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7 years 61k-142k, $6980 in parts total so far. Still have some catch up on a few items -- rear accumulators, SLS, head gasket and some random int stuff. Probably 8k if I had the time and money to get caught up....

Obviously no labor costs....but most people buy a new car every 4-5 years. All my friends have that's for sure. One is on his third car now.
Apart from the Transmission from Sun Valley. What other big ticket items have swallowed 7K of your cash? Either way even with the parts expense and purchase price your probably still under 12K right? Over 7 years that's nothing. You couldn't get a base Kia for that new
 

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Ok I just re-read this thread and that 700,000km guy .. total goddamn BS and absolute misinformation for any newbies that are considering one of these cars.

I don't know what kind of ride quality you guys have on your old benzes with worn out suspensions that you bought for $1000 but, call me a snob, I like my benz to drive like one. All those people saying that they'd rather be driving a benz than a Kia .. well, what's the point if the benz handles and feels worse?!!! They are heavy cars and feel lousy when the suspension is worn out, lots of clunking and creaking and not very smooth. I've gone through two now and they both had worn out suspensions when I got them. The difference between a fresh suspension (bushings, struts/shocks, links, hell - tires!), is night and day! So, to anyone considering one of these because they're "so cost effective", think about what you want out of a car carefully before committing. If you want to drive a tired old tank that you don't want to spend money on, go for it. If you want to drive a sweet old luxury car then prepare to spend some money.

My TOC breakdown is attached and IMO it's fairly representative of what one might expect when buying an old benz. The caveat to this is that I overpaid for my car, poor decision making on my part (ebay purchase) but sometimes you have to roll the dice! Or you choose to, as is my case and I was prepared to live with the consequences so I'm not complaining. I paid 3k for the car but it was a cross border deal so I had to pay for a bus ticket, duties, licensing over on this side, safety and emissions... another 1k. 3k was too high a purchase price for THIS car but I'de gladly pay 5k for a car that's had all this work already done to it and a good body.


Lastly: all you guys that never spend any money at a mechanic .. really, are you doing your own alignments in the trillion km you've driven your car? Did you do the front suspension work yourself or did you buy a spring compressor???? Did you factor the purchase of the spring compressor into your TOC? Maybe you borrowed one, I wish I could borrow one, no one up here has any for borrowing!

man I hate the internet
 

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Just to keep things balanced, and friendly, I wrote this a awhile ago on the E320 - since then I've done the water pump, belt tensioner, belt, shock tower mount, and a recent tune up including plugs, fuel/air filters, etc. Small stuff. I've spent under $500. Been nursing an oil leak at the rear main, other than that, everything's been okay.

It's been fairly problem free and reasonably inexpensive from the 158K to 234K miles I've owned it so far. I haven't counted every nickel but that's my two bits.

-----------------------------------

Picked one up with 158K on the cheap to be used to make long road trips to pick up my daughter. After about a year, it's about to turn 200K with minimal maintenance and two oil changes. It's head was done at 65K and I'm not sure about the harness. With these in just about every junk yard, parts are cheap and easy to find. Needed a $60 worth of small interior bits and I swapped out the aging leather with durable MB Tex for $100 and carry all manner of spares in the trunk but I'm not so sure I'll need them. Alternator = $20. Extra hoses, dollar each. MAF sensor $20. Sunvisor clips, $1. Etc.
 

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I guess it just depends on who you pay to repair your car - if you are content paying a dealer thousands of dollars to do all manner of repair work, then by all means... over pay for everything.

No, owning a Benz is not a cheap proposition; however, you can get away with affording the repairs if you do a lot of the work yourself and being smart about sourcing parts. I was lucky enough to find a 300E that didn't have any glaring issues with its suspension and it rides a damn sight better than my Honda Accord. Representing these cars as money pits, that cost as much to raise the Titanic is also complete BS.
 

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Representing these cars as money pits, that cost as much to raise the Titanic is also complete BS.
Did I say that?
So far unless i've missed something I'm the only one that's provided a pretty detailed breakdown. Maybe some people are buying used parts, they should disclose that too. Making trips to the yard and pulling parts may be inexpensive (I do it regularly) but it's also time consuming. Like I said, I did all the work myself except for that big ticket item on my list .. the front suspension .. why? Because I totaled my 190e and I needed a car with good ball joints for my own safety. Ball joints on the E320 are part of the control arm .. one needs a spring compressor to do that job. If I'm already paying my mechanic to do that work for me I might as well have him do the rest. My time is also worth something and it would have taken me 4 weekends to do all that stuff on my back in my cold garage. I needed a car I could drive NOW, safely .. so I sucked it up and dropped the $2500. The only other thing the mech did was press the bearing out of the rear carrier and press a new one in as well as the outer lca bushing. Again, with the wagons most people will probably be leaving that work to the mechanic. Oh yeah, and the alignment, which no one else seems to ever have to do.

