speed Manual
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Good Idea
Well the quest continues. I showed up this morning at 9 and he already had started the car and it was warm so I couldnt remove the coolant cap which I was upset about. Right off the bat he seemed shady and I asked him about the history of it. He said he owned a car detailing company and it was an old mans car who had to many other vehicles. I asked about any records from the previous owner and all he said was there was some papers in the glove box but I threw them out on accident

It didn't stop there, he kept saying " look how clean it is , look how clean it is" I then started it and it had a weird noise to the engine like a tick/soft knock sound. Not loud enough to hear with the hood closed but defiantly noticeable with the hood up. After idling for a couple mins the sound was still there
Yes, unfortunately looking at how clean it is leads to many purchases of mechanically lacking MB cars. The paint, trim and chrome of a Benz holds up extremely well as compared to most other cars. Most peoples eye balls are calibrated for the decay rate of other cars. An older MB can look brand new when in actuality it might be pretty worn out.

You were wise to walk away from this car. That said, don't shoot all the dogs because one of them has fleas. There are some nice, well maintained MB's out there.

Good luck,
 

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1955 300SL, 93 300SE, 91 500SL, 1989 190E2.6
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I must admit I have had the luxury of having friends who were mechanics for many years, so I learned a ton from them. The $150 for a PPI is pretty much well worth it if you aren't a mechanic yourself. Just get a PPI from someone who KNOWS these cars and not any old mechanic... I have bought Mercedes with little or no maint. records, several times, for prices like $550 and $1100, and $1250, and have been ridiculously lucky every time. Each car had one "major" problem, like a broken fuel tank, or metal to metal brakes, or the car had just sat under a tree for two years. Big problem? No. Take care of that problem and it's like you got a new car. These cars have so much quality built in them from the start, that if I did it all over agan, I wouldn't do anything differently; if one turned out to be a lemon, I'd just give it away and start over. Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO, yes. there IS such a thing as a cheap Mercedes, as that is what I have been driving for several years now, and LOVING it. I'm talking 1980 450SLC in sky blue (silver?) ($1250.00) that looks and drives like it was JUST BORN, and a 87 300E "Blackie" ($2300.00) that runs phenomenally and shines likes she's been waxed monthly since new; and a 190E 2.6 "Whitey" ($550.00)! -with 240K miles and runs smooth as silk, gets crazy gas mileage, doesn't even use any oil, and is like the energizer bunny, keeps on going....and a gorgeous 300CE M104-24 valve ($1100.00) that is nowadays babied and garage kept so she doesn't even drive in the rain. These cars were all such crazy deals, it is like I stole them. But each one had a problem that was too big for their owners to get around. Took me a day or so to get it all fixed up: new rotors & pads, new fuel distributor; or new fuel tank, filters and lines, etc... The 190E took 4 or 5 days of detailing and polishing to bring her back, after 2 years under a maple tree...was well worth it. Learn about these cars, then go out and get them. There are people who don't know what to do to take care of them, find those cars and rescue them. It may take some time and gas to look at a few, turn some down, wait patiently until you find the one with only a small problem that is a big prob for its owner but a little problem to you... but let me tell you, it is worth it. My 300CE cost $55,000 new and I paid so little of that it is like I stole it. It is an awesome car, beautiful and wonderful to drive; And I did the car a favor because I know its needs; the PO did not. Thank God for Benzworld, where I have learned so much. When my friends and co-workers need to buy a car or truck, they enlist my help. I find them a shining example, every time. But it isn't rocket science.
 

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2000 SL500
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Bought my '93 400e with 135k miles on it and a rubbing noise when turning. Asking price was $2,000.....I got it for $1,500. Turned around and fixed the steering damper for around $100. I've owned it a year and so far I have replaced my alternator, fuses, Dome light assembly (shorted out), thermostat, tires, and front brake pads. There was also a short in the wiring for the trunk lights. All of these things I fixed myself, which saved a lot of money. I've put 20k miles on it the car in this last year and I think it's doing great. I still need to fix a couple minor things like the center driveshaft support bearing and the smog pump (which I'm just going to disconnect), and one major project (oiler tubes). Everything that needs replacing is normal and won't need to be replaced again for MANY miles and years ahead. Again, I drive at least 20k miles a year. A Dodge Stratus with 21k miles didn't even last a year with my driving before it started breaking down on me.

I consider myself lucky to have found this car when I did and for the price. The day before, a '94 Nissan Altima was sold out from under me for $1800. And I drove all over Southern California to look at 5 190E's, all in Very poor shape, for $1700-$2100.

You CAN find a cheap, and good Mercedes. You just have to look really hard.

I also bought a 1982 300td Turbo for $1000 that is still running perfectly for my friend. And I sold it to her for $2k ;)

And the 1979 450sl I bought for $800.....in need of a fuel distributor rebuild ($75 in parts)and tires to be 99% restored......and sold for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. :p


Good luck on the search.....and get maintenance records!!!!!

***hint**** Old ladies are great with upkeep on cars, and usually only go to the stealerships for service on their low-mileage luxury cars ;)
 
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