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350SLC, 500SLC, 300TE, 190E2.3 Sportline
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Discussion Starter #1
Following my request for everyone's opinions as to the best car to replace my wife's parent's W123 230E, it would appear that their preference for a 4 cylinder may be a wise choice. Their M102 in the 230E has been virtually trouble free. The replacement will probably be either a 4 cylinder W202 or a late W124, both with the M111 engine which also seems to be very trouble free.

This brings me to the question that should result in some lively discussion. WHAT IS THE BEST ENGINE MERCEDES-BENZ HAVE EVER MADE? I love the 3 litre M103 in our 300TE for its smoothness and quietness, but they are not the most reliable with their head gasket and oil leak problems. The multi-valve M104 decendant of the M103 gained power and torque but perhaps lost some of the quietness and certainly did not improve on reliability. The OM617 in our previous 300TD being a diesel had a reputation for longevity but was uninspiring.

My vote is for the 3.5 iron block V8 M116 in my '73 350SLC that I have owned now for 20 years (non emission controlled, high compression). This engine was powerful in its day and with its large bore and short stroke had a delightful top end with peak power of 147kW (200 BHP DIN, 230 HP SAE) at 5800 RPM and a 6500 redline. It has also proven to last forever (500,000km is not uncommon). Only cylinder heads (valves, guides, seals, etc.) require occasional attention. The bottom ends just keep going. The stroked 4.5 M117 gained little in power over the 3.5 (and some emission controlled versions actually lost power). They also lost the smooth revvy top end and may have even lost some of the longevity. The all alloy M116 and M117 that followed lost weight but gained nothing and dont't appear to offer the reliability or longevity of the iron versions.

So which engine is best? Let's hear what everyone thinks.
 

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89 300TE
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I would say the 6.9 Litre V8 from the 450SEL 6.9. We owned one for 5 years and it had no t...

I would say the 6.9 Litre V8 from the 450SEL 6.9. We owned one for 5 years and it had no trouble whatsoever. For a 4 door sedan from the early 80's its still an amazing drive and can eat other cars today. Ours was in mint condition and to hear the sound of one at full bore is an aural delight. A classic to come i believe. But im sure that many will say a diesel would have 2 be the most reliable.

Chris

1989 300TE
1994 E280
 

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S430,190E 2.6,SL500
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I think the 2.3-16 engine from the 190 is the best. Not in terms of reliability and econom...

I think the 2.3-16 engine from the 190 is the best. Not in terms of reliability and economy, but the world speed records that it set and how important it is historically. How can such a small car and a small engine go so fast?
 

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190 2.3-16
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Well I think that the 16vlv is a great motor partly do to the fact that Cosworth designe...

Well I think that the 16vlv is a great motor partly do to the fact that Cosworth designed the head. The M10-2 block is strong as hell regardless.[:eek:)][:eek:)][:eek:)]

As far as their best engine design. Hands down the OM617 engine is the best. They are motors that cannot be destroyed. I have seen more of those engines come through here with 300K++++ miles, than any other.[:eek:)]
 

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C 250 T Turbodiesel
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W124 250 Diesel, 5 cylinder, 92 bhp. Everlasting diesel engine....

W124 250 Diesel, 5 cylinder, 92 bhp. Everlasting diesel engine.
 

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Mercedes 1979 280ce
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The European version of the M110 twin cam, straight six cylinder engine used in the late 1970's and early 1980's, in the 280SLC, 280E, 280CE is a great motor. The european version has 185 horsepower, however; the USA messed around with the german design - adding emission controls which lowered the horsepower to 142 hp. 142 hp is marginally acceptable, if you are like me - and drive around town everyday in a 26 year old Mercedes - Benz with 250,000 miles on the clock. If you happen to be drag racing a Toyota Supra or Corvette it's certainly not fast from a dead stop, however; on the freeway the M110 runs great. It still runs fairly smooth for a 26 year old. With the rising price of gasoline, it gets fair mileage for a vintage Mercedes. If anyone has a couple extra Eurpoean 280SLC s in metallic blue they are not using, let me know.
 

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1991 300 SE
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Uninspired perhaps but easily lasting 500,000 miles without a rebuild would be the OM 615/616/617 series. At 125 bhp the OM 617 turbo could move a w123 rather well and cruise comfortably at 80 mph on the highway.

Next would be the M103 and M110.
 

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I forgot about the 3.5 liter M116. The 350SL Euro would blow the doors off any car. It was extremely quick, as it also had short gearing. But it loved it's gas.

No, the 4.5 liter is very robust. You can't kill it, either.

Best engine? I remain devoted to the M119. That is an engine that should be destined to last forever. I have not seen nor driven a V8 from Mercedes that I have not lusted over more than the 500E. A truly sculpted piece worthy of adoration.

I also admire the potential of the 603 as it, being a short stroke larger bore engine as well, revs to 6K rpms or so will not hurt it(despite it's factory redline being claimed as 5250). A few comrades in Finland have brought these cars up to 430 rwhp @ 4800 rpm.