So I've spent $3850 on maintenance/repairs in a little less than a year. That's about $320/month. Probably a payment on a new Kia or something. I expect this TOC number to decline throughout my ownership because I spent the money up front rather than stretch it out. The benefit is that i have a sorted car to enjoy throughout my ownership. That's also worth something.


Lastly, it seems that people like to brag. They either like to brag about how much money they have, or about how much money they've saved .. to make the other group feel stupid. I belong to the "lets be realistic" camp :)
A little from column A .. a little from column B

For perspective I also live in Canada. I buy all my parts online from the states (Autohausaz or Rockauto) and yeah, shipping and duties kills us and not you guys. It's still cheaper than buying parts locally or from Canadian online places. Also, our used car prices are higher here and the cars in crappier shape. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my impression is that Americans take better care of their cars and drive them longer than do Canadians. Why that is I don't know. To wrap that up, it's more expensive to own a car, any car, in Canada, than it is in the states.

(both of my benzes came from the U.S)
 

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Ok I just re-read this thread and that 700,000km guy .. total goddamn BS and absolute misinformation for any newbies that are considering one of these cars.

I don't know what kind of ride quality you guys have on your old benzes with worn out suspensions that you bought for $1000 but, call me a snob, I like my benz to drive like one. All those people saying that they'd rather be driving a benz than a Kia .. well, what's the point if the benz handles and feels worse?!!! They are heavy cars and feel lousy when the suspension is worn out, lots of clunking and creaking and not very smooth. I've gone through two now and they both had worn out suspensions when I got them. The difference between a fresh suspension (bushings, struts/shocks, links, hell - tires!), is night and day! So, to anyone considering one of these because they're "so cost effective", think about what you want out of a car carefully before committing. If you want to drive a tired old tank that you don't want to spend money on, go for it. If you want to drive a sweet old luxury car then prepare to spend some money.

My TOC breakdown is attached and IMO it's fairly representative of what one might expect when buying an old benz. The caveat to this is that I overpaid for my car, poor decision making on my part (ebay purchase) but sometimes you have to roll the dice! Or you choose to, as is my case and I was prepared to live with the consequences so I'm not complaining. I paid 3k for the car but it was a cross border deal so I had to pay for a bus ticket, duties, licensing over on this side, safety and emissions... another 1k. 3k was too high a purchase price for THIS car but I'de gladly pay 5k for a car that's had all this work already done to it and a good body.


Lastly: all you guys that never spend any money at a mechanic .. really, are you doing your own alignments in the trillion km you've driven your car? Did you do the front suspension work yourself or did you buy a spring compressor???? Did you factor the purchase of the spring compressor into your TOC? Maybe you borrowed one, I wish I could borrow one, no one up here has any for borrowing!

man I hate the internet
I just went back and saw the 700KM post. Again why is it BS? That’s around 435,000 Miles, Yep it’s rare but it can be done, You don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars to keep a car running, sometimes you get lucky and routine oil/filter and fluid changes do the trick but like you said it all depends on what the owner accepts as an acceptable form of motoring pleasure, Ie: Bad ride, smoking engine, slipping trans etc but these thread was aimed for people who want to know the true cost of ownership whether it be maintaining the car to almost new factory spec, somewhere in the middle to an economically sensible standpoint or just run the thing into the ground. What difference does it make if someone paid $500 or $15000? None. Car may have or have not had repairs done inclusive of suspension and aging components and needed something other and a deal was struck.

My car has 166K on the clock, No record or suspension overhaul being completed yet, car rides great, I expect to get to 180K or so and will do what is needed. If you have to pay someone to work on every little thing on these cars then it will be an expensive experience, If you can DIY a little it’s much more manageable
 

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I just went back and saw the 700KM post. Again why is it BS? That’s around 435,000 Miles, Yep it’s rare but it can be done,
Because it's BS.
The odds that he wouldn't have needed a wheel bearing, shocks, ball joints, or other SAFETY items are slim to none in 435,000 miles. If that actually happened his car should be in a museum. Oil and fluid changes aren't the only "maintenance" that one has to do on a car. I don't differentiate "repairs" from "maintenance" because no part in the car will last forever. For example, is an OVP maintenance or repairs? Is an alternator maintenance or repair? How about a comfort relay or evaporator? I don't believe I see those in the maintenance schedule.