I don't really have a personal preference. But to go the distance, I'd say the 603 or 617. I like the 603 for it's quiet charm, and the 617 for the opposite reason. Some 603's you'd never be able to tell they were running. A 617 sounds crudely commercial(as do the Dodge Sprinters, I hear).
 

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not everyone might agree, and i might be a little bias considering i own one. i think the 2.6L Inline-6 on my 190E is the best. great amount of power for a smaller car, and very smooth.
 

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jzaroh - 10/22/2004 8:53 PM

A 617 sounds crudely commercial(as do the Dodge Sprinters, I hear).
I assume you’re referring to the sound being crude, not the engine. The engine is elegant in its simple design. Owners love the sound it makes; it’s the sound of efficient reliability. The “commercial� nature of the sound indicates this is a strong, long lasting engine that won’t let its owner down – an engine that can keep its cool and not loose its head when it gets hot.
[;)][}:)]
 

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81' 300SD, 82' 300D
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Long live (which they always do...) the 617s!!!
-Joe
 

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1981 Mercedes 380SL
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I know for a fact the 5 cylinder Diesels are the long-lasting benz engines, they will last forever with synthetic oil (300k miles).

They aren't the most powerful things ever.
 

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W123 280E
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The best engine? 3-litre turbodiesel (OM603). Why? Look at that video and figure out:
http://www.saunalahti.fi/~hecekiel/dieselboost_demo.mpg

Theres several more of those "super-turbo's" in Finland, the black one on the video has 426 hp and 765Nm at rear wheels. I don't know about the red one.


And the engine is very reliable when standard, and has a nice 147(?) hp.
 

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As far a 6's go, I'd have to say the engine in my 300E (what is it a 104???) and the 300-24 engine (the one in my SL) were the last great 6's (the M112 is PATHETIC!!!). Otherwise the mental 6.3L engine (the one before the 6.9) is probably the best mercedes engine of all time.

Sorry but I'm posting after being awake for 29hours straight[|)][xx(]
 

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jdc1244 - 10/24/2004 12:07 AM

jzaroh - 10/22/2004 8:53 PM

A 617 sounds crudely commercial(as do the Dodge Sprinters, I hear).
I assume you’re referring to the sound being crude, not the engine. The engine is elegant in its simple design. Owners love the sound it makes; it’s the sound of efficient reliability. The “commercial� nature of the sound indicates this is a strong, long lasting engine that won’t let its owner down – an engine that can keep its cool and not loose its head when it gets hot.


[;)][}:)]
Eh, boy. Good one. That's certainly true. Although I still have the original "14" head with 282K miles.[:)]

Even the 5-cylinder can become a "Super Turbo". The Finnish gurus have had 200 + hp 300D's, but the W123's around their area are in poor shape. Since the W123 is more prone to rust, it costs more to restore them to newer condition, and THEN having to custom fabricate the modifications. Too much time and money.

Oh, and the purple 300TD wagon getting the 24 valve replacement is, I believe, a 430 hp 603, not a 606. The 606 is currently being translplanted and is expected to be tuned to 500 hp.[:)]

I think 430 RWHP is enough for me. I think nearly 200 mph speeds with adequate aerodynamics is plenty of power should we desire these modifications for US interstates.[;)]
 

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buckwyatt - 10/25/2004 8:22 PM

I know for a fact the 5 cylinder Diesels are the long-lasting benz engines, they will last forever with synthetic oil (300k miles).

They aren't the most powerful things ever.
Synthetic! Jeez, don’t baby these engines![:p]

With regular oil changes with regular oil, mind you, the engine can go 500,000 miles without a rebuild.
[:)]
 

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Storm. - 10/26/2004 7:44 PM

As far a 6's go, I'd have to say the engine in my 300E (what is it a 104???) and the 300-24 engine (the one in my SL) were the last great 6's (the M112 is PATHETIC!!!). Otherwise the mental 6.3L engine (the one before the 6.9) is probably the best mercedes engine of all time.

Sorry but I'm posting after being awake for 29hours straight[|)][xx(]
That would be the M100 in both the 6.3 and 6.9.

I like the M189, but it's horribly complex.
 

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Oh, and the purple 300TD wagon getting the 24 valve replacement is, I believe, a 430 hp 603, not a 606. The 606 is currently being translplanted and is expected to be tuned to 500 hp.[:)]
It had ~360hp OM603, and now the OM606 is being installed.
Picture: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v296/kolja1/Mersukuvat4/konekeulalla2.jpg

I think 430 RWHP is enough for me. I think nearly 200 mph speeds with adequate aerodynamics is plenty of power should we desire these modifications for US interstates.[;)]
Top speed of that purple wagon is 270km/h (170mph), limited by rear differential and about 7krpm redline.

Some more video clips: http://mersuforum.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13577&highlight=



btw, my OM617 has seen near 1 000 000 km (625 000 miles) of road, fully repaired "just to be sure" at 700 000 km (437 500 miles). Still running like new.


(Dont get me wrong, I dont personally have a turbodiesel, or even know any of the "superturbo" guys)
 
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