Someone also broke down how many miles one would have to drive in a day according to the number of years he said it took to rack up that mileage. It's far more likely that someone is *GASP* lying!!! ....on the INTERNET! (god forbid)

I apologize if my posts aren't overfly friendly or whatever but people just love bragging about how good a deal they got, whether their claims are based in reality or not doesn't seem to factor. I think it should. Absolutely, not everyone's experience is going to be like mine .. I think I represent a minority for sure, I bought a dog! A classic example of "deferred maintenance". Not every car will need all the things that mine did, but over the life of the car .. yeah, they will. Certainly over 450k miles or whatever nonsense claim that guy was making.


edit: I'll also add that most of the W124s on the used market represent the "dog" category rather than the "properly maintained" category. So to those thinking about buying one of these cars, be realistic and have realistic expectations, that's all.
 

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Seems every story strays from the truth some, you just have to be careful how much you believe it. Even factual accounts have their slants, and biases, and perspectives. I don't know.

I sold a 2001 Camaro convertible in the Summer of 2012 and it went from 80K to 146K in what, 18 or so months? I never would believed that if I didn't see it for myself and know that girl is always on the road!!
 

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Because it's BS.
The odds that he wouldn't have needed a wheel bearing, shocks, ball joints, or other SAFETY items are slim to none in 435,000 miles. If that actually happened his car should be in a museum. Oil and fluid changes aren't the only "maintenance" that one has to do on a car. I don't differentiate "repairs" from "maintenance" because no part in the car will last forever. For example, is an OVP maintenance or repairs? Is an alternator maintenance or repair? How about a comfort relay or evaporator? I don't believe I see those in the maintenance schedule.

Someone also broke down how many miles one would have to drive in a day according to the number of years he said it took to rack up that mileage. It's far more likely that someone is *GASP* lying!!! ....on the INTERNET! (god forbid)

I apologize if my posts aren't overfly friendly or whatever but people just love bragging about how good a deal they got, whether their claims are based in reality or not doesn't seem to factor. I think it should. Absolutely, not everyone's experience is going to be like mine .. I think I represent a minority for sure, I bought a dog! A classic example of "deferred maintenance". Not every car will need all the things that mine did, but over the life of the car .. yeah, they will. Certainly over 450k miles or whatever nonsense claim that guy was making.


edit: I'll also add that most of the W124s on the used market represent the "dog" category rather than the "properly maintained" category. So to those thinking about buying one of these cars, be realistic and have realistic expectations, that's all.
Hey your right, This guy is talking TOTAL BS. I completely missed the 2 years of ownership part. I was referring to that's amount of miles with the items he replaced stated and missed the statement,

Either way. my point is these cars can either cost you a absolute ton of money or almost nothing depending on how many years you own it, if you DIY and how many miles you cover.

My post was in-fact a honest representation of cost of ownership for my 1st 300E. I also disclosed that fact that even when sold it was a dog but it ran and my current 300e has also swallowed up more than half my entire Maintenance costs of my 1st 300E within the 1st 6 months. But then again i bought a better car with an extensive MX history but also demand more from the newer one and spent alot of catch up items that needed to be done preventively. I guess i jumped from run it into the ground to Maintain to economically viable standards.
 

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For me the E320's been pretty good but not so much with the E300 Diesel. Tranny went six months out of the gate so that knocks it way ahead of the E320 for maintenance costs but that was last December. This year's mostly been tires and brakes and belt drive stuff.
 

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smp22 has got it right when he suggests there's really no possible way this thread can establish a likely cost of ownership considering the wildly differing attitudes of the owners and their budgets or preferences.

I bought my wagon the same month that an old friend acquired one, and our differing attitude to maintenance says it all. I turned mine upside down for faults and within 6 months had replaced many, many parts both major and minor, had full schedule servicing and maintenance taken care of, fixed all the little niggles and cleaned everything until it could get no cleaner. My total spend was £6000 including purchase price, but my wagon is our only car at the moment and we need it to be reliable and respectable.

My friend just put his to work, and spent nothing at all if he could help it, simply ignoring or laughing at the growing list of rust spots, rattles, whines, leaks and inoperative electrics. After 3 years, it was finally not only beyond economical repair but also beyond safe use, and was sold for scrap in a truly terrible state.

What does this tell a prospective owner about likely costs of ownership? Nothing at all. In fact it would be more valuable to know how much had been spent in the 3 years before we bought our cars, as previous owners make all the difference.

All I know is that, if you want a smooth-running, reliable, good-looking 124 estate with sensible miles off the shelf, you are very unlikely to be able to buy one for less than £6000 in the UK as they are a dying breed and sought-after in top condition. Equally, buying a cheaper car and bringing it up to that standard myself also cost me £6000. Routine maintenance only since, though.

I don't believe you can have a really good one for less, no matter how cheaply you can manage to nurse one along. And all the (admittedly noble) DIY mechanics here must in fairness factor in the time they spend, if not their tool purchases, maintaining their cars. It's never 'parts only', it's also hours and hours of your life spent in labour that must be worth something, surely? At my hourly rate, I prefer to work my real job and pay a good mechanic, it's actually cheaper that way and provides a more realistic notion of actual running costs.

Finally, I'd just like to say that the older our cars get, the more they'll cost, but the greater the satisfaction of ownership will be. Don't be tempted by that hideous Kia!
 

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Well said Moth though I appreciate your thoughts I think a little bit differently.

See, I like working on my car and sorting things out but that's me and like you and everybody else, whether I'm indigent or have riches beyond imagination, our time's worth everything.

I play somewhere in the middle of your examples but I'm not going to throw thousands and thousands of dollars at a car worth less than the cost of repairs. Beloved as my W124s are, and don't let them hear this, I've always found it better to sell them off before they start becoming too problematic and buy another better car. Now, if I had a really nice 420 or 500 or even a cabriolet I'd think differently. In fact, my E300 is treated somewhat differently than the E320.

On the don't fix it until it's broke proper people, I think you can really go a long way doing it yourself or very little with these cars. There's lots and lots of posts in the cloud from others who do things like use radiator hose bits to repair banging rear diff mounts and all that including just running them into the ground.

One way or another, they won't run forever, like so many like to say without predicating that sentence with ...without good maintenance!
 

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We enjoy our W124s and all try to keep them going at a reasonable cost. Personally, I took a page off Henry Ford's play book. Instead of volume production, I do volume repair. All my three cars are the same, E320, 1994. Same year, same model, but different colors. It is always funny when I talk to an insurance agency for an auto insurance quote. Every repair experience I have, I can apply two more times. Every time I run into trouble in fixing my car, I have two more I can take a look to see how it should be originally. I keep a journal on every repair I did so I can read back to see how I did it in case the memory is fading. When I stock parts, new or used, they fit every car I have. It might be boring but Model-T was boring and successful. The only variety I am thinking of is to replace one of the E320 with a 94-95 cabriolet. I will be still dealing with the same engine, transmission, etc. with a limited new sets of problem.

This is how I manage my cost of the ownership. All my three E320, 1994 are running near their factory conditions. All three are at about 110,000 - 125,000 miles and I sold my first one at 210,000 miles, replacing it with one at 115,000 miles. The buyer of my car called me a few months ago to tell me his son loves the car as it is so reliable.

Finally, discovering LKQ to pull used parts also has a significant reduction on the cost, while pulling parts also hone the repair skill, which can be applied three times in my case.


jftu105
 

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All I know is that, if you want a smooth-running, reliable, good-looking 124 estate with sensible miles off the shelf, you are very unlikely to be able to buy one for less than £6000 in the UK as they are a dying breed and sought-after in top condition. Equally, buying a cheaper car and bringing it up to that standard myself also cost me £6000. Routine maintenance only since, though.

I don't believe you can have a really good one for less, no matter how cheaply you can manage to nurse one along. And all the (admittedly noble) DIY mechanics here must in fairness factor in the time they spend, if not their tool purchases, maintaining their cars. It's never 'parts only', it's also hours and hours of your life spent in labour that must be worth something, surely?
That's it right there. I doubt anyone here saw a beat up old W124 on the road and said "I want that!!!". No, more than likely you saw a nice one, heard how reliable they are and that's what turned you onto these cars. Up here in Toronto you never see any wagons, they are very rare up here. Good ones never come on the market. I have yet to see a rust free, maintained (with records) example on craigslist or Kijiji (like CL, popular here) .. and even with the rusty, poorly maintained ones the asking prices are like 4k. I don't know what a "sorted" one would fetch because I haven't seen one come up yet! Meanwhile, when I check "allofcraigs" I find lots! Lots of rust free W124 wagons! So you guys in the states have the pick of the litter. Mine is from the states, I couldn't find one here (one worth buying).
 

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I just did a quick calculation going through my receipts. Taking out optional things like snow tires, extra wheels, stereo upgrade, etc., I have put about $4K into repair and maintenance in 25 months and 15,000 miles. A little over $2K of that is for 3 trips to the Mercedes Tech for work I didn't want to deal with myself, plus the $700 headliner replacement done by an upholstery shop. All in all, I think that's pretty good for a 20 year old car with 153,000 miles on it. Sure beats paying $5K in payments alone per year to drive a Honda Civic!
 
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